Ethiopia Meskel Festival, Omo tribes and Lalibela Small Group 2020
Endemic Meskel daisies create lovely floral displays in September  
Addis Ababa city tour includes visiting beautiful Orthodox churches  
One of the endemic birds often seen is the Black-winged lovebird  
The 'New York' formations, Konso region (ETO)  
Konso waka carvings (ETO)  
At the Konso 'Generational Pole' (ETO)  
Hamar beadwork  
Hamar village near Turmi  
Visitors at a Hamar bull-jumping event (Derek)  
Hamar bull-jumping event (Derek)  
Mursi women (Derek)  
The Karo are praised for their body painting (Ariadne Van Zandbergen)  
Priest with cross, Lalibela (ETO)  
Bete Giorgis - incredible! (ETO)  
Meskel festivities in Addis Ababa  
The Demera is lit at Meskel in Addis Ababa  
National Museum, Addis Ababa  
Small group enjoying Meskel festivities  
13 day tour
Prices from
£3770

Tour Highlights

  • Meskel Festival attendance in Addis Ababa
  • Exploring the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
  • Meeting famed tribes in the Omo Region including the Mursi, Hamar, Karo and Konso.
  • A chance to attend a Hamar bull-jumping event if one is scheduled to happen
  • Spectacular September floral displays in the Highlands
I'm enquiring about: Ethiopia Meskel Festival, Omo tribes and Lalibela Small Group 2020

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I'm enquiring about: Ethiopia Meskel Festival, Omo tribes and Lalibela Small Group 2020

Ethiopia Meskel Festival, Omo tribes and Lalibela Small Group 2020

Ethiopia

We are delighted to be offering an exceptionally unusual and very special small group set departure, taking in the following Ethiopian highlights and experiences: Start off by exploring the fascinating South Omo & Konso Region where you will meet the celebrated resident tribes who still retain their incredibly distinctive cultural identity.You will get to know about people such as the Mursi, Hamar, Karo and Konso among many others, during your time in the South Omo and Konso region.

As this tour is timed during the June to September harvest season, there may also be an opportunity to attend one of the famed bull-jumping events held by the Hamar tribe, should one be scheduled to take place during the time you are there.

Departing back to Addis Ababa, note the wonderful floral displays, even along the airport runway! These displays are sometimes regarded as second only to Namaqualand, and in the Ethiopian Highlands they are dominated by endemic, bright yellow, Meskel daisies.

You then fly up north to Lalibela, the country's number one must see site on the Historical Route. At Lalibela, spend two days being over-awed by the magnificent rock-cut churches that have made this one of the country's many UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites.

End the tour with attendance of the colourful Meskel Festival in Addis Ababa - this is Ethiopia's second largest annual festival and as is the case during our very much- enjoyed Timket Festival tours each January, we shall arrange special passes enabling guests the opportunity to make the most out of the festivities. Throughout the tour you will be staying in comfortable accommodation and you will be led by one of our superb, highly rated, experienced, professional Ethiopian tour leaders. (We encourage you to read the reviews on our website, particularly for example, for our Timket set departures).

Finally, nature enthusiasts will not be disappointed: two seldom-visited national parks are included in the itinerary: first, you'll take a boat excursion on Lake Chamo in remote Nech'Sar National Park (mostly for aquatic wildlife) and then near Jinka, you'll visit Mago National Park, where there is plenty of small wildlife and an abundance of birdlife. (Birding is excellent all over the country).

Group size is limited to a maximum of 6 participants and a minimum of 4, so we do recommend booking early to avoid disappointment. (Guaranteed departure; only 2 spaces remaining).

Read more about this tour


Day 1
Day 1
15 September 2020: UK - Addis Ababa
Fly on Ethiopian Airlines from London Heathrow or Manchester overnight to Addis Ababa
Day 2
Day 2
16 September 2020 - Welcome to Ethiopia!
On arrival off the Ethiopian Airlines flight into Addis Ababa Bole Airport this morning, purchase your visas (US$50), and collect checked baggage.
 
You will be met by your dedicated, experienced, professional, English-speaking Ethiopian guide and your driver who will transfer you to the Golden Tulip Hotel where you stay overnight in a Deluxe room with breakfast included.
 
Relax for the rest of the morning and refresh after the long-haul flight.
 
After lunch, your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a city highlights tour - today you can cover 4 stops such as Trinity Cathedral and the National Museum, but these can be decided on depending on individual interests.
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
     
Day 3
Day 3
17 September 2020: Addis Ababa - Arba Minch (flight)
Your guide and driver collect you from the hotel and transfer you to Bole Airport to check in for the flight to Arba Minch, one of the gateway airports to the South. Your guide flies with you.
 
On arrival at Arba Minch Airport your driver will be there to welcome you. Depart in your private, comfortable, air-conditioned 4-wheel drive vehicle to the very comortable Paradise Lodge where you overnight with all meals included.
 
Today's activities include a visit to the Dorze people who live in this region.
 
You will also be taken on a boat trip on Lake Chamo, which will be slotted in either today, or tomorrow morning after breakfast. This gives you the chance to visit remote Nech'Sar National Park.
Accommodation: Paradise Lodge
     
Day 4
Day 4
18 September 2020: Arba Minch - Turmi - Deep into the Omo
Arba Minch/Arba Minch - Turmi/Turmi (Road Journey)
 
Depart after breakfast on the journey deep into the Omo Region, to Turmi. Drive time today is about 5 hours (275km)
 
Continue to Turmi, meeting tribes along the way including the Aari, Banna and Hamar.
 
In Turmi, you will stay for 3 nights in a double en-suite bungalow at Buska Lodge, with all meals included.
 
This is the perfect base from which to explore the Omo and to meet its wonderful people - you will get to know the Hamar, Karo and Dassanech tribes who reside in this region.
 
If there is a Bull-jumping event being held among the Hamar people, we will take you to this and adapt the itinerary accordingly to fit it in, as attendance requires much of a day. (Do note that the donation to the host family, approximately US$120 per person, must be given to the family in cash on arrival at the event).
Accommodation: Buska Lodge
       
Day 5
Day 5
19 September 2020: Turmi - enjoying the Omo Region
Today you will be taken to see the Dimeka Market (drive time to Dimeka from Turmi is 1 hour, distance 60km). At this very interesting market, you can see and purchase a wide range of really interesting artefacts, locally made jewellery, pottery and carvings.
 
IF there is a bull-jumping event happening among the Hamar tribe, we will adapt the programme to get you to this instead.
Accommodation: Buska Lodge
       
Day 6
Day 6
20 September 2020 : Visiting the Hamar and Karo tribes
Your time today will be spent visiting villages of the amazing Hamar people and then, the Karo tribe. During your time in one of the Hamar villages, you will be invited into a Hamar home, where for example you will be able to see examples of the 'calendar ropes' that they have marking important social events such as Bull-jumping ceremonies.
 
At the Karo village, you will see and learn first hand about the enormous challenges facing the marvellous people of the Omo Region. (This all will become clear when standing at a viewpoint overlooking the Omo River, during which your guides will explain.
Accommodation: Buska Lodge
       
Day 7
Day 7
21 September 2020 - To Jinka
Depart Turmi today to Jinka, a centre of the Mursi tribe, among others. At Jinka, stay overnight in the Eco Omo Lodge, with all meals included. (Drive time today is 3 hours; 120km).
 
During your time at and around Jinka, you will be taken to visit a vilage of the Mursi people, renowned mostly for the lip plates worn by many of their women. These village visits are sensitively arranged and we provide carefully compiled guidelines for example, pertaining to photography as this varies from tribe to tribe.
 
Other tribes whom you will meet during your time in the region include Tsemay, Aari and Banna. In this region you will also be taken for a stop at the seldom visited Mago National Park, where there is plenty of small wildlife and abundant birdlife to be seen.
Accommodation: Eco Omo Safari Lodge
     
Day 8
Day 8
22 September 2020: to Konso
Depart Jinka after breakfast and head in to Konso, which you will know you are approaching when the landscape becomes more verdant, hilly and you see the very distinctive terraced agricultural slopes which are part of this World Heritage Cultural Site.
 
Stop along the way at the Key Afar Market as today is Tuesday. Drive time today is 4 hours over 200km.
 
Your accommodation for the night is the simple Kanta Lodge, which has a lovely hilltop location - there's a terrace under a huge wild fig tree, where guests enjoy having meals.
 
Visit one of the walled villages of the Konso people - this is quite unalike anything you will see elsewhere in the country. You should see some 'waka' carvings and the Generational Pole.
 
Overnight in rustic bungalows at Kanta Lodge. (The menu is good, with several excellent Italian dishes - try their rissoto!)
Accommodation: Kanta Lodge
     
Day 9
Day 9
23 September 2020 : Arba Minch - Addis Ababa (flight)
After sightseeing with your guide and driver around Konso, drive to Arba Minch Airport (80km, drive time 1 hour) where you check in 1 hour prior to the departure of the Ethiopian Airlines flight up to Addis Ababa: 13h35 - 14h40 (current schedule)
 
Upon arrival back in Addis Ababa, you will be transferred to Golden Tulip Hotel, to stay overnight with breakfast included.
 
Note along the airport runway and in the grasslands around Addis Ababa and tomorrow, Lalibela, the wonderful floral displays dominated by yellow Meskel daisies - these displays can be spectacular and are at their best in September.
 
You will be taken for some sightseeing during the balance of the afternoon.
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
     
Day 10
Day 10
24 September 2020: Addis Ababa - Lalibela (flight)
Your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and transfer you to Addis Ababa Airport to check in for the flight to Lalibela: ET122: 08h20 - 10h30. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the lovely Maribela Hotel, which ticks all the boxes with our clientele, when it comes to location, comfort, charm, ambience, food and service. Stay 2 nights in 2 double rooms with all meals included.
 
Today you will be taken on a tour of the first cluster of rock-cut churches that make this one of the country's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is mind-blowing!
 
Enjoy dinner at Ben Abeba, from where views over the surroundings are spectacular - and sunsets unforgettable. (Good food!)
Accommodation: Maribela Hotel
         
Day 11
Day 11
25 September 2020: the wonders of Lalibela
Your guide and driver will collect you from your hotel after breakfast. You will be taken to visit the second group or cluster of the churches, which represent the 'heavenly Jerusalem'. In this group are the Bete Gabriel & Bete Raphael; Bete Merquorios; Bete Emmanuel (God with us), and Bete Abba Libanos. Those who wish, can take a 40 meter walk through a very dark tunnel between two of the churches, symbolising the journey from hell to heaven. After visiting the churches, you will be taken to the town for lunch at a restaurant such as Seven Olives, where the outside seating area in the gardens is delightful - birding, as it says in a signpost there, is excellent. After lunch, set off on the 40km drive through mountainous countryside to the the cave church of Yemrehane Kristos. This is remarkable - quite unlike any of the others you will have visited and an impressive experience. Your guide will ask for one of the priests to show you some intricately formed Ethiopian crosses and paintings.
Accommodation: Maribela Hotel
         
Day 12
Day 12
26 September: Lalbela - Addis Ababa: The Eve of Meskel!
ou will be collected from the hotel and transferred to Lalibela Airport, to check in for the flight to Addis Ababa. (Your guide will be with you on the flight again).
 
On arrival back into Addis Ababa this morning, you will be met and taken to Golden Tulip Hotel, where you have the use of day/evening rooms.
 
You will then be taken into the city, to attend the spectacular Meskel Festival (Finding of the True Cross). This is the second biggest annual event on the Ethiopian social calendar and where you go, you'll be able to witness the processions and festivities, and see the 'Demera' being lit - this makes for an unforgettable ending to your Ethiopia holiday!
 
After having attended the spectacular Meskel Festival, you will be taken for a farewell dinner to Habasha-2000 Restaurant.
 
In the late evening, you will be collected from the hotel and transferred back to Addis Ababa Airport, to check in for the Ethiopian Airlines flight departing back home early the next morning.
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
     
Day 13
Day 13
27 September 2020 - Departure (reluctantly!)
Fly back to London or Manchester after an awe inspiring Ethiopian holiday!

Pricing Information & Dates

13 day tour, from £3770 per person
Itinerary Dates From Price
15 Sep 2020
-
27 Sep 2020
£3770
Price Includes
Return international Ethiopian Airlines flights from London Heathrow or Manchester to Addis Ababa (ecomony class seating)
Domestic Ethiopian Airlines flights
Airport taxes
All transfers and all transportation
Services of your dedicated, professional, experienced, knowledgeable, English-speaking Ethiopian guide/tour leader throughout
Excursions and activities as outlined
All entry permits and entry fees
Services of resident local guides throughout
All accommodation with meals as outlined (full board throughout except in Addis Ababa where meal plan is B&B)
Special passes for Meskel Festival attendance
Bottled mineral water in vehicles
Price Excludes
Ethiopia visa (US$50, issued on arrival or may be obtained online).
Drinks and any meals not specified
Photographic fees in the Omo (precise guidelines will be provided)
Items of a personal nature (travel insurance, tips, phone calls, laundry)
Price Notes
Minimum group size: 4 - maximum 6.

Single room supplement £383

If you would like to add any extensions to visit places not in the itinerary, please let us know - we'd be delighted to assist.

Tour Route Map

  1.   Addis Ababa
  2.   The Ethiopian Rift Valley
  3.   Omo (South Omo and Konso)
  4.   Lalibela

Accommodation on this Tour

Buska Lodge
Buska Lodge
Omo (South Omo and Konso), Ethiopia
This comfortable, no-frills lodge is set in spacious grounds on the bank of the (normally dry) Kaske River near the tiny outback town of Turmi, a centre of the Hamar people. The 20 Tukul-styled rooms are well airy, spacious and have en-suite bathrooms.
       
Eco Omo Safari Lodge
Eco Omo Safari Lodge
Omo (South Omo and Konso), Ethiopia
Small lodge with en-suite tented rooms, on the outskirts of remote Jinka and near the Neri River.
     
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......
     
Kanta Lodge
Kanta Lodge
Omo (South Omo and Konso), Ethiopia
Kanta Lodge For visitors who wish to spend some time exploring the remarkable Konso region, our accommodation of choice is Kanta Lodge. 28 round bungalows or 'tukuls' and the main restaurant......
     
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......
         
Paradise Lodge
Paradise Lodge
The Ethiopian Rift Valley, Ethiopia
Paradise Lodge Paradise Lodge is a comfortable and sizeable establishment set on the edge of a wide, forested gorge. Those keen to visit the Dorze tribe, and to take boat trips on Lake Chamo at......
     

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