Tribes & Traditions of Ethiopia - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (April 2021)

Discover rugged and mysterious Ethiopia on this Small Group Journey hosted by Sujata Raman. Pack a sense of adventure on this exclusive journey which combines the rich history, culture and landscapes.

Journey Overview

An incredibly diverse country, Ethiopia is rugged and mysterious. Pack a sense of adventure on this exclusive journey which combines the rich history, culture and landscapes of the north with the tribal heritage in the south. You’ll visit the source of the Blue Nile, see the skeleton of ‘Lucy’ and spend a night in the Simien Mountains. There is rare wildlife amidst high peaks, extraordinary rock-hewn churches, World Heritage sites and an incredible number of different ethnic groups in and around the Omo Valley. You’ll explore their villages, learn about local customs and wander through bustling markets.

Your Guest Host

Joining the April 2021 departure is Sujata Raman, Regional Managing Director of Abercrombie & Kent Australia /Asia Pacific, a position she has held for over a decade. Passionate about seeing the world and experiencing its cultures, Sujata has lived on three continents and visited all seven. Having travelled extensively throughout Africa, she is looking forward to exploring the fascinating lands and cultures of Ethiopia.


Journey Highlights

  • Explore the markets, churches, museums and palaces of Addis Ababa
  • Venture to the source of the Blue Nile
  • Soak up breathtaking vistas and drink coffee like a local
  • Gaze at medieval frescoes in the extraordinary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and attend an exclusive, private mass
  • Hike through the rugged Simien Mountains in search of rare wildlife
  • Marvel at the remarkable stelae and tombs of ancient Axum
  • Discover tribal customs and culture in the villages and markets of the Omo Valley 

** Please click here to view other 2021-2022 departures of the Tribes & Traditions of Ethiopia Limited Edition Small Group Journey.


Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Arrive in the Ethiopian capital to a warm A&K welcome and enjoy a private transfer to your hotel. 

Addis Ababa is a city of contrasts – new skyscrapers stand on dirt roads and international business conferences meet next to traditional markets where rural customs are preserved. Many travellers still see the capital as a mere stopover on the way to more remote areas of the country, the hectic city can be daunting, but ‘Addis’, as it is known to locals, is an exciting cultural hub with plenty to see and do – and excellent food. 

Settle in with a welcome briefing from your Resident Tour Director and Host at your hotel, before a welcome dinner. Savour a taste of Arabia on a culinary journey across the Middle East to the drifting tunes of Arabic music.
Sheraton Addis Ababa | Meals: D

Day 2: Addis Ababa | One of the World’s Highest Capitals

Your adventure begins with a panoramic introduction to the city from the summit of Mt Entoto (3,200 metres). Stop for a steaming cup of Ethiopian coffee on the way and, after admiring the view, take a glimpse inside the Entoto Maryam Church, which was constructed by Emperor Menelik II. Step inside the small local museum and the Menelik Palace and, on the way back admire traditional textiles and garments at the Shero Meda Market. 

This afternoon, visit the National Archaeological Museum, where the 3.2 million-year-old bones of Lucy (a female Australopithecus afarensis skeleton) reside, followed by the Ethnographic Museum.
Sheraton Addis Ababa | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Axum | Centre of the Aksumite Kingdom

Fly to Axum, the oldest city in Ethiopia, in the far north of the country. Considered one of the four great powers of the ancient world, Axum was an important centre of trade and innovation. Venture to the impressive World Heritage listed stelae fields and marvel at the enormous obelisk-like structures. See the royal tombs and ruins of ancient castles before heading to the Axum Museum and Mariam Tsion Church, built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church. A chapel within the church compound is believed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to house the Ark of the Covenant, or the original tablets of Moses.
Atranos Hotel | Meals: BLD

Day 4: Lalibela | Medieval Rock-Hewn Churches

Fly south to the small town of Lalibela, home to one of the world's most astounding sacred sites comprising 11 medieval rock-hewn churches. Visit the first of these churches via a network of labyrinthine tunnels and crypts which connect the galleries and grottoes, pausing as you wander to drink in the history of the monuments around you. 

Pause at Bet Medhane Alem, the largest rock-hewn church in the world, which has been constructed like a Greek temple. Surrounded by 34 large, rectangular columns, three of these are joined and are thought to represent the Holy Trinity. 

After your exploration, travel to your hotel.
Mezena Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Lalibela | New Jerusalem

Today offers another day exploring Lalibela's extraordinary churches. The southeast cluster is more irregular in design than the rest and several are thought to have been secular in origin, with some predating the reign of King Lalibela by five centuries.

Then visit Bet Giyorgis, probably the most elegant and majestic of all the Lalibela churches, only accessible through a tunnel. A 15-metre high three-tiered plinth in the shape of a Greek cross - it's a perfectly proportioned shape that required no internal pillars. Inside, light filters in from the windows and illuminates the ceiling's large crosses. Peer over the curtain to see the maqdas' beautiful dome. Look for the two 800-year-old olive-wood boxes (one with opposing corkscrew keys) that locals believe were carved by King Lalibela himself and now hold the church's treasures. 

After lunch, visit the monastery of Nakuto Le'ab, a fascinating example of Lalibela's eastern group of rock-hewn churches. The church boasts various treasures said to have belonged to its founder, including crosses, crowns, gold-painted drums and an illuminated Bible. 

Later, visit the open-air market and experience warm Ethiopian hospitality at a traditional coffee ceremony. Mezena Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Gondar | Imperial city of Fasilides

Today, journey by air to Bahir Dar, and onwards by road to to Gondar, the capital and commercial centre of Ethiopia from the 17th to mid-19th century. Explore a number of castles in the royal enclosure before visiting Debre Berhane Selassie church, the only church saved from the Mahdist invasion in the 1880s. Admire the wonderful murals and in particular the angels’ faces which have become a common motif in Ethiopian design.

Continue to the bath of Emperor Fasilides, now best known for the annual Christian festival of Timkat where local worshippers descend into the pool to commemorate the baptism of Jesus. Nearby is a small mausoleum said to have been built for the king’s favourite horse.
Gondar Hills Resort | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Simien Mountains | Endemic Wildlife & Breathtaking Views

This morning drive northeast to the Simien Mountains National Park and your lodge on the edge of an escarpment with breathtaking views. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the park is well known for its unique animal and birdlife including the Walia ibex, Ethiopian wolf, Menelik’s bushbuck and the Gelada baboon which are endemic. Head out on foot in the hope of getting close to a troop of Gelada baboons with additional time spent exploring the beautiful park.
Limalimo Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 8: Bahir Dar | Blue Nile Falls

Drive through fertile countryside this morning to Bahir Dar, on the southern shore of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. Stop in villages along the way before visiting the magnificent 100-metre-wide Tis Isat Falls (Blue Nile Falls).
Kuriftu Resort and Spa | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Bahir Dar | Island monasteries

Board a local boat for the trip across Lake Tana to nearby Zeghie Peninsula to visit two 14th century monasteries. They are renowned for their round, grass roofed churches and the magnificent murals inside which depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
Kuriftu Resort and Spa | Meals: BLD

Day 10: Addis Ababa | Highland Hub

Return flight to Addis Ababa and your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure to explore the capital, until dinner in the evening.
Sheraton Addis Ababa | Meals: BLD

Day 11: Jinka | Cultures of the South Omo

Take a flight southwest to Jinka where your first stop is Yetnebersh village to watch how the Ari distil their own liquor from sorghum, garlic and maize. 

Stop in at the South Omo Research Centre and museum which focuses on the many ethnic groups living in the region.
Eco Omo Lodge| Meals: BLD

Days 12-13: Turmi | Tribal Customs

Spend the next two days in the South Omo focusing on the fascinating range of ethnic cultures there. Visit a Mursi village where you learn something of their unique customs including lip plates and large decorative ear plugs. Meet the proud Hamar, known for their body decoration, moonlight dances and bull-jumping, and the Karo, recognisable by their elaborate body scarifications and lower lip piercings. They are considered masters of body painting when preparing for a dance, feast or celebration.
Buska Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 14: Arba Minch | Beehive Dwellings

This morning drive to Arba Minch pausing to admire the beautiful terraced hillsides of the Konso people who are also well known for their woven materials and the carved totems which decorate their graves. 

This afternoon spot hippos and Nile crocodiles during a boat trip on Lake Chamo and finish the day in Chencha village, home to the Dorze whose tall beehive-shaped dwellings are among the most distinctive traditional structures in Africa.
Haile Resort | Meals: BLD

Day 15: Addis Ababa | Highland Hub Farewell

Return flight to Addis Ababa and transfer to your hotel. In the evening freshen up before a farewell dinner.
Sheraton Addis Ababa | Meals: BLD

Day 16: Depart Addis Ababa

This morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Internal air included: Addis Ababa–Axum/Axum–Lalibela/Lalibela–Bahir Dar/Bahir Dar–Addis Ababa/Addis Ababa–Jinka/Arba Minch–Addis Ababa

Maximum Group Size: 18

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Tour Inclusions

  • All accommodation as detailed with private facilities
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including welcome and farewell dinners
  • Internal flights as mentioned in itinerary
  • Services of English speaking A&K Resident Tour Director
  • Airport welcome
  • Porterage
  • Group transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Bottled water during transfers and touring
  • Wine & beer during lunch and dinners (selected by Resident Tour Director)
  • All entrance fees
  • Planning, handling, operational and communication charges
  • All tipping

Tour Exclusions

  • International flights to the tour start point and from the tour end point
  • Visas and other border fees
  • Insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip
  • Items of a purely personal nature such as drinks (unless specified), laundry, dry cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges
  • Transfers, sightseeing or meals not specified in itinerary
  • Excess baggage charges

Please Note Outside Addis Ababa, accommodation used on this journey is not luxurious, from both a facility and service perspective. Accommodation is 3-star to 4-star, or is not appropriately categorised with a star rating.  Accommodation is however clean and comfortable, with air-conditioned rooms and buffet breakfast, and meets most key international health and safety standards. Some accommodations have a swimming pool, and most have WI-FI, although service can be intermittent or in reception areas only. Abercrombie & Kent’s use of simple accommodation is due to a genuine lack of choice and the relative under-development of Ethiopia and its tourism industry. We do request that guests understand in advance that the basic nature of accommodation used on this journey (which can sometimes be very atmospheric) can make for a unique, memorable stay.

For further information please contact A&K and speak to one of our groups specialists.

Tailor-Made Travel with A&K

If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, please talk to one of our expert Journey Designers or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke tailor-made journey for you, or your own small group with family or friends.

Show Full Itinerary


Sheraton Addis

Tribes & Traditions of Ethiopia - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (April 2021)

Opposite the National Palace and seven kilometres from Bole International Airport, Sheraton Addis is renowned for its service, and the ... Read more

Mezena Lodge

Tribes & Traditions of Ethiopia - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (April 2021)

Situated on the eastern side of the city of Lalibela in extensive grounds, Mezena Lodge opened in late 2017. A blend of classic Ethiopian ... Read more

Limalimo Lodge

Tribes & Traditions of Ethiopia - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (April 2021)

Perched on the edge of the escarpment, 14-room Limalimo Lodge is a beautiful place to experience Ethiopia's Simien Mountains National ... Read more

Kuriftu Spa & Resort

Tribes & Traditions of Ethiopia - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (April 2021)

Located on the shores of Lake Tana, Ethiopia's largest lake, the Kuriftu Resort and Spa is just a short drive from the airport. Designed ... Read more

Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Apr 19, 2021 - May 4, 2021
Price AU$14,155pp Single Supplement AU$1,965 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire

Related Brochures

  • Small Group Journeys 2021-22 thumbnail
    Small Group Journeys 2021-22