Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included. Addis Ababa, founded more than a century ago, means "new flower" in Amharic. At an elevation of 2,400m (7,874 ft), it's the third highest capital in the world and the climate is pleasantly cool. The city mixes past and present, the streets a mishmash of expensive cars, old Russian (Lada model) taxis, along with donkeys, sheep, and goats. Traditional mud houses stand not far from austere fascist architecture and private-sector banks.
Fly to Axum, then spend the afternoon exploring the many archaeological sites. Axum is Ethiopia's oldest and holiest city, and was once the home of the Queen of Sheba.
Travel, via the Lima Limo Valley, to Debark, our base for visiting Simien Mountains National Park. Relax at the scenic lodge with views of the stunning mountain ranges.
Spend the day in Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy guided hiking excursions around Sankaber campsite, and the Jinbar waterfalls, with its scenic views and wildlife. In the late afternoon, drive to Gondar. The scenic Simien Mountains are a good break from the busy cities. Rising high above an eroded landscape of deep gorges and valleys, they rank as one of the continent's most beautiful (and unusual) mountain ranges. A number of peaks reach well over 4,000m (13,123.4 ft), and Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia, is one of Africa's highest mountains. Here, you can see some of Ethiopia's remarkable flora and fauna, including Gelada baboon, Walia ibex, and, if you're lucky, the Ethiopian wolf. The huge lammergeyer is also found soaring over the valleys here.
Enjoy a cultural and nature excursion in a rural Amhara community, then return to Gondar in time for lunch. In the afternoon visit the Debre Birhan Silassie Church.
Continue exploring Gondar in the morning, then head to Bahir Dar.
Take a boat trip on Lake Tana to enjoy stunning views and visit monasteries including Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided hike to the Blue Nile Falls. The scenic Blue Nile Falls are known as Tis Issat, which means "smoking water."
Drive to Lalibela. Lalibela is a good place to taste the local beverage, tej (honey wine) accompanied by local traditional song and dance.
Enjoy a full day exploring the rock-hewn churches, including St. George Church, and other historical sites. In the morning, opt for a hike to Asheton Maryam, for panoramic views of the town and countryside.
Morning flight to Addis Ababa, where the tour ends on arrival at Bole International Airport. Book onward travel after 5pm.