Lost Worlds of Ethiopia route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7395  
Length: 15 days
Arrive: Addis Ababa
Depart: Addis Ababa
Lodging: 3 nights at the 5-star Sheraton in Addis, 11 nights best-available hotels and lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Rugged road travel by 4WD vehicle, easy walks


  • The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, medieval city of Gondar
  • Tribal villages of the Karo, with their body painting, and Bume and Mursi tribes
  • Spectacular festival on each trip: Timkat (January) or Meskel (September)
  • Watch a Karo dance performance
  • Small group—maximum 8!

This was an awesome trip. The native tribes in the south were so interesting. The rock hewn churches of the north were a fascination.Barbara B.—Sammamish, WA

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Karos Adorned, Paul Kaplan
Colorful Ethiopia, Victor Bloomfield

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Ethiopia is like no other place in Africa, from its Orthodox Christian heritage, revealed in stunning rock-hewn churches, to its animistic tribes that coexist in a harsh land all but forgotten by the rest of the world. We’ve created an in-depth adventure that takes in the full sweep of this storied land, discovering intriguing places such as Axum, Ethiopia’s ancient holy city, and encountering thriving indigenous tribal cultures of the Omo River Valley like the Mursi, with their clay lip plates. Our grand finale? Our January departures witness Timkat (Epiphany), a joyous festival with dances, baptisms, and huge outdoor processions of priests and pilgrims; our September trip witnesses Meskel (The Finding of the True Cross), with its dancing, bonfires, and floats covered with golden meskel flowers.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-6
Addis / Axum / Lalibela / Gondar / Lake Tana

Explore Addis, with its archaeological museum and open-air markets, then fly to Axum in the highlands, where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to reside. Lalibela’s astounding rock-hewn churches and Gondar’s towering medieval castles offer a further glimpse into the history of Ethiopia, and we also bring you to an island-monastery on Lake Tana.

Days 7-9
Rift Valley / Jinka

Heading south into Rift Valley savannas, we introduce you to Ethiopia’s fantastic tribal country with visits to Lakes Chamo and Abaya, the villages of the Dorze tribe, known for their weavings, and the bustling market town of Jinka.

Days 10-12
Omo River Valley

Our program here is flexible, but we typically visit the Karo, who excel in body painting, and watch one of their traditional dances. We also meet the Mursi, whose men practice scarification, and hike to a Bume village.

Days 13-15
Addis / Timkat or Meskel Festival

Our private charter flight back to Addis avoids two days of driving. In Addis, you’ll witness Timkat’s lively processions of Orthodox priests in vividly hued gowns and throngs of parishioners in traditional dress, or the dancing, feasting, and massive bonfires of Meskel. Depart on Day 15.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 2+, moderate, according to our trip grading system. This is a rugged trip in a very remote region. Participants should be fit, healthy, and have no mobility restrictions. Medical facilities on the trip will be far away and often non-existent. Some mornings, we have departures as early as 5:30 am! Trip members must be prepared for some walking and some long days of rugged vehicle travel.

Accommodations at the Sheraton in Addis are excellent, as is the food at that international-standard hotel. Outside of Addis, we stay in “best available” hotels. Although there are private bathrooms in the rooms, you must expect only cold-water showers! Outside of Addis, our meals will be simple and lack variety because there are limited resources in the countryside. Ethiopia has some good beers, but the local wines are not distinguished. You may want to bring your favorite alcoholic beverage from a duty-free shop. Electricity in hotels in rural areas can be intermittent and sometimes generators are operated only during certain hours of the day.

Road travel in rural Ethiopia is very challenging. Our vehicles may break down or get flat tires on occasion, and that can delay the trip. We use vans for the trip, but they may not compare favorably with the vehicles you may be familiar with from safari countries such as Botswana and Kenya. While we are on our rural road journeys, there are no organized toilet facilities available. We will make “pit stops” from time to time so trip members can get out of the vehicle and find a private spot behind a bush.

In Ethiopia, air schedules can often be altered and new government regulations are implemented suddenly. We ask that you bring flexibility and a spirit of adventure to this unique journey, and take pleasure in the knowledge that you will be visiting a fascinating country.

Our trip is designed so that anyone in good physical condition can participate. We encourage you to make an effort to get in good physical condition with exercise beyond your normal routine.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Jan 7-21, 2016  Timkat Festival

Jan 12-26, 2016  Timkat Festival
Sep 12-26, 2016  Meskel Festival
Jan 6-20, 2017  Timkat Festival
Jan 11-25, 2017  Timkat Festival
Jan 17-31, 2017  Timkat Festival

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$7395 (7-8 members)
$7895 (4-6 members)
Single supplement: $1290
Forced single supplement: $990
Internal airfare: $1390-$1890* (subject to change)

*Note that the internal airfare is based on using Air Ethiopia to issue your international air tickets to Addis. If you use a different international carrier, the internal airfare surcharge is $370 per person.
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Harar Post-Trip Extension
   from: $1190

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations (5-star Sheraton in Addis, simple lodging outside Addis)
  • All meals included except 1 dinner
  • Land transportation and airport transfers for passengers on recommended flights, and baggage handling
  • Sightseeing and excursions as noted in the itinerary

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, international airport departure taxes, charter flights, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, any additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Dereje Channe

Dereje Chane graduated from the Ethiopian Catering & Tourism Institute and Jima University. He speaks good English as well as French, with a certificate from Ethio-French Alliance. Dereje is an enthusiastic and personable guide who loves to share his knowledge of Ethiopia’s culture and ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Assefa Gewisho

Assefa Ayele Gewisho describes guiding as “breathing”—his profession of Trip Leader is "like the sun and soul" to him. Assefa has welcomed travelers to Ethiopia for more than two decades and has accompanied adventurous souls from all walks of life all across his homeland. With a ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Yonas Lemma

Departure Dates: January 12-26, 2016

Since 2008, Yonas has been a part of the travel industry, graduating from the Tourism Training Institute and later becoming a professional guide in 2011. Originally from Addis Ababa, the trips he leads have taken him throughout his home country, sharing the wondrous and ancient world of eastern ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Asayeghu Nidaw

Asayeghu Nidaw, a native of Addis Ababa, has guided groups throughout Ethiopia since 2004. He graduated from Addis Ababa University with a degree in history and completed his guide training at Ethiopia’s Catering & Tourism Training Institute in Addis. Asayeghu enjoys introducing visitors ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Samson Teka

Departure Dates: January 7-21, 2016

Samson Girma Teka was born and raised in the town of Debre Zeit, southeast of Addis, and holds a BA degree from Addis Ababa University. He also graduated from Ethiopia’s Catering & Tourism Training Institute, with a speciality in tour operations and guiding. Samson has been a ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:


Harar Post-Trip Extension

Cultural Treasures of Ethiopia's Holy City

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

This was an awesome trip. The native tribes in the south were so interesting. The rock hewn churches of the north were a fascination. Barbara B., Sammamish, WA Great itinerary with a wonderful combination of cities and tribal cultures. Julia D., San Carlos, CA The highlight of the trip by far was being in Lalibala over Christmas—thousands of pilgrims in a magnificent setting, singing, ululating, oozing spirituality. A photography paradise. William N., Long Beach, CA
This trip was fantastic! It is in my top tier of trips I have taken, and I have loved them all. Diane M., Elm Grove, WI This was my third trip with WT and it certainly won’t be my last. The itinerary was fascinating, our Trip Leader delightful, and the WT office wonderfully responsive. Sandra C., New York, NY

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Karos Adorned, Paul Kaplan
Colorful Ethiopia, Victor Bloomfield