Ethiopia: The Island of Africa

  • Explore from the urban capital to the Simien Mountains, where we study geladas with baboon researchers
  • Meet tribal people in the entrancingly remote, aridly beautiful Lower Omo Valley
  • Feast your eyes on Lalibela's famed monolithic churches and Gheralta's lesser-known cave-carved sanctuaries
  • Opt to extend your trip in Harar or with a helicopter excursion to the otherworldly Danakil Depression
Ethiopia with GeoEx
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure & Sample Itinerary
Trip Length: 18 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour, Safari
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

This newly updated journey takes us far and wide, north to south, in a madly interesting, scenically booming country. We explore its immense history, spanning religions as diverse as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and discover its stunning landscapes and rare wildlife. Wandering far off the beaten path, we're privy to cultural and natural wonders that few travelers see.

After a good look at Addis Ababa, the multifaceted capital, we head north to the lofty and little-known Simien Mountains. Two nights there allow us to soak up the breathtakingly landscapes, commune with gelada baboons alongside field researchers, and watch for walia ibex. Next we delve into Lalibela, a pilgrimage site of 11 monolithic churches chiseled out of living rock, and Axum, a major center of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Our time in the off-the-radar Gheralta region, with its thousands of mysterious cliff- and cave-carved churches, may be the highlight of the trip.

Shifting gears we fly south, stopping for a few days to safari in the lush Bale Mountains, home to the endangered Ethiopian wolf. We continue to the utterly dissimilar world of the Lower Omo Valley, an as-yet-undeveloped region. For several days we visit this entrancingly remote area and its handsome tribal peoples—the Hamar, Ari, Bena, and Mursi, among others—getting to know their ways and their vast, dry, and alluring land. Boat excursions take us even further afield.

Please note: GeoEx offers a handy three-day post-trip extension to the holy city of Harar, and can arrange thrilling helicopter trips to the Danakil Depression. Please ask for details.

"We enjoyed the trip—with all its wonderful experiences and lovely people and challenging moments that make a travel experience deep. We are still talking about it with our friends and our children, and sorting it all out for ourselves. It was certainly not just another trip." – Mary B.


Ethiopia is one of our
2016 New & Now places.

Ethiopia tour map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Addis Ababa
  • Day 2: sightseeing in Addis
  • Day 3: fly and drive to Simien Mountains National Park
  • Day 4: Simien wildlife viewing
  • Day 5: drive to Gondar
  • Days 6 & 7: fly to Lalibela, visit churches
  • Day 8: fly to Axum, explore
  • Days 9 & 10: drive to Gheralta, explore
  • Day 11: fly to Bale Mountains National Park
  • Days 12 & 13: Bale wildlife excursions
  • Day 14: fly to Omo Valley
  • Days 15–17: discover Omo region and tribes
  • Day 18: fly to Addis, depart.

  • To See More:
    Ask about our extensions to Harar and the Danakil Depression.