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Highlights of Ethiopia

Private Travel | General interest 14 Days & 11 Nights Lead-in price: £4155 Current prices from: £4155
This guided private journey takes you to the many highlights of Ethiopia’s famed ‘Northern Circuit’. Visit sites of enormous historical and religious importance, landscapes of astonishing natural beauty, and wildlife that is found nowhere else on earth. Comfortable accommodation, modern vehicles and expert local guides result in an adventurous but rewarding tour that is ideal for first-time visitors.

The Cox & Kings signature experiences

  • Get involved in community projects in the Simien mountains
  • Join an Ethiopian cooking class
  • Witness gelada monkeys close up
  • Explore castles, churches & monasteries
  • Visit the alleged site of the Ark of the Covenant
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Discovery Private Tour in brief

Days 1-2: Fly to Addis Ababa

Fly overnight from London (regional connections available) to Addis Ababa. Afternoon guided city tour including a visit to the National Museum, home to the remains of ‘Lucy’, said to be an ancestor of every human alive today. Overnight at the Golden Tulip Hotel. (N) (L, D)

Days 3-4: Fly to Makelle • Gheralta

Fly to Makelle, then transfer by road to Gheralta. En route, visit a cluster of hidden Orthodox Christian churches, including Debre Mariam Korkor and Daniel Korkor which have been painstakingly carved into the barren, rocky landscape. Devote the next day to exploring the Tigray region around Gheralta with its stunning mountain landscapes, remote hermitage caves and ancient Christian relics. Spend 2 nights at Gheralta Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 5: Axum

Transfer to Axum, stopping at the Yeha Temple ruins. Axum was once the seat of an empire that boasted its own alphabet, and numerous large-scale engineering projects, and is said to have been one of the greatest powers of the ancient world. You will visit a number of fascinating sites here, including the purported house of the Ark of the Covenant and the alleged former home of the Queen of Sheba. Overnight at the Sabean Hotel. (B, L, D)

Days 6-7: Simien mountains

Drive to the Simien mountains, home to gelada monkeys, bearded vultures, cliff dwelling walia ibex, Nile feeding waterfalls and superb hiking opportunities. You can choose your excursions depending on your interests and also get involved in a community project in one of the poorest areas on the planet. Spend 2 nights at the Simien Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Gondar

Head to Gondar, stopping at a working farm on the way. Gondar, another former capital, is often dubbed the ‘Camelot of Africa’ due to the many medieval style castles and churches that adorn its streets. Explore some of these before overnighting at the Goha Hotel. (B, L, D)

Days 9-10: Lake Tana • Bahir Dar

Journey to Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile, and board a boat trip to an ancient island monastery and onwards to Bahir Dar*. The following day enjoy a 20-kilometre drive, followed by a short hike to the Blue Nile Falls, before visiting the old palace of Emperor Haile Selassie in Bahir Dar. Spend 2 nights at the Kuriftu Resort. (B, L, D)

Days 11-12: Lalibela

Fly east to Lalibela. Over the next two days you will visit the town’s collection of 11 extraordinary Unesco-listed rock-hewn churches. Created from single stone blocks, they were designed to give worshippers a place to pilgrimage after religious conquests cut off access to the holy lands in the 12th century. You will also take part in an Ethiopian cooking class and dine at the famous Ben Abeba restaurant. Spend 2 nights at the Maribela Hotel. (B, L, D)

Days 13-14: Fly to London via Addis Ababa

Fly back to Addis Ababa. Day at leisure with day room at Golden Tulip Hotel, before transferring to the airport for the very early flight to London the following day. (B) (N)

Meal basis:

As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.

Important information * Day 9:

Boat trip and monastery visit in high season only. In low season, the journey from Gondar to Bahir Dar will be by road transfer.

Discovery tour:

This tour is best suited to the hardier traveller as it includes some basic accommodation and some rougher road journeys.

Single supplement

Available on request.

Tailor-made travel

For a price quote based on alternative accommodation standards, to discuss flight options or to tailor this itinerary, please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online.

Discovery private tour accommodation

  • Simien Mountain Lodge, Simien Mountains National Park
    Simien Mountain Lodge, Simien Mountains National Park

    The Simien Mountain Lodge is the highest hotel in Africa at 3,260 metres. It is an eco-friendly property built at Buyit Ras with wonderful views across the mountain range. The accommodation has traditional tukul-style exteriors and the interiors are very comfortable with tasteful decor. The main lodge building has a friendly bar with an open fire that is a great place to gather in the evening before dinner. The food is of a good standard and the staff are friendly and hospitable. The lodge supports a local school and is able to organise visits, subject to timing. The altitude of this lodge means that it is often cold. The lodge provides hot water bottles and thick duvets, but can be chilly, especially in the evenings and when guests arrive from lower altitudes. Bringing a fleece or jumper is highly recommended. Features: 26 rooms, restaurant, bar, lounge. Room amenities: Private bathroom, tea & ...

  • Sabean International Hotel
    Sabean International Hotel

    The Sabean International Hotel is the best of a limited selection of hotels in Axum. Located on the main road in the city, the hotel is a convenient base from which to explore the archaeological sites in the area. The rooms are decorated in a modern Ethiopian style, while the restaurant serves both international and Ethiopian cuisine.

  • Kuriftu Resort and Spa Bahir Dar
    Kuriftu Resort and Spa Bahir Dar

    Situated on the shores of Lake Tana, Kuriftu Resort Bahir Dar comprises 28 stone bungalows set in attractive gardens. Each room is decorated in a traditional Ethiopian style with en suite facilities, a four-poster bed, lounge and television. The resort also boasts its own restaurant and swimming pool, while the spa treatments, a fusion of traditional Asian and European techniques, are some of the best in Ethiopia.

  • Golden Tulip
    Golden Tulip

    The Golden Tulip Addis Ababa is conveniently located within 3km of the international airport and within easy reach of Addis' main attractions. All of the property's 90 rooms are spacious and offer a modern design. The hotel's restaurant serves a variety of international dishes and there is also a coffee shop and a bar for evening drinks. Features: 90 rooms, restaurant, bar, lounge, gym, Wi-Fi. Room amenities: Private bathroom, air conditioning, minibar, television, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.

  • Goha Hotel
    Goha Hotel

    Goha Hotel is situated on a hill with a panoramic view of the town and its monuments, and with great sunsets from the terrace. Occasionally guests will spot giant lammergeyers, which have a 3-metre wingspan, soaring on the air currents by the hotel.

  • Gherlata Lodge
    Gherlata Lodge

    Located near to Hawzien, in the northern region of Ethiopia, Gheralta Lodge offers bungalow style accommodation and a small restaurant. With its unique chain of mountains, the Gheralta area is the home of the rock churches famous for their architecture, ancient paintings and manuscripts.

Discovery private tour extensions

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Dates & prices


Guideline Prices

Low season from £4155 per person

High season from £4885 per person


Flexible Prices & Itineraries
For a quote based on alternative accommodation standards or flight options, or to tailor this itinerary, please call 020 7873 5000 or send an email enquiry

Additional Information

Please call 020 7873 5000 for more information or to make a booking.

Prices above are per person in pounds sterling (£), based on two people sharing a twin-room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication, may be subject to change, particularly as a result of variable flight costs. You will be informed of any such changes prior to booking.

  • • 3-star accommodation
    • English speaking driver-guide throughout
    • Modern air-conditioned vehicles
    • International & internal flights
    • All park & entrance fees
    • 11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners

Destinations on this tour

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