(Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela, Axum, Lake Langano, Arba Minch, Jinka, Turmi, Yabelo, Awassa)
Ethiopia is just about the only country in Africa never to have been colonised, and its people claim the longest continuous monarchy in history, 3000 years of kings. The country is also unusual for its rich Orthodox Christian heritage, which the Ethiopians maintained even when all its neighbours embraced Islam in the 7th century. The Ethiopia Adventure tour is an in-depth exploration of the unique archaeological treasures of the country. Start in Addis Ababa the capital city, known for the bustling Mercado marketplace where thousands of stalls sell a profusion of goods from the entire country. Fly to Bahir Dar where you tour the island monasteries of Lake Tana, and drive to Gondor to see the royal castles of ancient dynasties. Then fly to Lalibela, a UNESCO world heritage site, to see the famous underground carved churches. These amazing cathedrals were carved from soft lava rock, resulting in a complete building composed of a single contiguous rock. Fly to Axum with its gigantic carved stellar and the holy church that legend claims holds the Ark of the Covenant. You then continue your adventure and visit the people of the South Omo Valley. Over twenty tribes inhabit the area and we visit villages and local markets in the hope of fostering numerous authentic cultural experiences. The most famous of the tribs are the Mursi, renowned for their clay lip plates, but there are many other vivid encounters with some fascinating tribes. Whilst the emphasis of this part of the trip is on the people, we also visit the Rift Valley lakes with their beautiful scenery and fertile surroundings, and we are likely to see a wide range of animals in Awassa and Mago Parks.
A private vehicle with an English speaking driver will provide a transfer to the airport.
This full day city tour explores the many highlights and monuments of this special Ethiopian city. Begin with a tour of the Ethnological Museum, boasting many archaeological and historical findings including the famous complete hominid fossil remain of 'Lucy', locally known as 'Dinknesh', which translates to wonderful. Visit the Trinity Cathedral, a beautiful church built in the baroque style, similar to much of the European inspired architecture unique to Ethiopia. Next proceed to Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa, a fascinating glimpse of the vast range of goods and artifacts available from all parts of the country. Travel to Mount Entoto to admire the stupendous views of the city and its surrounding plains.
This flight travels from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour.
Depart the hotel this morning to enjoy a boat trip on Lake Tana. This boat ride visits the 14th century Monastery of Ura Kidane Mehret, one of the most famous monasteries of the area, boasting some very beautiful painted maqdas and a priceless collection of crosses and crowns. After the boat ride, drive to the village of Isat to view the nearby Blue Nile Falls.
The distance from Bahir Dar to Gondar is 170 kilometers and it is a flat road. Instead of waiting for 2 hours for check-in and 25 minutes for the flight, it is recommendable to drive. Experience the Ethiopian countryside and see the country by private car.
This tour explores the many historical sites and monuments of the Ethiopian city of Gondar. Founded by Emperor Fasilidas around 1635, this city has gained fame due to its many medieval castles and elegantly designed and decorated churches. In particular, Debra Berhan Selassie, a representative masterpiece of the Gondarene school of art. Upon completion of the tour a return transfer is provided.
This short flight travels between Gondar and Lalibela, Ethiopia. The flight time is approximately 30 minutes.
A private vehicle with an English speaking driver will provide a transfer to the airport.
Lalibela is the jewel in the crown of Ethiopia, the most famous churches and the scene of so many major religious ceremonies. Also known as ‘Africa Petra’, Lalibela and its rock hewn churches are arguably Ethiopian’s most famous and remarkable attraction. These churches include Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskal, Bete Denaghel, Bete Golgotha, Bete Mikael, and Bete Giorgis. You will start your tour this morning and continue in the afternoon.
This tour begins with a drive to the Nakuto Le’abe Monastery. Nakuto Le’abe was the son of King Gebre Meskel, who abdicated his throne in 1270 AD, and then began a hermit’s life in a nearby cave. This dramatic cave has ever since became a monastery, housing one of the most interesting collections of ancient crosses, illustrated manuscripts, garments, and other icons, some of which are attributed to its founder Nakuto Le’abe.
Airport transfer with private vehicle and guide.
Relax during this short flight travelling from Lalibela and arriving in Axum, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 30 minutes.
This tour explore the once centre of a great empire, and the highest seat of learning for the ancient Ge’ez language and literature, Axum, a prime historical site located in the north of Ethiopia. Enjoy a city tour that include a visit to the Stelae park, St. Mary’s Church, the sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the ‘Ark of the covenant’, the coronation yard, the Tomb of Kaleb and his son Gebre Meskel, Ezana’s inscriptions, the Queen of Sheba’s bath, Queen of Sheba’s palace ruins and the Axum Museum.
This flight departs from Axum and arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour.
Meet your private driver in Addis and drive southwards to Lake Langano, the lake is a place to enjoy water activities. Though its mineral content gives it a brown color, the water is actually clean and pleasant for swimming.
In the morning hours, drive to the town of Arba Minch, visiting along the way the very scenic the mountain village of Chencha, home of the Dorze people. The Dorze are renowned throughout Ethiopia for their cotton weaving, which is called Shammas. The local people of this area in Ethiopia live in very distinctive houses, which appear as towering beehive shaped structures made from woven thatched trees. Spend some time admiring the local traditions and cultures before continuing on to Arba Minch.
Leaving Arba Minch, drive southwards to Jinka. En route visit one of the Konso villages. The Konso people live in a land of low terraced hills. They are reputed to be one of hard working groups in the country. Their elaborately terraced hillside grows some of the county’s best coffee. They have an articulate tradition and erect peculiar totems on the grave of their deceased. You will experience interesting cultural encounters meeting with different tribes along the way. These tribes include the Ari, Benna and Tsemay.
Today you will experience the most famous and extraordinary people of Mursi. The Mursi people are typically known for the clay lip plates the women insert in their lower lips. This practice is regarded as a sign of beauty among the Mursi – the bigger the plate, the more beautiful the wearer. It is often claimed that the size of the lip plate is correlated with the size of a woman’s bridewealth as well. Your guide will help create an authentic interaction with the people via the local market or local ceremonies depending on the activities operating in the village that day. You will head to Jinka for Lunch and drive to Turmi, the settlement of the Hamer people, via Key Afer.
Head out on an excursion to Murulle to visit the Karo people whom are the smallest ethnic groups in the Omo Valley, consisting of only about 1,500 individuals. The Karo's are well known for their intricate tattooing, scaring and body painting. They reside by the side of the Omo River and live their daily lives in conjunction with it. In the afternoon travel to Turmi, for a visit with the Hamer people, known as one of the beautiful and dignified people in the Omo basin. The Hamer people are fine potters; additionally they take part in body decoration ceremonies wherein they adorn themselves with many beads. Hamer girls are known for their extravagant hairstyles, often adorning their hair with bright copper colored powders, and for the decorated goatskins that they wear, and the women too adorning their necks with heavy polished iron jewelry. Hamer society consists of a complex system of age groups. Moving from one age group to another involves complex rituals. The most significant ceremony for young men is the “jumping of the bull” – the final test before passing in to adulthood. Your guide will help create an authentic interaction with the people via the local market or local ceremonies depending on the activities operating in the village that day.
Depart Turmi and proceed to Yabello visiting en route the Arobre tribes and Borena pastoralists, who own innumerable cattle. Arbore traditionally played an important role as middlemen in trade between the Omo River and the Konso Highlands. The town of Arbore lies in an area where several tribal boundaries coverage. The Arbore people routinely intermarry with other ethnic groups. It is also inhabited by a substantial number of Hamer and even Borena women, which adds a cosmopolitan feel to the worthwhile Saturday market.
Leaving Yabello, drive to Awassa passing through a number of coffee and various fruit cultivating towns with splendid greenery everywhere. Proceed towards the lovely Lake Awasa. you will have a chance to enjoy the fauna in a tranquil setting.
After breakfast, enjoy the town of Awassa. At the lake you could encounter birds like: hamerkop, marabou stork, sacred ibis, yellow billed stork and Egyptian geese. The fauna of Awassa makes the town a small nature sactuary in the south. En route visit the towns fish market and drive back to Addis.
Begin the days city tour of Addis Ababa with a drive up to mount Entoto. Descending down to Addis, proceed to the Archeological Museum that houses a variety of interesting archeological findings. Later visit the Trinity Cathedral, which was built in 1941 before proceeding to Merkato, the largest open air Market in Africa offering an array of colours, aromas, customs, produce and jewellery.
In the evening, attend a folkloric dinner, where several national dishes are provided for sampling. Enjoy the sights and sounds during the dances of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. A traditional coffee ceremony will also be presented.
Jupiter International Hotel is a brand new aspiring four star hotel with two superb locations in Addis Ababa to serve you better. The largest property located in the cazanchise area is a walking distance from the UNECA building on Marshal Tito Road. The second property in Bole is situated moments away from the airport and located near by major shopping centers. A guest room at Jupiter international hotel is among the capital's largest and designed to ensure your utmost comfort safety and convenience. At Jupiter International Hotel, staff are dedicated to provide exceptional accommodations with a hospitable service at affordable price. It is their mission to be the best and preferred hotel by consistently striving for daily improvements in all areas of the business.
Bahar Dar is a small town set on the south-eastern shore of Lake Tana. It is just 30 km from the spectacular Tisisat Falls. Here the Blue Nile creates an awe-inspiring sight as it plunges into the gorge below. From Bahar Dar you can explore some of the ancient monasteries that have been built around Lake Tana, or on its many Islands. These include Dek Stephanos with its priceless collections of icons, the remains of several medieval emperors, Kebran Gabriel and Ura Kidane Mehret with its famous frescoes. The colourful local market at Bahar Dar is renowned for its weavers and wood workers. The Tana Hotel, a modern 64-bedroom hotel has rooms with private bath & shower, restaurant with seating capacity of 137 (dining style), well-equipped kitchen, coffee bar and pool side terrace, spacious veranda, telephone, fax, televisions with Satellite reception capabilities, well-equipped laundry, stand-by power generator.
The Goha Hotel stands at the crest of a hill with a commanding view of the city of Gondar, the city with its enchanting and mysterious castles. The Hotel has 4 suites, 60 twin bed rooms, restaurant, 2 cosy bars, well-equipped laundry, stand-by power generator, garden, telephone, fax & satellite TV.
The Roha Hotel in Lalibela, Ethiopia, is the most comfortable and desirable lodging in town. Snuggled into the bosom of this mountain village, the 64 room hotel and its staff guarantee impeccable service. Try the local food, which is typically made with spicy meats and vegetables along with flat bread and salads. Situated a mile outside of town, you will find yourself taking pictures of the intricate artifacts adorning this attractive, simple space. More humble than the crystal chandeliers and gold-plated walls of more arrogant hotels, the Roha boasts something above high ranked holiday hot spots. With a lush countryside and some of history’s most incredible monolithic churches from centuries of yore, there is little need for spas and tennis courts in this region.
The Yeha Hotel has 3 suites with private baths, 60 twin bed rooms with private baths, 157 seat restaurant (dining style), 153 seat bar, telephone, fax, satellite TV, well equipped laundry, stand-by generator, garden.
The Africa Vacation Club Ethiopia, is the first Luxury Hotel in the Langano Lake district area, situated in the heart of the Rift Valley. The lodge includes a spacious pool side bar and restaurant, with modern wooden floors and relaxing, traditional furniture that recalls a graceful era of fine furnishings and grand living. The Vacation Club features beautiful lakeside Villas and Tukuls that can accommodate up to 6 people. Eclectic mixes of dining and entertainment options are offered to make your stay memorable such as the lake view Ziway Restaurant and Abiyata Lake Bar by the pool side that offer exquisite Ethiopian Cuisine, an Ice cream house that makes fresh homemade ice cream, and there is also the option of Italian at La Pizzeria Restaurant. The Langano Vacation club also includes a SPA, Kids Club and several water sports to choose from on the beautiful lake.
Arba Minch Paradise Lodge is situated on the hilly side of Setcha surrounding itself with the natural beauty of the environment. Basing itself among the forty springs found in the deep jungle of Arba Minch, one feels like touching the natural beauty of the place. Paradise Lodge is convieniently located near the Arba Minch jungle forest, Netch-Sar national park, Abaya, and Lake Chamo. The natural bridge locally known as "YeEgzier Deldey" to denote as "the bridge of God", to symbolize the natural joint between the two great lakes is also closeby. The lodge is fully built by nearly 30 tribes to reflect the culture of the southern Ethiopian societies from the local resources.
Jinka Resort is a charming, small bright oasis in the Southern Omo Valley. Jinka Resort offers rustic but comfortable and neat lodging. Rooms face garden area and include mosquito nets. Rooms also include en-suite bathroom and shower. Restaurant features a TV in their outdoor restaurant and bar and serves international cuisine.
Buska Lodge is a beautiful rustic resort surrounded by lush gardens and pathways. Rooms are comfortable with mosquito nets. There is an open air restaurant located on-site offering good food and excellent service.
Very good hotel in a quiet neighbourhood en route to the Lower Omo Valley. Rooms are clean, with en-suite bathrooms. There is a restaurant next door, serving both local and European food.
The Lewi Resort is a beautiful resort located on the scenic shores of Lake Awassa. The resort offers over 60 rooms and private luxurious bungalows. Choose from a selection of restaurants offering a variety of delicious local and international cuisine.
Sachi Gowda ,
December 15, 2014
"We are extremely happy with your service from beginning to end and we had very a memorable trip."
Ronald Jones ,
December 12, 2014
"I cannot express how fabulous our trip was!! I know it was made that way thanks to ALL the kind, knowledgable, and helpful people that you all placed in our path. Many went above and beyond to make our experience even more positive. From drivers, to guides, to hotel staff---we met some wonderful people that we can now call friends. Thank you Christine and Kensington tours for this once in a lifetime African adventure!"
December 15, 2014
"Christine, our family trip was ALL we wanted it to be. The hotel accommodations in the cities were GREAT. We needed to make some room assignment adjustments but that's to be expected with a large family with children and same names.
I don't know where/how ya'll got those guides but...KEEP'EM! In both Cape Town and Joberg the guys knew their cities and environs excellently. Their English was very good...so good in fact that several got the sarcasm and even joked some. I do apologize if we over-tipped. I relied on each family to tip their own driver but, I wasn't sure of their "sense of what was right" so I followed up with something for each.
Simbavati was "PERFECT". As much as Glenda and I really liked Ngala, I do not think they could have handled a family as well...UNLESS, they had accommodations we did not see.
Please rest assured when ever I plan to travel on a multi-dimensional trip in the future, for sure with a group, or maybe just Glenda and I, I'll be calling Kensington... Christine and Donna specifically. And most definitely, anytime I can recommend a travel professional, your company and you two will be mentioned by name!
Thank you again Christine...you presented us the exact trip we dreamed about for our family and your folks on the ground made it happen! I sincerely hope you, Donna and everyone else involved have a most Blessed Christmas and a wonderful, successful New Year!"
Bruce Lundstrom ,
December 15, 2014
"Morocco has a lot to offer. Food, historic sites, craftsmen (rugs, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, etc.), natural beauty, roads and infrastructure, and a reasonably safe environment. Both Guide (Abdel) and Driver were excellent. Service-oriented, timely and easy going. Abdel was not afraid to speak his mind, offer suggestions and give us feedback on ideas. We enjoyed their company."
December 09, 2014
"A truly wonderful trip......first class accommodations and service in each venue....the guides were knowledgable and went out of their way to insure that we could see and understand Africa. Capetown is a fascinating city, Sabi Sands an extraordinary private game preserve, and Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls and the Victoria Falls Hotel a once in a lifetime experience. For those who want to visit Africa we enthusiastically recommend Kensington Tours. And Jolene Plant stayed with us in every step during the planning of our trip and itinerary. We saw as much of Africa as much as anyone can during our two weeks vacation."
Belinda Skelton ,
December 12, 2014
"This was one of the most amazing trips that I have ever had. The custom tours and activities exceeded my expectations. I was traveling alone but felt safe and in good hands. The process of booking the trip with Lily Baffour was so easy and personal, especially with the constant communications from her up to my departure. Thank you Kensington Tours for an awesome experience. I will definitely use you for my next adventure!"
December 12, 2014
"Our week-long tour in Morocco went without a hitch in the company of a great driver and knowledgeable guide who were always prompt, courteous, helpful, and very nice. Kensington Tours' picks for our overnight accommodations were excellent, as well as the excursions planned for us. We're grateful to our conscientious agent, Lily, who went out of her way to make us feel welcome in Morocco. We feel confident that we are in very capable hands whenever we travel with Kensington Tours. "
December 12, 2014
"Our trip was a perfect 10 - exceeding all expectations! Starting with Christine Willner's attentiveness to our wish list and balancing it to our budget, every leg and element of our journey took place without so much as a hiccup. We were blown away by the quality of our tours, accommodations and guides. Thank you for giving us a great experience and wonderful memories!"
Rebecca Warren ,
August 02, 2014
"My 26 year old daughter recently traveled alone to Madagascar using Kensington tours. I was a little concerned about her safety and wanted to make sure that she would be well taken care of. Kensington was great from start to finish. Our travel agent, Marc Sisson, put together the tour in very short order with very little notice, had no problem doing it for just one person, and gave me a sense of security that my daughter would be well cared for. She did the Anjajavy 5 Day Beach extension. The tour guide who picked her up at the airport in the capitol city was outstanding -- very knowledgeable and helpful. The Anjajavy hotel was extraordinary. Her pictures are breathtakingly beautiful. She kayaked, swam in the ocean and saw lemurs feeding. She got to practice her French with the outstanding hotel manager and otherwise was able to just relax and unwind. She described the experience as "visiting Eden." I highly recommend Kensington. I contacted a number of tour/travel agencies and none of them compared to Kensington. "
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We all agree that Kensington has first class staff working for them in Africa. All the camps that we stayed at were absolutely beautiful except perhaps for the one in Lake Manyara. All in all it was a spectacular trip!"
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