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Ethiopia: The Historic Route & The Omo Valley

  • Destination: Africa & Middle East, Ethiopia
  • Start: 07/22/2019
  • End: 08/04/2019

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  • Double Occupancy $5595 | Single Occupancy $6195
  •   CALL US TO BOOK & SAVE: 1.561.791.9890 

14 days/12 nights. This is our most exciting new destination. This is for the truly intrepid traveler (although accommodations are comfortable.) You know if this is for you or not. We start in the NORTH where the monuments of ancient Christianity are located and end in the SOUTH visiting the indigenous tribes of the Omo, Konso, Mursi and other tribes. We taking only a small group.
ADDITIONAL: International Airfare: USA – Addis Ababa (ADD) – USA

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Day 1

MON JUL 22, 2019 • Depart USA

Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

FLIGHTS: Ethiopia is served by Ethiopian Airlines (code share with UA & LH) from JFK, El Al, Emirates, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways. If Ethiopian Airlines is chosen, the domestic flights with Ethiopia are cheaper. See AIRFARES under Rates & Facts on our website.

Northern Ethiopia

Day 2

TUE JUL 23 • Arrival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

eday2Welcome to Ethiopia! Coda Tours’ representatives will receive you on arrival at the Addis Ababa Airport where you can obtain your visa for entry. Transfer to our hotel.

Hotel: Golden Tulip Hotel
Room: Standard
Meals: Lunch, dinner

Day 3

WED JUL 24 • Addis Ababa to Axum

Fly to Axum, which was founded at least three centuries before the birth of Christ. Axum was the capital of one of the oldest African empires — and the city represented a crucial connection between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. It is also the site of the Cathedral of Tsion Maryam, which was founded in the 4th century and is still considered the home of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. Visit this cathedral, where the Ark of the Covenant is reputed to be stored; the palace of the Queen of Sheba; and a field of carved monoliths from pre-Christian times. The most controversial of the stelae, the Obelisk of Axum, was stolen by Italian forces in 1937 during Italy’s conquest of Ethiopia and has only recently been returned and restored.

Hotel: Sabean Hotel
Room: Standard
Meal: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4

THU JUL 25 • Axum to Lalibela

Fly to Lalibela, which was formerly the thriving capital of a medieval dynasty. Legend tells that in this town, once called Roha, a mother saw her baby in a cradle surrounded by a dense swarm of bees. She called her son “Lalibela”— meaning “the bees recognize his sovereignty” — and he went on to build many of the stone churches, painstakingly hewn from the rock more than 800 years ago, for which the town is renowned. After lunch, discover these wonders of the world, many of which still hold religious services.

Hotel: Maribela Hotel
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5

FRI JUL 26 • Full Day Lalibela

After breakfast journey to the Monastery of Nakuto leab. Located on the outskirts of the city, this monastery was hewn out of a rock cave. Alternatively, you may choose to embark on a ‘mule trek’ up Mount Ashetone to pay a visit to the Ashetone Mariam Monastery. The road up the mountain is very steep and looks like a twisted rope hugging the wall.

After lunch, visit more of the cave churches built by King Lalibela (the second group of churches), including the famous Bete Georgis. This Greek cross-shaped church is located in a deep pit with perpendicular walls, accessible only by a tunnel located a small distance away. The church was built by Lalibela for Saint George, who is said to have supervised its construction himself – just ask the monks who will show us the hoof marks left by his horse! Also visit the group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercuiros, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa’el. Bet Emanuel’s elaborate exterior is much praised by art historian and some nearby churches of Lalibella

We also attend a traditional coffee ceremony where we observe the time-honored roasting and brewing process, which is done in a special jebena (clay kettle).

Hotel: Maribela Hotel
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6

SAT JUL 27 • Lalibela to Gondar

eday6After breakfast, we will fly to Gondar, and will check in to the hotel before embarking on our exploration of Gondar, the imperial city of Fasilides. The city was the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632, with the reign of Fasilides; and the kings of Ethiopia based their power there for over two centuries.

In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. Many picturesque ruins lie in the royal enclosure, like fairy-tale castles dating back to the 17th century. The castles reflect the glory of Gondarine kings and is characterized by its distinctive architectural style. The other place of interest is the Fasilides pool, in which pilgrims still take a plunge during the Timket (Epiphany) celebrations.

Afterward, we will visit Debre Birhan Trinity Church, (rewarding for the magnificent murals adorning the roof and the wall), and Kuskuam Church, situated on a hillscape, just outside the town.

During this day of remarkable sights, we will pause for breath and for lunch at the Four Sisters Restaurant, which offers the finest cuisine in Gondar.

Hotel: Mayeleko Lodge
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Southern Ethiopia

Day 7

SUN JUL 28 • Gondar To Arba Minch

Today in the morning transfer to the airport for Addis Ababa flight and connect to the flight to Arba Minch. Arba Minch is the largest town in Southern Ethiopia. The town lies at an elevation of around 1,300m in the foothills of the Great Rift Valley wall, above a cliff overlooking the mountains that separate the lakes of Chamo and Abaya. With mountains rising to almost 4000m to the west, it is difficult to think of a more perfectly situated town anywhere in East Africa. In Arba Minch, whenever you walk and at whatever time of day, there are stunning views in all direction. Arba Minch is also the unofficial capital of the Ethiopian Rastafarian community. The community’s official name is the Ethiopian World Jamaica Federation.

Hotel: Paradise Lodge
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8

MON JUL 29 • Jinka

This morning start driving to south Omo, which is often portrayed as a cultural Garden of Eden and is undoubtedly one of the most unique places on earth because of the wide variety of people and animals that inhabit it. The region is known for its culture and diversity.

Jinka is the administrative capital of south Omo zone. Firstly, we will drive to Yetnebersh village to visit Ari tribe and observe how they make local liquor made of sorghum, garlic and maize and how they make a pot.
After taking a rest at Jinka we will visit the recently opened south Omo research centre and museum, which is perched on a hill overlooking the town centre and offers an attractive view. The anthropological museum provides a useful overview of the various cultures of south Omo.

Hotel: Eco Omo Lodge
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9

TUE JUL 30 • Mago National Park and Drive to Turmi

Early morning drive from Jinka to Mago National Park. Mago National Park, located on the east bank of the river Omo. Drive to a Mursi village to meet with the people and learn about their culture. One of the tribe’s distinguishing characteristics is the custom of adult women wearing circular disks in their lower lips. In Turmi, the women of the Hamer are a fine looking people, both men and women take great pride in their appearance, shaving and coloring their hair, oiling their bodies and decorating themselves with beads and bracelets worn around arms and legs. This afternoon, arrive at Buska Lodge on the banks of the Keske River.

Hotel: Buska Lodge
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10

WED JUL 31 • Excursion to Karo

Early morning drive to Murelle to visit the Karo people near by the Omo River. They are easily recognizable by their elaborate body scarifications and their lower lips pierced with a stick or a plate of ivory.

Hotel: Buska Lodge
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11

THU AUG 01 • Drive to Konso

Following breakfast, drive to Konso and, after the opportunity to refresh, you’ll visit Konso village.

The Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Kondo highlands. A registered UNESCO site, it constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. Konso people are known for their intricately terraced hill sides, fine woven materials and the carved totems in which they decorate their graves.

At Konso, visit the village of Machekie and en route there is a home of the Konso tribe’s kings, which is well worth visiting.

Hotel: Kanta Lodge
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 12

FRI AUG 02 • Konso to Arba Minch

Today after breakfast you’ll drive to Arba Minch.

Upon arrival transfer to the hotel and, after the opportunity for a rest, we will have a boat trip over Lake Chamo to enjoy the hippos and crocodiles at a close range. This is a good place to watch large number of crocodiles on the shores. This place known as “Azo-Gebeya”, meaning Crocodile Market, and it offers one of Africa’s most impressive displays of big crocs.

In the late afternoon, we will drive to Dorze people at Chencha (about 35km away). The Dorze are famous for their huge beehive huts which are among the most distinctive traditional structures to been seen anywhere in Africa. Every Dorze compound is surrounded by enset (false banana) and other crops. In addition to this some of the country’s best-woven cotton comes from this village Chencha and the Shama (traditional) cloth produced around Chencha is regarded to be the finest in Ethiopia. After soaking all this up, we drive back to Arba Minch for an overnight stay.

Hotel: Paradise Lodge
Room: Standard
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13

SAT AUG 03 • Arba Minch to Addis Ababa

This morning transfer to the airport for our return flight to Addis Ababa.

After taking a rest, we will start to explore Addis Ababa, the third highest capital in the world. The visit includes the National Archaeological Museum, ranked among the most important in sub-Saharan Africa. Here one finds exhibits ranging from the 3.2million-year-old bones of Lucy, the pre-Aksumite, Aksumite, Solomonic and Gonder periods, with a wide array of artifacts, including an elaborate pre-1st-century-AD bronze oil lamp showing a dog chasing an ibex, a fascinating 4th-century-BC rock-hewn chair emblazoned with mythical ibexes, and ancient Sabaean inscriptions.

Our last night in Ethiopia will be a memorable farewell dinner at one of Addis Ababa’s wonderful cultural or international restaurants

Hotel: Golden Tulip Hotel
Room: Standard
Meals: Lunch, dinner

Day 14

SUN AUG 04 • Addis Ababa to the USA

Transfer to the airport for return flight to the USA.


Ethiopia is one of the most rewarding travel experiences you will ever have. The ancient sites in the north and the indigenous tribes in the south are unmatched in any other country. It is important to note, however, that no one travels to Ethiopia for the hotel accommodations. Infrastructure is very limited in this country and, outside of Addis Ababa, hotels can be categorized as 2 & 3 star hotels at best. All hotels offer private facilities, either air conditioning or fans and have restaurants on property. Many have pools and other recreational facilities. When traveling in Ethiopia, travelers must “go with the flow.” Electrical failures, lack of hot water, malfunctioning elevators can all be common experiences. But what your experiencing outside make these inconveniences pale in their importance. If you are a hardy traveler and ready for an amazing experience, we welcome you!

Rates & Facts

Journey To Northern & Southern Ethiopia | Jul 22-Aug 4, 2019
Double Single
$5595 $6195
Domestic Flights: Addis-Baher Dar | Gonder-Axum | Axum-Lalibela
$795 (if NOT flying Ethiopian Airlines) $415 (if flying Ethiopian Airlines)

Internal airfares are quoted separately. The cost depends on whether you are flying Ethiopian Airways into Addis Ababa or not. Domestic flights are much cheaper if you are flying Ethiopian Airways.

  • Accommodations as listed in the itinerary. Room categories as listed.
  • Meals on a full board basis
  • All tour and transfers as per the program.
  • Very good English speaking escort guide for entire whole trip
  • Local guide service where required
  • A Coda representative on minimum participation
  • Village fees
  • All entrance fees
  • Comfortable transportation
  • Water while on tour
  • Farewell dinner in one of the traditional restaurants in Addis Ababa
  • VAT and governmental taxes.
Not Included

International flights from USA to ADDIS ABABA (ADD) and return; domestic flights – see explanation below RATES; trip cancellation & interruption insurance (recommended); tips to guides & drivers; all personal charges like telephone bill, room service, alcoholic beverages, laundry service; photo fees.


Ethiopian Airlines

In 2014, IATA ranked Ethiopian as the largest airline in Africa in revenue and profit. In its operations in the past close to seven decades, Ethiopian has been a pioneer of African aviation as an aircraft technology leader providing the first jet service in the continent in 1962 and availing itself of the first African B767 in 1984, the first African B777-200LR in 2010 and the first African and second only to Japan B787 Dreamliner in 2012.


A visa is required for entry into to Ethiopia. An E-Visa is available by apply at https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/home A visa may also obtained upon arrival with a passport that will remain valid for 6 months passed your return to the USA. You will also need 2 passport photos and $50 US cash. You can also get your visa through a visa service and we recommend www.visacentral.com


Ethiopia is a politically stable country. Its popular tourist areas are safe and secure. Ethiopia is known to be one of the safest places in Africa. Violent crime is very rare. Tourists should be aware of pickpockets in crowded places like markets, and it’s better not to showoff valuables and money.


The possession of a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is not mandatory. Immunization for Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid Diphtheria, Meningococcal, and Polio is recommended. Malaria: in most of the sites, malaria is not a problem because of the high elevation, e.g. Addis Ababa, Axum, Gondar and Lalibela. But it may occur in Bahir Dar at the end of the rainy season and after unseasonable rains. Lowland areas along the Awash River, the Omo Valley, Rift Valley and Gambella are subject to malaria outbreaks. Chloroquine resistant strains have been identified in most areas so you should consult your doctor about the prophylaxis. You should consider anti-malarials for the Southern Ethiopia portion of the tour.

Visitors should take a simple first aid kit, band aids, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream and/or tablets for insect bites, sunscreen (while temperatures are moderate, the sun is strong), anti-diarrhea tablets, mosquito repellent, broad spectrum antibiotics, and anti-bacterial spray /cream.


Due to strict custom regulations, it may cause problems at the airport to carry more than the usual basic electronic devices, especially if they are new. Import Tax payment may be required. Souvenirs imitating historic artifacts have to be approved as not original by the National Museum in Addis Ababa, if not they can be confiscated at the airport customs before leaving Ethiopia. Purchasing receipts have to be saved. In many places, small fees are charged for photos taken of people, especially in the southern tribal areas of Ethiopia. Video fees can be very high in national parks and other guarded places.


We highly recommend bringing sunglasses and a hat for all areas of Ethiopia. Pack light clothes for the daytime and a jacket or sweater for the chilly highland evenings and a good pair of walking shoes. When entering the churches, the clothes have to be “respectful”, covering enough the body. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques – for traveling around sites like Lalibela with its many churches, airline socks are very useful.


Money can be exchanged in the airport, in hotels and banks. Exchange requires a passport and the receipts should be kept, as re-exchanging back into foreign currency is difficult otherwise. The Ethiopian currency is the Birr (“Silver” in Amharic). VISA and MASTERCARD are accepted at the major hotels. There are many ATM’s available in throughout Addis Ababa.


The time difference is +3 hours from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)


Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a variety of over 80 different languages spoken in the country, with 200 dialects. The main three languages are Amharic, Tigrigna and Oromigna. English is also widely spoken.

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