Kristina's African Safaris
Exploring Ethiopia with Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour
Situated in the northeastern Horn of Africa, equidistant to the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, Ethiopia is the oldest nation in Africa. Its bedrock belongs to the earth’s first continent, a continent known by geologists as Gondwanaland, of which Africa forms the largest intact remnant.
To the outside world, it has long been known by the name Abyssinia, which refers to one of the tribes that inhabited the Ethiopian region in the pre-Christian era. Ethiopia’s culture and traditions date back over 3,000 years, and far earlier than that lived “Lucy” (or “Dinknesh” as she’s known in Ethiopia), the oldest hominid whose remains were found in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley. Dinknesh, after which our company is named, literally means, “You are wonderful”. Ethiopia also presents one of the most stunning natural environments in Africa. Because of the size of the country, and the great variety of its landscapes and climate, Ethiopia represents all that Africa has to offer. Its pleasant climatic conditions and landscape made Ethiopia the home of over 850 species of bird life and 350 species of animals. Comparable to none, picturesque Ethiopia holds all combinations of peerless geological formations, varying from 381 feet below sea level at the radiant sulfuric inferno Dallol Depression in the Afar region, to the alpine moorland peaks that rise to 13,977 feet above sea level at Ras Dashen in the rugged Semein Mountains. The world’s most phenomenal Great Rift Valley cuts Ethiopia into two, forming a series of thrilling lakes opulent in all life forms.
Ethiopia is a true mosaic of peoples; there are over 83 ethnic groups, each speaking its own language, several of which have not yet been classified by linguists. Although the original physical differences between the major ethnic groups have been blurred by centuries, if not millennia of intermarriage, there remain many who are distinct and unique.
Suggested Ethiopian Tour Itineraries
Classic Historical Route – 12 Days, flying
This trip features visits to the classic historical sites of Ethiopia. Flying allows travelers to spend less time on the road and more time soaking in the sights.
Day 1: Arrive at Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa) where you will be met by Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour representative and transfer to Sheraton or Hilton hotel.
Day 2: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bahir Dar. In the afternoon enjoy a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the famous ancient island monasteries. Overnight Tana Hotel, Summer Land or Papyrus hotel.
Day 3: Early morning visit the majestic Blue Nile falls. After lunch visit of the Bahir Dar town’s most popular open-air market and the viewpoint by the late Emperor’s palace. Overnight Tana, Summer Land or Papyrus hotel.
Day 6: Half-day morning excursion by mule to Asheton Mariam to visit the Church that lies on the top of the mountain. The Church itself is similar in style to other rock churches, but the panoramic view of the surroundings is spectacular from the mountaintop. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon spent visiting more of the rock churches in Lalibela town. Overnight Roha or Jerusalem Hotel.
Day 7: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Axum. Visit the St. Mary church where the original Arc of the Covenant is still said to be found, visit the Archeological museum (displays: artifact, coins, stone inscriptions written in three language-Ge’ez, Sabaean and Greek, pottery with sophisticated design) , the Stelaes Park, tombs, and ruined palace of Queen of Sheba (10th century BC). Overnight Yeha or Remhai Hotel. (World Heritage Site)
Day 8: Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Addis. Overnight Sheraton or Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel.
Day 9: Flight to Dire Dawa. Up on arrival drive to Harar- City with in a city and it is considered the 4th Islamic holiest city in the world. Visit the “Hyena Men”* at night. Overnight Belayneh or Ras Hotel. (World Heritage Site)
Note: ‘Hyena Men’ who, as evening falls, set themselves up at points along the outskirts of the city. These men make their living by laying on a remarkable show, throwing meat, offal, and bones to packs of wild hyena that come down from the surrounding hills, apparently answering to names which the Hyena Men chant hypnotically…Debebe, Taferra, Umar. One by one, they appear out of the darkness, their eyes glowing and jaws slavering savagely. The ‘scavengers’ have become a tourist attraction and so have the fearless men who feed the hyenas at night, allowing these hungry carnivores to grab chunks of meat from their mouths- a bizarre kind of nocturnal amusement.
Day 10: After an early breakfast, city tour of Harar that includes: Marvelous encircled wall Harari house, Museums, colorful market, Arthur Rambau’d house, and ancient mosques. In the late afternoon drive to Dire Dawa for Overnight Ras Hotel. (World Heritage Site)
Day 11: Morning city tour of Dire Dawa. Afternoon transfer to the Dire Dawa airport for flight back to Addis. Overnight at Sheraton or Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel.
Day 12: Morning sightseeing tour of Addis and in the evening farewell dinner party with cultural entertainment and then transfer to the airport for your departure back to home.
Classic Historical Route – 14 Days, driving
This itinerary features the famous historical sights of Ethiopia. By driving from point to point guests have a chance to see some of the Ethiopia countryside as well as observe the local “way of life” as you drive through the towns and villages.
Day 1: Arrive at Bale International Airport (Addis Ababa) where you will be met by Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour representative and transfer to hotel. Overnight Sheraton or Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel.
Day 2: After breakfast drive to Debre Markos visiting the 13th century Debre Libanos Monastery and the Blue Nile Gorge. Overnight Shebel hotel.
Day 3: After breakfast drive to Bahir Dar. After check into the hotel enjoy a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the famous ancient island monasteries. Overnight Tana, Summer Land or Papyrus hotel.
Day 4: After breakfast drive to Blue Nile Fall and visit the majestic falls. Continue driving to Gondar for overnight at Goha or Embassy Hotel.
Day 5: Sight seeing tour of Gondar visit the 17th C castles, the Bath of Fasilades, the monastery of Quskuam and the icon-rich church of Debre Berhan Silassie. Overnight Goha or Embassy Hotel. (World Heritage Site)
Day 6: After breakfast drive to Axum through the beautiful landscape and Tekeze River Gorge. Overnight Yeha or Remhai Hotel.
Day 7: Sight seeing tour of Axum that includes: St. Mary church where the original Arc of the Covenant is still said to be housed, visit Archeological museum, the Stelae Park, tombs, and palace ruins of Queen of Sheba (10th century BC). Overnight Yeha or Remhai Hotel. (World Heritage Site)
Day 8: After breakfast drive to Mekele via the rock churches of Tigray. Overnight at Axum or Hilltop hotel.
Day 9: After breakfast drive to Lalibela. This place is famous for the eleven monolithic rock hewn churches built by king Lalibela in the late 12th and early 13th century A.D. Overnight Roha or Jerusalem hotel. (World Heritage Site)
Day 10: Explore the three groups of rock churches of Lalibela. Overnight at Roha or Jerusalem Hotel
Day 11: Half-day morning excursion by mule to Asheton Mariam to visit the Church that lies on the top of the mountain. The Church itself is similar in style to other rock churches, but the panoramic view of the surroundings is spectacular from the mountaintop. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon excursion to Neakuto Le’ab Monastery. King Neakuto Le’ab abdicated his throne in 1270 AD in preference for a hermit life in a cave. This cave, dramatically set, has become a monastery and houses an interesting collection of ancient crosses, illuminated manuscripts and icons. Overnight at Roha or Jerusalem Hotel.
Day 12: After breakfast drive to Dessie visiting Hayk Istifanos monastery en route. Overnight at Fasika Hotel.
Day 13: After breakfast drive back to Addis Ababa. Visiting the Amhara tribal village. Overnight at the Sheraton or Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel.
Day 14: Spend your last day in Ethiopia on a sightseeing tour of Addis. In the evening gather for a farewell dinner party with cultural entertainment and then transfer to the airport for your departure back to home.
Ethiopia Grand Tour – 19 Days, driving
Includes visits to key historical sites as well as time spent learning about the landscape and the local cultures as you visit a variety of villages en route to the historical sites.
Day 1: Arrive at Bole International airport (Addis Ababa) and transfer to the Hotel. Overnight at Sheraton or Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel.
Day 2: Drive through Debre Zeyt crater Lakes to Awash National park, game viewing and sightseeing in the park. Overnight Genet or Meridian Hotel.
Day 3: After an early breakfast, enjoy game viewing and sightseeing en route to Harar- a “city with in a city”. Harar is considered the 4th Islamic holiest city in the world. Visit the “Hyena Men” in the evening. Overnight Belayneh or Ras Hotel.
Day 10: After breakfast drive to Mekele through the very beautiful landscape stop at Zengena Lake, great for birdwatching. Overnight Axum or Hilltop Hotel.
Day 11: After breakfast drive to Adigrat. Visiting the rock churches of Tigray. Overnight Weldusabgadis or Hohoma hotel.
Day 14: After breakfast drive through the spectacular scenery along the Semien Mountains to Gondar-the 17th and 18th century capital of Ethiopia known for its magnificent castles. Overnight at Goha or Embassy Hotel.
Day 15: Spend today on a sightseeing tour of Gondar that includes: Castles compound, Fasilades bath, Quskuam monastery and the icon-rich church of Debre Berhan Silassie. Overnight Goha or Embassy Hotel.
Day 16: After breakfast drive to Bahir Dar. After checking in to the hotel, take an afternoon boat excursion on Lake Tana to visit the ancient monastery of Ura-Kidanemehret & Azewa Mariam at Zege Peninsula. Overnight Tana, Summer Land or Papyrus Hotel.
Day 19: Spend your last day in Ethiopia on a sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa and in the evening gather for a farewell dinner party with cultural entertainment. Transfer to airport for departure back to home.
Ethiopia Cultural Expedition – 14 Days, driving
This itinerary gets travelers “off the beaten path” with an opportunity to learn about and interact with some of Ethiopia’s most unique cultures.
Day 1: Arrive at Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa) and transfer to the Sheraton or Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Early morning drive to Langano, visiting Melka Kunture archeological site, the rock-hewn church of Adadi Mariam and to unique Stelae of Tiya en route. Overnight Bekele Molla or Wabishebele Hotel. (World Heritage Site- the 12th century AD Stelae of Tiya)
Note: Melka Kunture Archeological Site
Melka Kunture, 60 kms Southwest of Addis, is a site with continuous archeological records dated between 1.7 million years ago and 10,000 YBP. Oldowan stone tool types all records from its oldest localities of Kere and Gombore I. The Melka Kunture (MK) site is best known for its Acheulean cultures that are dated between 1.4 and 300000 yrs ago. Middle Stone Age and late Stone Age cultural materials are abundant from its various localities. Early Human ancestors are also discovered associated with faunal remains and stone tools. A new museum here houses some of these important findings.
Day 3: Drive through Ethiopian Great Rift Valley region and visit the Alaba and the Dorze tribal villages, famous with their domed and beehive shaped huts. O/n Bekele Molla or Tourist hotel at Arbaminch.
Day 4: After break fast drive to Nechisar National park to see mammals and various species of birds. In the afternoon drive to Lake Chamo and take a boat excursion, where you can observe the crocodile market and various species of water birds and hippos. Overnight Bekele Molla or Tourist Hotel.
Day 5: Drive through the Omo Valley to Jinka, visiting the Konso & Tsemay tribal villages. If the day is Thursday you will visit the colorful Key Afer Market with three tribal groups (The A,ari , Tsemay and Benna). Overnight Jinka Resort or Orit Hotel.
Day 6: Drive along the Mago River, visit the Mursi people they are renowned for their custom whereby the women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. Proceed to Mago National park for overnight camping.
Day 7: After breakfast, drive through Mago National Park for wildlife viewing and proceed to Murule to visit the Karo tribe, known for their body painting. Overnight Camping at Murule.
Day 10: After breakfast drive to Konso. Visit the Arbore tribe en route. At Konso you will visit the Konso tribal village, the people are resourceful, efficient, careful, and hard-working proceed to Gesergio or popularly known as “New York Village” to visit the very beautiful landscape with mountain structure. Finally visit the Konso King’s house. Overnight camping.
Day 11: After breakfast drive to Ilweya to see the “Singing Wells” of the Borana people. These wells are several hundred years old, perhaps even older. The Borana climb down into the wells, and pass buckets up by hand as they chant, giving these wells their name. After spending some time at the wells continue to Yabello and visit the Borena tribal village en route. O/n Yabello Motel.
Day 12: After breakfast drive to Wondo Genet-one of the famous weekend resort center where you enjoy swimming in a natural hot water pool. Overnight Wabishebele Resort.
Day 13: After breakfast drive to Abijata-Shalla Lakes National park to have a game drive and to visit Lake Shalla (the deepest rift valley lake, which is 260 meter deep) and Lake Abijata on the other side. Visiting Lake Ziway for birding. Proceed to Addis. O/n Sheraton or Hilton Hotel.
Day 14: Spend your last day in Ethiopia on a sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa and in the evening farewell dinner party with cultural entertainment and then transfer out to the airport for flight back to home.
Ethiopian Millenium Celebration
Ethiopia is a country of rich culture, strong heritage and amazing landscapes. The only country never to have experienced Colonial rule, Ethiopia is a gem within Africa. While most of the Christian world adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1582 AD, Ethiopia continues using the Julian calendar which is seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian calendar. This means that travelers can ring in the 21st century all over again while discovering the history, culture and wildlife of Ethiopia. A country that takes their celebrations very seriously, Ethiopia will be alive with energy and celebration this summer, September 12, 2007.
Note that this trip can be customized any time for a party of 2 minimum.
September 11th and 12th: Addis Ababa and Millennium Celebrations
Arrive in Addis Ababa and spend the next two days enjoying musical concerts, religious celebrations, shopping at open air markets and participating in the Millennium Celebrations along with the local Ethiopian people.
September 14th: Gondar
Gondar is the 17th and 18th capital of Ethiopia, housing many majestic castles constructed in the European middle age architectural style including the two storied palace of Emperor Fasiledes (1632-1667) and the large hall or ‘house of song’ of Emperor Dawit III (1716-1721), in which many ceremonies took place in former days.
September 15th: Sankabere
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Sankabere is located in the Simien Mountains, a craggy range of African mountains. The park is interesting because of the uniqueness of its endemic animals (including the Gelada Baboon), the beauty of its flora, and the majesty of its impressive landscape.
September 16th: Axum
Fly to Axum, which is the ancient capital of Ethiopia and the cradle of Ethiopian civilization. Axum is famous for its more than 2000 year old Axumite steles measuring up to 33m high, the bath and palace of Queen of Sheba, King Kaleb's and other kings tombs, archaeological museum which are widely rated as Ethiopia's best, and the church of St. Mary of Tsion, where the original Ark of covenant is housed in
September 17th and 18th: Lalibela Area
Regarded as one of the greatest Ethiopian architectural wonders and ranked as the eighth most incredible historical site in the world by UNESCO, there are over 200 churches in the Lasta Region of Lalibela, some hidden in enormous caves. It is exceptional to find e11 churches of this master craftsmanship in one locale.
September 19th: Transfer to Addis for farewell dinner and onwards home.
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