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Trip Extensions

Simien Mountains Trek

Duration: 6 days

After your Cradle of Man trip extend your stay in Ethiopia with a trek in the Simien Mountains.

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: arrive in addis ababa

Welcome to Ethiopia!  You will be met at the airport upon arrival and taken to your accommodation. 

Addis Ababa means “new flower” in Amharic, and it is Ethiopia’s largest city. Sitting at an elevation of about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level, it enjoys an excellent climate all year, with an average temperature of 75˚F.  

For those who arrive early, you might want to undertake full day eating and market tour in Addis on foot.  This will be a delight for the senses, taste, sight and smell.  A great introduction to the local cuisine, and an opportunity to break bread with friends, new and old.  Please let us know.

This evening you meet the other group travel companions over a welcome dinner. 

Meals
Dinner
Lodging
Intercontinental Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: addis ababa sightseeing

This morning, you will take a tour of Haile Selassie’s former palace, which is now the home of the Ethnological Museum. Exhibits here represent the best arts and crafts of the country and give an in-depth view of the various peoples of Ethiopia. You may also be able to meet with one of the professors from the Ethiopian Studies department who will also be available for questions about what you’ve seen if his schedule that day permits. Then, visit Ba'ata Church (Menelik’s Mausoleum) one of the oldest churches in Addis Ababa. Observe its beautiful paintings and the royal tombs of past emperors. Finally, visit the National Museum, considered by many to be the best museum in Africa. Here, cultural and archaeological relics, including a plaster cast of "Lucy," the 3.2 million-year-old hominid, are displayed. At the end of the day, you will see the Mercato, which is said to be Africa’s largest open-air market. Rumor has it that you can bargain for anything there, even a new soul! Time permitting, we may be able to visit Churchill Street, known for its many curio shops selling traditional Ethiopian crafts and fine quality silver and cotton. Dinner will be eaten out at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
Intercontinental Hotel (or similar)

Days 3-4: lalibela timkat festival

Timkat Festival procession.Timkat Festival procession.

After breakfast, you will head to the airport for your two-hour flight to Lalibela, where you will spend the next two nights at the Mountain View or Roha Hotel (or similar), both furnished and decorated with artifacts inspired by the area's rock-hewn churches. At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, King Lalibela organized the construction of a series of churches hewn from pink granite, now classified as one of the ancient wonders of the world. Each church has a unique architectural style, all are superbly carved, and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The largest, Bete Medhani Alem, is 100 feet long, 70 feet wide, 35 feet high, and has walls that are up to six feet thick.

Your first day in Lalibela is Timkat Eve, so the city will be quite festive. On this first day you will visit some of the rock-hewn churches and in the afternoon you will attend the Timkat procession. The procession arrives at a water source and events culminate around 2 am when the priests perform mass and and bless the water. A communal baptism follows, with the most fervent Christians throwing themselves fully clothed into the water!

On the second day, the festival is in full swing, and you will attend the morning celebration followed by visiting more rock churches in the afternoon, trading off the festival crowds for the opportunity to share in the celebration. Timkat is the most important festival in the Ethiopian calendar. Crowds of revelers, all dressed in white, dance and sing in the streets to the beating of drums. Priests, dressed in jewel encrusted velvet and satin robes, carry a replica of the Arc of the Covenant, known as a tabot, in a grand procession through the streets.

Elevation:  2,630 m  / 8,626 ft

Meals
2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Lodging
Mountain View or Roha Hotel (or similar)

Day 5: axum / treasury and stelae

After breakfast, you will take a 40-minute flight to Axum. The legends narrated in the Kebre Nagast ˜Book of Kings” recount how, as early as the 10th century B.C., the city of Axum was already the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum, where it remains to this day, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting point between Africa and Asia for almost 1,000 years.

Also you will visit the stelae, granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings, and the church of Saint Mary of Zion, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures, and the 6th century tombs of King Kaleb and his son, Gebremeskal. Also visit the Queen Sheba Palace and bath and the archeological museum.

Dinner and overnight at the Sabean Hotel (or similar).

Elevation:  2,131 m / 7,546 ft

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Sabean Hotel (or similar)

Day 6: axum / gondar / simien mountains hiking

Watch the habits and activities of entertaining Gelada baboonsWatch the habits and activities of entertaining Gelada baboons

After breakfast, take the 1.75-hour flight to Gondar (elev 2210 m) and then drive to Debark (2-3 hour drive), the headquarters of the Simien Mountains National Park. After picking up a guard and a guide, you continue to Buit Ras, where you will spend the night at the Simien Lodge. The latter part of the day will be spent watching the Gelada Baboons, known for having bright red, hairless chests and throats. They live in groups of as many as 400 individuals, spend days foraging in the alpine meadows, and spend nights sleeping on cliff ledges.

Six hundred million years ago, the mountains were an enormous volcanic mass; rain and ice have carved deep fissures into them and rivers have continued the work of erosion, creating one of the greatest sculptures on the planet: peaks, canyons, gorges, clefts and pointed amethyst-colored pinnacles like obelisks. You arrive in Debark in the afternoon in a large village 3,000 meters above sea level, your base for excursions into the park.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Simien Lodge (or similar)

Day 7: gondar

Explore Gondar CastleExplore Gondar Castle

After breakfast, you will have the opportunity to hike the escarpments for about an hour and then you will drive back to Gondar, Ethiopia's royal capital until 1868. Its position at the intersection of several caravan routes made it the perfect location for a capital city. Gondar was previously the home of the Falasha, the "Black Jews" of Ethiopia, most of whom left for Israel in 1991. Founded by Emperor Fasilides in 1635, it has been called the "Camelot of Africa" because of its churches and a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of almost 250 years. It is not known for certain who built the castles, but many surmise they are the work of Portuguese craftsmen. The remainder of the day will be spent touring the fascinating sights for which Gondar is famous. You will explore the Royal Enclosure, which lies in the heart of the city and is surrounded by high stone walls and Fasilides’ Palace. From the southwestern corner of the structure, there is a terrific view all the way to Lake Tana. You will also visit the Debre Birhan Selassie Church, famous for its ”winged angel” faces that decorate the entire ceiling. Called the “Trinity at the Mount of Light,” it is one of Ethiopia’s most renowned places to visit. The ceiling and wall paintings depict the life, wit and humanity of Ethiopia. Dinner and overnight at the Goha Hotel (or similar).

Elevation:  2,210 m / 7,249 ft

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Goha Hotel (or similar)

Day 8: bahir dar

Today you will drive to Bahir Dar, a pleasant city located 1,800 meters above sea level on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, passing through many small towns and beautiful landscapes along the way. In the afternoon, visit the city of Bahir Dar, including a visit (exterior only) of the Bezawit Palace built in 1965 by Emperor Haile Selassie I, with its panoramic view of the city.

Dinner and overnight at the Abay Minch Lodge (or similar).  Ask your guide about where to go dancing this evening!

(Approx. 4-5 hours of driving today, not including visits.)

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Abay Minch Hotel (or similar)

Day 9: lake tana & cooking lesson

Marvel at detailed wall paintings at Lake TanaMarvel at detailed wall paintings at Lake Tana

In the morning, we will visit one of the country's oldest monasteries, Ura Kidane Mihret, at Zegie Peninsula on Lake Tana.  The artwork in this monastery is absolutely wonderful.  Of the 37 islands on Lake Tana, 30 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. On your way back, look for hippos and see the Blue Nile on a crossing of Lake Tana. The boat trip will take approximately 4 hours.  In the afternoon, we visit a private local house for a cooking lesson and to enjoy the results of your efforts.

Lake Tana Elevation: 1,788 m / 5,866 ft

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Abay Minch Hotel (or similar)

Day 10: addis ababa / debre zeit

Today you will fly back to Addis Ababa, arriving in time for lunch at Linda's Juventas.  After lunch, visit the Red Terror Martyr's Museum this afternoon before headint to Debre Zeit to spend the evening at the Kuriftu Resort. Time permitting, those who wish can visit Donkey Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that serves as an educational outreach program to ensure the continued health and welfare of country's donkey population. Others may choose to go directly to the resort to enjoy its location along one of the rift valley lakes, on which they can kayak, paddleboat or birdwatch. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lucnh, Dinner
Lodging
Kuriftu Resort (or similar)

Day 11: debre zeit / langano

Find beehive houses of the DorzeFind beehive houses of the Dorze

Today you will drive to Lake Langano in the Oromia region, the starting point of your Omo Valley exploration. Along the way, we will have several stops for some birdwatching. Not far from Addis Ababa, this popular holiday resort area has a splendid beach dotted with acacia trees and pinkish volcanic water ideal for swimming. The lake is full of inhabitants; there are many birds, monkeys, baboons, and (occasionally) hippos along the lake side.  The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Overnight at Sabanna Beach Resort (or similar).

(Approx. 4-5 hours of driving today, not including visits.)

Lake Langano Elevation:  1,585 m / 5,200 ft

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Sabanna Beach Resort (or similar)

Day 12: arba minch dorze region

Watch Dorze weavers, famous for their textilesWatch Dorze weavers, famous for their textiles

On the road to Arba Minch, you will cross fertile land planted with bananas, cereals, and tobacco. On your way, you will visit the Alaba tribes in their village and the Dorze people at Chencha. The Omo River Valley is very special, because nowhere else in the world are there so many ethnic groups inhabiting such a small area. During the next couple of days, you will continue to see many of these people, all of whom have their own languages and, for the most part, have few interactions across groups. The Dorze people are famous for their textiles and their bamboo “beehive” houses, each surrounded by a small garden. Participate in a coffee ceremony with the Dorze, observe “enset,” a false banana tree used by the Dorze practically in its entirety from roots to leaves, taste the local alcoholic drink, “areki.” Arba Minch is known for its delicious fish, fresh from Lake Chamo, and its spectacular wildlife found in the Nechi Sar National Park.

Overnight stay and dinner at the the Paradise Lodge or Swayne's Hotel (or similar) in Arba Minch.

(Approx. 5-6 hours of driving today, not including visits)

Arba Minch Elevation:  1,219 m / 3,999 ft

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Paradise Lodge or Swayne's Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: lake chamo, konso village, turmi

Visit the Erbore tribesVisit the Erbore tribes

In the morning, you will take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, populated with the largest crocodiles in Africa (7 meters) and hippos. You'll also spot many birds, including the African Fish Eagle. This afternoon you drive through the villages of the Konso and the Erbore tribes on your way to the small town of Turmi. The Konso boast a rich culture and a highly-specialized agricultural economy. Their beautifully-constructed buttressed stone terraces have allowed them to carve out a living from the dry and unyielding land around them. You may see totem poles erected on the tombs of their dead. The Erbore are a group of about 4,000 who subsist as agropastoralists, growing maize and sorghum and practicing animal husbandry. Living along the River Woyto, they have developed an elaborate irrigation system for their crops and, during the annual dry season, are able to supply neighbors with grain in exchange for livestock, coffee, tobacco, honey, and pots. To the southeast of the Konso village are the Borena, who are semi-nomadic shepherds. Their lives revolve around their cattle, and they take extraordinary steps to ensure a water supply for them during the dry season. (Note: the Borena Oromo Tribes cannot be visited on this day, as they live far from Konso, but will be seen on coming days.) Overnight stay and dinner at Buska Lodge (or similar).
(Approx: 6-7 hours of driving today, not including visits)

Lake Chamo Elevation:  1,235 m / 4,052 ft

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Buska Lodge (or similar)

Day 14: omorate / dimeka hammer market

Sing with the Hamer peopleSing with the Hamer people

Today you will drive to Omorate, a town a few hours north of the Omo valley, crossing the Omo River on a wooden boat to visit the Dasanech people. Although they originally led an almost totally nomadic lifestyle, the abundant water frontage and fertile soil of their present territory has subsequently led them toward a more diverse agricultural economy. Despite these changes, their nomadic roots are still clearly visible in their traditional villages comprised of small, domed huts, reminiscent of the impermanent structures of other nomadic peoples. Drive back to Turmi for lunch and a visit to the weekly Dimeka Hammer market. The Hammer, one of the largest groups in the valley, cultivate millet, vegetables, tobacco, and cotton, as well as raising cattle and goats. They are known for their fine pottery and remarkable hairstyling. Most dramatic of all are the clay hair buns with ostrich feathers that the men don after killing a fierce animal, something they then wear for 3-6 months at a time! The women wear beaded necklaces and iron coils around their arms, and their skin is decorated with cowry shells. These decorations indicate the wealth and prestige of a woman’s husband. Dinner and overnight at Buska Lodge.

(Approx. 4 hours of driving round trip, not including visit to Dasenach)

NOTE:  If there is a bull jumping ceremony, those who are interested may make arrangements with the guide to visit (additional charge, payable to the guide).

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Buska Lodge (or similar)

Day 15: karo tribe

Bumpy roads are worth enduring for what lies at their endsBumpy roads are worth enduring for what lies at their ends

In the morning, drive to Korcho Village to visit the Karo people and then drive to Jinka. The Karo are one of the most endangered tribes of the region, with only about 1,000 people who inhabit the eastern bank of the Omo. Formerly herders, they have since turned to agriculture because many of their cattle have been wiped out by disease. These people are masters at body decorating during festival time, using chalk to imitate the spotted plumage of the guinea fowl and making unique jewelry from most everything they find. Dinner and overnight at Jinka Resort Hotel (or similar).

While in this area and time permitting, visit an Ari village to meet the locals, especially the blacksmiths and potters, and the museum at Jinka to learn more about the tribes of the Omo Valley.

(Approx. 5 hours of driving today, not including visits)

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Jinka Resort Hotel (or similar)

Day 16: mursi tribe

Meet Mursi women and their tribes peopleMeet Mursi women and their tribes people

Today you will drive through the Mago National Park to meet the Mursi tribes. The Mursi are perhaps the best known of the tribal peoples in the Omo Valley due to the many documentaries made about them. They are nomadic pastoralists that move with the season and live in very low huts made of straw leaves. The most famous Mursi traditions include the lip and ear plates worn by the women and the hairstyles and fierce stick fighting done by the men.  Drive back to Jinka for lunch and then continue on to Konso,

Dinner and overnight at the Kanta Lodge or similar.
(Approx. 4-5 hours of driving, not including visits)

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Kanta Lodge (or similar)

Day 17: konso / borena tribe / yabelo

Meet the Tsemai tribes peopleMeet the Tsemai tribes people

Today you will drive to the Konso village and meet the Konso King (if available).  Lunch is taken back at the lodge before driving on to Yabelo, passing through the Borena Oromo villages, meeting people along the way. You'll spot many birds along your drive as well. Overnight at the Yabelo Motel or similar. 

(Approx. 7 hours of driving today, including market and tribe visits)

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
Yabelo Motel (or similar)

Day 18: around yabelo and awassa

Today you will drive around Yabelo to see the singing well where local people get water for their cattle and themselves. Then continue on to Awassa, passing through the coffee plantations and the Sidama villages, meeting locals along the way. Talk with your guide about a possible visit to the additional stellae on your way.  Arrive in Awassa around 5:30 pm, where you will overnight at the Haile Resort Hotel.
(Approx. 4 hours of driving today, not including visits)

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Haile Resort Hotel (or similar)

Day 19: awassa / tiya stele / addis ababa

Early in the morning, visit the Fish Market at Lake Awassa and then drive to Addis Ababa, passing through the Gurage villages. Here you'll visit the Tiya Stele (World Heritage site) in the afternoon and then arrive in Addis Ababa around 5:00 pm. Transfer to your hotel and then have a farewell dinner at Yod Abyssinia, one of the best folkloric restaurants in Ethiopia, with traditional Ethiopian dishes, music, and dances from different regions of the country. Overnight at the The Intercontinental Hotel.
(Approx. 6.5 hours of driving today, not including visits)

 

 

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
Intercontinental Hotel (or similar)

Day 20: addis ababa and departure

You have the morning free to explore and do some last-minute shopping before being transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Itinerary additions:  Tomoca's coffee house (www.tomocacoffee.com).  On a free evening Addis you should consider visiting the Fendika Traditional Bar to enjoy some music.

 

 

Meals
Breakfast

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$6,995
2016 3+ travelers $6,495 2 travelers $6,995 Internal airfare: $347 - $615; Price subject to change $347 If international flights on Ethiopian Airlines (tickets must be booked through ET) $615 if using other international carrier
Single Supplement:
$1,625
Subject to availability
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

This is an exciting but arduous trip on rough roads in remote areas. Be prepared for changes to the itinerary to accommodate weather and road conditions, as well as other things beyond our control.

Travelers available to begin in late December will include both the TImkat and Genna Festivals. The trip will be one day longer—21 days—and the cost will be the same. The itinerary will proceed as follows:

  • Days 1-2: Addis Ababa
  • Day 3: Bahir Dar / Blue Nile Falls / Lake Tana
  • Days 4-6: Gondar / Simien Mts / Gondar
  • Days 7-8: Lalibela / Genna Festival
  • Day 9: Axum
  • Day 10: Addis Ababa / Langano
  • Day 11: Arba Minch Dora region
  • Day 12: Lake Chamo / Konso village / Turmi
  • Day 13: Omorate / Turmi Market
  • Day 14: Karo village / Dimeka market / Jinka
  • Day 15: Mursi tribe / Konso
  • Day 16: Konso / Borena trike / Yabelo
  • Day 17: Around Yabelo / Awassa
  • Day 18: Tiya Stele / Addis Ababa
  • Day 19-20: Addis Ababa / Timkat Festival
  • Day 21: Depart
Duration:
20 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Small lodges & hotels
Activity Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Travel over rough roads
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

From the Bird's Word Blog

Celebrate Ethiopian style: The Genna and Timkat Festivals

Think ahead to January 7, 2017 and imagine what you’ll be doing. It’s the first Saturday after the US wintertime holidays, school is back in session, and most adult schedules have …

Timkat Festival procession.
Timkat Festival procession.
Watch the habits and activities of entertaining Gelada baboons
Watch the habits and activities of entertaining Gelada baboons
Explore Gondar Castle
Explore Gondar Castle
Marvel at detailed wall paintings at Lake Tana
Marvel at detailed wall paintings at Lake Tana
Find beehive houses of the Dorze
Find beehive houses of the Dorze
Watch Dorze weavers, famous for their textiles
Watch Dorze weavers, famous for their textiles
Visit the Erbore tribes
Visit the Erbore tribes
Sing with the Hamer people
Sing with the Hamer people
Bumpy roads are worth enduring for what lies at their ends
Bumpy roads are worth enduring for what lies at their ends
Meet Mursi women and their tribes people
Meet Mursi women and their tribes people
Meet the Tsemai tribes people
Meet the Tsemai tribes people
Beze (our partner company's owner) in the Simien Mountains
Beze (our partner company's owner) in the Simien Mountains
Pole jumping ceremony of the Hamer tribe
Pole jumping ceremony of the Hamer tribe
Playing with Hamer children
Playing with Hamer children

Ethiopia Timkat Festival & Cultural Odyssey

Axum, Gondar, Lalibela, Bahir Dar, Gelada baboons, and the Omo Valley

overview

NOTE:  Travelers interested in both the TImkat and Genna Festivals please choose the late December start date. The itinerary varies slightly from the trip described below which has Timkat only. To view the specific day-by-day for the trip that has both festivals click on the Need to Know tab.

Join the excitement of the Timkat Festival, Ethiopia’s Epiphany celebration. You will witness the festival in Lalibela, the site of the famous rock churches. You will also visit other awe-inspiring historical and spiritual sites, including the castles of Gondar and the Treasury in Axum, fabled home to the Ark of the Covenant. Visit Africa's largest open-air market in Addis Ababa. The “bleeding heart” Gelada Baboons can be seen on your overnight stay in the Simien Mountains. Then you make your way down to the Southern Omo Valley to visit with the indigenous peoples and markets of the area.

This trip is designed for the experienced and adventuresome traveler. Expect the unexpected and plan to revel in it. Parts of the trip will entail long drives over extremely bumpy, muddy roads and accommodations may be marginal at times. Vehicles may break down or roads may be closed. Your reward for enduring the rigor is immersing yourself in and getting to know a land—and a people—of surprising beauty, richness, hospitality, and exuberance.

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

NOTE:  Travelers interested in both the TImkat and Genna Festivals please choose the late December start date. The itinerary varies slightly from the trip described below which has Timkat only. To view the specific day-by-day for the trip that has both festivals click on the Need to Know tab.

Join the excitement of the Timkat Festival, Ethiopia’s Epiphany celebration. You will witness the festival in Lalibela, the site of the famous rock churches. You will also visit other awe-inspiring historical and spiritual sites, including the castles of Gondar and the Treasury in Axum, fabled home to the Ark of the Covenant. Visit Africa's largest open-air market in Addis Ababa. The “bleeding heart” Gelada Baboons can be seen on your overnight stay in the Simien Mountains. Then you make your way down to the Southern Omo Valley to visit with the indigenous peoples and markets of the area.

This trip is designed for the experienced and adventuresome traveler. Expect the unexpected and plan to revel in it. Parts of the trip will entail long drives over extremely bumpy, muddy roads and accommodations may be marginal at times. Vehicles may break down or roads may be closed. Your reward for enduring the rigor is immersing yourself in and getting to know a land—and a people—of surprising beauty, richness, hospitality, and exuberance.

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: arrive in addis ababa

    Welcome to Ethiopia!  You will be met at the airport upon arrival and taken to your accommodation. 

    Addis Ababa means “new flower” in Amharic, and it is Ethiopia’s largest city. Sitting at an elevation of about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level, it enjoys an excellent climate all year, with an average temperature of 75˚F.  

    For those who arrive early, you might want to undertake full day eating and market tour in Addis on foot.  This will be a delight for the senses, taste, sight and smell.  A great introduction to the local cuisine, and an opportunity to break bread with friends, new and old.  Please let us know.

    This evening you meet the other group travel companions over a welcome dinner. 

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Intercontinental Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: addis ababa sightseeing

    This morning, you will take a tour of Haile Selassie’s former palace, which is now the home of the Ethnological Museum. Exhibits here represent the best arts and crafts of the country and give an in-depth view of the various peoples of Ethiopia. You may also be able to meet with one of the professors from the Ethiopian Studies department who will also be available for questions about what you’ve seen if his schedule that day permits. Then, visit Ba'ata Church (Menelik’s Mausoleum) one of the oldest churches in Addis Ababa. Observe its beautiful paintings and the royal tombs of past emperors. Finally, visit the National Museum, considered by many to be the best museum in Africa. Here, cultural and archaeological relics, including a plaster cast of "Lucy," the 3.2 million-year-old hominid, are displayed. At the end of the day, you will see the Mercato, which is said to be Africa’s largest open-air market. Rumor has it that you can bargain for anything there, even a new soul! Time permitting, we may be able to visit Churchill Street, known for its many curio shops selling traditional Ethiopian crafts and fine quality silver and cotton. Dinner will be eaten out at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Intercontinental Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Days 3-4: lalibela timkat festival
    Timkat Festival procession.Timkat Festival procession.

    After breakfast, you will head to the airport for your two-hour flight to Lalibela, where you will spend the next two nights at the Mountain View or Roha Hotel (or similar), both furnished and decorated with artifacts inspired by the area's rock-hewn churches. At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, King Lalibela organized the construction of a series of churches hewn from pink granite, now classified as one of the ancient wonders of the world. Each church has a unique architectural style, all are superbly carved, and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The largest, Bete Medhani Alem, is 100 feet long, 70 feet wide, 35 feet high, and has walls that are up to six feet thick.

    Your first day in Lalibela is Timkat Eve, so the city will be quite festive. On this first day you will visit some of the rock-hewn churches and in the afternoon you will attend the Timkat procession. The procession arrives at a water source and events culminate around 2 am when the priests perform mass and and bless the water. A communal baptism follows, with the most fervent Christians throwing themselves fully clothed into the water!

    On the second day, the festival is in full swing, and you will attend the morning celebration followed by visiting more rock churches in the afternoon, trading off the festival crowds for the opportunity to share in the celebration. Timkat is the most important festival in the Ethiopian calendar. Crowds of revelers, all dressed in white, dance and sing in the streets to the beating of drums. Priests, dressed in jewel encrusted velvet and satin robes, carry a replica of the Arc of the Covenant, known as a tabot, in a grand procession through the streets.

    Elevation:  2,630 m  / 8,626 ft

    Meals
    2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
    Lodging
    Mountain View or Roha Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: axum / treasury and stelae

    After breakfast, you will take a 40-minute flight to Axum. The legends narrated in the Kebre Nagast ˜Book of Kings” recount how, as early as the 10th century B.C., the city of Axum was already the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum, where it remains to this day, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting point between Africa and Asia for almost 1,000 years.

    Also you will visit the stelae, granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings, and the church of Saint Mary of Zion, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures, and the 6th century tombs of King Kaleb and his son, Gebremeskal. Also visit the Queen Sheba Palace and bath and the archeological museum.

    Dinner and overnight at the Sabean Hotel (or similar).

    Elevation:  2,131 m / 7,546 ft

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Sabean Hotel (or similar)
  • Day 6: axum / gondar / simien mountains hiking
    Watch the habits and activities of entertaining Gelada baboonsWatch the habits and activities of entertaining Gelada baboons

    After breakfast, take the 1.75-hour flight to Gondar (elev 2210 m) and then drive to Debark (2-3 hour drive), the headquarters of the Simien Mountains National Park. After picking up a guard and a guide, you continue to Buit Ras, where you will spend the night at the Simien Lodge. The latter part of the day will be spent watching the Gelada Baboons, known for having bright red, hairless chests and throats. They live in groups of as many as 400 individuals, spend days foraging in the alpine meadows, and spend nights sleeping on cliff ledges.

    Six hundred million years ago, the mountains were an enormous volcanic mass; rain and ice have carved deep fissures into them and rivers have continued the work of erosion, creating one of the greatest sculptures on the planet: peaks, canyons, gorges, clefts and pointed amethyst-colored pinnacles like obelisks. You arrive in Debark in the afternoon in a large village 3,000 meters above sea level, your base for excursions into the park.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Simien Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: gondar
    Explore Gondar CastleExplore Gondar Castle

    After breakfast, you will have the opportunity to hike the escarpments for about an hour and then you will drive back to Gondar, Ethiopia's royal capital until 1868. Its position at the intersection of several caravan routes made it the perfect location for a capital city. Gondar was previously the home of the Falasha, the "Black Jews" of Ethiopia, most of whom left for Israel in 1991. Founded by Emperor Fasilides in 1635, it has been called the "Camelot of Africa" because of its churches and a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of almost 250 years. It is not known for certain who built the castles, but many surmise they are the work of Portuguese craftsmen. The remainder of the day will be spent touring the fascinating sights for which Gondar is famous. You will explore the Royal Enclosure, which lies in the heart of the city and is surrounded by high stone walls and Fasilides’ Palace. From the southwestern corner of the structure, there is a terrific view all the way to Lake Tana. You will also visit the Debre Birhan Selassie Church, famous for its ”winged angel” faces that decorate the entire ceiling. Called the “Trinity at the Mount of Light,” it is one of Ethiopia’s most renowned places to visit. The ceiling and wall paintings depict the life, wit and humanity of Ethiopia. Dinner and overnight at the Goha Hotel (or similar).

    Elevation:  2,210 m / 7,249 ft

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Goha Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: bahir dar

    Today you will drive to Bahir Dar, a pleasant city located 1,800 meters above sea level on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, passing through many small towns and beautiful landscapes along the way. In the afternoon, visit the city of Bahir Dar, including a visit (exterior only) of the Bezawit Palace built in 1965 by Emperor Haile Selassie I, with its panoramic view of the city.

    Dinner and overnight at the Abay Minch Lodge (or similar).  Ask your guide about where to go dancing this evening!

    (Approx. 4-5 hours of driving today, not including visits.)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Abay Minch Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: lake tana & cooking lesson
    Marvel at detailed wall paintings at Lake TanaMarvel at detailed wall paintings at Lake Tana

    In the morning, we will visit one of the country's oldest monasteries, Ura Kidane Mihret, at Zegie Peninsula on Lake Tana.  The artwork in this monastery is absolutely wonderful.  Of the 37 islands on Lake Tana, 30 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. On your way back, look for hippos and see the Blue Nile on a crossing of Lake Tana. The boat trip will take approximately 4 hours.  In the afternoon, we visit a private local house for a cooking lesson and to enjoy the results of your efforts.

    Lake Tana Elevation: 1,788 m / 5,866 ft

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Abay Minch Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: addis ababa / debre zeit

    Today you will fly back to Addis Ababa, arriving in time for lunch at Linda's Juventas.  After lunch, visit the Red Terror Martyr's Museum this afternoon before headint to Debre Zeit to spend the evening at the Kuriftu Resort. Time permitting, those who wish can visit Donkey Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that serves as an educational outreach program to ensure the continued health and welfare of country's donkey population. Others may choose to go directly to the resort to enjoy its location along one of the rift valley lakes, on which they can kayak, paddleboat or birdwatch. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lucnh, Dinner
    Lodging
    Kuriftu Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: debre zeit / langano
    Find beehive houses of the DorzeFind beehive houses of the Dorze

    Today you will drive to Lake Langano in the Oromia region, the starting point of your Omo Valley exploration. Along the way, we will have several stops for some birdwatching. Not far from Addis Ababa, this popular holiday resort area has a splendid beach dotted with acacia trees and pinkish volcanic water ideal for swimming. The lake is full of inhabitants; there are many birds, monkeys, baboons, and (occasionally) hippos along the lake side.  The remainder of the day is at leisure.

    Overnight at Sabanna Beach Resort (or similar).

    (Approx. 4-5 hours of driving today, not including visits.)

    Lake Langano Elevation:  1,585 m / 5,200 ft

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Sabanna Beach Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: arba minch dorze region
    Watch Dorze weavers, famous for their textilesWatch Dorze weavers, famous for their textiles

    On the road to Arba Minch, you will cross fertile land planted with bananas, cereals, and tobacco. On your way, you will visit the Alaba tribes in their village and the Dorze people at Chencha. The Omo River Valley is very special, because nowhere else in the world are there so many ethnic groups inhabiting such a small area. During the next couple of days, you will continue to see many of these people, all of whom have their own languages and, for the most part, have few interactions across groups. The Dorze people are famous for their textiles and their bamboo “beehive” houses, each surrounded by a small garden. Participate in a coffee ceremony with the Dorze, observe “enset,” a false banana tree used by the Dorze practically in its entirety from roots to leaves, taste the local alcoholic drink, “areki.” Arba Minch is known for its delicious fish, fresh from Lake Chamo, and its spectacular wildlife found in the Nechi Sar National Park.

    Overnight stay and dinner at the the Paradise Lodge or Swayne's Hotel (or similar) in Arba Minch.

    (Approx. 5-6 hours of driving today, not including visits)

    Arba Minch Elevation:  1,219 m / 3,999 ft

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Paradise Lodge or Swayne's Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: lake chamo, konso village, turmi
    Visit the Erbore tribesVisit the Erbore tribes

    In the morning, you will take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, populated with the largest crocodiles in Africa (7 meters) and hippos. You'll also spot many birds, including the African Fish Eagle. This afternoon you drive through the villages of the Konso and the Erbore tribes on your way to the small town of Turmi. The Konso boast a rich culture and a highly-specialized agricultural economy. Their beautifully-constructed buttressed stone terraces have allowed them to carve out a living from the dry and unyielding land around them. You may see totem poles erected on the tombs of their dead. The Erbore are a group of about 4,000 who subsist as agropastoralists, growing maize and sorghum and practicing animal husbandry. Living along the River Woyto, they have developed an elaborate irrigation system for their crops and, during the annual dry season, are able to supply neighbors with grain in exchange for livestock, coffee, tobacco, honey, and pots. To the southeast of the Konso village are the Borena, who are semi-nomadic shepherds. Their lives revolve around their cattle, and they take extraordinary steps to ensure a water supply for them during the dry season. (Note: the Borena Oromo Tribes cannot be visited on this day, as they live far from Konso, but will be seen on coming days.) Overnight stay and dinner at Buska Lodge (or similar).
    (Approx: 6-7 hours of driving today, not including visits)

    Lake Chamo Elevation:  1,235 m / 4,052 ft

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Buska Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: omorate / dimeka hammer market
    Sing with the Hamer peopleSing with the Hamer people

    Today you will drive to Omorate, a town a few hours north of the Omo valley, crossing the Omo River on a wooden boat to visit the Dasanech people. Although they originally led an almost totally nomadic lifestyle, the abundant water frontage and fertile soil of their present territory has subsequently led them toward a more diverse agricultural economy. Despite these changes, their nomadic roots are still clearly visible in their traditional villages comprised of small, domed huts, reminiscent of the impermanent structures of other nomadic peoples. Drive back to Turmi for lunch and a visit to the weekly Dimeka Hammer market. The Hammer, one of the largest groups in the valley, cultivate millet, vegetables, tobacco, and cotton, as well as raising cattle and goats. They are known for their fine pottery and remarkable hairstyling. Most dramatic of all are the clay hair buns with ostrich feathers that the men don after killing a fierce animal, something they then wear for 3-6 months at a time! The women wear beaded necklaces and iron coils around their arms, and their skin is decorated with cowry shells. These decorations indicate the wealth and prestige of a woman’s husband. Dinner and overnight at Buska Lodge.

    (Approx. 4 hours of driving round trip, not including visit to Dasenach)

    NOTE:  If there is a bull jumping ceremony, those who are interested may make arrangements with the guide to visit (additional charge, payable to the guide).

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Buska Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 15: karo tribe
    Bumpy roads are worth enduring for what lies at their endsBumpy roads are worth enduring for what lies at their ends

    In the morning, drive to Korcho Village to visit the Karo people and then drive to Jinka. The Karo are one of the most endangered tribes of the region, with only about 1,000 people who inhabit the eastern bank of the Omo. Formerly herders, they have since turned to agriculture because many of their cattle have been wiped out by disease. These people are masters at body decorating during festival time, using chalk to imitate the spotted plumage of the guinea fowl and making unique jewelry from most everything they find. Dinner and overnight at Jinka Resort Hotel (or similar).

    While in this area and time permitting, visit an Ari village to meet the locals, especially the blacksmiths and potters, and the museum at Jinka to learn more about the tribes of the Omo Valley.

    (Approx. 5 hours of driving today, not including visits)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Jinka Resort Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: mursi tribe
    Meet Mursi women and their tribes peopleMeet Mursi women and their tribes people

    Today you will drive through the Mago National Park to meet the Mursi tribes. The Mursi are perhaps the best known of the tribal peoples in the Omo Valley due to the many documentaries made about them. They are nomadic pastoralists that move with the season and live in very low huts made of straw leaves. The most famous Mursi traditions include the lip and ear plates worn by the women and the hairstyles and fierce stick fighting done by the men.  Drive back to Jinka for lunch and then continue on to Konso,

    Dinner and overnight at the Kanta Lodge or similar.
    (Approx. 4-5 hours of driving, not including visits)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Kanta Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 17: konso / borena tribe / yabelo
    Meet the Tsemai tribes peopleMeet the Tsemai tribes people

    Today you will drive to the Konso village and meet the Konso King (if available).  Lunch is taken back at the lodge before driving on to Yabelo, passing through the Borena Oromo villages, meeting people along the way. You'll spot many birds along your drive as well. Overnight at the Yabelo Motel or similar. 

    (Approx. 7 hours of driving today, including market and tribe visits)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Yabelo Motel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 18: around yabelo and awassa

    Today you will drive around Yabelo to see the singing well where local people get water for their cattle and themselves. Then continue on to Awassa, passing through the coffee plantations and the Sidama villages, meeting locals along the way. Talk with your guide about a possible visit to the additional stellae on your way.  Arrive in Awassa around 5:30 pm, where you will overnight at the Haile Resort Hotel.
    (Approx. 4 hours of driving today, not including visits)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Haile Resort Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 19: awassa / tiya stele / addis ababa

    Early in the morning, visit the Fish Market at Lake Awassa and then drive to Addis Ababa, passing through the Gurage villages. Here you'll visit the Tiya Stele (World Heritage site) in the afternoon and then arrive in Addis Ababa around 5:00 pm. Transfer to your hotel and then have a farewell dinner at Yod Abyssinia, one of the best folkloric restaurants in Ethiopia, with traditional Ethiopian dishes, music, and dances from different regions of the country. Overnight at the The Intercontinental Hotel.
    (Approx. 6.5 hours of driving today, not including visits)

     

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Intercontinental Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 20: addis ababa and departure

    You have the morning free to explore and do some last-minute shopping before being transferred to the airport for your flight home.

    Itinerary additions:  Tomoca's coffee house (www.tomocacoffee.com).  On a free evening Addis you should consider visiting the Fendika Traditional Bar to enjoy some music.

     

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$6,995
2016 3+ travelers $6,495 2 travelers $6,995 Internal airfare: $347 - $615; Price subject to change $347 If international flights on Ethiopian Airlines (tickets must be booked through ET) $615 if using other international carrier
Single Supplement:
$1,625
Subject to availability
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

This is an exciting but arduous trip on rough roads in remote areas. Be prepared for changes to the itinerary to accommodate weather and road conditions, as well as other things beyond our control.

Travelers available to begin in late December will include both the TImkat and Genna Festivals. The trip will be one day longer—21 days—and the cost will be the same. The itinerary will proceed as follows:

  • Days 1-2: Addis Ababa
  • Day 3: Bahir Dar / Blue Nile Falls / Lake Tana
  • Days 4-6: Gondar / Simien Mts / Gondar
  • Days 7-8: Lalibela / Genna Festival
  • Day 9: Axum
  • Day 10: Addis Ababa / Langano
  • Day 11: Arba Minch Dora region
  • Day 12: Lake Chamo / Konso village / Turmi
  • Day 13: Omorate / Turmi Market
  • Day 14: Karo village / Dimeka market / Jinka
  • Day 15: Mursi tribe / Konso
  • Day 16: Konso / Borena trike / Yabelo
  • Day 17: Around Yabelo / Awassa
  • Day 18: Tiya Stele / Addis Ababa
  • Day 19-20: Addis Ababa / Timkat Festival
  • Day 21: Depart
Duration:
20 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Small lodges & hotels
Activity Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Travel over rough roads
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Simien Mountains Trek

Duration: 6 days

After your Cradle of Man trip extend your stay in Ethiopia with a trek in the Simien Mountains.

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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