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Africa North & East

Gondar - Addis Ababa

21 DAYS THROUGH Ethiopia
RATING:
PRICE FROM:
$2,070 (USD) + 480 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
21 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle, Boat
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
ACCOM:
25%
75%
MEALS:
Breakfasts x 6, Lunches x 6, Dinners x 5
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ZGA
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  Guided tour of the fascinating ancient royal city of Gondar, Ethiopia

  3 nights in the fabulously scenic Simien Mountains National Park

  Spot geladas, ibex, Ethiopian wolves and many other endemic species

  Guided tour of palaces and temples in historic Axum

  2 day 4 x 4 adventure to the spectacular Danakil Depression

  Guided tour of the ancient rock hewn and churches and monastries in Lalibela

  Boat trip on Lake Tana to witness the source of the Blue Nile

  Drive the dramatic roads of the Blue Nile gorge

  Explore chaotic and bustling Addis Ababa

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

Itinerary

Day 1 - Addis Ababa ( 29th Oct 2018 )

Border Information: If joining in Addis Ababa, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting.

If you are travelling to the Sudan and have arranged to pick the visa up in Addis Ababa, you will need to arrive at least 2 working days early to collect the visa.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Addis Ababa before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Addis Ababa.

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Day 2 - Debre Markos ( 30th Oct 2018 )

We will start our journey today with a drive to the small town of Debre Markos. En route we will drive to the bottom of the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge and up the other side!

In Debre Markos we will stay in a basic local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Overland journey north of Addis Ababa, passing through the immense Blue Nile Gorge
Included in Kitty
Day 3-5 - Bahir Dar ( 31st Oct 2018 to 2nd Nov 2018 )

Today we will complete our drive to Bahir Dar, a small town on Lake Tana, the source of the mighty Blue Nile.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On our first full day in Bahir Dar, we will have an included boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the famous old monastery of Gabriel Ure Kideth and to visit the spot where the lake outflows into the start of the Blue Nile. 

On our second day, we will head off in the truck to visit the Blue Nile Falls and take a short walk around the area to the historic Portuguese Bridge. We will have some free time in the afternoon to take optional visits to some other spots around Bahir Dar such as the 'Hippo bridge' and the Tigray war memorial.

In Bahir Dar we will stay in decent local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Boat trip on Lake Tana from Bahir Dar to visit the monasteries

Included in Kitty

Explore the stunning Blue Nile Falls just downstream of Bahir Dar

Included in Kitty
Day 6-8 - Lalibela ( 3rd Nov 2018 to 5th Nov 2018 )

Today we have a full day's drive through the beautiful scenery of central Ethiopia to reach the small medieval town of Lalibela.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

On our first day in Lalibela, we will have an included full-day guided tour of the world-famous 13th-century rock churches of Lalibela. Our guide will be able to explain the fascinating history of Lalibela and its churches, and there will be plenty of time to explore, absorb the haunting atmosphere inside the churches, and take plenty of photographs of the incredible architecture and the religious rituals within.

On the second day, we will have a free day for further exploration or optional activities. We will have opportunity to hike up the nearby mountains to the Asheten Monastery, visit the Yemrehana Kristos cave church outside the town, or freely explore the Lalibela churches again at your own pace.

In Lalibela we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Guided tour of the ancient rock churches and monasteries at Lalibela

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the highlands of Lalibela on foot, possibly walking to the nearby Asheten Monastery
ETB 500
Visit Yemrehana Kristos, the very unique 'church in a cave' near Lalibela
ETB 600
Day 9 - Mekele ( 6th Nov 2018 )

Leaving Lalibela behind us, we have a full days drive through increasingly mountainous scenery to reach the town of Mekele.

We will stay in a decent local hotel in Mekele.

Estimated Drive Times - 9-10 hours

Day 10-11 - Danakil Depression ( 7th Nov 2018 to 8th Nov 2018 )

After breakfast meet your 4 x 4 vehicles and drive to Hamed Ella. On the way you will pass through the beautiful Tigre Villages and the escarpment of the Afar depression, this is commonly known as the cradle of mankind and is part of the Great East African Rift Valley. Along the way you will see camel caravans going to the traditional salt mine or to the North Eastern highlands of the country, loaded with salt bars in the old traditional way. We will also stop at Brehalle where we will get our permits and scouts for the trip into the Danakil Depression. 

Overnight we will climb the famous Erta Ale mountain. Once at the top we will be able to look directly into the volcano's crater and hopefully witness the lava within. We will then sleep under the stars at the top of the mountian before walking down as the sun begins to rise. There is an option to ride a camel up and down instead of walking.

On the second day you we drive to Dallol. Here in Dallol you will visit the beautiful land covered by salt, sulfur and different minerals that gives the area a spectactular colour. We will then continue on to Lake Asale to witness the beautiful salt flats. 

We will wildcamp and stay in a local homestay during this excursion. The final day we will then make our way back to Mekele visiting villages along the way. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Journey out on an incredible 3 day/2 night excursion to the Danakil Depression. 

Included in Kitty
Day 12 - Mekele ( 9th Nov 2018 )

Today we will make our way back to Mekele where we will stay in a basic hotel overnight. 

Day 13-14 - Axum ( 10th Nov 2018 to 11th Nov 2018 )

Today we will visit one of the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray (either the Abraha Atsbeha or Wukro Chirkos church), then continue through the increasingly breathtaking mountain scenery of the Adwa mountains to reach the ancient town of Axum in the far north of Ethiopia.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

The next day we will have an included half-day guided tour of the incredible historical sites of Axum, the capital of the once-mighty Axumite Empire - included in this tour will be seeing the Stelae Field, the Tomb of King Kaleb, and the Palace of the Queen of Sheba. We will have a free afternoon to make optional visits to other places such as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, the supposed resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

In Axum we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Guided tour of palaces and temples in historic Axum

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Church of St Mary of Zion at Axum

ETB 200
Day 15 - Debark ( 12th Nov 2018 )

Leaving Axum behind us, we continue our journey with a full day of driving through the foothills of the Simien Mountains to reach the small village of Debark. The roads here are very tough, but we are rewarded with more truly breathtaking scenery!

Debark is the gateway to the Simien Mountains National Park, and on arrival we will have a briefing from our local mountain guide explaining the various trekking options that we will have during our excursion starting the following day.

Here we will stay in a basic hotel.

Estimated Drive Times 9 - 10 hours.

Day 16-18 - Simien Mountains National Park ( 13th Nov 2018 to 15th Nov 2018 )

Today marks the start of our 3-day excursion into the Simien Mountains National Park. The area is home to some of Africa's most jaw-dropping mountain scenery and is a great opportunity to enjoy some incredibly beautiful treks and breathtaking views!

The area is also home many indigenous animals, and during our time here we hope to spot Lammargeyer vultures, geladas, Walia ibex, and (if we are very lucky) klipspringers and Ethiopian wolves.

We will spend 3 nights in the incredible Simien Mountains National Park. On each day we aim to provide an option for a long trek (of 5-8 hours), a short trek (2-5 hours) or no trekking.

On our first day we aim to wild camp at the area of Sankaber. On our second and third days we aim to wild camp at the area of Chenek (underneath Ras Bwahit, the second-highest mountain in the Simiens, which we hope to get the opportunity to summit).

Please note that we must keep a flexible itinerary in the Simien Mountains, as our options will largely be determined by the weather. 

Please also note that the camping areas in the national park are very basic, and are essentially wild camps with long drop toilets. Please also note that the food and provisions available in Debark and the National Park are very limited, and it is also likely to be very cold at night (often dropping below freezing), so please be prepared! You will need to bring a suitable sleeping bag and mat with you from home to ensure you are ready for this environment.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Guided treks in the Simien Mountains National Park

Included in Kitty
Day 19-20 - Gondar ( 16th Nov 2018 to 17th Nov 2018 )

Today we head back out to the mountains to Debark, and then finally join the tarmac road again to reach the ancient royal city of Gondar! 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the next day, we will have an included half-day guided tour of the historical sites of Gondar, including Gondar Castle, the King Fasilades' Baths and the Debre Birhan Selassie church. 

In Gondar we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Learn all about medieval Ethiopia on a half-day guided tour of the castles, churches and baths of Gondar

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Enjoy a tour of the local Dashen brewery in Gondar
USD 8
Day 21 - Gondar ( 18th Nov 2018 )

Border Information: If you are finishing in Gondar, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Gondar Atse Tewodros Airport (IATA code: GDQ).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Gondar. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

For passengers continuing their journey north on to Khartoum, the trip will continue on to Gedaref in the Sudan today. For passengers continuing south back to Addis Ababa on the Ethiopia Loop, we will leave today to reach Bahir Dar.

DATES & PRICES

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Trip Notes
Departing: 29 Oct 2018
Returning: 18 Nov 2018
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,070 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: Full Payment
closed
FULLY BOOKED
Departing: 10 Dec 2018
Returning: 30 Dec 2018
Duration: 21 days
Route: Gondar - Addis Ababa
$2,070 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
closed
FULLY BOOKED
Departing: 6 Mar 2019
Returning: 26 Mar 2019
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,090 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 6 Apr 2019
Returning: 26 Apr 2019
Duration: 21 days
Route: Gondar - Addis Ababa
$2,090 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 4 Nov 2019
Returning: 24 Nov 2019
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,090 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 13 Dec 2019
Returning: 2 Jan 2020
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,090 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 16 Dec 2019
Returning: 5 Jan 2020
Duration: 21 days
Route: Gondar - Addis Ababa
$2,090 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 13 Jan 2020
Returning: 2 Feb 2020
Duration: 21 days
Route: Gondar - Addis Ababa
$2,105 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 11 Mar 2020
Returning: 31 Mar 2020
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,105 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 18 Apr 2020
Returning: 8 May 2020
Duration: 21 days
Route: Gondar - Addis Ababa
$2,225 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 27 Nov 2020
Returning: 17 Dec 2020
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,245 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 14 Dec 2020
Returning: 3 Jan 2021
Duration: 21 days
Route: Gondar - Addis Ababa
$2,245 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 4 Jan 2021
Returning: 24 Jan 2021
Duration: 21 days
Route: Gondar - Addis Ababa
$2,245 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 26 Feb 2021
Returning: 18 Mar 2021
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,245 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 10 Mar 2021
Returning: 30 Mar 2021
Duration: 21 days
Route: Addis Ababa - Gondar
$2,245 USD + $480 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available

WHAT OUR PASSENGERS SAY

I had the most fantastic time.Really enjoyed Danakil Depression and the time spent in the Simeon Mountains and also the lovely walk to the Blue Nile Falls
Nicola W
Very nice Truck! Very very skilled and helpful crew!!
Melitta K
For this trip in particular you should stress the need for a head torch, essential on the climb to the volcano.
Peter M
I very much enjoy exploring Ethiopia with Dragoman. It was a well paced trip with various activities and opportunities to explore places on your own. Ethiopia is not the easiest place to get things done, and our leader and driver went above and beyond to make sure we got what we paid for and set the expectations. The trip offered various diverse experiences from the Semien mountains to the Dunakhil depression, to exploring the religious sites of Lalibela and history f ancient civilizations of Gondar and Axum. Hard to choose a favorite, but if I must, it would be the Dunakhil Depression. A place unlike I have ever visited before.
Daniela A
I like the feel and group dynamics achieved - in both experiences with Dragoman with different groups and leaders the oveall "spirit" was the same.
Lucinda Maria d
Both of the crew did way more work than you could expect from a tour leader.
Jens j
Our local guides were all very good throughout the trip. They were knowledgeable and able to tell us about the sites and history of the area. Their English was always acceptable.
Robert W
Very helpful, and really skilled drivers.
Jens j
Both Anja and Domingo were very good leaders. The roads in Ethiopia are not the easiest but they were very good drivers. Organization of camps was very good and they both were very helpful with all aspects of the trip.
Danuta O
I really liked this trip - it was my first with Dragoman and I was very happy with everything.
Danuta O
We had local guides at all attractions and they were very good.
Danuta O
Both drivers did an outstanding job - Juergen is a very good driver.
Thomas B
Great for backpackers but a bit of challenge for retirees.
Alastair K
The team did a very good job… thank you!
Marieta M
Tom and Michaela were among the best tour leaders I have ever had. Michaela was patient with some of the more difficult members of the group, and Tom was an excellent and careful driver in some very scary driving conditions. Both took great care to maintain the truck properly. They were enthusiastic and interested in the areas we visited. I would travel with both or either of them again.
Margaret W
The local guides were informative and spoke excellent english.
Margaret W
We had several guides. Simien, Gonder and Axum. I would rate the two guides who took us on historic tours as excellent. One of the guides in the Simien walked at our pace and shared about birds and flowers.
Margaret H
The team did an excellent job.
Jeffrey T
Knowledgeable and helpful guides.
Jeffrey T
The vehicle was regularly inspected and, although there were issues, Domingo dealt with them efficiently.
Lloyd M
Both Mic and Tom were amazing and made the trip extra special/enjoyable.
Kathy S
Neill and Sinead are fantastic ambasssdors for Dragoman. I am so pleased to have met them and shared a wonderful experience with them.
Ruth B
Yves was an excellent leader and managed some challenging situations in a calm and collected manner.
Steven P
Both leader and co-driver were excellent behind the wheel. Some of the roads were extremely difficult to navigate, but never once did I feel unsafe. Both were also really friendly and participated/interacted with the rest of the group.
Katharine S
The truck was perfect for its intended purpose- rugged, not a luxury bus.
Debra R
Local guides in Lalibela, Gondar, Axum, Simiens, (plus Dasta in Addis) were professional and qualified - lots of info.
Debra R
This was my first experience with overlanding. Overall, it was very positive.
Katharine S
Tents were in very good condition and very easy to put up.
Danuta O
I really liked this trip - it was my first with Dragoman and I was very happy with everything.
Danuta O
Could not be faulted in any way. Domingo is a great people person and added to the trip in friendliness and good spirits.
Alfred C
We loved Anja and Domingo! They were just great!
Francesca G
Truck never felt as if it was going to get stuck or not go where it was asked to - could be the excellent drivers! Always felt secure and comprehensively kitted.
Alfred C
Tour leader Anja and driver Domingo did a great job!
Lasse Enig R
Both Neil and Sinead were first class, it felt really good to have these 2 running the show.
Benjamin S
We had local guides at all attractions and they were very good.
Danuta O
Both Anja and Domingo were very good leaders. The roads in Ethiopia are not the easiest but they were very good drivers. Organization of camps was very good and they both were very helpful with all aspects of the trip.
Danuta O
Neill was one of the best group leaders we have ever had, and we have been on over 15 small group trips. He was always organized and kept us well informed and had good advice on what we were going to be doing.
Robert W