Reflections of previous Ethiopian tour travellers...

I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful country or people than in Ethiopia. And we have you and Hailie to thank for that. Without your enthusiasm, knowledge and tireless efforts to look after us we wouldn't have had such an incredible experience. I do understand your wish to promote Ethiopia as there is nothing like it in the world and I wish you every success in that endeavour . . . Ethiopia was a revelation. I look forward to coming back to Ethiopia someday."
– Ms. M.N. Wellington, New Zealand
Sam’s Excellent Ethiopian Adventure is a perfectly titled description for the marvellous journey we took with Sam Cunningham in February this year.

The Sam part, as we discovered, makes it apparent that this is a bespoke, personalised perspective on one of the remarkable countries in Africa. Sam’s upbringing in the Ethiopia of his youth, has provided him not only with amazingly proficient Amharic language skills, but also with the capability ( as we saw ) to respond colloquially to comments / questions in the markets, at the airports, the hotels, and everywhere else. A cheeky comment from a local that is met with a well-chosen retort in Amharic , certainly shifts the balance of the subsequent discussion ! Our journey through Ethiopia ,shaped as it was by Sam’s own experiences in and love of that country, provided a distinctly personal and special feel to the tour.

Excellent – no doubt about that part. Remarkable is another word that fits equally well. Terrific would also be completely appropriate. There is a constant theme here…

The Ethiopian aspect is what transports this particular journey into something very special. We came away marvelling at just how close up we got to the country’s extraordinary history : the ancient geology, the very beginning of the human presence, the cradle of ancient civilisations, the politics ( ancient and recent ), and the absolute accessibility of the experiences that keen travellers recognise as hallmarks of a truly intriguing and engaging location.

Adventure: of this there is also no doubt. It seems still to be a country that is yet to be fully “ opened “ in the travellers sense, although that is no doubt coming in the future , and consequently there is an enjoyable and “ we got there early “ feel about so much of what we achieved with Sam. Each day brought something, or a series of somethings, which were by turns exhilarating, stunning ( the dancing !!! ), enriching ( Aksum, Lalibela and other places ),humbling ( the people ) and memorable. Ethiopia is indeed a photographer’s dream location.

We are very delighted to support Sam’s Ethiopian travel expedition. Amongst a lifetime of travel experiences, our time in Ethiopia with Sam was truly astounding. I could not recommend it highly enough."
– Mr B.W. Auckland, New Zealand

Please note: Back in 2015 Ethiopian Adventure Tours was known as Sam's Excellent Ethiopian Adventure.
Our Journey through Ethiopia excelled all expectations. Sam's knowledge of the country, history, culture and language, gave our experience a depth we have rarely experienced in years of world travel. Our memories of Ethiopia and the wonderful people we met and travelled with, will always be with us. Mr A & Mrs M, C. Waiheke Island, NZ. March 2019.
Fifty years ago, Ted and I lived in Ethiopia for three years working for the US peace corps. We dreamed of someday returning. When we saw Sam’s advert in The Listener we thought maybe we could go. However, we didn’t just want to visit the tourist attractions we wanted to return to the remote area where we had lived before. Incredibly, Sam was able to arrange it all. From the moment we were met at the airport by Sam and Haile we were well taken care of. We relaxed and enjoyed the well planned and informative trip to the various historic areas as well as visiting the towns and people we had known all those years ago! It was truly the trip of a lifetime. Mrs HW, New Plymouth, NZ. February 2019.
This was the trip of a life time. It completely surpassed all of my expectations. Thank you so much Sam, you went out of your way to enable us to see the deep layers of Ethiopia."
– Ms. C.P. Auckland, New Zealand
It is very rare nowadays to come away from a tour thinking that you really have had value for money but in this case I honestly felt that I had been given, experienced and received more than I had ever expected.
– Ms. P.C. Auckland, New Zealand
I enjoyed our tour of Ethiopia immensely."
– Dr M.C. Wellington, New Zealand 

“I felt like Sir David Attenborough. The privilege to sit and watch these Gelada baboons in the most glorious Simien Mountains National Park with scenery like you’ve never seen before – is breathtaking.


The history created over 3,000 years ago, made with a chisel and hammer and that can’t be created today, was inspiring. And to think that those rock carved churches are still in use today!


The ancient bibles made of goat leather were beautiful with their hand painted pictures and articulated writing.

Wow. Such sensational images.” 

- Ms. J.G . Auckland, New Zealand 

In February, March 2018 I went to Ethiopia and joined one of Sam's tours. It was wonderful, I enjoyed every minute, Sam and Haile looked after us so well, nothing was too much trouble. The scenery was great, the people were lovely and the whole thing was very interesting. I have travelled extensively in third world countries over the years and I have to say that this was one of the most memorable trips that I've ever been on, I will never forget it.


Personally, I think it's one of the jewels of Africa but it’s terribly hard to explain to people why they should go there and often they just don't get it. I think it's got something to do with game parks and animals because they think of animals in Africa only. Ethiopia has got such a lot to see and it's so varied, I might have to return at some stage!!!"


- Ms R.G. Christchurch, New Zealand.

Oh the Highlights...

In a land that is really like no other on this planet and only recently open to tourism, we are so glad we did not try to see it on our own.

At one time we thought we could, as we had lived in Ethiopia for several years 50 years ago and still remembered a few words of Amharic, the main Ethiopian language. But it is clear, in a land now in a constant state of change, there is nothing predictable about anything there, particularly travel.

Yet somehow Sam (and his Ethiopian partner, Haile) managed to get us to all the places he said he would and then some. Thank goodness for cell phones and his extensive range of local contacts who could re-adjust schedules and bookings as needed at short notice.

Highlights of our travel with Sam and his Ethiopian Adventure Tours include:

  1. Sam’s own genuine friendliness, honesty, warmth and kindness, both toward us and toward everyone he dealt with in Ethiopia,
  2. Sam’s extensive knowledge of Ethiopian history and historic places, often greater than the Government required local guides and scouts, though he was always careful not to embarrass them with his knowledge.
  3. Sam’s incredible personal altruistic involvement in the local Ethiopian community where he grew up, to help improve local access to medical facilities and services.
  4. Our visit to the utopian community of Awra Amba and learning about their desire to treat with equality all humanity regardless of sex, religion, race or other human characteristic.
  5. The newly uncovered archeological history of Yeha and Aksum that starts to explain the intricately entwined ancient Jewish, Christian and Muslim history of the area.
  6. Learning about Ethiopia’s efforts to become entirely energy self-sufficient through their growing extensive hydro-electric power schemes.
  7. Learning about the impact of  Mengistu’s Communist “Derg” and the “Red Terror” that oversaw the death of a half million Ethiopians.
  8. Discovering how extensive the help the Chinese have given Ethiopia in improving the Country’s road and rail network.

We really do think you are great and your tour organising was fantastic.

Mr TW, New Plymouth, NZ. February 2019.



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