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Nov 24, 2011

20 Day’s Exploring Ethiopia

Activity Package
This is a compulsory payment that covers what we consider to be an ‘essential activity’ on our tour. This payment is 100% transparent and is listed below. As the activity package on this tour is compulsory; we recommend that you pre-pay this to your agent prior to your arrival.

Activity Price
Compulsory National Park Fees R3940
Countries Visited Ethiopia
Vehicle 4×4 vehicle
Malaria Malaria prophylactics are required throughout the route.

Departure Point 8:00am from the Embilta Hotel, near Rasbesta Hospital, Enklalfbrika. Tel: +251 11 372 6120 http://www.embiltahotel.com
End Point The Embilta Hotel, near Rasbesta Hospital, Enklalfbrika. Tel: +251 11 372 6120 http://www.embiltahotel.com

What’s included Accommodation, registered guides and transport as per itinerary.
What’s excluded All items of a personal nature, alcohol, snacks, souvenirs, tips and optional activities (see list for an indication of prices.)

Health
Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disability that you may have.

VisasPlease note that these are your responsibility. Most nationalities require visas for Ethiopia. See Pre Departure Booklet for more information.

Vaccinations A Yellow Fever Certificate is required for this tour. Please see the Pre Departure Information booklet for detailed information on vaccinations in Africa.

Insurance All clients require adequate Travel Insurance. Medical Insurance is not sufficient. Activity providers can refuse participation of activities, if the correct valid Travel Insurance is not provided. Travel insurance can be purchased via the Nomad website http://www.nomadtours.co.za/travel_insurance.html (Nomad World travel insurance is in no way affiliated with Nomad Tours)

Climate
The African sun is very strong. Please use a factor 30 sunscreen and wear a hat. You should drink at least 3 litres of water per day to avoid dehydration. It can also get very cold during winter months on this route. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information.

Currency and Banking
USD (United States Dollars) is the best currency for Ethiopia. Travellers Cheques can take a long time to change into cash and often incur unreasonable charges. Credit cards cannot always be processed – especially in remote areas, and cash points (ATMs) might not recognise foreign debit or credit cards. USD Notes printed before 2004 (i.e. the old style notes) will not be accepted and many places will not accept USD100 notes, so make sure to bring lots of $1, $5 and $10 notes for tips and craft markets. USD20 and USD50 notes are good to change in to local currency. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information on each country.

Onward Travel Fly to Nairobi and enjoy our Masai Mara & Gorillas tour, a Kilimanjaro Trek or East African Adventre – South.

Pre and Post Tour Accommodation
If you require accommodation before or after your tour we can arrange this for you. We can also arrange airport transfers – contact your travel agent or Nomad to make these bookings.

Arrival Please be sure to arrive 1 day before your tour is due to depart. This will avoid any problems such as forgotten luggage, misplaced bags or any unforeseen problems such as airline strikes or delayed flight arrival.
Departure Please book your flight to depart the day after the tour officially ends. This is to account for any delays that we may experience due to unpredictable road conditions.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
Country Area Activity Price Range
Ethiopia Addis Ababa Dinner at Local Restaurant $30 to $60
Ethiopia Bahirdar Boat Trip on Nile River $10 to $15
Ethiopia Bahirdar Boat Trip on Lake Tana 1 – 8 clients $25 to $35
Ethiopia Gonder Black Jews Community Center Small donation
Ethiopia Semien Mountains Mountain Biking $25 to $30
Ethiopia Semien Mountains Mule Riding + Muleteer $5 to $15
Ethiopia Lalibela Coffee Ceremony $10 to $15
Ethiopia Through out Local House Visit $5 to $15

Note:
There are more optional activities being created every day – we have listed only the most popular. If there is something specific you would like to do then speak to your guide who will be able to assist you.

Day 1 Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar
After a short briefing we drive to Bahir Dar, the road takes a winding route over the Ethiopian Plateau towards Debre Libanso for lunch. After eating we continue to our campsite at Bahir Dar. Bahir Dar is a large town on the edge of Ethiopia’s largest lake, the deep blue Lake Tana. Optional Activities: Lake Tana cruise, Blue Nile Falls

Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Tana Hotel camping grounds www.ghionhotel.com.et/tana.htm
Facilities: Water not drinkable, shared ablutions
Route: Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar. ±565 km
Travel time: ±10 hrs

The group meets at the Embilta Hotel (near Rasbesta Hospital, Enklalfbrika. Tel: +251 11 372 6120) and after a short briefing we drive north east towards Bahir Dar. This route takes a winding road over the Ethiopian Plateau (2 800 m above sea level). The landscape of the plateau is dotted with villages and colourful markets. Along the roadside a myriad of people move on foot carrying hand crafted goods such as grain, tobacco, fruits and weaved cotton, to be sold at the market in the nearest village. After 105 km we reach the famous medieval monastery of Debre Libanso, founded in the 13th century in a magnificent 700 m-high canyon. The canyon has a stream that tumbles down over several waterfalls and past the new church, built by Haile Selassie in the 1950’s, to its derelict predecessor. On the opposite side of the stream we can view the cave where Tekle Haymanot prayed until his death (at 98 years old), which is now a shrine. We stop here for a visit; the local priest will gladly bless visitors with holy water from the cave (provided you haven’t eaten anything yet that day) and we see some of the monks and nuns that live in the nearby caves. Then we set off again towards our final destination. Crossing huge canyons, we come upon the curves of the Blue Nile Gorge. This magnificent gorge is 1 km deep and was once thought to be the deepest in Africa (a title now bestowed on the Fish River Canyon in Namibia). The gorge follows the river south of Lake Tana before it gushes out of Ethiopia to meet the White Nile at Khartoum in Sudan. We pass though Dejen and arrive at Debre Markos for lunch. Afterwards we travel to Bahir Dar (245 km). We drive through very beautiful landscapes on a recently constructed asphalt road. We arrive in Bahir Dar towards evening and spend the night camping.
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa, meaining “new flower” in Amharic, is the capital city of Ethiopia. It is the largest city in Ethiopia, with a population of more than 3.5 million. As a chartered city Addis Ababa has the status of both a city and a state. It is where the African Union and its predecessor the OAU are based. Addis Ababa is therefore often referred to as “the political capital of Africa” due to its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. The city is populated by people from different regions of Ethiopia – the country has as many as 80 nationalities speaking 80 languages and belonging to a wide variety of religious communities. The city lies at the foot of Mount Entoto. From its lowest point, around Bole International Airport, at 2 326 m above sea level in the southern periphery, the city rises to over 3 000 metres in the Entoto Mountains to the north.

Day 2 Bahir Dar
Bahir Dar is a large town on the edge of Lake Tana with a sticky tropical ambience, more similar to somewhere like Awassa in the Rift Valley. Today, this is probably the most important commercial centre. With a population of 150, 000, it’s the largest town in Ethiopia and the fastest growing as well.

The central market is one of the finest in the country and worth a few hours time. You can pick up a goatskin injera – a holder used by herdsmen as a “picnic basket”. There in a daily fish market on the shore of the lake about 500m from the Ghion Hotel. Here you can also see a large number of papyrus tankwa boats and pelicans.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Tana Hotel camping area www.ghnionhotel.com.et/tana.htm
Facilities: Water not drinkable, shared ablutions
Route: Bahir Dar
Travel time: ±4 hrs trip to Blue Nile Falls + 4hrs on a boat
Lake Tana
The Lake is the largest in Ethiopia (with a surface area of 3 673 square km) and is the source of the Blue Nile. This explains many links between Ethiopia and the ancient world. About 30 km after the river exits the Lake, the Blue Nile plunges over a rock face 45 m high and 100 m wide to form one of Africa’s most spectacular waterfalls (known to the locals as Tis Abay, meaning ‘Smoke of the Nile’ because it gives rise to mist and rainbows). Those who wish may descend to the base of the falls climb back up the other side and cross the Nile in a papyrus boat (traditionally known as a tankwa) in order to return to the point of departure.
In the afternoon the tour embarks on a boat trip exploring Lake Tana and its islands. There are 37 islands on Lake Tana and 30 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. We visit the monastery churches of Ura Kidane Mihret and Azoa Mariam. Ura Kidane Mihret is the best known of the monasteries, founded in the 14th century and set within bleak stone walls. The church has an important collection of religious icons from the 16th to 18th centuries A.D., which include old crowns of Ethiopian Kings, ancient leather bound bibles and other treasures. Azoa Mariam is known for its paintings and we also have time to visit the small museum.

Day 3 Bahir Dar to Gonder
In the morning we drive from Bahir Dar to Gonder. We arrive in the afternoon and here there will be a tour of Gonder. Gonder is the most impressive of Ethiopia’s major cities, and was the first capital city of the Ethiopian Empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas.

In Gonder, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. In the afternoon, we visit Fasilidas’ castle, probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area and the oldest one! It was constructed in 1640 and re-stored sometime in the mid-20th century.

Fasilidas castle is made of stone and shows a unique combination of Portuguese, Axumite and even Indian influences. The walls are decorated with a symbol similar to the Star of David, which became the emblem of the Ethiopian royal family after the Solomonic dynasty reclaimed the Throne in the 13th century.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Goha Hotel camping area www.ghionhotel.com.et/goha.htm
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable.
Route: Bahir Dar to Gonder. ±180 km
Travel time: ±3 hrs
Gonder
Gonder was once the capital city of the Ethiopian Empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. There are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. In the afternoon, we visit Fasilidas’ castle, probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area and the oldest one! Constructed in 1640, it was restored in the mid-20th century. Fasilidas castle is made of stone and shows a unique combination of Portuguese, Axumite and even Indian influences. The walls are decorated with a symbol similar to the Star of David, which became the emblem of the Ethiopian royal family after the Solomonic dynasty reclaimed the Throne in the 13th century.

Day 4 Gonder to Simien Mountains
4 km after leaving Gonder on our way to the Simien Mountain National Park, we visit the Woleka village. This village of the Felasha (African Jews) is famous for their (poor) ceramics made in the Felasha tradition. All but one of the Felasha occupants was airlifted to Israel during the last famine. The Felasha woman who remains is also trying to immigrate to Israel.

Then we head off to the Simien Mountains, one of Africa’s largest mountain ranges (Simien National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The road passes over mountainous areas of wild beauty, drawing close to the Simien Massif (in Amharic, Simien means north). In the park, many of the mountain peaks exceed 4,000 m (13123 ft). The highest is Ras Dejen, at 4,543 m (1905 ft) above sea level, it is the highest point in Ethiopia and the 4th highest in Africa.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Sankaber Campsite (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablutions.
Route: Gonder to Simien Mountains. ±140 km
Travel time: ±5 hrs
Simien Mountains
The Simien National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The road passes over mountainous areas of wild beauty, drawing close to the Simien Massif (in Amharic, simien means north). In the park, many of the mountain peaks exceed 4 000 m and the highest is Ras Dejen. At 4 543 m above sea level it is the highest point in Ethiopia and the 4th highest in Africa. These mountains consist of volcanic masses that have been eroded away by centuries of rain. Today they have amethyst-colored peaks and deep gullies, which have been further deepened by rivers. The crevices are host to the Walya, the ibex of the Simien Mountains.

Day 5 Simien Mountains to Axum
The road passes over mountain regions of the National Park with its wild beauty. Passing though the Limalimo Mountain; we traverse the Tekeze valley, and with breath taking views, we finely reach Axum. The legends narrated in the Kebre Nagast (‘Book of Kings’) recount how the city of Axum was, as early as the 10th century B.C, 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 and it remains there 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 a thousand years. A visit is organised to the stelae: granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings. In ancient times, there were seven large steles, now one of them is in Rome – Mussolini brought it there during Italy’s occupation of Ethiopia.

We will also visit the museum next to the church of Tsion Maryam, built by Haile Selassie’s wife and containing the crowns of past Kings, ancient crosses and the supposed Ark of the Covenant. There is also a visit to the church of Tsion Maryam (St Mary of Zion), which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures, although entrance is forbidden to women.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Yeha Hotel, Camping area www.ghionhotel.com.et/yeha.htm
Facilities: Shared ablutions
Route: Simien Mountains to Axum. ±260 km
Travel time: ±8 hrs
Axum
The legends in the Kebre Nagast (‘Book of Kings’) recount how the city of Axum was the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided as early as the 10th century B.C. It is written that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there 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 a thousand years. A visit is organised to the stelae: granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings.

Day 6 Axum to Mekele
We drive through beautiful panoramic roads to Yeha. The ruined city of Yeha dates back 2,700 years. The city’s oldest structure is a well-preserved 12m-high stone temple that is thought to be over 2, 500 years old. Nobody knows what religion was practiced in the temple, but appearances suggest links with the pagan faith of the Sabaean civilization of South Arabia. A little further along the road we find the monastery of Debre Damo, the oldest church in Ethiopia (dating from the Axumite epoch). Only men are allowed to visit the church and it is necessary to climb up to it with the aid of a rope. From the 8th to the 15th century, in this region, hundreds of rock-hewn churches were carved and constructed out of one rock. Many of the churches are carved directly into the cliff walls of the ‘Ambas’: typical Ethiopian mountains with flat tops and almost vertical sides. Along the way, we visit some of the churches. Then it’s onward to Mekele for dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Axum Hotel camping area www.axumhotels.com
Facilities: Shared ablutions
Route: Axum to Mekele. ±240 km
Travel time: ±7 hrs
Mekele
Mekele was still considered a small rustic town in 1970, with a population of only 20 000, and it didn’t even feature among the top ten towns in the 1984 census. Now Mekele is the 5th largest town in the country, with a population of over 130 000.
The city is situated in a hill-ringed basin at roughly 2 000 m, and is the capital of Tigray. This is a large city where modern buildings mix with rustic stone architecture, a true city of contrast. It does not have the history of other smaller towns, and there is no mention of it in the old scripture or in the old maps of the area. Mekele owes its success over the years to Emperor Yohannis IV, who believed he was conceived in the area. Yohanni IV founded a few churches in the area during the early years of his reign. He built a large castle in 1882-84 to be his home in the latter years of his reign.

Day 7 Mekele to Lalibela
The whole day is required to cover this distance. The unpaved road climbs several times to heights of about 3,000 m and descends into valleys where powerful rivers run. The landscape is dry, but visually splendid. For a considerable stretch, the winding road follows the spectacular canyon of the river Tekeze, one of the principal rivers of Ethiopia. Just before Lalibela, is the beautiful rock hewn church of Genete Mariam. We arrive in Lalibela in the evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Roha Hotel, Camping area www.ghionhotel.com.et/roha.htm
Facilities: Water not drinkable, shared ablutions.
Route: Mekele to Lalibala. ±360 km
Travel time: ±9 hrs
Lalibela
This unique city in the mountains of Lasts is located at 2 600 m above sea level. It was known as Roha from the 10th century to the mid 13th century, and was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty. Its modern name comes from the most famous of the Zagwe rulers, the 12th century King Lalibela.
The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of the pink granite rock. They have been classified as one of the 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 entire city may be described as a work of art dedicated to the glory of God. Legend has it that King Lalibela was instructed by angels to build a replica of the rock city he saw in a vision. Other legends have it he was in exile in Jerusalem and was inspired to create the ‘new’ Jerusalem in Roha.

Day 8 Lalibela
This strange city in the mountains of Lasts is located at 2,600 m above sea level. Roha, as it was known back in the 10th century to the mid 13th century, was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty. Its modern name comes from the most famous of the Zagwe rulers, the 12th century King Lalibela.

It contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of the pink granite rock; they have been classified as one of the 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 entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. Legend has it that King Lalibela was instructed by angles to build the replica of a rock city he saw in a vision, other stories say he was in exile in Jerusalem and was inspired to create the ‘new’ Jerusalem in Roha. The day is dedicated to visiting the churches and exploring the city itself. Tonight we have dinner and stay in the same hotel as the previous night.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Roha Hotel, Camping area www.ghionhotel.com.et/roha.htm
Facilities: Water not drinkable, shared ablutions

Day 9 Lalibela to Kombolcha
The road runs through villages, cultivated plains and small passes. Here, we are close to the land occupied by the Afar shepherds, a Semi-nomadic people who live mainly in the deserts of Danakil depression. We encounter them on the road with their caravans of camels.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Tekele Hotel, Camping area (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablutions.
Route: Lalibela to Kombolcha. ±325 km
Travel time: ±8 hrs

Day 10 Kombolcha to Addis Ababa
The road crosses the Ethiopian plateaux, with its vast expanses of cultivated fields. In Senbete, on Sundays, there is an interesting market where the Afar, Oromo and Amhara peoples meet. We arrive in Addis Ababa in the evening.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Embilta: http://www.ethiopiahotelguide.com/hotel.php?id=378
Route: Kombolcha to Addis Ababa. ±375 km
Travel time: ±8 hrs

Day 11 Addis Ababa to Arba Minch
It’s an early start as we leave Addis Ababa and begin the adventure of Omo Valley in 4×4 vehicles. We pass by the Rift Valley lakes before arriving into Arba Minch. This town is the largest in southern Ethiopia; it is situated among green hills that offer grand views over the Rift Valley Lakes of Abaya and Chamo. Tonight we have dinner in the Soma Restaurant, famous for its fresh fish dishes.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bekeie Mola Hotel Camping area (no website available)
Facilities: Restaurant, bar, shared ablutions.
Route: Addis Ababa to Arba Minch. ±505 km
Travel time: ±9-10 hrs

Day 12 Arba Minch
In the morning we take a relaxing, yet very rewarding boat trip on Lake Chamo, which although much smaller, is much bluer in colour, and populated by a substantial number of crocodiles and hippos. Abaya is the largest of the Rift Valley lakes +-1,070km2 and has a rusty appearance resulting from ferrous hydroxide suspended in the water.

Later in the afternoon we visit the Nechisar National Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in Africa. Established in 1974 and set in the Rift Valley at an altitude of 1,100 – 1,650m, the park not only covers the easterly Nechisar(white grass) plains is named after, but also a large part of the two lakes and the mountainous “bridge of God” that lies between the two lakes. On the open Nechisar plains is the best viewing spot to see large game, most commonly of which is Burchell’s zebra which are regularly see in herds of 100 or more and Grant’s gazelle, although rare there are also ±100 Swayne’s hartebeest. Lion, cheetah and even African Wild dog are present, but you’d be extremely lucky to see them.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bekele Mola, Camping area (no website available)
Facilities: Restaurant, bar, shared ablutions.
Route: Arba Minch
Travel time: ±6 hrs round trip in National Park
Nechisar National Park
Established in 1974 and set in the Rift Valley at an altitude of 1 100 – 1 650 m, the park not only covers the easterly Nechisar (white grass) plains, but also two lakes and the mountainous “bridge of God”. The open plains are the best viewing spot to see large game, most commonly seen is Burchell’s Zebra and Grant’s Gazelle, and although rare there are also ± 100 Swayne’s Hartebeest. Lion, cheetah and even African Wild Dog are present, but you’d be extremely lucky to see them.

Day 13 Arba Minch to Turmi
The road continues into the savannah, running alongside the “Mountains of Men”, the road then rises up the Karkerte Mountains (providing splendid panoramic views) until it reaches the soft, terraced hills of Konso. Here we visit a Konso village on the southern extensions of the highlands to meet the locals who are excellent farmers. The Konso are also noted for their unusual practice of sculpting eerie wooden statues to mark the graves of their dead. Should the Chief of Konso be in residence, we may be granted an audience with him. Then we continue our route through the savannah and on to Turmi where the tour will spend the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Buska Lodge and Camp Site www.buskalodge.com
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable, bar, restaurant
Route: Arba Minch to Turmi. ±260 km
Travel time: ±7 hrs
Turmi
Although small in size, Turmi is an important transport hub and best known for its Monday market, possibly the most important in Hamer country. There are a few small and unspoilt Hamer villages within a 2 km radius of Turmi town.

Day 14 Turmi to Omorate
Today we drive through the savannah along tracks that are barely visible, passing through a vast meadowland with shrubs and umbel lifers (“umbrella” acacia trees). As we pass over the Omo River nothing in Ethiopia or modern Africa prepares you for South Omo. This area is filled with extraordinary cultural integrity, where the people weren’t even aware that such a thing as Ethiopia existed until 50 years ago. Omorate lies on the eastern bank of the Omo River and is almost totally isolated from the rest of Ethiopia.

The main attraction is the Dasanech Villages on the out skirts of the town. The Dasanech are also known as Galeb or Reshiat. They were forced out of their homeland in a region called Nyupe, to the west of Turkana, by the expansionist wars of Turkana in the 18th century. They now cover a large territory of the western banks of the Omo all the way south to Lake Turkana. Here we will encounter the Galeb people in the countryside and go into the villages, after which we head back to Omorate to look at the local wild life on the banks of the river. We return to Turmi for the evening to rest before tomorrow’s adventure.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Buska Lodge and Camp Site www.buskalodge.com
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable, bar, restaurant
Route: Turmi – Omorate – Turmi.
Travel time: ±5 hrs

Day 15 Turmi to Mago National Park
Today we continue northwest up towards Murulle, where we can visit the Karo tribes of Kolcho and Dus. We then continue to Mago National Park, from here on there is no real track to speak of any more. Instead we travel through the savannah in a typically African landscape. Here we will frequently be running into herds of Oryx and gazelle. Surrounded by huge trees, this is the land of the Karo tribe and it is possible to meet with them along the river.

We continue the drive north to Mago National Park. Mago National Park was proclaimed in the 1960’s and is bisected by the Mago River, which flows into the Omo on the southern boundary. After about 2 hours of rough road we arrive at the camp site where we spend the night in tents.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Mago Campsite (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable
Route: Turmi to Mago National Park. ±201 km
Travel time: ±9 hrs

The campsite is situated in a beautiful clearing among towering trees, which provide shade, and near the river Neri. We’ll visit the Mursi village situated close by. The Mursi are most notably known for their custom in which the women slowly expand their lower lips using disks that gradually get larger and larger. These are people who farm the land and breed livestock; they live in almost complete isolation from the rest of the world. There are not that many animals visible during the day in the park, but by night we are surrounded by thousands of sounds, among which is the trumpeting of elephants.
Mago National Park
Mago National Park was proclaimed in the 1970’s and is bisected by the Mago River, which flows into the Omo on the southern boundary. It is the newest of Ethiopia’s National Parks and its highest point is Mount Mago (2 528 m). The Mago River, which is 760 km long, originates in the central, south-western highlands of Ethiopia, where it is known as the Gibe. Its final destination is Lake Turkana, close to the Kenyan border.

Day 16 Mago National Park to Arba Minch
We leave Mago National Park on the return journey towards to the northeast, passing though the Konso villages. We will have a very brief stopover in Jinka and then continue towards Key Afer where we will visit the Ari and Bana tribes. You can have lunch in one of the local hotels or restaurants. Then it’s back on the road and towards the evening we will arrive at Arba Minch.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bekeie Mola camping area (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablutions, water not drinkable
Route: Mago National Park to Arba Minch. ±245 km
Travel time: ±11 hrs

The Ari are the largest tribe in the southern Omo, with territory’s extending from the northern borders of Mago National Park into the highlands around Jinka and Key Afer, and further still to the north. In the 1984 census they were numbered at about 100 000, and are considerably larger today. As with the Hamer, the Ari speak a south Omotic language, which is divided into ten distinct regional dialects. Both tribes are farmers who grow various grains, keep livestock, and produce excellent honey.

Day 17 Arba Minch to Awassa
This morning we return to the road that leads back up the Rift Valley. On route the tour cross through fertile lands that have been planted with bananas, cereals and tobacco. All kinds of fruit and weaved goods are sold along the roadside. On the way we’ll stop off in Chencha and visit a Dorze village. The Dorze people are renowned cotton weavers, and their tall beehive-shaped huts are the most distinctive in Africa, these remarkable huts can measure up to 6 meters tall, and are constructed entirely from organic material. These dome structures are extremely durable; one would last a lifetime.

In the afternoon the tour arrives at Awassa, this large city is located on the edge of Lake Awassa, at an altitude of 1,685m and about 275km south of Addis Ababa. The lake is the smallest of the Rift Valley lakes. Set in an ancient volcanic caldera, the lake has no outlets, yet remains fresh with an abundance of both fish and bird life. Lake Awassa is surrounded by stunning mountains and lush fringing vegetation. There is also a beautiful dyke that runs along the lake close to town , built to prevent flooding when the lake rises, which is perfect for walks, to stretch those legs and go bird watching.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Wabishebele Hotel Campsite (no website available)
Facilities: Water not drinkable, shared ablutions.
Route: Arba Minch to Awassa. ±280 km
Travel time: ±7-8 hrs

Birds in the area included the fish eagle, silvery-cheeked hornbill, grey kestrel, several types of weavers and much more. There are also hippos present in the lake which can be seen from a boat. The city itself has a great open market, Monday and Thursday, as well as a daily fish market on the lakeshore. This is also a good place to go to the bank to change traveller’s checks and USD.

Day 18 Awassa to Dinsho
The tour now heads out east towards Dinsho, the route passes through immense fields of wheat, barley and high-altitude meadows. This is a particularly lush green landscape, especially in October and November. The local Ormo people, move from one village to the next on small horses, carrying various goods of grain and weaved cotton. We arrive in the evening, have dinner and camp the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bale National Park HQ (no website available)
Facilities: Shared Ablutions
Route: Awassa to Dinsho. ±195 km
Travel time: ±7-8 hrs

Day 19 Dinsho
Dinsho is our gateway to the Bale Mountains National Park. The park encompasses the higher reaches of the Bale range, including Mt Tullo Deemtu – at 4,377m; it is the second highest peak in Ethiopia. The main attractions are the wild alpine scenery, especially the 4,000m-high Senetti Plateau as well as the Simien wolves. The road across the Senetti Plateau is reportedly the highest all weather road in Africa. We’ll spend the day exploring the park and meeting some of the locals

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bale National Park HQ (no website available)
Facilities: Shared ablution
Route: Dinsho to Sanetti. ±90 km
Travel time: ±6-7 hrs

There are many protected mammals in the park, including nyala, kudu, gazelles and the rare wolves found in the mountains. The day is dedicated to visiting the park, with the option to go on short treks or horse riding. Then the tour returns to camp for dinner.

Day 20 Dinsho to Addis Ababa
The tour heads back up north for the drive to Addis Ababa.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Own arrangements / post-tour accommodation can be booked through Nomad.
Route: Dinsho to Addis Ababa. ±400 km
Travel time: ±10 hrs

Tour Ends We will drop you off at the Embilta Hotel www.embiltahotel.com. Your acommodation for the night needs to be pre-booked through your travel agent or Nomad. We suggest you book accommodation here for this evening. If you choose to stay elsewhere you will need to arrange a transfer.

TIPPING ON TOUR
Ethiopia: In general tipping in restaurants is expected and is around 10% for good service, more if you have received exceptional service, and, feel free not to tip at all if you received poor service. Tipping taxi drivers etc is really at your own discretion and not always expected. If in doubt please ask your guides. It is expected to tip Porters and Car-guards etc. Ask your guides how much is appropriate in local currency.

The crew can be tipped if you feel that they have done a good job and/or gone above and beyond the call of duty. The recommended amount is between USD1-2 per person, per day, per crew member.
The best way to arrange tips is to elect one person in the group to collect the money. So if you have 3-crew on a tour, we would recommend that 3 envelopes are used and each crew member’s name written on one. Place what you feel is fair in to each envelope and the elected person can give these to the crew at the end of the tour. If you do not feel that the crew deserve a tip, please, do not tip them.

THE NOMAD AFRICAN TRUST www.nomadafricantrust.co.za
At Nomad we are passionate about the people, places and wildlife of Africa that make our tours so special. In order to give back we have set up the Nomad African Trust.

By the end of your tour you may have left-over local currency that you will not be able to change outside of its country of origin. Any assistance you could provide to the trust by donating this left over currency by depositing it in the secure box provided on the truck is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help and please join our newsletter at the website above to receive regular updates on what we are doing to support our beneficiaries.

Green Seats – Travel responsibly in Africa
Nomad gives you the opportunity to offset your carbon foot print by purchasing a “Green Seat”. If you would like to help Nomad making Africa Greener, simply choose the tick box on your booking form and we will take care of the rest. The Nomad African Trust will plant trees that are ecologically viable and that have very high carbon absorption.

All the funds that are collected are administered by the Nomad African Trust who will manage the project in conjunction with South African National Parks as well as the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and the Rhodes University. Once you have bought your green seat you will receive an e-certificate providing you with all the details of the project as well as contact details
should you wish to receive further information.

THANK YOU FOR TRAVELLING WITH NOMAD
At the end of your tour you will be provided with feedback forms. These forms are confidential and should be given to your crew in a sealed envelope. If you are not sure of the confidentiality of the feedback form please feel free to email us as well on ops@nomadtours.co.za. Please make sure to also complete the feedback form as we use the answers on these forms to improve and maintain our service levels.

Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice, the accommodation listed in this dossier is our preferred supplier, but sometimes due to availability, we are unable to make use of the property listed in this dossier. If we cannot use the accommodation provider as listed we will substitute another property of similar standards.

Category: Blog
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