NATIONAL PARKS SAFARIS ETHIOPIA

HIGHLIGHTS, WHERE THEY ARE AND HOW TO VISIT

 

 

ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES

ETHIOPIA  VACATION AND TOUR PACKAGES. Only Sub-Sahara country with historical monuments. Endemic birds & mammals. Trekking hosted by charming forester of the Ethiopian Wildlife Authority.

Ethiopia Vacation & Tour Packages

Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa of about 1,100,000km2 and Addis Ababa with 4,5 million inhabitants being the shared capital, together the second most populous city, Dire Dawa, with half a million inhabitants. With about 95,000,000 people, Ethiopia is the second-most populous country of Africa. As still more than 90% of the population is rural cities and towns in Ethiopia are small and provincial. However, the country is modernizing rapidly, building new paved roads, universities and social housing all over the country. All this leads to an incredibly rapid growth of all major cities, while smart phones are changing the outlook on life even in the most remote corners of the country. Many people of Ethiopia benefit from these changes, but they thoroughly effect traditional way of life, religions and the country's centuries old isolation. Tour Ethiopia before it has changed forever!

 

A picture is worth a thousand words. Most of our hundreds of pictures are favored in Google! Why? Because no other website has so many beautiful high resolution pictures, taken by ourselves. Our pictures not only show you the beauty of Ethiopia, but they also show that we go everywhere, photographing wildlife, plants, people and culture. They show our professionalism, our keen eye for detail and our passion for the culture and nature of Ethiopia. So why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because we don't mislead you like many tour operators do. When the Blue Nile falls are dry.... we tell you. When fog clouds the lava lake of Erte Ale? We let you know. Just drop us a mail and we will check it out for you.

Our tours get you to ALL the cultural places Ethiopia is so famous for, and on top of that, you get to see up to 12 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a conservation forester. There is nothing similar on the market.

As Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize tours in modules. Destinations Overview: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eastern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa. BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes may be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip and book your local flights for an incredibly low price after you booked your international flight with Ethiopian Airlines!

 

The government officially recognizes 86 ethnic groups, making Ethiopia most culturally and linguistically diverse nation of Eastern Africa, with the Oromo, Amhara and Tigrayan make up more 75% of the population, while some of the smallest tribes have less than 10,000 members. Most of the people of Ethiopia speak a language of Semitic or Cushitic origin. In a country with so much linguistic diversity and inter-ethnic strive it is not surprising that English widely spoken and an official language for legislation; all laws have an English version.

 

Why visit Ethiopia?

Discover the Africa's last dark secrets:

  1. The "Andes of Africa" is the only African Country with significant highlands, also referred to as the Roof of Africa;

  2. Fascinating history dating back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba;

  3. First nation in the world to officially adopt Christianity;

  4. Some of the oldest churches in the world;

  5. The world's largest rock hewn church;

  6. Only Sub-Saharan nation with significant ancient historical monuments and buildings;

  7. Incredible number of endemic birds and mammals;

  8. Only African Nation to have never been colonized;

  9. With 86 ethnic groups, East Africa's culturally most diverse country;

  10. Incredibly welcoming and friendly towards foreigners;

  11. Now most tourism highlights can be reached by brand new paved roads;

  12. All cities from where to see highlights are serviced by the brand new Bombardier turboprop planes;

  13. With all its beauty Ethiopia is changing more rapidly than most other countries in Africa and with it some of its rough beauty, particularly the true ethnic way of life, as well as some of the extremely rare and/or endemic species that are on their way out. See Ethiopia know before it will have changed forever!

 

Art and culture of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the only country South of the Sahara with significant ancient monuments and its own ancient script. With ancient boundaries including Eritrea, the north of the country was located along the Red Sea and exposed to trade and culture, connecting it to the Mediterranean. With 86 ethnic groups, Ethiopia has the greatest living culture and linguistic diversity of East Africa.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Orthodox priest showing ancient bible

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Ethiopian Orthodox Christians at funeral in Lalibela

A priest showing an ancient bible of the churches' treasuries.

A funeral attracts hundreds of mourners in traditional clothes.

 

Biology and safaris, Ethiopia

We like to call the Ethiopian highlands the Andes of Africa for its similarities how this mountain range diversifies the climatic conditions, like rainfall, temperatures and sunshine. Over a stretch of less than 100 km climatic conditions may vary from cool mountainous conditions to the second hottest and driest desert in the world, the Danakil or Afar Depression. With 4 peaks over 4000m high, one finds semi-rainforests, Podocarpus forests, Giant Erica forests, Ethiopian Afro-Paramos or Afro-Alpine meadows, and many other remote ecosystems and places, endemic plants and animals call home.

 

Lets be honest about it. Conservation in Ethiopia is not very effective, and nowhere in the national parks will one find the herds of wildlife that East Africa is famous for. But what Ethiopia misses in herd sizes, is royally compensated by the potential of seeing some extremely rare and endemic mammals and birds, some of which have no more than 100 surviving individuals. We don't want to be cynical about it, but "See Ethiopian Wildlife before it is Gone" does come to mind.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Endemic Ehtiopian Wolf in Simien Mountains National Park

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Black Maned Lion, Etihopia

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Gelada Baboon male Simien Mountains  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Burchell's Zebras Arbi Minch National Park

Ethiopia has a variety of rare and endemic wildlife, like the Ethiopian Wolf (top) and the Gelada Baboon (below), both of the Ethiopian highlands.

Wildlife of the lowlands, include the Ethiopian lions (top) with dark manes and the Burchell's Zebras Arbi Minch National Park.

 

 

Historical Circuit

Ethiopia is most famous for its cultural and historical monuments, which are all located North of capital Addis Ababa, with highlights being:

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: UNESCO stelae site at Axum, Ethiopia

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Lalibela Rock-Hewn Church

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Facilidas swimming pool, Gondar, Ethiopia Circular Ethiopian Church inner domain "qiddist"

Top: The world famous stelae of Axum.

Below: the Facilidas swimming pool in Gondar.

Top: the world famous churches of Lalibela.

Below: the famous monestaries of Lake Tana.

 

Danakil Depression and Eastern Route

Geologically known as the Afar Triangle or Danakil Depression of Ethiopia, the region is a very active tectonic plate region. Because of the plate movements in three different directions, the Afar Triangle is stretched thin and torn, resulting in a series of faults visible in the landscape as long parallel valleys, some of the deepest filled with saline lakes, like Lake Asale. There is frequent volcanic activity and lava flows occurred along the faults. The region has a large number of volcanic phenomena like hot springs and extremely active volcanoes, with the Erta Ale Volcano being the most active.

 

For logistical reasons it is can be practical to continue this tour to also visit the Awash National Park and Babile Elephant Sanctuary, altough one can also chose to go back to the mountains and visit those parks out of Addis Ababa.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Camel caravan, Lake Asale, Ethiopia

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Sulphur hot springs, Lake Asale, Ethiopia

Camel caravan transporting salt from Lake Asale to the salt market in Berile.

Sulphur hot springs, at Lake Asale.

 

Central-Southern Rift Valley and Bale mountains

The Rift Valley separates the country into two main mountain regions:

  • Western and the northern highlands; and

  • Eastern and south-eastern highlands.

These regions are separated by a lower – but in the South still high – region, the Rift Valley; in the North, the Rift Valley descents to one of the lowest places on Earth in the Danakil Depression. The highlands descend to lowland areas in the east, west and south of the country, at times very brusquely over short distances of escarpments and canyons. Much of the country consists of high plateaus and mountain ranges which are dissected by numerous streams and rivers, which at times have carved out deep canyons.

 

Several important national parks and lakes are located in the Rift valley, while in the East, the Bale Mountains National Park is an important highlight for visiting this region.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Fishermen Lake Ziway, Ethiopia  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Lodge Nechsar National Park, Ethiopia
 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Safari through Nechi Sar National Park.  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Zebras Nechsar National Park, Ethiopia
 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Giant fig tree, Nechsar National Park Ethiopia

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Mountain Nyala Bale Mountains National Park

South of Addis Ababa is where one finds the best safari national parks and lakes for birding.

 

South Western module

In the Southwest of Ethiopia are several national parks and lavishly interesting tribes:

Both parks are known for their wildlife, while Mago National Park also is home of the Mursi People. The Hamar People don't live in a national park but on the lowlands and marshes north of Lake Turkana. For a long time, both tribes have lived under extreme isolation and they still live by vary ancient traditions, such as stretched out underlips for the Mursi women and voluntary extreme beating during marriage rituals of the Hamar girls.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Mursi girls, Mago National Park

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Safari Lodge, Ethiopia

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Desert Rose safari Etiopia  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Wart Hog Nechsar Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, visiting national parks is combined with visiting intreging tribes.

 

Western parks

There are several parks in Western Ethiopia, but only Gambella National Park if of significant interest, which sports among other species, the famous White-eared Kob, the second most important migrant hoofed animal in the world, with as many as 2.5 million individuals. African Buffaloes can also be seen in relatively large herds in Gambella National Park, as well as a large number of water birds, including the Shoe-billed Heron! It should be noted, though that at present, the park is practically inaccessible during the wet season.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: African buffalos in Gambella National Park, Ethiopia Male Kob in Gambellas National Park, Ethiopia

The most abundant wildlife is found in Gambella National Park, although mostly inaccessible during the wet season.

 

Travel within Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a huge country and most itineraries start out with an initial stretch of about 500km before getting to the interesting highlights. However, nowadays all important tourist destinations can be reached by airplane, which significantly cuts down travel time of destinations that require 6 - 10 hours of travel time by road. Ethiopian Airlines services these destination with brand new Bombardier turboprop airplanes  very reasonable prices.

 

Travel over roads, used to be very adventurous in Ethiopia, but over the past five years, new roads have been built connecting most tourism destinations over smooth asphalt roads of international standards.

 

Many tour operators still offer transportation in four-wheel drive vehicles, which in some of the parks are still necessary, but be mindful of the fact that they are much less comfortable than minivans and small busses and they are considerably more expensive. So, we try to use quality vans, wherever we can.

 

Occasionally we use those charming noisy smelly tuktuks. After all, don't you think you should at least once have been in one? In many cities they are everywhere and quite useful for short distances within cities like Bahir Dar, Gondar and Axum.

 

Transportation on lakes and rivers is done from shaded open metal boats which often lack life jackets. On Lake Tana, the Ethiopians use papyrus canoes or "Takwas", very similar to those used by the Egyptians 4000 years ago! We don't use those for our excursions as they are not water proof, but rather streamlined floating devises and that don't support outboard engines.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Convenient national flights Ethiopian Airlines  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Tuk Tuk taxis in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Landcruiser safari transportation Ethiopia  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Ethiopia private tour bus
 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: tourist boat on Lake Tanan  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Who says girls can't be captain?
 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Tourist vans.  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: new Chinese roads, Ethiopia

Transportation in Ethiopia varies from very primitive, like a papyrus ferry on Lake Tana, to modern new Borbardier turboprops of Ethiopian Airlines.

 

Lodging in Ethiopia

Lodging in Ethiopia sometimes is an adventure, but like the situation on roads, every year more quality lodges and hotels are being added, while economical alternatives are also increasing.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Awash Lodge, Ethiopia  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Konso Hotel Lodge, Ethiopia

At different locations, one finds great lodges to stay.

 

Food

Food is an adventure in Ethiopia. Traditional food is much more varied than in most parts in Africa, all traditional meals are offered with varieties of Injera, a flapjack like flat grain product, usually - but not always - made out of fermented "teff" an endemic grain of the Ethiopian highlands.

 

It may be a bit shocking at first seeing how Ethiopians eat with their fingers, while dipping and kneading their injera in gravy and bean dips. For the slightly sour injera itself one must develop a taste. What we consider good western food and wine, one will have a hard time finding it in Addis Abba, while we have not found it anywhere else in Ethiopia, but then, for dining out, don't you have plenty opportunity at home? When in Ethiopia, do like the Ethiopians.

 

The word Coffee comes from the Kafa Region, the origin of Coffee. Ethiopians prepare their coffee with great care and invite you to their coffee ceremonies.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Injera, Ethiopia  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Ethiopia Coffee Ceremony

Injera dishes are extremely varied but the taste requires some customization for foreigners.

Land of the coffee, Ethiopia highly treasures its coffee ceremony, in which the green beans are first roasted before grinding.

 

People

With 86 recognized ethnic groups, the cultural diversity is enormous. Particularly interesting are the Hamar women, how challenge the men during their wedding ceremony to beat them up. The deeper the scars, the more honorable the woman. Like anywhere else in Africa, on an Ethiopian Tour, you will see how the women and school-going children still are the family's pack "animals". This is one tradition that we would like to see disappear rapidly.

 

 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Hamar women with scars from their wedding ritual  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Woman carrying corn, Ethipia
 ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: Ethiopian priest in Lalibela  ETHIOPIA VACATION & TOUR PACKAGES: On the way to church, Ethiopia

Particularly in the highlands, the dominant religion is Orthodox Christian and in many places one can see worshippers and priests dressed in traditional while wrappings.

Nevertheless, on Sundays,  a variety of protestant worshippers can often be seen on their way to church, as they can be recognized by crosses as known in the west.

 

Enjoy our Ethiopia Vacation & Tour Packages with our great Companion scientist.

Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 1 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and then continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $40 - $70 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!

 

What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.

 

National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.

 

Phone USA: (++)(1) 304 - 581 - 7740

Email: [email protected]

Skype: ecotravelworldwide

Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature. https://www.facebook.com/DrDaanVreugdenhil, https://www.linkedin.com/in/drdaanvreugdenhil/. He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador, including. Yasuní and Cuyabeno, the latter of which he he later recommended to be expanded from originally 150,000ha to 600,000ha, together with then Cuyabeno director Prof. Dr. Flavio Coello and Parks and Tribes partner. Daan is also the founding father of the Cuyabeno Lodge and co-manager of the Cofan Lodge.