SAVE UP TO £300 PER COUPLE OFF SELECTED 2018 TOURS View Tours

TELEPHONE 0800 781 4893

ABTA and ATOL Protected
Escorted Tours

Ethiopia A Cultural Odyssey


Route:
  • UK
  • Addis Ababa
  • Bahir Dar
  • Simien Mountain National Park
  • Gondar
  • Lalibela
  • Arba Minch
  • Hawassa
  • Addis Ababa
  • UK
Tour Pace:

12 DAYS from £2199pp

Tour Highlights
  • Spot baboons, mountain goats and the Ethiopian wolf
  • Witness the thundering might of the Blue Nile Falls
  • Explore the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela
  • Wander through Gondar, the 'Camelot of Africa'
  • Journey into the Great Rift Valley
  • Spot wildlife around the Rift Valley lakes

or call us on 0800 781 4893

Ethiopia A Cultural Odyssey

Journey to the spectacular peaks of Simien Mountain National Park, visit UNESCO-recognised castles and fortresses in ancient Gondar, take in the impressive Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela and go in search of the rare Ethiopian wolf and mighty Nile crocodile as you explore Ethiopia's architectural and wildlife wonders. Prehistoric archaeological findings, medieval churches and unique wildlife, found nowhere else in the world, combine to create this fascinating tour.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Addis Ababa

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Addis Ababa.

2
Addis Ababa

On arrival in Addis Ababa, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. Check into your hotel then embark on a city tour through Ethiopia's sprawling capital. Witness Ethiopia's pre-historic importance with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, which houses fossilised evidence of the sabre-toothed tiger and the preserved remains of Lucy, the oldest hominid ever uncovered. Take in the bustle of local shoppers and enthusiastic hawkers at Merkato Market, Africa's largest open-air market. Return to your hotel with time to relax before tonight's welcome dinner.

  • Dinner
3
Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your early flight to Bahir Dar, a city of wide, palm-lined avenues nestled on the shores of Lake Tana. On arrival, continue on to the shimmering expanse of Lake Tana, Ethiopia's largest lake and the source of the Blue Nile. Join pelicans, wallowing hippos and local fishermen in handmade papyrus boats as you glide across these calm waters on a boat ride across the lake. Disembark for a visit to the majestic Blue Nile Falls and its thundering curtain of water, one of Bahir Dar's most spectacular sites of natural beauty. Witness the daily life of local villagers at Pauper's Village and Market before checking into your hotel in Bahir Dar for your overnight stay.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
4
Bahir Dar to Simien Mountain National Park

This morning, drive north to the city of Gondar and onward to the UNESCO-recognised Simien Mountain National Park, a breath-taking region of jagged peaks, green valleys and rugged terrain that boasts some of the world's rarest animal species. Soak in the spectacular scenery as you travel up into the Ethiopian highlands, reaching your mountain lodge in time for dinner in your fantastic natural surroundings. At 3300 meters, this lodge is the highest in Africa, affording amazing, panoramic views from its grounds.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
5
Simien Mountain National Park

Today's walking tour takes you along the outstanding natural trails of Simien Mountain National Park, a highlight of your tour. Marvel at the far-reaching views and dazzling mountain backdrop as you look out for the gelada baboon with its billowing mane and razor-sharp fangs, the long-horned Walia ibex goat and the elusive Ethiopian wolf, all endangered animals that can be sighted only in this unique afro-alpine environment. Your walk takes you to the dramatic Jin Bar Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in Africa, where you can watch the falls plunging 500 metres into a narrow chasm. Return to your lodge for dinner and your last night in the Simien Mountains.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
6
Simien Mountain National Park to Gondar

Check out of your mountain lodge and travel to the nearby city of Gondar, the ancient ruling capital of the Kings of Ethiopia for over 250 years. The city's imperial past can be seen in the centuries-old castles, palaces and fortresses, collectively known as the Royal Enclosure, which has earned the city UNESCO Heritage status. Explore this 'Camelot of Africa' on today's guided tour of the city, taking in the crumbling battlements, imposing castle walls, royal bathhouses and buildings of a past age. Continue on to the lively Gondar Market, wandering the labyrinth of stalls selling everything from live chickens to 'berbere', the spicy local pepper mix.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
7
Gondar to Lalibela

Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lalibela, the geographic and spiritual heart of Ethiopia. This UNESCO-listed city draws white-robed pilgrims in their thousands as they journey to its medieval Rock-Hewn Churches. On your arrival, visit the first group of 12th-century churches, a collection of monolithic structures skillfully chiselled into rock under the orders of King Lalibela, who was attempting to build a 'New Jerusalem'. After wandering the passageways linking the churches and admiring these towering temples, visit the nearby village and market for a chance to experience local life and view the traditional round huts and homes of the area. After time to explore, continue on to your hotel for check-in and dinner.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
8
Lalibela

Enjoy another day exploring Lalibela's famed churches as you cross the Jordan River to the second group of these incredible structures. If you're lucky, you might have the chance to witness a church service as these ancient religious sites are still used daily for worship and prayer. Return to the village for the afternoon and discover the sights and sounds of local life before making your way back to your hotel for the evening.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
9
Lalibela to Arba Minch

After a leisurely breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight into the heart of Ethiopia's Great Rift Valley as you travel to the city of Arba Minch, via Addis Ababa. On arrival in Arba Minch, check into your hotel and, if time permits, travel to a nearby handicraft workshop and silk farm to learn more about the traditional techniques and creative skills used to make these beautifully crafted local goods. Return to your hotel for dinner and an evening at leisure.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
10
Arba Minch

This morning, explore Ethiopia's spectacular Rift Valley lakes, formed during the last Ice Age along the massive fault line running through East Africa. Board a boat for a relaxing cruise along Lake Chamo, home to a large population of the world's largest crocodile - the Nile crocodile. Spot wildlife on the water's grass-lined edge as you meander across the lake, passing the area popularly known as 'Crocodile Market'. Here, watch dozens of these massive, powerful creatures basking lazily in the sunshine, mouths open to regulate their temperature. Travel onward to Nechisar National Park, a ridge of savannah sandwiched between the calm waters of Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya, and journey through the park on the lookout for the herds of zebra, antelope, buffalo and giraffe that roam these grassy plains.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
11
Arba Minch to Hawassa

Embark on a unique cultural experience as you travel to Dorze Village this morning. Explore distinctive, tall beehive-shaped huts, built entirely from banana leaves and learn about the villagers' nimble-fingered weaving techniques whilst swaying to the beat of their rhythmic traditional music. Drive onward to the city of Hawassa, stopping en route in a village near Wolaita Sodo to visit the bustling market, displaying pottery, spices, fragrant cooked dishes and colorful Ethiopian garments. Arrive in Hawassa, a picturesque city located on the shores of Laka Hawassa, and check into your hotel in time for tonight's dinner.

  • Breakfast & Dinner
12
Addis Ababa to the UK

After breakfast, join Hawassa's seafood lovers at the local market, where fishermen sell their freshly caught bounty from wooden rowing boats and mouth-watering smells waft from food stalls. A visit to nearby Abijatta Shalla National Park takes you into the heart of this lake region, rich in birdlife. Drive through the park, watching flamingos perched in the blue waters, pelicans and cormorants swooping down for a catch and fish eagles gliding through the sky. In the late afternoon, arrive in Addis Ababa in time for a final dinner with music at a traditional restaurant. After dinner, transfer to the airport in Addis Ababa for your return flight to the UK, or continue on to your chosen extension.

  • Breakfast & Dinner

Important Information

Visas

A visa is required for entry into Ethiopia. British Citizen Passport Holders can pay for their visa on arrival at Addis Ababa (Bole) International Airport. You can purchase your visa be-forehand; We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury holidays'. The current cost of the visa is £102 per person. We recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry to Ethiopia. Visa requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Mercury Holidays. We recommend you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24 hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

Payment

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flight Information

Baggage allowance (per person): Each passenger is entitled to 1 piece of hold luggage with each bag not exceeding 20kg. Hand luggage: One piece not exceeding 4Kg and with maxi-mum total dimensions not exceeding 118 cm (55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm). Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in.

Health and Vaccinations

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing of steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

Tour Guide

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

Currency Information

The currency in Ethiopia is the Ethiopian birr. We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK if possible, however there are foreign exchange bureaus at many places across Ethiopia. Some local banks will not change money back into Euros or Pound Sterling, so do not change up too much money. It is advisable to carry smaller note denominations as some outlets and vendors may not accept the larger notes.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 - £500 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour.

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKPriceBook Now
2018 Dates
09 Oct 201821 Oct 2018£2449SOLD OUT
06 Nov 201818 Nov 2018£2499SOLD OUT
2019 Dates
08 Jan 201920 Jan 2019£2429Book Now
05 Feb 201917 Feb 2019£2329Book Now
05 Mar 201917 Mar 2019£2199Book Now
02 Apr 201914 Apr 2019£2329Book Now
30 Apr 201912 May 2019£2379Book Now
04 Jun 201916 Jun 2019£2429Book Now
10 Sep 201922 Sep 2019£2429Book Now
08 Oct 201920 Oct 2019£2479Book Now
12 Nov 201924 Nov 2019£2499Book Now
26 Nov 201908 Dec 2019£2529Book Now

Included in the Price

  • Fully Escorted Tour with local English Speaking Guides throughout
  • Scheduled Flights from the UK.
  • All internal travel including air-conditioned/heated transportation.
  • Accommodation, meals as specified and entry fees to all sights.
  • All airport taxes and security charges.

Additional Expenses

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Any meals not specified in your itinerary

What to expect

Fact File
Currency

Ethiopian Birr

Average Flying time

7.5 hours

Min/Max temperature

16 °C / 20 °C

What to pack
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Comfortable walking shoes and boots
  • Waterproof lightweight jacket
  • Sunglasses and hat - Binoculars
  • Warm clothing for trekking
  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • Sandals for river crossing
  • Ruck sack
  • Camera and charger
  • Loo paper for public WCs
  • Swimwear
  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser
  • Personal toiletries and first aid kit containing travel pills, rehydration powder, plasters, stomach settlers, antiseptic creams, aspirin etc
  • A travel plug adaptor; Ethiopia is 220 V. You will need a 2-round pin plug or 2-flat pin plug adapter. However, there are many different types of electrical sockets throughout the coun-try, some taking plugs similar to the UK's, others for two or three thin prongs. Should you plan to use your own hairdryer, travel iron, video camera, battery charger, electric shaver, etc, it is advisable to bring a multi-adaptor
Tour Map
Ethiopia A Cultural Odyssey Route Map
Tour Dossiers
Extensions
  • Tanzania
    Zanzibar Beach Stay

    3 nights from £859pp

    View
Here to help

Hotels & Accommodation

Extensions

Zanzibar Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Addis Ababa
  • Bahir Dar
  • Simien Mountain National Park
  • Gondar
  • Lalibela
  • Arba Minch
  • Hawassa
  • Addis Ababa
  • B#Zanzibar
  • UK

Dotted with small fishing villages, deserted islands and home to historic Stone town, the Zanzibar archipelago evokes tales of myth and romance filled with Swahili princes, Omani Sultans and Shirazi merchants - the paradisal 'Spice Islands' offer the perfect relaxing end to your adventure.

3 nights
from £859pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension

Other tours you may enjoy

Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco

Uncover Morocco's colourful cultural offerings as you explore ancient medinas, spice-filled souks and dramatic Moorish architecture.

8
nights
from
£679pp
Egypt The Majestic Nile
Egypt The Majestic Nile

Ancient shrines adorned with hieroglyphics and vast temple complexes built for the gods lie beside the iconic archaeological wonders of the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, a country rich in history, mysticism and centuries-old culture.

10
nights
from
£1049pp
South Africa's Garden Route
South Africa's Garden Route

A leisurely journey along South Africa's breathtaking Garden Route, this itinerary combines scenic drives through undulating vine-clad valleys, a chance to meet an ostrich, the world's largest flightless bird and a rewarding hike along the stunning Cliff Path to spot whales from the shoreline.

9
nights
from
£1749pp