Addis Abeba city tour

A day trip around Addis Abeba CODE: (SP-AA-1D)

Debre Libanos Monastery
Drive north from Addis Ababa (about 100km) to the Debre Libanos Monastery.  This monastery was founded in the 13th century by St. Tekle Haimanot, who, according to legend, prayed for 7 years straight standing on one leg until the other leg fell off.  Nearby the monastery is the Portuguese bridge, which was the first bridge in Ethiopia.  Around this area, you will hopefully see some endemic gelada baboons.  Short hikes are available in the area, with stunning views of the Jemma Valley.  Return to Addis Ababa, late afternoon.

Lake Ziway*
Early morning, depart south from Addis Ababa to Lake Ziway, one of the chain of lakes found in the Great Rift Valley.  Here you will take a boat trip on Lake Ziway to the island of Tullo Gudo.  The island hosts the church of Maryam Tsion which, according to tradition, once housed the Ark of the Covenant to hide it from invaders.  After the visit, return to shore, enjoying the bountiful birdlife on this lake and possibly some hippos.  Return to Addis Ababa late afternoon.

Archeological sites of Tiya, Adadi Maryam, and Melka Kunture
After breakfast, depart south from Addis Ababa to visit these archeological sites of interest.  Tiya is an ancient stellae field, with anthropomorphic statues marking burial grounds.  Tiya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Adadi Maryam is a rock-hewn church, similar to those in Lalibela.  Melka Kunture is a pre-historic tool-making site.  Return to Addis Ababa late afternoon.

Lake Wenchi*
Early morning departure west from Addis Ababa to Lake Wenchi, a crater lake in a stunning location.  There are many options for activities in the area including hiking, horseback riding or a boat trip to the island monastery of Kirkos and the hot spring valley.  After the visit, return to Addis Ababa.

Debre Zeit
Depart from Addis for a short drive to Debre Zeit, home to several crater lakes and a popular weekend getaway spot for Addis Ababa residents.  You can spend the day visiting the lakes or doing some light hiking (circling Lake Hora takes 1 ½ hours).  The area is very popular for birdwatching.  There are several lake-side establishments for lunch and even a spa. Return to Addis Ababa, late afternoon.

Mt. Zuqualla
Very near to Debre Zeit is Mt. Zuqualla, an extinct volcano that offers beautiful views of the surrounding areas.  Here you can visit the monastery of Mt. Zuqualla Maryam, which may date back as far as the 4th century.  The nearby crater-lake is considered holy by the monks of the monastery.  Time permitting, you may stop for a rest in Debre Zeit before returning to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

Menagesha National Forest
Departing west from Addis Ababa, drive to the Menagesha National Forest for some hiking.  Here you will enjoy the wildlife, such as the colobus monkeys and endemic Menelik’s bushbuck, as well as birds, including the endemic Ethiopian oriole and Abyssinian woodpecker.  You can also stop at the Gefersa Reservoir, which supplies water to Addis Ababa, and is a nice birdwatching and wildlife spot.  Return to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

*An asterisk denotes a community-based tourism initiative.  By visiting these sites, you are directly supporting the local community.

Full day tour of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Abeba CODE: (SP-AA-1D-2)

Start the day looking down on Addis Ababa from Entoto Mountain, the capital of Ethiopia before Addis Ababa.  Here you will have panoramic views of the city with fresh air from the eucalyptus forests.  Here you will visit the Entoto Maryam church and museum.

After the visit, proceed down to Addis Ababa via Shiro Meda, the city’s largest market for traditional clothes.

Proceed to the campus of Addis Ababa University to the ethnographical museum, with great displays of the many cultures of Ethiopia, housed in the former palace of Haile Selassie.

Continue with a visit to the National Museum, where Ethiopia’s oldest resident, Lucy, is housed.

Close to the National Museum is the Selassie (Trinity) church, one of the most important churches of Addis Ababa and the final resting place of Haile Selassie, to whom there is a dedicated museum on site.

Finish the day with shopping in merkato, the local marketplace which is said to be Africa’s largest open-air market.

Two day trips from Addis Abeba CODE: (SP-AA-2D)

Awassa
Day 1
Depart south from Addis Ababa via Butajira.  On the way you will visit the archeological sites of Tiya (ancient stelae field and UNESCO World Heritage Site), Adadi Maryam (a rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela) and Melka Kunture (pre-historic tool-making site).  Final destination for the day is Awassa.  Overnight in Awassa (hotel).

Day 2
After breakfast, visit the local fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa.  Afterwards, take a boat trip on the lake to visit the hippos.  Finally, return north to Addis Ababa.  Time permitting, you may visit the Abiatta-Shala National Park.  Lake Shala, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m.  Lake Abiatta is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.

Archeological Sites/Lake Langano/Lake Ziway*
Day 1
Depart south from Addis Ababa via Butajira.  On the way you will visit the archeological sites of Tiya (ancient stelae field and UNESCO World Heritage Site), Adadi Maryam (a rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela) and Melk Kunture (pre-historic tool-making site).  Final destination for the day is Lake Langano.  Overnight in Lake Langano (camping or lodge).

Day 2
Early morning, depart from Lake Langano for a short trip north to Lake Ziway.  After a brief morning hike, depart north to Lake Ziway.  .  Here you will take a boat trip on Lake Ziway to the island of Tullo Gudo.  The island hosts the church of Maryam Tsion which, according to tradition, once housed the Ark of the Covenant to hide it from invaders.  After the visit, return to shore, enjoying the bountiful birdlife on this lake and possibly some hippos.  Return to Addis Ababa late afternoon.

Debre Zeit/Mt. Zuquala
Day 1
Depart from Addis for a short drive to Debre Zeit, home to several crater lakes and a popular weekend getaway spot for Addis Ababa residents.  You can spend the day visiting the lakes or doing some light hiking (circling Lake Hora takes 1 ½ hours).  The area is very popular for birdwatching.  There are several lake-side establishments for lunch and even a spa. Overnight in Debre Zeit (hotel or lodge).

Day 2
After breakfast, depart for a visit to Mt. Zuqualla, an extinct volcano that offers beautiful views of the surrounding areas. Here you can visit the monastery of Mt. Zuqualla Maryam, which may date back as far as the 4th century.  The nearby crater-lake is considered holy by the monks of the monastery.  Return to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

Lake Wenchi*/Menagesha Forest
Day 1
Early morning departure to Lake Wenchi.  Here you can do some horseback riding or hiking around this stunning crater lake and/or a boat trip on the lake to visit the island monastery of Cherkos and the hot springs.  Overnight in Woliso (lodge).

Day 2
After breakfast, drive to the Menagesha National Forest for some hiking.  Here you will enjoy the wildlife, such as the colobus monkeys and endemic Menelik’s bushbuck, as well as birds, including the endemic Ethiopian oriole and Abyssinian woodpecker.  After the visit, return to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

Awash National Park
Day 1
Depart east from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park.  In the evening you will have a chance to do a short game drive to see the local wildlife, such as oryx, baboons, greater and lesser kudu, warthogs, gazelles, colubus monkeys.  Additionally, you’d be very lucky to see leopards, lions, and other cats.  The landscapes in the park are beautiful, looking over the Awash Gorge.  Overnight in Awash National Park (lodge or camping).

Day 2
Early morning, take a drive in the park to witness the park as it wakes up.  Afterwards, depart from Awash, returning to Addis Ababa.  On the way you can stop in Sodere to take a shower in the therapeutic hot springs waters.

*An asterisk denotes a community-based tourism initiative.  By visiting these sites, you are directly supporting the local community