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Addis Ababa and Surrounding

Bahir Dir

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Addis Ababa city tour /Full day/

We start at 8:00AM with a pick up from your hotel and drive north up to Mount Entoto 1881 Emperor Menelik II made his permanent camp there, after remains of an old town (believed to have been the capital of 16th century monarch Lebna Dengel) were discovered, which Menelik thought was a divine and auspicious sign.

Addis Ababa at between 2300 – 2500 (meters above sea level) is the third highest capital in the world and Entoto is a few hundred meters higher – as we drive up the hill there is an appreciable drop in altitude and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees which line the road. From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside. Entoto is an important watershed, to the north water flows to the Blue Nile, to the south to the Awash River. Your guide will point out the important landmarks of the city. Entoto was soon abandoned as a site for the capital – it was cold, difficult to provision and there was a shortage of wood. Empress Taytu was said to have led the move down to the plain of Finfine, and to have named the new capital Addis Ababa, or New Flower. However, two important structures remain within the old imperial compound, the churches of Mariam and the Archangel Raguel. It was in the church of Mariam that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889, and in the small museum in the compound there are various clothes, court and household implements and weapons dating from the period. The church of Raguel is unusual in that it is octagonal, rather than round. There is a first story balustrade around which Menelik liked to stroll.

Leaving the churches we descend to Addis Ababa, stopping off at the National Archaeological Museum. Here visitors can see exhibits ranging from the 3.5 million year old bones of Lucy, through the Axumite and Gondarene periods to the monarchs Tewodros and Menelik.

We will take a break here for lunch – there are a number of possibilities, we could take lunch in the Lucy Restaurant, in the grounds of the National Museum, at Lucy Gazebo next to the National Museum, or visitors may prefer to sample Ethiopian food at the atmospheric Addis Ababa restaurant, once the home of Empress Zauditu.

After lunch we resume our tour with a visit to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, where we can see clothing from different regions, along with artifacts, household utensils and in a separate section, paintings reflecting the history and culture of the country. This building was once the Genete Palace of Emperor Haile Selassie, and visitors can see his bedroom and bathroom. There is an interesting display in St. Giorgis Church, we then move to the Mercato, the largest market area in Africa, where virtually every possible commodity is on sale, from livestock to computers. For the visitor good at bargaining, there is a huge selection of Ethiopian arts and crafts. After Merkato we will visit Menelik’s mausoleum, where Etege Taitu and Queen Zauditu are also buried. We now return to our hotel. Tonight we will take our dinner in a national food restaurant, and see dancing from Ethiopia’s different regions.

MelkaKunture Adadi Mariam /Fullday/

Melka Kuture is located 50 km southwest of Addis Ababa, on the left side of the Alemgena-Butajira road. This archeological site (dating back to over 1.5 million years old) is believed to be the home of Neolithic man. About 90 km south of Addis Ababa is the Adadi Mariam rock hewn Cave Church dating back to the Lalibela era. It is one of the holiest places in the region. The area is surrounded by beautiful hills.

Menagesha Suba Forest and Addis Alem /Full day/

The Menagesh Suba Forest, some 35 km west of Addis Ababa, is densely wooded with some 400 years old trees. It is sanctuary for several endemic birds and animals such as the Abyssinan Cat bird and Menelik Bush Buck. Addis Alem, founded by Menelik II as its capital before he moved back to Addis Ababa, is famous town for the church of Debre Zion on the top of a small hill.

Ambo and Wonchi /Full day/

Ambo is situated 126 km west of Addis Ababa, and it is the home of the very popular bottled Ambo Mineral water. From here, you first proceed either to the beautiful volcanic Crater Lake of Wonchi or to the Spectacular Gudar falls and its vineyards.

The Blue Nile Gorge and Debre Libanos /Full day/

The Blue Nile Gorge is situated 225 km North West of Addis Abeba, This majestic & enormous gorge is the most captivating gorge in Africa. It has a magnificent captivating physical feature & natural beauty. Debre Libanos105 km north of Addis Ababa is the 13th Century monastery of Debre Libanos. Nearby, the picturesque Jema gorge is famed for its 16th Century bridge known as the “Portuguese Bridge”

Debre Birhan and Ankober /Full day/

Debre Birhan is 130 km north east of Addis Ababa, and one of the oldest towns in the country. It is renowned for its wool production and weavers. Close by is Ankober, with the ruins of one of Menelik’s palaces, and great view across the escarpment. .

Rift Valley Lakes /Full Day/

Rift Valley Lakes (Zeway, Langano, Abyata and Shala) are Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, which known to the world as an ornithologists paradise, is part of the Great Rift Valley of East Africa. It offers spectacular chain of lakes, and hot springs nestling in the depth of the valley. Each of the seven Rift Valley Lakes has its own characteristics, inhabits a great number of wild animals and bird species, and provides ideal habitats for the exuberant variety of flora & fauna that makes the region a wonderland for naturalists and tourists.

Debrezeit/ Bishoftu /Half day/

The small resort town of Debrezeit (Bishoftu) is only one-hour’s drive southeast of Addis Ababa, at an altitude of 1900 meters. It enjoys a warm climate and surrounded by a series of lovely Crater Lakes, full of bird life, and excellent for walking.

Sodere /Full day/

Sodere is located 126 km southeast of Addis Ababa. It is a very popular resort area with a hotel complex, Olympic site swimming pools, spas and enlivening climate. Sodere takes advantage of the volcanic mineral springs, which bubble in several spots the nearby Awash River, lends its riverine forest in the form of giant shade trees.


Day 01

Depart south from Addis Ababa via Butajira. On the way you will visit the archeological sites of Tiya (ancient stelae field and UNESCO World Heritage Site), Adadi Maryam (a rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela) and Melka Kunture (pre-historic tool-making site). Final destination for the day is Awassa. Overnight in Hawassa (hotel).


Day 02

After breakfast, visit the local fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa. Afterwards, take a boat trip on the lake to visit the hippos. Finally, return north to Addis Ababa. Time permitting; you may visit the Abiatta-Shala National Park. Lake Shala, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m. Lake Abiatta is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.

Archeological Sites, Lake Langano and Lake Ziway

Day 01:

Depart south from Addis Ababa via Butajira. On the way you will visit the archeological sites of Tiya (ancient stelae field and UNESCO World Heritage Site), Adadi Maryam (a rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela) and Melk Kunture (pre-historic tool-making site). Final destination for the day is Lake Langano. Overnight in Lake Langano (camping or lodge).

 Day 02:

Early morning, depart from Lake Langano for a short trip north to Lake Ziway. After a brief morning hike, depart north to Lake Ziway. . Here you will take a boat trip on Lake Ziway to the island of Tullo Gudo. The island hosts the church of Maryam Tsion which, according to tradition, once housed the Ark of the Covenant to hide it from invaders. After the visit, you return to shore, enjoying the bountiful birdlife on this lake and possibly some hippos. Return to Addis Ababa late afternoon.

Debre Zeit and Mt. Zuquala

Day 01:

Depart from Addis for a short drive to Debre Zeit, home to several crater lakes and a popular weekend getaway spot for Addis Ababa residents. You can spend the day visiting the lakes or doing some light hiking (circling Lake Hora takes 1 ½ hours). The area is very popular for birdwatching. There are several lake-side establishments for lunch and even a spa. Overnight in Debre Zeit (hotel or lodge).

 Day 02:

After breakfast, depart for a visit to Mt. Zuqualla, an extinct volcano that offers beautiful views of the surrounding areas. Here you can visit the monastery of Mt. Zuqualla Maryam, which may date back as far as the 4th century. The nearby crater-lake is considered holy by the monks of the monastery. Return to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

Lake Wenchi and Menagesha Forest

Day 01:

Early morning departure to Lake Wenchi. Here you can do some horseback riding or hiking around this stunning crater lake and/or a boat trip on the lake to visit the island monastery of Cherkos and the hot springs. Overnight in Woliso (lodge).

Day 02:

After breakfast, drive to the Menagesha National Forest for some hiking. Here you will enjoy the wildlife, such as the colobus monkeys and endemic Menelik’s bushbuck, as well as birds, including the endemic Ethiopian oriole and Abyssinian woodpecker. After the visit, return to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

Awash National Park

Day 01:

Depart east from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park. In the evening you will have a chance to do a short game drive to see the local wildlife, such as oryx, baboons, greater and lesser kudu, warthogs, gazelles, colubus monkeys. Additionally, you’d be very lucky to see leopards, lions, and other cats. The landscapes in the park are beautiful, looking over the Awash Gorge. Overnight in Awash National Park (lodge or camping).

Day 02:

Early morning, take a drive in the park to witness the park as it wakes up. Afterwards, depart from Awash, returning to Addis Ababa. On the way you can stop in Sodere to take a shower in the therapeutic hot springs waters.

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  • Package Duration: Full and Half Day

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


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