Location of Adventure
Group Size Limit
Approximately 10 Travelers
A very important feature of our Ethiopia safari is the small group size, as African safaris are best experienced with fewer travelers in order to enhance intimate encounters with wildlife and nature.
Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
Our Private Leaders
Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, accommodations, all meals from dinner on Day 1 to dinner on final day, drinking water throughout the trip and soft drinks at meals, services of an NHA Expedition Leader, local guides and lodge staff, some gratuities, all permits, entrance fees and taxes.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), internal flights, alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, video fees in Lalibela and Gondar, optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, Internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, optional travel insurance and required medical evacuation insurance.
Moderate to Difficult
This adventure is suited for fit, healthy guests who will not be limited by mobility restrictions or altitude. Travelers must be able to participate in physical activity without any assistance, including hikes and walks that take place between 10,000 and 14,500 feet above sea level. The lowest altitude on the trip is approximately 5,200 feet, with the highest point at or above approximately 14,500 feet. We highly recommend arriving in Addis Ababa, which sits at 7,700 feet, at least one day early in order to acclimate to the elevation and be ready to participate in all activities. Guests must able to walk at these altitudes for at least two to three miles on both level trails and steep but even trails, as well as on rough terrain, at a leisurely pace for two to three hours. We can offer drives in some locations that will access wildlife viewing areas for guests who prefer not to trek the longer distances. Days can be long, as mornings typically start before daybreak and evening meals are served after sundown.
Participants should be prepared for some long and bumpy rides in 4x4 vehicles, which are not typically designed as well for rugged terrain as 4x4 custom vehicles used for safaris in other areas of Africa. Our longest drive is not more than four to five hours, but there are no organized toilet facilities on our more rural road journeys. We will still be able to make stops for guests who are comfortable using a private spot behind a bush. Guests must be able to climb into and out of 4x4 vehicles unaided. They must also be able to negotiate steep, uneven steps without handrails, especially in Lalibela. In Lalibela, some of the churches lie almost completely concealed within deep trenches, while others hide in the open mouths of quarried caves. Touring the churches involves easy climbing over rocks and maneuvering through a maze of tunnels. Travelers with a sense of adventure and willingness to be flexible will get the most enjoyment out of this distinctive adventure.
Important Information About This Trip
This itinerary surveys the Ethiopian Highlands, often called the "Roof of Africa," comprising the largest continuous area at this altitude on the African continent. Rather than focusing primarily on Ethiopia's cultural history and popular festivals, as many trips do, we concentrate on its natural history and unique wildlife, exploring by vehicle and on foot during the country's dry season. Wildlife viewing happens at high altitudes, typically ranging between 7,000 and 15,000 feet, in habitats where endemic plant and animal species thrive. Most activities involve walking or light hiking to access scenery and key wildlife viewing areas. While not a typical African wildlife safari, our Ethiopia adventure offers frequent sightings of the rare and endangered Ethiopian wolf, photogenic gelada baboons, walia ibex, and other species not seen elsewhere, in the context of stunning scenery. Ethiopia's national parks tend to border farming areas and are generally closer to civilization than many other African nature reserves, but we have included a rare opportunity to visit Bale Mountains National Park, one of Ethiopia's largest unfragmented wilderness areas that is visited by very few tourists. We will also sample iconic cultural heritage sites such as the churches of Lalibela and the castles of Gondar.
Since the areas we travel to are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require that all guests have medical evacuation insurance for this program. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat Adventures (NHA), we require that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We recommend that your chosen independent insurance plan includes at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. Please note that we will add the cost of NHA's medical evacuation policy (currently $48 per person) to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, phone number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that our policy exists exclusively in the interest of our guests' safety.
To protect your investment and to provide peace of mind while you travel, we also strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance. Plans may cover everything from medical treatment to trip cancellations and delays and lost luggage. Please contact our office if you would like more information about the medical evacuation and comprehensive travel insurance policies we offer by calling 800-543-8917.
Getting There & Getting Home
Arrive in Addis Ababa by 4:30 pm on Day 1 in order to join your group for an orientation and welcome dinner beginning at 6:30 pm. You are free to depart Addis Ababa after 7 pm on the final day. We can best serve you if our Natural Habitat Adventures Travel Desk makes your reservations, as we are intimately familiar with the special requirements of this program and can arrange the most efficient travel. Please call us at 800-543-8917. Note that while we offer you the best possible rates available to us on airfare and additional nights' accommodations, you may find special web rates or better fares online.