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Country info
Square area:
1.104.300 km²
106 million
Addis Ababa
Birr (ETB)
Christianity, approx. 1/3 Islam
Federal republic
Widely spoken
Safety level
Ethiopia is remarkably safe – most of the time. Serious or violent crime against travelers is extremely rare. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and scams are very rare outside the capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is one of a kind. The birthplace of humanity, the cradle of civilization, the oldest country in the world. The place which over 80 ethnic groups and tribes call home, living in their own time: Ethiopia has its own calendar, as it does its own alphabet. 

Rather than one distinct culture, in Ethiopia, you will find a beautiful patchwork of many intriguing lifestyles, landscapes, and eras. With more UNESCO sites than any African country, vibrant tribal life and nature which leaves nothing to be desired, Ethiopia is a lesson on the beauty of our world. 

  • Explore the bountiful sacred sites, from the rock-hewn Lalibela churches, the mosques of Harar, to the Wolleka Falasha Jewish village.
  • Savor unique landscapes, like the boiling salt ponds of the Danakil Depression and the lava lakes of the Erta Ale volcano.
  • Enjoy wildlife: spot endemic gelada baboons in the Simian Mountains or feed hyenas in Harar.
  • Explore the fascinating tribal culture in the UNESCO-listed River Omo valley.
  • Find the source of Blue Nile and the powerful Blue Nile Falls on Ethiopia’s largest lake, Tana. 




Perfect For

Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that was never fully colonized, resulting in a unique culture minimally influenced by the West.


From monolithic churches, ancient monasteries to mystical obelisks, wondrous heritage awaits across Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum and Lalibela.


Between the heights of Bale Mountains and the lows of the Danakil depression, find epic landscapes of savannas, deserts, valleys, canyons and lakes.


Coupling historic sights with shores of Lake Tana and the Simean mountains, the Northern Circuit is a photographer's dream tour.


Itinerary ideas

Having arrived to the airport in Addis Ababa, catch a flight to Mek'ele where you will be welcomed by your private chauffeur for a transfer to your hotel. Settle in after a long flight.
Prepare yourself for a challenging but fulfilling day. The rough and long road to Dodom will be a journey in itself. Once in Dodom, rest up over dinner, and then head on a trek toward Erta Ale to see the volcanic mountain at its dramatic best.
Head back to Dodom camping site and spend some time relaxing. Afterwards, it is time to visit the mythical Lake Giulietti, situated in one of the deepest depressions on the planet. Take in the captivating landscape, before heading on to Hamed Ela.
Drive to Ragad in the morning hours for a tour and to watch the activity of salt-breaking and to qet acquainted with the local way of life. Continue to Dallol and visit the Lake Assal. The overnight will be in Gheralta.
In the morning hours, head on a walk toward Abuna Yemata Guh, a church originating in Monolithic era. What will at first be a steep ascent will become an intense climb, making you work hard to get there, but it will sure be worth it.
Continue to the city of Axum. On your way, you will visit Yeha, a temple that is believed to be the oldest one in the country, dedicated to saint Abba Aftse. Continue your transfer to the hotel in Axum afterwards.
Once a kingdom, Axum is a city known for its impressive carved obelisks. The relics of the kingdom era are well worth seeing and can be found in the Stelae Park, some of them even of biblical importance.
Catch a flight to Lalibela in Amhara region, know for its numerous churches. After lunch, you will head out to explore the first group of churches, carved in the 12th century and a part of UNESCO's World Heritage.
Explore Lalibela more thoroughly by visiting the Na’akueto La’ab church from the 13th century. If it happens to be a Saturday, make sure to visit the weekly market. Afterwards, visit the second and third group of churches.
DAY 10
Fly back to Addis Ababa and enjoy a private tour of the city. After the tour, there will be a farewell dinner organized before your departure.
Ethiopia is impossible to see in one visit but this program features the major highlights of this magnificent country; from the Erta Ale mountain trek to the church Abuna Yemata Guh climb, and more!
Upon arrival to Addis Ababa, you will be welcomed by your private chauffeur for a transfer to your hotel. The capital city of Ethiopia, laid out on the Entoto Hills, is illustrated with impressive architecture and streets bursting with life.
Head out to explore Addis Ababa. Paying a visit to the National Museum of Ethiopia and the Ethnographic Museum will be a perfect way to get to know more about the culture and the people. Relax over lunch after the tour.
Fly out to Lalibela, a city acknowledged as one of the Wonders of the World! After check-in, enjoy lunch at Ben Abeba restaurant, and then head on to discover the famous churches of Lalibela.
It is time to explore the second group of churches. Afterwards, a shorter drive will follow to visit the Na'akueto La'ab monastery. Head back to Lalibela to experience an authentic traditional coffee ceremony at the open market.
Fly back to Addis Ababa after breakfast. Enjoy this day at leisure, relaxing and exploring the capital on your own. Make sure to visit the most famous open-air market in Africa - mercato!
Depart on a scenic drive to the Langano Lake. Stop by the Ziway Lake to enjoy the surrounding views of spectacular volcanic hills. After settling in, head to Abijatta-Shalla National Park for some really unique experiences including adrenaline drive, wilderness, and countless flocks of flamingos!
Off to Arba Minch, and visit the Dorze people in Chencha, famous for their huge beehive hats. After settling in, enjoy a boat trip over Lake Chamo and see hippos and crocodiles up close. Well, not too close, of course.
Set off for Jinka! Along the way, you will stop to visit various villages and have lunch. After settling in, head to Jinka's South Omo Research Center and Museum to learn more about the culture. And, if it happens to be a Thursday, visit to the Key Afer market is a must!
Head on to visit the Mursi villages in Mago National Park. The Mursi are considered to be a cultural symbol of the country. Later on in Turmi, meet another tribe, Hamer, known for their peculiar body decoration and bull-jumping ceremony.
DAY 10
After breakfast, head on to Kolcho and visit the Karo tribes. They are thought to be the masters of body painting, relishing this activity in time of feasts and celebrations. Afterwards, go back to Turmi for lunch and to explore the area outside the Hamer towns.
DAY 11
Drive to Konso is on schedule this morning. The Konso Cultural Landscape is a cultural site recognized by UNESCO, featuring a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition going back 21 generations. Among other, visit the home of Konso tribes' kings!
DAY 12
Head to Arba Minch and catch a flight to Addis Ababa. After some time at leisure, or after visiting mercato, gather around over a special farewell dinner at your hotel.
DAY 13
Check out and meet you private chauffeur for a transfer to the airport to catch your outbound flight.
Travel through Ethiopia in style and luxury! The finest of Ethiopia is included in this program: from natural wonders to historical treasures!
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What to Expect

Ethiopia offers a variety of hotels and lodges all over the country. For international standards, chain hotels are located in Addis Ababa but outside the capital, small hotels and lodges are the way to go. Not everything is of international standards but there are some lovely properties that make up for the lack of great service with a very authentic charm.
Korkor lodge in Gheralta
• There is a wide selection of hotels all over the country
• Service is not always of Western standards
• Chain hotels are found only in Addis Ababa
• Upscale lodges are the best way to go in most of the country
• Good quality local cuisine at lodges and hotels
The climate of Ethiopia varies greatly throughout the country and, in many places, depends on the elevation. Highlands are much cooler than the lowlands which can be extremely hot. The best time to visit Ethiopia is September to April, but particularly at either end of the rains – in April, when the land is dry and barren, or as it flourishes again in September through October.
Addis Ababa year-round temperatures
• Best time to visit is from September to April
• April and September are perfect for highland wildlife
• November to March, or June to September are perfect for traveling to Omo Valley
• Winter months for the lowlands and Danakil depression
• Ethiopia is known for spectacular religious festivals
Solid WiFi is found in nearly all hotels in major centers. For internet while exploring the country, SIM cards are available and fairly inexpensive. This is the best way to stay connected while on the go. Good quality coverage is available in most areas but don't expect to send a selfie from some of the world's most remote places like Danakil depression.
Ethiopia SIM card
• Country code: +251
• WiFi is available in all hotels and it is better in major centers
• Local SIM card is the best way to have internet while traveling
• Plug types are C and F (European); standard voltage is 230 V and it operates at 50 Hz
Ethiopian food is both unique and delicious and stands out from the rest of Africa. The foundation of the vast majority of Ethiopian meals is injera, a large grey spongy pancake. On top of injera, a vast array of toppings is served. Injera is usually shared among the friends or family with everyone taking a strip of it and scooping any of the toppings they like.
Injera is a must! Many Ethiopians eat it daily
• Variety of local cuisine is available all over the country at local restaurants and hotels
• Coffee originates from Ethiopia and it is a national drink
• Ethiopian wine making tradition is millennia old and also has some world-class beer
• Tipping: It is common to round up the bill, up to 10%
Addis Ababa, Lalibela, Bahir Dar and other more touristy cities have wide souvenir offer on their markets. From traditional clothing, drums, leather items to crosses made from wood, silver or other metals. Semi-precious jewelry can be bought at local street markets and among souvenirs.
Religious souvenirs in Axum
Shamma unisex long cotton robe
Agelgil leather 'picnic basket' specific for Bahir Dar
• Addis Ababa's market merkado is one of the biggest in Africa
• High quality coffee beans can be found in Harar
• Bargaining is common at markets only
Religion has a huge influence over daily life in Ethiopia. Visitors will hear the calls to prayer, see the churches, chapels and mosques which are focal points in every town. Most of Ethiopians are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church with about a third of the population being Muslims.
Traditional clothing in North Ethiopia
• Traditional Christian and Muslim communities with complex sets of etiquette
• There are a lot of people asking for money no matter if begging or asking for money as a compensation for photo
• Instead of sweets, bring colored pencils, pens or anything usable for children
Ethiopia is very safe country with friendly locals. Tourism brought some bad things like many people will ask you for money for their photo taken or simply begging. Medical care is not at the highest level in all of destinations across the country and bug repellent is highly recommended in the south of the country.
Ethiopian police officer
• Ethiopia is very safe with petty crime occurring only in capital city
• Dress modestly and conservatively
• Medical care is not available at an adequate level in all parts of the country
• Tap water is not safe to drink
Ethiopia has it all when it comes to getting around: from quality, chauffeured vehicles to helicopters for exploring the stunning landscapes of Danakil depression. Ethiopian Airlines is also the best airline in Africa and one of the best ways to move between the destinations when the distances are great.
SUVs are the only way to go for many places
• Driving side: right
• The main national airport is Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD)
• Self-driving is not recommended due to unsafe traffic
• Numerous smaller airports for easy local and private flights
• Private driver and guide are the best option for most areas

What to pack

Ethiopia varies greatly in landscapes and temperatures so it is wisely, depending on the trip, to pack taking into consideration all visiting regions. Rest of the gear depends on nature of the trip and your personal interests but good walking shoes are a must.

In The Media

To Fall in Love With Ethiopia
Travel Tips for Ethiopia
Travel Tips of Ethiopian Food and Culture
This Is Why You Should Travel to Ethiopia
Soulful People and Landscapes of Ethiopia
Travel Tips to Know Before you Visit Ethiopia
Traveling from Gondar to Lalibela
Visiting Gondar: Ethiopia Travel Guide
Fasilides, Simien and Other Natural Jewels
10 Most Wonderful Places to Visit in Ethiopia
Ethiopia's Highlights
How to Travel Throughout Ethiopia
Tips on Prices and Safety
Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
How to Drink Traditional Coffee

Best to combine with

This part of the world is full of wonderful, undiscovered riches so any of the countries surrounding beautiful Ethiopia is a treasure trove of experiences on its own.

One of Africa's safest but least visited countries, Sudan is a short flight away from Addis Ababa.

A blend of unique architecture, stunning coral reefs, and friendly locals, makes Eritrea one of the most exciting hidden destinations on the planet!

Epitomizing Africa with amazing wildlife and stunning savannah landscapes.

Quirks for the Curious

Ark of the Covenant
By many accounts, the ark is kept in Axum, Ethiopia. While there, you will be able to see the chapel where it is kept but it is heavily guarded and only one person has access. The closest you can get to it is the nearby Old Church of St Mary of Zion where one can see stunning frescoes and chat with the priest. Axum itself is a VERY religious but also very historic place with many lesser known spots to discover.
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Abuna Yemata Guh Church
If you are not afraid of heights, Abuna Yemata Guh is a marvel to visit! Climbing to this church is a proper adventure as it is demanding for many as one has to use hands and carefully use the footholds for safe ascend. Before crossing the narrow natural bridge and narrow passage to the very church 250 meters above the ground. But, once at the church, one is rewarded by an exceptional sight and stunning views!
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Ethiopia is home of coffee. It was first grown and enjoyed here, in the highlands. The coffee plant, Coffea arabica, originates in Ethiopia. According to legend, the 9th-century goat herder named Kaldi discovered the coffee plant after noticing the energizing effect the plant had on his goats. Ethiopians are very proud of their coffee and they drink it at all times and everywhere. It is a bit sweeter than people in the West are used to
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