Discover Ethiopia 15-day Private Tour
Pilgrims around Bieta Giorgis, Lalibela (ETO)  
Ethiopian wolf hunting on the Sanetti Plateau  
Mural at Azwa Maryam Monastery Bahir Dar  
Imperial Compound in Gondar  
Mural at Debre Birhan Selassie in Gondar  
Sanetti Plateau moorlands: the Roof of Africa! (Derek)  
Walia ibex (Endangered), Chennek (ETO)  
Geladas grazing in the Simiens (ETO) - a wonderful Primate Experience!  
Searching for Bale Monkeys in bamboo groves, Harenna Forest  
Morning walk, Sanetti Plateau, Bale Mountains NP  
Ethiopia boasts some of the world's finest coffee!  
Outside Harenna Forest, Bale Mountains NP.  
Gelada monkeys grooming each-other, Simiens (Helen)  
Axum's obelisk park (stelae field)  
Blue Nile Falls (Helen)  
Scenery in the Simien Mountains (Helen)  
Rural scene, Ethiopia - Helen  
Rural Ethiopian scene (Helen)  
15 day tour
Including flights
Prices from
£5455 - £5850

Tour Highlights

  • Lake Tana's island monasteries and Blue Nile Falls
  • Awe-inspiring scenery in Simien & Bale Mountains, Rift Valley Lakes
  • Endemic Wolves, Geladas, Ibexes and more
  • Lalibela's amazing rock-hewn churches
  • Ethiopian Culture
I'm enquiring about: Discover Ethiopia 15-day Private Tour

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I'm enquiring about: Discover Ethiopia 15-day Private Tour

Discover Ethiopia 15-day Private Tour

This long-standing favourite with our clients who prefer an individual tour, combines the best best- known of Ethiopia's historical attractions with its two chief hotspots for endemic mammals and birdlife.
Stops of historical interest include Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela and Axum. 
Scenery is unbeatable, from the awe-inspiring Simien and Bale Mountains to the panoramic Rift Valley Lakes and the Blue Nile Falls.
Ethiopia has among the largest complements of endemic mammals and birds of any African country, so for those keen to experience an 
incomparable blend of natural history, culure and historical highlights, this is a wonderful option to choose. We can tailor it to 
suit individual interests and requirements.
Accommodation is comfortable throughout, including the best lodge in the country, Bale Mountain Lodge.
Our excellent, experienced, knowledgeable, professional English-speaking guides and capable drivers, will ensure that you are superbly taken care of. 
The itinerary can be done all year except in July and August, when the lodges in Bale and Simien Mountains close for the rainy season.

Day 1
Fly from London on an overnight Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis Ababa.
Day 2
Day 2
Addis Ababa
On arrival, your guide will drive you to the Golden Tulip Hotel. An afternoon city tour including visits to Entoto Hills, some of the city's more spectacular cathedrals and the National Museum, where you see among other exhibits, the bones of 'Lucy'.If you wish, you can have an introduction to traditional cuisine (pictured), an element of which is 'injera', a pancake made out of a fine grain called teff. Overnight at Golden Tulip, breakfast included.
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
Day 3
Day 3
Addis Abab - Bahir Dar (flight)
Transfer to the airport to fly to Bahir Dar, on the shores of the deep blue Lake Tana. Your guide will take you to the Zeghe Peninsula to see some of the island monasteries. Overnight in a superior room at Avanti Blue Nile, all meals included.
Accommodation: Avanti Blue Nile
Day 4
Day 4
Bahir Dar - Gondar - Simien Mountains National Park (Drive)
After breakfast, depart on the 2 - 3 hour journey to Gondar stopping along the way to see the Blue Nile Falls. Lunch in Gondar, before the 2 hour drive up to the Simien Mountains. Stay two nights an en-suite chalet at Simien Lodge, all meals included.
* If you want to upgrade to Limalimo Lodge, let us know.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge
Day 5
Day 5
Simien Mountains National Park
Spend the day exploring the awe inspiring Simien mountains, where you can take in some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa. In the early morning, you will be driven up to Chennek to seek endangered Walia ibex and various raptors.
You should have the 'Gelada Experience' today - these delightful if odd baboon-like monkeys are the world's only primates that graze and they congregate in large numbers, allowing a close approach.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge
Day 6
Day 6
Simien Mountains National Park - Gondar
You will be driven back to Gondar today, to see the Imperial Compound with its wonderful castles and Debre Berhan Selassie church, where people come to see the country's single most iconic frieze with rows of angel faces, plastered to the ceiling and walls.
Accommodation: Goha Hotel
Day 7
Day 7
Gondar - Lalibela (flight)
Transfer to the airport for the morning flight to Lalibela. Here you will be taken to see the 'first cluster' of the famed monolithic or semi monolithic, rock-hewn churches cut top-down into the rugged mountainsides. Stay 2 nights at Maribela Hotel, all meals included. The last church you see today is the iconic, cruciform Bete Giorgis, which makes for a superb end to this unforgettable excursion.
Accommodation: Maribela Hotel
Day 8
Day 8
Yemrehane Kristos, Lalibela
After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you to see the second cluster of Lalibela's churches. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant like Seven Olives, which also has outdoor seating in the garden. Then, visit Yemrehane Kristos, arguably the finest of the churches around Lalibela. It is about 40km from the town and makes for a superb afternoon outing.
Accommodation: Maribela Hotel
Day 9
Day 9
Lalibela - Axum (flight)
Fly to Axum in northern Ethiopia where you will see the incredible monolithic obelisks or stelae, the Queen of Sheba's Bath, the church where it is said the Ark of the Covenant is housed, and an interesting museum. Overnight in the Sabean International Hotel, with all meals included. .
Accommodation: Sabean International Hotel
Day 10
Day 10
Axum - Addis Ababa (flight) - Lake Langano (Drive)
Transfer to Axum airport for the flight back to Addis Ababa where you will be met by your guide and driver. Travel southwards for about 4 hours along good roads in your very comfortable, air-conditioned 4-wheel drive vehicle, with your guide into the Rift Valley. Your destination for the night is Lake Langano in the Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes region. Among many bird species found here is the Black crowned crane (photographed here by ETO). In the woods around the hotel you can find a selection of mammals and numerous birds. Overnight at the the lovely Hara Langano Lodge, all meals included.
Accommodation: Hara Langano Lodge
Day 11
Day 11
Lake Langano - Bale Mountains National Park (drive)
Drive to Goba in the Bale Mountains National Park, via the park HQ in Dinsho. In the juniper-hagenia woods around Dinsho, keep a lookout for endemic mammals like the Mountain nyala and Menelik's bushbuck. There is excellent birding here, with local specials including one of Africa's finest songsters, the Abyssinian catbird.
Stay 3 nights in style at the superb Bale Mountains Lodge***, all meals included.
*** PLEASE NOTE (MARCH 2022 UPDATE) - BALE MOUNTAINS LODGE IS INDEFINITELY CLOSED so while this is the case, we will need to use the simple Goba Wabeshebelle Hotel.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 12
Day 12
Sanetti Plateau moorlands, Bale Mountains National Park
Your guide and driver take you for a drive up to the high-lying Sanetti Plateau, where wildlife enthusiasts come to look for the world's rarest canid, the Simien wolf. They are easy to see - most of the approx. 400 individuals are concentrated in Bale. Their future remains very precarious, as a rabies outbreak which started among feral dogs in villages around the park, killed a substantial proportion of the wolves in Bale during the last year. Watching these beautiful animals hunt by day for their favourite prey - giant mole rats - is an unforgettable experience!
The Sanetti Plateau is included in all birding itineraries to Ethiopia, because it is the best place for endemics like the Blue-winged goose (Africa's only true goose), Spot-breasted lapwing and Rouget's rail. All of these are easy to see at puddles or small ponds along the road.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 13
Day 13
Bale Mountains National Park - Harenna Forest excursion
Your guide and driver take you in your comfortable, air-conditioned 4-wheel drive to the wonderful Harenna Forest, where the lodge is located. (Photo: Derek, 2016). This vast evergreen forest is a treasure trove for naturalists, with several new reptiles and frogs discovered here in recent years. Mammals present include lion, giant forest hog, warthog, Menelik's bushbuck and birds are abundant and diverse. Regularly seen highlights include Narina trogon, White-cheeked turacou and look around the lodge for Abysinnian catbird.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 14
Day 14
Bale (Goba) - Addis Ababa (flight)
Ethiopian Airlines is now operating flights Goba airport (thrice weekly = Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 13h15 - 14h05), so you will be transferred back over the escarpment and Sanetti Plateau, to the airport to check in for the flight back to Addis Ababa. Here you are met and transferred to Golden Tulip where you stay overnight with breakfast included, or if your flight departs early next morning, you'll have the use of a day/evening room.
During the afternoon, visit the Merkato for some shopping with your guide. (You can stock up on some amazing Ethiopian coffee for example).
If your flight departs in the early hours next morning, you'll be transferred to Bole airport to check in for the Ethiopian Airlines flight home.
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
Day 15
Fly back to the UK on Ethiopian Airlines flight.

Pricing Information & Dates

15 day tour, from £5455 - £5850 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
Price Includes
- International Ethiopian Airlines flights (from London Heathrow, economy class seating),
- domestic Ethiopian Airlines flights
- departure taxes
- airport facilitation, all private transfers and internal travel with all private transportation
- services of your full-time, experienced, English-speaking escort-guide and of drivers
- national park permits and park guide fees
- entrance fees and local guide fees
- all excursions and activities as outlined
- all accommodation as per itinerary with all meals (full board everywhere except in Addis Ababa where meal plan is B&B).
Price Excludes
- Ethiopian visa (US$50, issued on arrival)
- lunch and dinner in Addis Ababa
- items of a personal nature (tips, phone calls, drinks, laundry, travel insurance) are not included.
Price Notes
Price is based on two adults travelling together and sharing twin or double room accommodation..

Tour Route Map

  1.   Addis Ababa
  2.   Bahir Dar & Lake Tana
  3.   Gondar
  4.   Lalibela
  5.   Axum
  6.   Simien Mountains
  7.   The Ethiopian Rift Valley
  8.   Bale Mountains

Accommodation on this Tour

Avanti Blue Nile
Avanti Blue Nile
Bahir Dar & Lake Tana, Ethiopia
Avanti Blue Nile About 8 km from Bahir Dar, this very modern, neatly designed lakeside hotel has 135 rooms and is perfect for your holiday to Ethiopia.The hotel has 100 Classic Rooms, 16 Superior......
Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
Bale Mountain Lodge *******IMPORTANT UPDATE (APRIL 2022) - BALE MOUNTAIN LODGE IS CURRENTLY SHUT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.*******At an elevation of 2380 metes above sea level in the middle of the......
Goha Hotel
Goha Hotel
Gondar, Ethiopia
Goha Hotel Goha Hotel in Gondar was privatised some years ago and its big selling point is its superb location on a hilltop from where there are lovely views over the town.From the terrace and the......
Golden Tulip
Golden Tulip
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Golden Tulip Very conveniently located just 1 kilometer from Bole International Airport, this comfortable, internatonal, tourist-class hotel (part of the Louvre group) is a perfect base for those who......
Hara Langano Lodge
Hara Langano Lodge
The Ethiopian Rift Valley, Ethiopia
Hara Langano Lodge Our accommodation of choice at Lake Langano, the recently re-branded and refurbished Hara Langano is on the eastern side of the lake and is a perfect place at which to stop after......
Maribela Hotel
Maribela Hotel
Lalibela, Ethiopia
Maribela Hotel One of Lalibela's best hotels, Maribela provides accommodation of a high standard and is enjoyed by our clientele. Its design was inspired by that of some of the town's......
Sabean International Hotel
Sabean International Hotel
Axum, Ethiopia
Sabean International Hotel Sabean International Hotel is currently the best accommodation option in Axum and is located in the town centre. (It must be noted that accommodation in Axum does not......
Simien Lodge
Simien Lodge
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Simien Lodge is currently the only accommodation in the Simien Mountain National Park which is listed as a World Heritage site because of the incredible views and the endemic animals.

Image Gallery


Hello Derek 

Thanks very much indeed to you and Rainbow for all the help, advice and organisation for our recent trip.  I am sure you will want feedback and perhaps you want an online survey, but I just wanted to say it really was the trip of a lifetime, and we had an extraordinary time, thanks to the guides, especially Belete Beleke, who says that he knows you, and we thought he was extremely special: a great spotter of incredible birdlife, animals and plants too.  Very intelligent, he adapted our itinerary very slightly so that we should not be exhausted.

However, something you may not have caught up with yet - at Erta Ale, we discovered that the Afar have closed a significant portion of the new road you mentioned  - we estimated an approx 3km hike up the gravel track that a 4x4 would just have made,  before reaching the "footpath" scramble to the camp at the top - but at least we did make it, if somewhat slowly, we realised we would never have done it from the previous camp!  Apparently the Afar were losing too much money through people not hiring camels to take their gear to the top camp!  They seem adroit at collecting cash for all kinds of extras, even ones already paid for.  

We really did have a wonderful trip.  Thank you again, 

With very best wishes,



Hi Derek

I just want to endorse everything Rosie says below but especially to praise Belete Bekele - he really was exemplary. 

Big thanks for your and Rainbow’s help and advice - it was an unforgettable trip. 

Very best wishes






Ms Hoare and Ms Anders
November 25, 2019

Dear Derek,


We have just returned to Australia after our almost 4 weeks in Ethiopia. 

Our trip could be divided in 2 – the Southern and Northern component.

We felt the driver (Robi) and the escort Younis for the southern 2 weeks were excellent. Knowledgeable and attentive. We felt very comfortable with the driving particularly in difficult conditions.  They both enhanced the experience.

The northern component had Sayed as the escort. Whilst he was good, he was not have the same skills or knowledge of Younis so by comparison he suffered a little. We were satisfied with his services.

We have no hitches with accommodation and recognised that what was provided was “best available” or very close to it.

Overall, we were more than happy with the arrangements put in place by Rainbow.  We were glad we just didn’t “do” the classic tourist northern circuit.

The south was, for us the highlight. The Bale Mountains were truly memorable, we saw at extremely close range a number of wolves. Whilst we didn’t see lions, we heard them on consecutive evenings – they were not that far away.  Lake Langano was excellent.

The Omo Valley was fascinating and we felt privileged to see a number of the tribes and their way of life (one that is no doubt changing).  In the north we were captivated by the Simeons – we enjoyed time sitting with a group of researchers watching the Geladas and were fortunate to have a small group Wahlia Ibex pass very close to where we were standing.

Timket was a once in a lifetime experience. Just extraordinary.

We left Ethiopia feeling that we had gained a greater appreciation of the country, its people and the inherent issues facing the country. More so, than could ever be gained by the groups whizzing around in groups of 10-12 in mini buses.

Thank you for organising an excellent trip.


Mr and Mrs Rae
January 26, 2019

'Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent.  Loved the Simien Lodge; could have stayed another night.  Our trip to Ethiopia was truly amazing; one we will never forget. The people are beautiful, friendly and very welcoming. The scenery and wildlife are incredible and the wildlife fascinating. Our guide, Yohannes, was first class. His knowledge of the history of Ethiopia and of the birds, wildlife, flora etc is outstanding. All the drivers were excellent'. 



Mr and Mrs Perry
March 16, 2016

'Really appreciated having an excellent, single guide with us throughout. We had not experienced this before and thought it worked very well. 

Overall holiday satisfaction: Excellent. 

Gardens of Abyaminch Lodge were excellent. Choices for evening meals seemed better when more guests were staying.

Simien Lodge is a great hotel in a fantastic location - would have stayed an extra night. 

Mayleko Lodge (Gondar): excellent room - the best all holiday. 

Sabean Hotel: excellent comfort, good in all other respects. Better than we had been led to expect! 

Bishangari Lodge: excellent in all respects. Very well run hotel in fantastic location. Food was particularly good. 

Bale Mountains Lodge: comfort excellent. Overvall this lodge was a disappointing experience as our expectations had been raised quite high for it. Service: the local people on the staff were very helpful. Schemes in place for the local community seemed well thought out and are an excellent initiative.

The holiday was really good and as you will know a fantastic combination of history, culture and wildlife that would be tricky to reproduce in such a short period in most other countries' 


Mr and Mrs Smith
February 26, 2016

'The trip was wonderful and it is really a beautiful country.  We had a great time and it certainly met and often exceeded our expectations.  Eyob, our guide, was fabulous as were the drivers'

Mr and Mrs Robbins
January 13, 2016

Service from tour operator: excellent. Overall satisfaction: excellent. All guides were good or even excellent. We enjoyed this trip so much that we are thinking of visiting again.

John and Angela Brown
October 31, 2013
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