Ethiopian Wildlife

The Ethiopian highlands were the last region of Africa to emerge from the last great “Ice Age”. And in so being the sheer breathtaking beauty of this country’s scenery, which was carved by those glaciers, overwhelms your senses and embeds itself in your mind’s eye. Every journey is a visual feast but also a haven for endemic and endangered animal species, such as the Simien Wolf, Walia Ibex, Gelada Monkey and Mountain Nyala, along with 20+ endemic bird species.

Gelada baboon and a photographer

Day 1 Addis Ababa
Day 2 Addis Ababa to Bale Mountains National Park
Day 3 Bale Mountains National Park
Day 4 Bale Mountains National Park
Day 5 Bale Mountains National Park
Day 6 Lalibela
Day 7 Simien Mountains National Park
Day 8 Simien Mountains National Park
Day 9 Simien Mountains National Park
Day 10 Simien Mountains National Park
Day 11 Addis Ababa

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Met at Bole airport and transferred by private vehicle.

Full day in Addis. Sightseeing is available should time permit. The rich culture of Ethiopia, and it's international links, has endowed the city with many fine restaurants and street side cafe's. Nightlife, including many cinemas, traditional dancing houses, casino's and bars provide entertainment until the early hours.

We start out day by driving north up to Mount Entoto. Addis Ababa at between 2300 - 2500 meters is the third highest capital in the world and Entoto is a few hundred meters higher - as we drive up the hill there is an appreciable drop in temperature and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees which line the road. From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside. Our guide will point out the city’s major landmarks. Entoto is an important watershed; to the north, water flows to the Blue Nile and the Mediterranean Sea, to the south, to the Awash River and on to Djibouti. Two important structures remain within the old imperial compound on Entoto, the churches of Mariam and the Archangel Raguel. It was in the church of Mariam that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889, and in the small museum in the compound there are various clothes, court and household implements and weapons dating from the period.

Leaving the churches we descend to Addis Ababa, stopping off at the National Archaeological Museum. Here visitors can see exhibits ranging from the 3.5 million-year-old bones of Lucy, from the Axumite and Gondarene periods through to the period of the monarchs Tewodros and Menelik II.

Day 2: Addis Ababa to Bale Mountains National Park

A full day drive southwards to the Bale Mountains National Park.

Day 3: Bale Mountains National Park

A full day on the Sanetti Plateau in search of the world's rarest canid - The Simien Wolf.

The Simien Wolf - Ethiopia

Day 4: Bale Mountains National Park

A full day on the Sanetti Plateau in search of the world's rarest canid - The Simien Wolf.

Day 5: Bale Mountains National Park

A full day with the Researchers from EWCP.

Day 6: Bale Mountains National Park to Lalibela

Drive two hours to the airstrip at Robe to board our 2 hour private charter flight across the Great Rift Valley to Lalibela. Met on arrival at the Lalibela airport and transfered by road 40 minutes up the mountainside to the town centre. On market day (Saturday), the road is a spectacle of traders walking to and from market.

At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries King Lalibela of the Zaghwe dynasty built a series of rock hewn churches – the New Jerusalem as he called it – now rightly acknowledged to be one of the wonders of the world. There are 11 churches in the town named after him, with others in the surrounding countryside. All are still in use today. (The churches are divided into two groups, the division being the River Yordanos or River Jordan.) It is estimated that the churches took 25 years to construct – for the Kingdom based on Roha (later renamed Lalibela) to have kept a large work force engaged in economically unproductive labour for such a long period means that it disposed of a large economic surplus and was very wealthy. The area then was clearly fertile and agriculturally productive, whereas now deforestation and population pressures on the land have reduced its productivity.

After checking into the hotel we will start our tour of the first group of churches, returning to the hotel for lunch, and continuing the tour in the afternoon.

Day 7: Lalibela to Simien Mountains National Park

After breakfast transfer down the mountainside to the Lalibela Airport in time for your mid morning Ethiopian Airlines scheduled flight (approx 1 hour) to Gondar, which in the 16th Century was the second largest city on the African continent, and the centre of the Abyssinian empire.

Gondar was the imperial capital from the 17th to mid 19th centuries, and today visitors can see the imperial compound, with castles still in good condition (some recently restored) and the bath of King Fasilides, where at Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany) a nearby river is diverted to fill an area the size of a small swimming pool. Worshippers plunge into the cold water in a re-enactment of the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan. Although many of Gondar’s churches were destroyed during the Mahdist invasion from Sudan in the 1880s, one very fine example, Debre Berhan Selassie, was saved, according to the legend, by a swarm of bees. The walls and ceiling are completely covered with murals. We end our tour with a visit to the ruined palace of Queen Mentowab, and the church of Qusquam. We will visit the former Felasha (Ethiopian jews) village at Wolleka, to buy some of the characteristic pottery sold there. Most of the Felasha or Bait Israel as they prefer to be called, were taken to Israel in the 1980s.

From Gondar it's a three hour drive north to the Simien Mountains National Park. We stop at the town of Debark to complete National Park registration formalities and to collect a scout and local guide before continuing onwards.

Day 8: Simien Mountains National Park

Simien Mountains National Park - Ethiopia

A full day in the Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the late 1960s, the park presents perhaps the most dramatic scenery in Africa – great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years ago and eroded over the aeons into fantastic crags, pinnacles and flat topped mountains, “the chess pieces of the Gods”, as one writer described them, tower over precipitous gorges, river valleys and plains stretching all the way to Eritrea. There are many peaks over 4000 metres, and Ras Dashen at 4620 metres is the highest in the country and the fourth highest in Africa.

The day shall be spent searching for the endemic Gelada or bleeding heart baboon, the Walia Ibex, the Simien Wolf (the rarist canid in the world) and rock hyrax, and endemic birds such as the Thick billed Raven, Black headed Siskin, White Collared Pigeon, Wattled Ibis, White billed Starling, Spot breasted Plover and White backed Black Tit and spectaculay Lammergeyers with 3meter wingspans. The Afro-Alpine flora, meadows and grasslands punctuated by Giant Lobelia and flowering Red Hot Pokers with truly breathtaking.

Gelada or bleeding heart baboon

Day 9: Simien Mountains National Park

A full day in the Simien Mountains National Park.


Day 10: Simien Mountains National Park

A full day in the Simien Mountains National Park.

Day 11: Simien Mountains National Park to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

After a morning in the park it's a three hour drive back to Gondar.

Fly Ethiopian Airlines scheduled flight 1245/1355 hrs from Gonder to Bole Airport, Addis Ababa.

Met at Bole airport and transferred by private vehicle if required.

Download Detailed Itinerary

Day 1:

Golden Tulip Hotel Addis Ababa,

Golden Tulip Hotel Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Day 2 - 5:

Bale Mountains Lodge,
Bale Mountains National Park

Bale Mountains Lodge in Bale Mountains National Park - Ethiopia

Day 6:

Tukul Village,

Tukul Village, Lalibela

Day 7 - 10:

Simien Lodge,
Simien Mountains National Park

Simien Lodge - Simien Mountains National Park