Sep 24th, 2022
Africa’s best-kept secret! A complete expedition to the north and south. Gelada Baboons, Simien Mountains, Source of the Blue Nile, Lalibela rock-hewn churches, Meskel Festival, superb endemic birds, and mammals.
Departure: September 24, 2022
Group Size: Only 12 participants
WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY
- Travel during good weather, but when there are few tourists.
- Northern route with Lalibela Saint Mary festivity (Even better than the other, better known by tourists, festivals)
- Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela in detail.
- We have reduced the driving times to the minimum possible.
- Spend two nights at the impressive Semien Mountains Park (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve)
- Walk among hundreds of Gelada Baboons, one of the greatest wildlife experiences on the planet.
- Lake Tana and Blue Nile Falls, the origin of the Blue Nile, with great birding.
- Chartered flight over the Rift Valley, directly to the heart of the Omo Valley (Avoiding very long drive days). These flights are a true highlight in themselves.
- Meet over eight tribes of the Omo Valley, including the Mursi.
- Escorted by a New Paths Expeditions Senior Leader, a Master Local Guide plus local guides at each destination.
- The best hotels and transport are available.
- Window seat guaranteed when using 4×4 (Omo Valley). 4×4’s are the most modern in the country and truly comfortable.
- Superb endemics wildlife extension at the Bale Mountains. A wildlife photographer’s dream.
If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.
– John Hemingway
If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!
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Itinerary in Brief
Arrive Addis Ababa
Meet with our representative upon arrival at the Bole International Airport and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight at Sheraton Hotel. (D)
Explore Addis Ababa
City tour including the Trinity Catedral and the National Museum where we will meet “Lucy”, the oldest hominid ever discovered. After lunch, we will drive to Mount Entoto that reaches 9600 ft from where we will enjoy stunning Panoramic Views. Then visit the famous Saint Mary Church where Menelik II has crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889.
Overnight at Sheraton Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 3 & 4
Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches and outstanding Saint Mary festival
Fly to visit another World Heritage Site, the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. Our visit to Lalibela will coincide with Saint Mary’s day festivities, which will provide unique cultural experiences and superb photographic opportunities.
While in Lalibela, we marvel at 9 of the 13 churches, which are grouped into 4 clusters. Among them is Bete Emanuel, a 36-foot-high monolith.
We will also visit a local family to participate in a traditional coffee ceremony and share a very special moment with the family.
Overnight at Tukul Village Hotel or similar for 2 nights (B, L, D)
Day 5 & 6
Two full days exploring the beautiful Simien Mountains with truly close encounters with Gelada Baboons and other endemic wildlife
The Simien Mountains are one of Africa’s largest ranges, with over a dozen peaks higher than 12,000 ft, including Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia. The western side of the range was designated as a national park in 1969, and the entire range was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. You will look for the endemic and impressive Geledas and observe the Afro-Alpine flora, look for Walia Ibex and birds.
Overnight at Simiens Mountain Lodge for 2 nights (B, L, D)
Drive to Gondar. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Debre Birhan Selassie Church wich walls and ceilings have been decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval Ethiopian history.
Overnight at Mayleko Lodge or similar (B, L, D)
Day 8 & 9
Drive to the source of the Blue Nile, explore by boat Lake Tana and visit the Blue Nile Falls with birdwatching
With a surface area of 2,282 square miles, Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and is also the source of the Blue Nile, a connection that explains many of Ethiopia’s links with the ancient world. The lake is dotted with islands, many of which shelter isolated monasteries containing the remains of ancient Ethiopian emperors and treasures of the Ethiopian Church. You will also enjoy incredible birding at the Blue Nile Falls.
Overnight at Kuriftu Resort or similar for 2 nights (B, L, D)
A day in Addis Ababa
Fly back to the capital city. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy some shopping. The guide will be at our disposal.
Radisson Blu or similar (B, L, D)
Fly over the Rift Valley to the heart of the Southern Omo Valley
Fly to Weito and drive to Jinka including tribes encounters on the way.
In the afternoon, we will visit the South Omo Research Centre and Museum to inspect their collections of tribal artifacts and learn more about the interactions and history among tribes of the area.
Overnight at the Eco Omo Lodge (B, L, D)
Through the Mago National Park to visit the remote Mursi Tribe
We leave early morning to the Mago National Park and visit a Mursi village that lies along the Mago River in the heart of the park.
When we are back in Jinka, we will attend the colorful local market.
Overnight at the Eco Omo Lodge (B, L, D)
Encounter with the Bena and Hammar tribes
Today, we will drive to Turmi. We will stop along the way to visit the Benna tribe who reside along the bounds of the Lower Omo River. The Benna incorporate rich cultural symbolism into their rituals and use impressive ornate body art.
Then check-in at the lodge, and after a rest time we will visit one of the close-to-town striking Hamer villages.
Overnight at Buska Lodge. (B, L, D)
Visit the Desanech tribe
The Dessanech is the most remote of the Omo tribes, living just north of Kenya’s Lake Turkana. The tribe is typical in that it is not strictly defined by ethnicity, anyone will be admitted, and this makes into a very interesting mix of traditions and believes.
We will spend the afternoon at the lively Turmi market.
Overnight at Buska Lodge. (B, L, D)
Fly back to Addis. Farewell dinner and fly back to the U.S, or continue with the Bale Endemic Wildlife Extension.
Before leaving the Omo Valley, we will visit a Karo tribe village. They paint themselves daily with colored ochre, white chalk, yellow mineral rock, charcoal, and pulverized iron ore.
Fly back to Addis Ababa and rest time until the fabulous farewell dinner.
Then transfer to the airport to catch your flight to the U.S.
Day-use (or overnight if you take the recommended Bale extension) at the Radisson Blu (B, L, D)
The Addis Ababa Radisson Blu is a large five-star international hotel with reliable hot water, backup electric generator, and an array of upscale restaurants and amenities.
Standards deviate substantially outside Addis: Guests must be prepared for developing-world conditions, where electricity and hot water in rooms is subject to frequent outages, and fixtures are cheap and often poorly installed and maintained.
In the north, our hotels have modest, basic rooms with en-suite bathroom (flush toilet, basin, and shower or shower bath).
In the south, at Turmi, our lodge has very basic, small rooms with en-suite bathroom (flush toilet, basin, and shower corner, usually without a tub or enclosure). Hot water and electricity can be erratic.
In the Jinka area, our tented camp lodge is on a private campsite, with simple private walk-in canvas tents setup under solid roofs. Each tented room has its own veranda and small en-suite bathroom with shower (Hot water is available though sometimes erratic or could fail completely). The tented lodge has electricity from town and also has its own generator. Despite the last, it is possible that electricity becomes erratic, or that is provided during limited hours. The lodge also has a decent restaurant and bar and the gardens are beautiful.
The Bale Mountain lodge is situated at 7808 feet within a stunning cloud forest which offers access to the Rift Valley and other local attractions. Nestled into the hillside in order to minimize the visual impact on the surrounding area, the lodge was made using local stone. The attached dining room features a thatched roof and a central sunken fireplace, making a cozy area in which to relax in the evenings. All guest rooms are equipped with a wood burning stove to provide warmth and a cosy atmosphere. The furniture has been created locally using sustainable wood and other high-quality, locally-sourced materials.
Departure Dates & Rates
24 Sep 2022
Included in Land Cost:
- Services of New Paths Expeditions in-house support team.
- 24/7 services of a Senior Expedition Leader during the expedition.
- Services of English-speaking local guides.
- All ground transportation (including airport transfers) in 1 to 3-year-old vehicles with professional drivers.
- Window seats guaranteed when using 4×4.
- Accommodations as noted.
- All sightseeing, entrance fees, and visits as noted.
- Group photography fees.
- Meals as noted.
- Bottled water included meals, transfers, and tours.
- Services of transfer assistants, drivers, and local staff.
- Gratuities for luggage porters, transfer assistants, and restaurant staff.
- International flights.
- Passport and visa fees.
- Excess baggage charges.
- Gratuity for Local Guides; Driver and Expedition Leader.
- Personal expenses and incidentals, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, e-mail, and laundry.
- Trip cancelation, travel delay, and baggage loss insurance.
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of New Paths Expeditions.
Deposits and final payments:
To guarantee your space on this expedition a deposit of US$ 1500.00 is required at the time of booking. The remaining expedition cost will be charged 90 days before the expedition begins.
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