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Colourful bible, Axum, Ethiopia

Ethiopia Holidays

Discover rock-cut churches, trek the Simien mountains and visit the city of Harar, where hyenas stalk the streets. For the more adventurous, camp in the remote reaches of the Omo Valley, meeting traditional tribal communities.

Ethiopia’s landscape is magnificent, the people incredibly welcoming and the sense of history tangible. The old decorative art in the churches, the castles at Gondor, the rock-cut churches at Lalibela and the 1,700-year-old monolithic stelae at Axum are all inspiring.

Ethiopia is fascinating, both historically and culturally, a magical country to visit.

Kara, Body Paint, Ethiopia
Kara, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Dassenach, Dimi, Ethiopia
Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Fasilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia
Fasilides Castle, Gondarrr, Ethiopia
Gelada, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Gelada, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Why we like Ethiopia

The focus of most holidays to Ethiopia is on the natural world, and there are parts of the country to delight any nature lover. The wildlife is truly unique with Ethiopian wolves, Gelada baboons and Walia ibex to be found in the Simien and Bale Mountains. A good starting point is our Highlights of Ethiopia itinerary.

Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Cattle Drive, Awash, Ehtiopia
Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Kara, Body Paint, Ethiopia
Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Laibeila Church, Ethiopia
Lalibela, Ethiopia

What to expect on your Ethiopia Holiday

If spas, luxury hotels and fine food are high on your list of priorities, then Ethiopia is probably not for you. The standard of accommodation has improved with the emergence of a few new and exciting properties, but a holiday to Ethiopia is about what surrounds you rather than the luxuries in life.

What you will find is a safe, delightfully friendly country of dignified people. A country that will smash all your preconceived ideas. Ethiopia is one of the most unusual countries in Africa, complete with myth, wonder, relics and stories of emperors and queens. It is said to be home to the Ark of the Covenant and Harar is the fourth most important haj city of Islam.

One of the first countries to adopt the Christian faith, northern Ethiopia tells a story of the persecution of Christians by the Arabs and dogged resolution. In the south, the roots of Africa dig deep into a remote and esoteric tribal wilderness.

Lava field at sunset, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Discover extraordinary in Ethiopia

  • Plan your visit to coincide with a Christian festival
  • No visit is complete without seeing the remarkable rock-cut monolithic churches at Lalibela
  • Try a few days trekking in the beautiful Simien or Bale Mountains
  • If time allows head south to the tribal areas, where women have large lip plates and men indulge in bull jumping and stick fighting
  • Soak in the tranquillity of Bishangari Lodge
  • Visit Harar, the only predominantly Muslim city in Ethiopia, which was founded in the 7th century
  • Venture into the depths of the western Omo (not on the tourist route) or to the hottest place on earth: the Danakil Depression
  • For the ultimate holiday, explore Ethiopia by helicopter and visit otherwise inaccessible areas

Explore Ethiopia

  • Axum
  • Bale Mountains
  • Gondar
  • Lalibela
  • Simien Mountains
  • Lake Tana
  • Omo Valley


Church of Yemrehanna Kristos

Visit the remote and deeply sacred church of Yemrehanna Kristos, which sits within a vast cavern. Here, the remains of more than 10,000 pilgrims are said to lie.

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Visit Bet Giyorgis at Dusk

Visit the outlying Bet Giyorgis, arguably Lalibela’s most beautiful church. Carved into the shape of a Greek cross and perfectly preserved, this masterpiece is best appreciated in the late afternoon sunlight.

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Meet the Dassenach

Visit the crocodile-hunting Dassenach people, staying at a mobile camp nearby, in the Omo Valley.

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Meet the Kara

Meet the colourful Kara people of the Omo Valley, renowned for painting their bodies with a tapestry of colours.

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Explore by Boat

Explore the Omo Delta by boat, visiting isolated and rarely encountered communities in this culturally rich and varied region.

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Photography in the Omo Valley

Meet the local and tribes and spend time getting to know them, establishing a relationship with them. Then have the chance to photograph them in a respectful, non-exploitative fashion.

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Rock-cut Churches

Visit Lalibela’s iconic rock-cut churches, which are hewn into the hillside. Built during the 12th and 13th century, these still-active religious edifices are cut into the red volcanic rock.

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Experience Timkat

Visit Lalibela’s churches during the Orthodox Epiphany, Timkat, when religious fervour descends on the country. Parades, processions and baptism re-enactments all take place during this national celebration.

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Explore Axum’s History

Visit palace ruins and burial grounds in Axum. Visit the legendary baths of the Queen of Sheba.

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Ancient Stelae

See the colossal rock stelae, for which Axum is famous.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management. My desire to see more led me to work as a guide for AndBeyond, first in South Africa, then in Tanzania as the company expanded. Here, I lived and worked in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro, guiding and running safari camps.

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  • 01285 880 980

Bridget Cohen

Aged five and with my Curious George toy safely tucked under my arm, I set off with my family to travel around Europe in an orange VW minibus. Looking back on the adventures we had along the way, I now know that this was where my love for travel and exploring began.

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Frequently asked questions about Ethiopia

Can everyone enter Ethiopia's religious buildings?

There are some buildings, most obviously monasteries, that women cannot enter. And there are others where each gender has their own entrance. However, the majority of sites can be visited by women and men alike, meaning that Ethiopia is still a rewarding destination for female travellers.

What is the climate like?

There are two seasons. The dry season prevails from October through to May; the wet season runs from June to September.

What are travel conditions like in Ethiopia?

Road conditions are generally poor and the mountainous topography in the north will cut speed. The Omo region, in particular, presents different landscapes – from high rocky hills and sandy semi-desert to a stony basin. Some drives are long and the roads can be bumpy.

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We were kept very well informed right up until we left for our trip. We were alerted to a better flight home and had all the documents we needed to take with us.


No words can accurately describe the service afforded by Bridget. She solved problems that weren't of her making which resulted in saving my holiday!


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