Exploring Ethiopian Wildlife

    • Ethiopia

Ethiopian Wildlife and Tribal Culture Safari

Duration: 14 days/13nights

Route: Rift valley, Omo valley, and the Bale Mountains

Transportation: 4×4 vehicles

Minimum group size: 2 pax


This itinerary is designed for those who love nature, wildlife, and authentic culture. Most of the major National parks in the country that are famous for their wildlife are included. Several of the National parks included are the most untouched ones and rarely visited by tourists, hence offering a great wildlife experience. A visit to several endemic mammals, including the Ethiopian Wolf, is included in the itinerary. Interaction with the interesting Mursi, Hamer, Karo, and other Omo valley tribes is another focus of the itinerary.

Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Addis Ababa Bole International airport and meet your guide in the airport the will be transferred to the hotel. Overnight: Jupiter or Similar 4* Hotel

Day 2: Drive Addis – Chebera Churchura National park
After breakfast, drive from Addis Ababa to Chebera Churchura national park via Jimma, the capital of the former Kaffa province after which coffee is named. Late in the afternoon, enjoy a game drive in the Park.
Overnight: First class camping gear with private cook and necessary camping gears

Day 3- Chebera Churchura National park
Today will be an epic day in Chebera Churchura National Park. This park is one of the recent developments in Ethiopia, and it is the most untouched park with great wilderness. So far, 37 larger mammals and 237 species of birds have been recorded in the different habitats (Highland & Riverine forest and savanna and bush lands) of the park. White-winged cliff chat, banded-barbet, wattled ibis, black-headed forest Oriole, and thick-billed Raven are endemic birds for the country. Common mammals include the African elephant, hippopotamus, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. The park appears to be the least disturbed and reliable ecosystem for the African elephant and Buffalo in the country.
Overnight: First class camping gear with private cook and necessary camping gears 

Day 4- Drive Chebera Churchura – Maze National Park
After an early morning game drive, leave Chebera Churchura National park and drive to Maze National Park.

Maze National Park is covered by savannah grassland with scattered deciduous broad leave trees as well as river basin association along with the main watercourses. So far 39 larger and medium-sized mammals and 196 birds species have been recorded. The park is one of the three sites in the country where a good population of the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest population still survives. In addition, other mammals like Orbi, Bohor red buck, warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, greater kudu, lesser kudu, bush pig, Anibus baboon, vervet monkey, leopard, and wild cats are among others common species.

Overnight: First class camping gear with private cook and necessary camping gears 

Day 5 – Drive Maze – Mago National Park
After the morning game drive, drive to Mago National Park. Our campsite is set in an ideal location offering a great opportunity to see the wildlife in the park late in the afternoon and early in the morning.
Overnight: First class camping gear with private cook and necessary camping gears 

Day 6 – Excursion to Mursi tribal village
In the morning, make a game drive in the park, and then drive to the village of the Mursi tribe to visit and appreciate the very authentic culture of the Mursi tribe. They are renowned for the strange custom followed by their women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted.
Overnight: First class camping gear with private cook and necessary camping gears 

Day 7 – Drive Jinka – Turmi
Drive from Jinka to Turmi, the settlement of the Hamer people. The women of the Hamer are known particularly for their striking, adorned with thick plaits of ochre-colored hair hanging down in a heavy fringe, leather skirts decorated with cowries, a dozen or more copper bracelets fixed tightly around their arms. And the men are noted for the initiation ceremony of Jumping over the Bulls. Catching this interesting ritual is entirely a matter of chance. On the way, you will visit the most colorful traditional market in the Omo Valley called Key Afer, here you will see the Hammer, Tsemay, Bena, and the Ari ethnic groups with their untouched cultural dressing style.
Overnight: Buska Lodge 

Day 8 – Turmi – Murulle – Turmi
In the morning, you will make an excursion trip to Murulle – the village of Karo people, who are the tribe with the least in a number of members, and known for the body paintings they indulge in before important ceremonies. The most striking thing about the Karo people’s symbolic and ornamental expressions is the painted body and face decorations. This is an elaborate process, which ranges from fine and elaborate details to rough, but striking paintings traced with the palms or fingers. The most beautiful expression is in the facial and chest paintings that combine white (chalk), black (charcoal), yellow, ochre, and red earth. They often imitate the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. Karo woman scarifies their chests to beautify themselves. The complete scarification of a man’s chest indicates that he has killed an enemy or a dangerous animal. The scars are cut with a knife or razor blade and ash is rubbed in to produce a raised effect. The wearing of a grey and ochre clay hair bun also indicates the killing of an enemy or a dangerous animal. We also visit Dus, a typical settlement with open public meeting grounds and a dancing place. The people living here have shelters called shuppa, where they pass the hottest hours of the day playing a Karo board game called Ware.

In the afternoon, visit the Hamer village or attend the bull jumping ceremony if there is one. The Hammer people are noted for their ‘Bull Jumping’ Ceremony where boys jump lines of bulls to show the community that they are old and mature enough to carry the responsibility of marriage. Hammers have remarkable hairstyles made from ochre, water, and binding resin. They rub the mixture into their hair then twist the strands repeatedly to create coppery-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth and welfare. Hammers are considered to be masters of body decoration.
Overnight: Buska Lodge 

Day 9- Drive Turmi – Arba Minch
Drive from Turmi to Arba Minch visiting the Arbore, noted for their jewelry and the Konso people who are noted for their tradition of making traces for the protection of erosion. The Konso land is registered as one of the world heritage sites in the country in 2011.

In the afternoon, have a remarkable boat ride on the southernmost Rift Valley Lake of Ethiopia – Lake Chamo. A boat trip on Lake Chamo is among the best anywhere in Ethiopia. One can spot many Hippos and the world’s most spectacular concentrations of Giant Crocodiles (It is locally called as “Crocodile Market”). The water birds are great the scenery is truly unforgettable. Fishing for Nile Perch and many other species by locals on their traditional boat is by far the best in the country. You will also watch various low-land water birds like the African Fish Eagle, Great White Pelicans, egrets, etc. Overnight: Paradise Lodge or similar hotel 

Day 10 – Drive Arba Minch – Awassa
After breakfast, drive to Chencha to visit the Dorze people who are known for weaving tradition and for their beautiful huts made of bamboo. Then head to Awassa visiting the Alaba village for their painted houses.
Overnight: Taddesse Enjori or similar Hotel 

Day 11 – Awassa- Bale Mountains National Park 
In the morning, visit the fish market at Lake Awassa. Then drive to the world-famous Bale Mountains National Park. At the park headquarters in Dinsho, we search the trails for the colorful Chestnut-naped Francolin, Ground scraper Thrush (of the distinctive, endemic race simensis), the secretive Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, vocal Abyssinian Catbird, and the endemic White-backed Black-Tit. We also hope to see a variety of mammals, including Mountain Nyala- now entirely restricted to the Bale Mountain massif, Menelik’s Bushbuck, and Warthog, unusual at this high altitude. Further drive to Goba for overnight Overnight Goba Wabishebele or similar hotel 

Day 12 – Full day Sanetti Plateau Wildlife Excursion
Today will be a day of great contrasts with amazing scenery and birding. We will depart early, and ascend the Bale massif onto the Sanetti Plateau, which is between 3800m and 4377m above sea level. Once we reach this unique plateau, we will be driving on Africa’s highest road, passing close to the summit of Ethiopia’s second-highest mountain. This habitat is termed “Afro-alpine moorland”, and is characterized by Jibrra or Giant Lobelias, which tower like monolithic giants over the rich tussock grasslands and extensive cushions of yellow Everlasting flowers. This site is an Important Bird Area of immense importance, supporting seven globally threatened species and nearly all of Ethiopia’s Highland biome species. The grasslands are estimated to support incredible biomass of 4,000kg of rodents per hectare. This obviously attracts an array of raptors and we should see Steppe and Golden Eagle, Augur Buzzard, and elegant Pallid Harriers courting over this green sea.

They share this abundant food source with the plateau’s most celebrated resident, the Ethiopian Wolf, crowned with the unenviable title of “the world’s rarest canid.” We should enjoy excellent photographic opportunities in this unique mountain wonderland. Finally, we will reach the escarpment of this elevated plateau and stare down, through the clouds, at the vast Harenna Forest below. This remarkable forest is the largest intact forest block in Ethiopia and the largest protected Afro-alpine forest on the continent. It still supports populations of lions and the only surviving forest-dwelling African Wild Dogs. Although unlikely that we will see either of these species, the descent through this breathtakingly beautiful moss-draped forest is inspirational.
Overnight Bale Mountains lodge 

Day 13 – Drive to Langano
After breakfast, we drive to Lake Langano. Here we can enjoy watching several waterbird species in and around the lake, and the ever spectacular sunset. Lake Langano is bilharzia-free and suitable for swimming.
Overnight Sabana beach Resort 

Day 14 – Drive to Addis Ababa
After breakfast, drive back to Addis visiting the Rift Valley Lakes of Langano, Abiyatta, Shalla, and Ziway. In the afternoon, take a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes:-

National Museum:-It comprises many archaeological and historical findings including the famous complete hominid fossil remaining of ‘Lucy’ locally known as ‘Dinknesh’ meaning wonderful. Visiting this museum is having a good summary for your visit to historic Ethiopia.

 Merkato:-It is the largest open-air market in Africa. Here you will be presented with a confusing, but fascinating, a glimpse of the vast range of goods and artifacts available from all parts of the country and you will enjoy the Ethiopian trade exchange tradition in the open air, you can purchase anything you desire here.

Trinity Cathedral:-a beautiful church with a baroque style of European architecture that is unique to both Ethiopia and Africa and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Here you will find scripts of the imperial families, statues done by a Greek sculpture, Stained glass window paintings from the Old and New Testament in the Bible, and coffins of Emperor Haile Selassie-I; the founder of the church, and his wife.

In the evening before departure, have a farewell dinner party at one of the best traditional restaurants where you will see the folkloric dances of the people of Ethiopia, and taste the variety of Ethiopian meals.

Then, be transferred to the airport for your departure

Included Services:-
1: Accommodation on a twin room sharing basis
2: All meals out of Addis, and only breakfast in Addis
3: All entrance fees
4: Transfer in and out service
5: First-class camping gears
6: Cook for the camping days
7: All ground transportation
8: Professional English speaking guide
9: Portage fees
10: All local guides
11: Scouts
12: Government tax

Excluded Services:-
1: Lunch and dinner in Addis
2: Any alcoholic drinks
3: A personal expense like souvenirs, laundry, etc
4: Tips
Any expense which is not stated in the ‘Included List’ above