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Ethiopian Highlands Northbound

Ethiopia

Ethiopian Highlands Northbound

Hiking
·
Start: Addis Ababa
·
End: Gonder

Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gondar

Activity
Hiking
LocationEthiopia
Duration21 days
Start / EndAddis Ababa / Gonder
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Ethiopia

Ethiopian Highlands Northbound

Hiking·
21 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Addis Ababa
·
End: Gonder

Description

Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gondar. Discover fascinating places and beautiful scenery on this journey across the heart of Ethiopia's countryside. Experience a land like no other, from the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the untouched wilderness of the Simien Mountains, to the sophistication of Gondar and the history of ruin-peppered Aksum. Traversing thro...

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Itinerary

Day 1Addis Ababa
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. On the next day, we will have a free day to explore Addis Ababa and visit the city's many museums and sights. If you are travelling to the Sudan and have arranged to pick the visa up in Addis Ababa, this day will be spend arranging this 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 pretour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Addis Ababa. In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Hotel for the night: Sarem International Hotel Sarem International Hotel Belay Zeleke Street (around Semien Mazegaja) Addis Ababa Ethiopia Tel - +251 11 126 2088
Day 2Debre Markos
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!). Activity Approximate Cost Overland journey north of Addis Ababa, passing through the immense Blue Nile Gorge Included in Kitty
Day 3Bahir Dar
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. Activity Approximate Cost 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 6Lalibela
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. Activity Approximate Cost Explore the highlands of Lalibela on foot, possibly walking to the nearby Asheten Monastery ETB 500 Guided tour of the ancient rock churches and monasteries at Lalibela Included in Kitty Visit Yemrehana Kristos, the very unique church in a cave' near Lalibela ETB 600
Day 9Mekele
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 About Mekele: Mekele is the cultural, economic and political hub of the northern region of Tigray. Historians date the town of Mekele back to the 13th Century CE, and it is famous for its rock-hewn churches in the surrounding desert landscapes - these churches are stunning and remote, some of them dating all the way back to the 4th and 5th Centuries. We will aim to visit at least one of these atmospheric old Coptic churches on our journey through the province of Tigray.
Day 10Danakil Depression
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 is part of the Great East African Rift Valley. Along the way you will see camel caravans going to the traditional salt minin 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. On the second day 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 watch the Afar and Tigre men cut the salt into bars and load up their camels before they head to the highlands of Ethiopia. We will wildcamp at Hammed Ella both nights for this excursion. The final day we will then make our way back to Mekele visiting villages along the way.
Day 12Mekele
Today we will make our way back to Mekele where we will stay in a basic hotel overnight.
Day 13Axum
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. Activity Approximate Cost Guided tour of palaces and temples in historic Axum Included in Kitty Visit the Church of St Mary of Zion at Axum ETB 200
Day 15Debark
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 16Simien Mountains National Park
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! Activity Approximate Cost Guided treks in the Simien Mountains National Park Included in Kitty
Day 19Gondar
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. Activity Approximate Cost Learn all about medieval Ethiopia on a halfday guided tour of the castles, churches and baths of Gondar Included in Kitty Enjoy a tour of the local Dashen brewery in Gondar USD 8
Day 21Gondar
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.

More info

Last modified (date)

27 Nov 2018

Trip title

Ethiopian Highlands Northbound

Trip code

YDOE

Validity

Validity: 01 Oct 2018 to 30 Sep 2019

Introduction

Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gondar. Discover fascinating places and beautiful scenery on this journey across the heart of Ethiopia's countryside. Experience a land like no other, from the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the untouched wilderness of the Simien Mountains, to the sophistication of Gondar and the history of ruin-peppered Aksum. Traversing through... Read more

Style

Basix

Themes

Overland,Wildlife

Transport

Overland vehicle

Physical Rating

4

Joining point

Sarem International Hotel

Finish point

Lammergeyer Hotel

Finish point instructions

A taxi from the hotel to the airport should cost approximately 100 Birr (US$5).

Group leader

OUR DRAGOMAN CREW & GUIDES Our crew are passionate about travel and are always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all the overland companies, spending 8 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to 6 months on the road as a trainee. Our crew are trained to manage and operate the trip... Read more

Safety

SAFETY & SECURITY At Dragoman your safety is of paramount importance and we will do our best to ensure that your travel with us is safe and trouble-free, but we do ask that you take that little bit of extra care whilst you are away and to understand about the nature of this style of travel. Of course we want you to have an enjoyable time, but you must also remember that part of the enjoyment of tr... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Camp under a blanket of stars in the Ethiopian countryside

Is this trip right for you

Travel from each destination to the next on one of Dragoman's purpose-built trucks, this is an overland adventure! There are some long travel days, venturing away from cities and into remote areas, but the rewards are immeasurable. Dragoman overland journeys are designed to offer freedom, and many of our routes have a degree of flexibility depending on the destination. Dragoman uses a broad rang... Read more

Health

You need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in our trips. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assessed your ability to cope with our style of travel. To help you assess if this trip is suitable, please refer to the physical rating. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

MEALS & GROUP PARTICIPATION On an overland journey you are more than just an individual passenger - you're part of the team. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. While camping on overland journe... Read more

Money matters

In addition to the trip price on our overlanding trips, you will also be required to pay a kitty specified for your trip (please note that there is no kitty on our Family Trips). The kitty is payable in installments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central ... Read more

What to take

LUGGAGE & KIT LIST Although you will not have to carry your main bag for long distances, you will need to help load and unload them onto the truck. For this reason we recommend that you use a backpack or soft bag rather than a heavy suitcase. During your trip your main luggage will be kept in the truck's back locker which will be inaccessible during a drive day, so you will also need a small daypa... Read more

A couple of rules

A FEW RULES Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs is not only against the law, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Dragoman groups. It is one of our core values to treat all people we encounter with respect which of course includes all the loca... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

OUT OF OFFICE HOURS CONTACT We have an out of office hours number you can call which should only be used once you have left your home country to start the trip and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours. If you can not get through please l... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsible... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

ACCOMMODATION ON TOUR Dragoman's overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels or hostels, and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Whilst our crew will do their best to accommodate couples travelling together in twin rooms, all our travellers should expect to stay in multi-share accommodation when staying in hostels, gers or yurts. The type, ... Read more

Transport notes

On this trip, our partner Dragoman uses a specially designed soft sided safari overland truck. This is far more sociable than the traditional “bus” type Dragoman overland vehicle and is ideal for families. Both the working directors have taken their families and friends on these vehicles and know from experience that they add another dimension to the trip. The vehicles have security cages for your... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

Your group will be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers from our partner company Dragoman. WHO TRAVELS WITH DRAGOMAN? Our groups are made up of people from around the world, and are always an interesting mix of nationalities and ages. On average there is a pretty even split between males to females, and between solo travellers, couples and small g... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

Our itineraries are developed and published with the best of intentions, however travel in more remote areas of the world is unpredictable – borders can close, there can be extreme adverse weather, strikes or maybe mechanical issues that affect the running of your trip, but equally due to the nature of our trips we can often spontaneously include a local festival or event into the itinerary. This ... Read more

Accommodation

Bush camp (no facilities) (4 nts),Hotel (12 nts)
21days
€2,217per person
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Mar 6
Addis Ababa
Mar 26
Gonder
€2,217
Seats left: 13
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Nov 4
Addis Ababa
Nov 24
Gonder
€2,217
Seats left: 15
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Dec 13
Addis Ababa
Jan 2
Gonder
€2,217
Seats left: 18
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