Travel north from Arba Minch to the capital Addis Ababa on this 15-day overland group tour of Ethiopia. Search for endangered Ethiopian wolves in the Bale Mountains, meet the famous Hyena Men of Harar and enjoy a guided nature walk in Awash National Park. Relax on the shore of Lake Ziway, explore Addis Ababa on a guided tour and see giant Nile crocodiles in Lake Chamo.
Welcome to Arba Minch! On arrival, make your way to our start hotel. There's a Welcome Meeting at 6pm, where you'll meet your group and crew. The rest of the day before and after this meeting is at leisure. Perhaps hire bicycles to explore the area surrounding the city.
Location: Welcome to Ethiopia!
Today is free to explore Arba Minch or enjoy optional activities in the city. Arba Minch overlooks Lake Chamo and there's an optional boat trip on the lake to visit the 'crocodile market'. Unlike other markets, the animals here are alive and well - the crocodile market earned it's nickname due to the sheer numbers of gigantic Nile crocodiles, which can be seen lazing on the banks of the lake. Hippos can also be spotted during the boat cruise.
Location: Exploring Arba Minch
Arba Minch - Wendo Genet. Today we climb aboard our overland truck for the first time and journey to the small city of Awassa, in the Great Rift Valley. Located on the shore of Lake Awassa, fishing is the main industry here. We browse the local fish market before continuing our journey to Wendo Genet, a town in the hills above Awassa.
In Wendo Genet we have an included visit to the nearby hot springs and you can choose to take a short walk through the forest to the triple-tiered waterfall. Tonight we camp within the grounds of a local hotel.
Location: Awassa & Wendo Genet
Wendo Genet - Bale Mountains National Park. On day 4 we drive to Bale Mountains National Park, where we spend the next two days. One of these days will be kept free so you can explore the national park independently. There are many trails into the highlands, moorlands and forests. Many animals in the Bale Mountains are found nowhere else in the world, including Bale monkeys and the Mountain nyala. Iconic species such as lions, leopards and African wild dogs are also at home here.
On the other day we will take an included excursion in our overland truck up to the Sanetti Plateau. We ascend to the fourth-highest point in Ethiopia, the summit of Tulu Dimtu. The landscape here is simply stunning and as well as taking in the view, we will be looking for the very rare Ethiopian wolf, another endemic species.
This endangered animal is found only in the Ethiopian Highlands and is considered one of the rarest and most threatened large mammals in the world. Fewer than 500 individuals are thought to exist in the wild, in fragmented populations. Despite their rarity, the wolves are actually quite easy to spot on the open plateau, and we have a good chance of seeing them, which is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Location: Bale Mountains National Park
Bale Mountains National Park - Lake Ziway. On day 7 we say goodbye to the Bale Mountains and journey to the small town of Ziway. The next day there's an optional boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Godo Island. Enjoy a short tour of the ancient monastery and admire some of the old religious manuscripts. The monastery was reportedly once the home of the Ark of the Covenant.
If you prefer, you can opt to spend the day relaxing lakeside, watching the local fisherman going about their work, or spotting lazy hippos on the banks of the lake.
Location: Lake Ziway
Lake Ziway - Awash National Park. Today we travel to Awash National Park. There's an included walk in the reserve, accompanied by a national park scout. The terrain of Awash National Park is largely acacia woodland and it's home to wildlife including oryx, gazelles, warthogs, ostrich and baboons, all of which we may be able to spot on our walk. Lions, leopards and other predators can occasionally be seen in the park, although this is rare. We spend the night in a comfortable lodge at the national park.
Location: Exploring Awash National Park
Awash National Park - Harar. On day 10 we have a long but scenic drive through the mountains to UNESCO-listed Harar, an ancient walled trading city. There's a guided tour of Harar on day 11, during which we browse the vibrant market and take in some of the many mosques and shrines. In the evening you can opt to visit the famous Hyena Men just outside the city.
Spotted hyenas unfairly have a bad reputation, but these intelligent creatures have been a normal part of life in Harar for hundreds of years. They keep the city clean by feeding on its waste and the local farmers keep them well fed to stop them feasting on their precious livestock. The hyenas in turn recognise the Harar residents as friends and become as docile as domestic dogs, even responding to names that the Hyena men have assigned them. This closeness between man and hyena can only be found in Harar and it's an incredible sight to see. Day 12 is free to further explore the city.
Location: Harar & Hyena men
Harar - Addis Ababa. We complete our overland journey on day 13, arriving at the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. There's a guided tour of the city the following day, taking in highlights including the colourful city market, St George's Cathedral, the Menelik Mausoleum and the National Museum. The museum is home to 'Lucy', one of the oldest hominid skeletons ever found.
Location: Exploring Addis Ababa
Today our Ethiopian overland adventure comes to an end. Speak to our Sales team if you wish to book extra accommodation in Addis Ababa in order to further explore the city.
Location: Addis Ababa
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