Ethiopia is the heart and soul of Africa – it is considered the birthplace of humanity, African Christianity, African independence - and coffee. Ethiopia is full of mystery, myths and magical landscapes. This African Tour will introduce you to some of Ethiopia's diverse cultures and you will meet local members of proud communities.
Ethiopia’s historic sites and antiquities – dating beyond 3,000 years – showcase the heart and soul of these vibrant cultures. Touring this least understood part of Africa you will enjoy first-hand Ethiopia’s traditional cultures – known for their hospitality towards visitors with polite, respectful social customs, typified by the traditional and welcoming Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
From the Orthodox Christian antiquities of the 'Lost Christian Kingdom,' to the fringes of the Afar desert, with its unique birdlife and wildlife, to the southern spur of the Rift Valley and the stunning Simien Mountains and the ancient tapestry of the city of Harar, Ethiopia will be your most rewarding African tour destination.
And last, but certainly not least – Ethiopia has amazing cuisine, especially if you are vegetarian, which will send your taste buds on an adventure of their own.
Experience a rich historical safari through a land lost in time – a part of the world so ancient it has been overlooked by modern travellers. Ethiopian Adventure Tours’ journey through the land of Ethiopia is an adventure tailored for the traveller seeking a personal, intimate and unique experience unavailable through commercial tourism companies. This is because the founder, Sam Cunningham, while being a westerner, has a personal history and connection with Ethiopia going back over 50 years to his very early childhood.
Ethiopian Adventure Tours’ trip to Ethiopia begins in the capital Addis Ababa, followed by a short 1000 kilometre flight north to Axum – in the Simien Mountains – and driving gradually south visiting historic sites including Yeha, Lalibela and Gondar. The tour drives as far south as Bahir Dar on the shores of Lake Tana then flying back to the capital, Addis Ababa. We’ll explore around the capital then make a one-day exploration of prehistoric sites to the near south. This is followed by experiencing the very different landscapes, cultures and wildlife of the eastern low lands and the historic walled city of Harar. Long days of driving are reduced by 3 domestic flights with Africa's best airline simply known as Ethiopian.
The Simien Mountains are a high massif of gorges eroded by rivers between towering volcanic cores, breathtaking scenery and rich cultural heritage. Along with Awash National Park, the Simien Mountains is one of the two significant locations in the tour on which wildlife is predominantly seen. Of course, Ethiopia’s unique fauna & flora can be witnessed at many locations, but this is no 'big 5' African Safari tour - more of an historic and cultural tour - and is more tailored to travellers interested in experiencing the ancient history, amazing landscapes, genuine people and the fascinating mysteries of Ethiopia.
Despite its unfortunate and no longer relevant international image, Ethiopia is considered by many to be the most interesting and least known tour destination in Africa. Even more fascinating is the fact that Ethiopia has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites – 9 that is – than anywhere in Africa. Ethiopian Adventure Tours visits 6 out of nine. Historic places such as the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the royal tombs and ruins in the city of Axum – Africa’s oldest city – are the highlights of this African Tour through Ethiopia.
Your tour helps 'pay it forward' for the people of Sam's home town of Degan which we visit on this tour.
Your participation in this Ethiopian Adventure Tour also helps directly support the people of Degan, through a health development initiative. Degan is the small community where Sam lived until he was 12 years old. In 2003, with his brother Andrew Cunningham, Sam set up the DESTA Project to support the development aspirations of this community. The last DESTA Project initiative resulted in the purchase and stationing of a 4WD ambulance at this health centre. This has reduced maternal mortality rates and other preventable deaths because the nearest hospital is 70 Kms away.
Ethiopia has a long and rich history of Christianity and Islam peacefully co-existing. In fact, the city of Harar is a recipient of a UN City of Peace medal for the exemplary way in which Christians, Muslims and 5 other ethnic groups live peacefully side-by-side.
Harar is also considered to be the fourth holiest city in Islam after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. This African tour also spends two days in and around this historic city. Among many other points of interest, Harar is known for the fascinating old walled city of Jugol, colourful markets, its coffee and chat trade, two major breweries, and the unique tradition of hyena men who hand-feed wild hyenas at dusk outside the city walls.
Tour through the cradle and birthplace of humankind. Considered the world's earliest human ancestor, the 3.2-million-year-old pre-human "Lucy" was the first Australopithecus afarensis (extinct hominin) skeleton ever found – though her remains are only about 40 percent complete.
Axum – Africa’s most ancient city – is also home to royal tombs, palace ruins, historic churches, the world's largest single stone granite columns called stelae and is believed by many to be the home of the Ark of the Covenant and the ruins of the Queen of Sheba's palace.
The whole African tour was exceptionally well planned and executed, the fact that Sam spoke Amharic fluently greatly added to our in depth experience of the country and people as a whole.” - Penny C, Waiheke Island, New Zealand – May 2016
“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'd been given, experienced and received more than I had ever expected.” - Penny C, Waiheke Island, New Zealand – May 2016