Famous for its rock-hewn churches and ancient monasteries, Ethiopia has spectacular scenery, the vast Rift Valley and volcanic lakes. With its interesting wildlife and abundant birdlife, the variety of its habitats and the diversity of its ethnic groups, an Ethiopia holiday offers visitors an unrivalled choice of experiences. Much of Ethiopia, the ‘Roof of Africa’, is fertile and well-watered, with breathtaking scenery dominated by highlands 2,000 metres above sea level.
Ethiopia's geography & peoples
Twenty peaks in the central mountainous plateau rise to 4,000 metres or more whereas the Danakil Depression is the lowest point on the African continent. The Rift Valley Lakes add to the country's captivating scenery and the Blue Nile Falls near Lake Tana are the continent’s second largest waterfalls (when not diverted for hydroelectric purposes). Home to nearly 92 million people, making up over 80 ethnic groups, Amharic is the first language of Ethiopia but English is widely spoken. The extraordinary people of South Omo merit special mention: the area is still about as close as one can get to an 'Africa untouched'.
World famous historical sites
The breathtaking historic sites, mostly found in the north of the country, have attracted travellers to Ethiopia for centuries. The Solomonic dynasty is said to have originated with the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon in the 10th century BC. She returned to Ethiopia where their child, Menelik I, was born. The dynasty’s last ruler, Haile Selassie, was deposed in 1974. Among the most famous historical sites, all of which are included in most Ethiopia holiday itineraries, are the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the obelisks at Axum and the ancient monasteries of Bahir Dar.
Wildlife focused holidays to Ethiopia
Ethiopia is also a marvellous wildlife destination, with a number of endemic mammals – notably the critically endangered Simien wolf (less than 450 remaining in May 2016) and the impressive Gelada monkey, and for birders, the range-restricted Ruspoli’s turacou and Harwood’s francolin, among others – to be seen in its many wilderness areas. We can arrange walking and hiking in the Simyen Mountains, as well as mule-treks, which can be incorporated into most Ethiopia holidays that include the historical sites of the northern circuit. There is also fantastic hiking to be had in Bale Moutains National Park.
Tailor-made private Ethiopia holidays
Our tailor-made private Ethiopia holidays are guided by exceptionally knowledgeable English-speaking guides and capable drivers. A number of tastefully designed lodges and hotels have opened across the country in recent years. These include the Kuriftu Resorts and Spas in Bahir Dar and Debre Zeit, Bishangari Lodge on the shore of Lake Langano, Gheralta Lodge near Mekelle, Aregash Lodge at Yirgalem, Bale Mountains Lodge at Harenna Forest (Bale Mountains National Park) and the Jupiter International Hotel. While they may not compare with lodges in more conventional East African destintions such as Kenya, they certainly now make travel in Ethiopia considerably more comfortable.
Small group tours
Every January, we offer a small group departure (maximum 10 participants), which is centred around the Ethiopian Epiphany or Timkat, the most impressive event of the social calendar. We also offer a small group tour to see the Meskel celebrations in September and an Ethiopia historical tour which will run with a minimum of four people. These group holidays are very sociable and a fun way to go on holiday to Ethiopia and we highly recommend them if you enjoy travelling as part of a group.
Ethiopia holidays & tours
All our Ethiopia holidays and tours can be tailor-made to suit special interests and dates. Just get in touch and we can help you to plan your trip so that you get the most from your holiday to Ethiopia. It's always best to ring at the outset as this helps to ensure we understand exactly the sort of holiday and activities that you enjoy.
Zanzibar beach holiday add-on
Ethiopian Airlines flies to Zanzibar every day of the week, so you can combine most Ethiopia holidays with time to relax on the beach as well. Zanzibar has an excellent range of places to stay from small, simple beach-side hotels to up-market resorts.