(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.
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!"
Janine Chey ,
April 21, 2014
"Our trip to Masai Mara via Kensington ran very smoothly. We stayed at the Mara West Lodge. Beautiful location atop a ridge overlooking the Masai Mara plains. Our luxury tents were quite comfortable and the staff/service at the lodge were great. Meals were very nice especially the daily soups. Our guide, Steve, was also great...so knowledgeable and eager to show us many interesting things. He planned our daily game drives and took us on a nature hike one afternoon. He clearly knows and understands this ecosystem. He has an amazing eye, finding animals in fields of tall grasses. Our entire family had an amazing time, trip of a lifetime...would love to go back!"
Justin Yax ,
April 21, 2014
"Once again, a perfect trip. From Elizabeth's planning to Godfrey's guiding, we could not have asked for a more thorough and well planned safari. I can't wait to come back and do it again, this time with a Kilimanjaro climb added onto the trip!"
Nancy Frierson ,
April 21, 2014
"The entire trip was superb - all the transfers, the lodging and the food, the safari experience and the knowledgeable guides. The guide's ability to spot an animal and identify it at a great distance allowed us to see and photograph all the animals on our list and then some. The lodgings were even better than we had hoped and the staff could not possibly have been better. Our trip of a lifetime turned out to be just that."
Avi J.Moskovitz ,
February 03, 2014
"We finally returned from the most magical vacation in Morocco and we cannot thank Lily and Kensington Tours enough!! This trip was beyond amazing and we are so appreciative for everything done to make this trip happen last minute for us!
We had a spectacular tour guide that spoke 8 languages, Ismail, and the friendliest and warmest driver, Said, whom made the experience absolutely phenomenal! Not only did we learn and see, but we laughed, danced, ate like pigs, kissed camels and snakes, ran in the Sahara desert under the stars, and enjoyed life - the best gift of all!
Ebony Hoskins ,
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
July 26, 2013
"Our family of 6 traveled to Morocco for a 9 day Imperial cities discovery, I was absolutely amazing. Our guide Lahcen Zaaim was the best guide we have EVER had and we have traveled to many countries. There was not one subject that he was not knowledgeable about. He made the trip sooooo memorable. He was so flexible and when he picked us up in the mornings to head out, he was talking nonstop to tell us soo much about everything we were seeing. There was soooo much to see in Morocco and he made sure we saw it all.. He truly has a gift in the touring business, you feel as if your leaving your best friend when the trip is over. When we got to the airport in casablanca, he spotted us before we saw him and of course, we asked him, how did you recognize us? He even went as far as to get the King of Moroccos artist to meet us at our riad the night before we left to return home late to do our names in moroccan arabic to frame, They were beautiful, He showed us a picture of the Kings Face he had done for the Palace! Lily Baffour from Kensington planned our trip and she was amazing, planning everything as she thought we would like based on what I told her. She did an Outstanding job and literally sent our Iteniaries by next day air in a beautifully done spiral bound personally book for each family that was going on the trip, SOOOOOO IMPRESSED and she even got the guide we requested!!!! I cant say enough about this trip and Kensington, we will definitely use again!!! We experienced a VERY different culture in going to Morocco and thats what we wanted, a Very different exotic trip and thats what we got!!!! Again our accomodations we Top Notch, staying in the TRuly authenic Riads, they were SOOOOO Luxurious, Plan on taking another suitcase or buying one there because you will buy more things to bring home than any other trip because of all the Handicrafts there, especially in Fes!!!
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