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Rift Valley and Eastern Ethiopia (10 days)

About this Tour:

This tour combines the Rift Valley lakes with their breath-taking landscapes and diverse animal- and bird life with the savanna of the Awash National Park. The tour finally reaches he fascinating holy city of Harar (an UNESCO world heritage site) with its many sites of interest and legendary hyena feeding.

Highlights:

  • Exploring the capital city Addis Ababa
  • Boat Safari on lake Chamo with Africa’s biggest crocodiles, hippos and numerous bird species
  • Visit the Dorze people
  • Overnight at the shores of lake Hawassa
  • Hiking in the beautiful forest of Wondo Genet or visit a coffee farm in Aleta Wondo, where the world-famous Sidamo coffee is produced
  • Visit Abyata-Shalla National Park
  • Overnight at the shores of Lake Langano
  • Overnight in Awash National Park
  • Exploring of the photogenic holy city of Harar with its city walls of the 16th century (a UNESCO world heritage site).
  • Legendary feeding of the hyena of Harar – a very experience!

Included in the travel price

  • 9 nights with breakfast in basic (Harar), medium and superior hotels and lodges
  • Road Transfer in Toyota minibus or 4x4 Landcruiser
  • Professional tour guide (English, German, French, Italian or Spanish-speaking available)
  • All local guides, rangers and scouts as required
  • 2 domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines (discounted tariff if your international flight is with Ethiopian Airlines)
  • All entrance fees
  • Traditional dinner on the last evening before departure
  • 1 liter of mineral water per day

Short Info:

  •  Tour code: WET-RVEE-10
  •  Hotel standard: basic medium and superior hotels and lodges
  •  Number of domestic flights: 2
  •  Required fitness level: no requirements

Day 1: Arrival and Addis Ababa City Tour

Upon arrival at Bole International Airport, you will be met by a Welcome Ethiopia Tours representative and be taken to your reserved hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we have various sightseeing options:

  • Mount Entoto with the best views over the capital.
  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies, where you can see a variety of artifacts from all the different regions reflecting the history and culture of the country
  • Natinal Museum which among other exhibits the 3.5-million-year-old bones of Lucy.
  • Trinity Cathedral: this is the burial place of members of the imperial family and noted patriots; the cathedral is the most magnificent of its kind in the country, ornamented with carvings, mosaics and other artistic works.
  • The Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa

Accommodation: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Lake Langano, Ethiopia

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Arba Minch (flight)

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Arba Minch in southern Ethiopia. You will be picked up at the airport in Arba Minch and be transferred to your hotel. After lunch, we begin our explorations of this diverse region with a visit to the Dorze people. This small ethnic group primarily make a living by weaving. While visiting with these folks, we are treated to fantastic scenery, including the Wolayta farmlands of lush green hills and valleys, and overlooks of Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo, which sit below the Dorze’s mountainside village. This evening, we return to our lodge or resort for dinner.

Accommodation:
Loge or Resort, Arba Minch

Lake Langano, Ethiopia

Day 3: Lake Chamo and Nechisar National Park National Park

We begin our day with a boat cruise on Lake Chamo, where we are on the lookout for a variety of wildlife. We are sure to see an assortment of birdlife, including pelicans, and will keep our eyes peeled for both hippos and the imposing Nile crocodile, the world’s second-largest croc species.
After our boat cruise, we may undertake a safari on foot through Nechisar National Park, adjacent to Lake Chamo. The park’s varied terrain spans escarpments, swamps, and forest. Zebras and gazelles roam the vast savannahs of the Nechisar Plains.

Accommodation:
Lodge or Resort, Arba Minch

Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Day 4: Arba Minch – Hawassa (250 km)

After breakfast, we drive to Hawassa (approx. 6 hrs), the capital town of the southern people’s nations and nicknamed as “The town of eternal Love”. In Hawassa we recommend the 4-star resort of the famous Ethiopian runner Haile Gebre Selassie. From Sauna, steam bath to beauty treatment nothing should be missing here and the sunsets over Lake Hawassa are usually fantastic!

Accommodation:
 Hotel or ResortHawassa

Hawassa, Ethiopia

Day 5: Hiking in Wondo Genet or Visit a Cofee Farm in Aleta Wondo

Wondo Genet (meaning the land of paradise) is the historical retreat of His Majesty Haile Salassie and the home of several hot springs, numerous endemic bird species and a rich cultural heritage. Enjoy the therapeutic hot springs, go on a bird walk and hike to one of the spectacular waterfalls. Alternatively, we may decide for a drive to Aletawondo and visit a coffee farm, where the world-famous Sidama coffee is produced. The Aletawondo area in Sidama region is the main growing area of Sidama coffee. Here you can test the organic Sidama coffee from its origins and at the same time the traditional sidama food. This particularly interesting during the harvesting season, which usually takes place in late October.

 Accommodation: Hotel or Resort, Hawassa

Day 6: Hawassa – Lake Langano

In the early morning we visit the authentic fish market of Hawassa, where you can taste the freshly caught fish immediately prepared. Afterwards we drive through the heart of the Rift Valley to Lake Langano. We may either visit the Abyata-Shalla National Park with great views over the Rift Valley or you may relax at the beach of the Lake Resort (swimming is possible here).

Accommodation: Lodge, Lake Langano

Aregash Lodge, Yirgalem

Day 7: Lake Langano – Awash National Park (220 km)

 After breakfast we drive to the Awash National Park. We arrive at the spectacularly situated Kuriftu Lodge directly at the Awash Falls in the early afternoon. At the Awash Falls, crocodiles and other wild animals are common. In the late afternoon we go on a game drive through the bushveld of the park and enjoy the usually spectacular sunset over the gorge of the Awash River.

Accommodation: Kuriftu Lodge, Awash National Park

Day 8: Awash National Park – Harar (328 km)

After our morning game drive through Awash National Park, we depart for Harar (8 hrs), stopping at Avadai, Ethiopia’s biggest Khat market, and Dire Dawa. In the evening, you will see the “Hyena Man” feeding the hyenas that gather nightly outside the town. With a little courage, you may of course also feed the hyenas yourself! Un unforgettable experience!

Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse, Harar

Aregash Lodge, Yirgalem

Day 9: Full day in Harar

Today we explore the 16th century walled city of Harar, the fourth most important city in the Islamic World and an UNESCO world heritage site. It feels as if time has stood still here for the last 400 years. We will visit the home of Arthur Rimbaud, the renowned French poet who lived in Harar, the National and Harari museums; the house of Ras Mekonnen (the father of Haile Selassie); traditional Harari homes, the market, and many more interesting places.

Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse, Harar

Day 10: Harar – Dire Dawa – Addis Ababa (flight)

We take the flight at noon back to Addis. A day room will be provided. You will have time for sightseeing and/or shopping. In the evening, you will be invited to a memorable farewell dinner in one of Addis Ababa’s traditional restaurants with cultural songs, dances and traditional food. You will then be transferred to Bole International Airport for your departure or to your reserved hotel if you continue your stay in Ethiopia

Departure or Individual Extension 

Aregash Lodge, Yirgalem

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