Exclusive Discoveries on our President’s Adventure to Ethiopia

+ Witness the moving Last Supper Ceremony on Holy Thursday as the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church washes the feet of 12 fellow priests – just as Jesus did with his 12 disciples.
+ Descend into the tunnels and trenches excavated centuries ago to explore the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela… Then join the many Ethiopians who come to this ancient site at midnight to celebrate Easter with music and evocative candle-lit pageantry.
+ Experience the remarkable range of Ethiopia’s ethnic traditions, spending six days among the tribes of the Omo Valley including the Mursi, Dassanech, Karo and Hamer.
+ Mingle with the diverse tribal groups who gather with their livestock at weekly markets to barter, sell and buy.
+ Travel into the Konso Highlands where tribal settlements are ingeniously defended by walls and maze-like alleys.
+ Learn about Lucy at the National Museum where the 3-million-year-old fossil is housed, and hear how this amazing find has shed so much light on hominids – our earliest human ancestors.
+ Includes 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c

+ Add another UNESCO World Heritage Site with our Pre-Tour visit to ancient Harar c
  • Day 1 – Thu, April 5, 2018: Welcome to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Upon arrival at the airport, we’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the Radisson Blu Hotel, ideally located in the city center near the United Nations Conference Center. After time to refresh, we’ll join Samrawit, our expert Ethiopian guide, to begin our exploration into the evocative traditions of Easter as it’s celebrated by the country’s 45 million Orthodox Christians.

    Today is Holy Thursday and we’ll join celebrants at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Enacting events of the Last Supper, the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church will wash the feet of 12 fellow priests – who represent Jesus Christ’s 12 disciples. It’s a moving cultural tradition that plays out against a backdrop of stained glass windows and murals by famed Ethiopian artists like Afewerk Tekle. This evening, we’ll enjoy a congenial welcome dinner with cocktails.  Meals D
  • Day 2 – Fri, April 6, 2018: Out and About in Addis Ababa

    After a buffet breakfast, we’ll begin our guided tour of the city. Situated at an altitude of 8,200 feet above sea level in the Entoto Mountains, the Ethiopian capital boasts a pleasant year round climate and wide avenues graced by lovely jacaranda trees. We begin our sightseeing atop Mt. Entoto for a sweeping view and introduction to the city. At the National Museum, we’ll discover an expansive collection including medieval artifacts, memorabilia of former rulers like Emperor Haile Selassie, and an exhibit of Ethiopian art from the traditional to the contemporary. But the Museum, of course, is best known as the home of Lucy; for security reasons, we’ll see a replica of this famous 3 million year-old hominid fossil, discovered in northern Ethiopia in 1974, and learn about its far-reaching impact on our understanding of human origins.

    Not far from the National Museum and the modern center of the capital, the kaleidoscopic tumult of the Addis Mercato reveals a very different facet of the city. Said to be the largest market in Africa, it’s a sprawling and colorful open-air expanse with thousands of vendors; most are selling locally-grown agricultural produce, including world-famous Ethiopian Highlands coffee, but you’ll also find exotic spices, jewelry, textiles and household goods.

    After lunch, we’ll continue our Easter in Ethiopia experience as we join celebrants for Good Friday services. Many worshippers have been fasting and praying all day and the anticipation of Easter Sunday adds palpable emotion to this cultural experience. We’ll end our sightseeing at the Ethnological Museum. Set in Haile Selassie’s former palace, the museum’s vast and well-curated collection of artifacts and handicrafts promises a fascinating overview of Ethiopia’s diverse groups – and a great introduction to the enriching days yet to come.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 3 – Sat, April 7, 2018: Candle-Lit Pageantry at Lalibela c

    After breakfast, we’ll be escorted to the airport for our flight into the mountains of northern Ethiopia, where the 11 cave churches of Lalibela bear witness to the extraordinary vision of a 12th-century king.  Seeking to create a New Jerusalem after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land, King Lalibela excavated these monolithic churches below ground level. Hewn from enormous blocks of solid granite, these churches are connected to one another by an extensive system of trenches and ceremonial passages, some with openings to ancient hermit caves and catacombs. These churches were then further embellished with stone-carved entry ways, windows, columns and other decorative elements including mural paintings. With its five aisles, Biete Medhani Alem is believed to be the largest cave church in the world. Biete Ghiorgis has a remarkable cruciform floor plan distinct from the other rock-hewn churches. Together, these ancient churches have been important sites of worship and pilgrimage for nearly 9 centuries, though some may have served as royal residences soon after their construction. The 11 churches are divided into two main groups, divided by a river, and this afternoon we’ll begin our expertly guided exploration of the first group.

    After dinner and time to relax at our hotel, the comfortable Tukul Village Hotel, we’ll return to the World Heritage Lalibela site to witness and participate in Easter Midnight Services at Biete Mariam, the Church of St. Mary. Easter, or Fasika in Amharic, is a climatic celebration for Ethiopia’s Christians – more important than Christmas since Orthodox theology regards Jesus’ resurrection as a more significant event than his birth. As we arrive in the darkness, we’ll find the Faithful garbed in colorful clothing and celebrating the Resurrection with candle-lit pageantry, sacred music and chanting. It’s a powerfully moving experience that reveals much about the centuries-old Orthodox traditions of the Ethiopian people.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 4 – Sun, April 8, 2018: Easter Sunday at Lalibela

    The preparations for Easter Sunday will have begun the day before with many families planning and cooking a special meal to break their 56-day Lenten fast when strictly no meat was eaten. Some families will have awoken early this day to slaughter a lamb for the day’s feast, a celebratory meal accompanied by tella, a local brew made from grain and honey. With our insider access, you’ll have the opportunity to experience these celebrations for yourself.

    In addition to continuing our exploration of Lalibela’s ancient cave churches, we’ll also enjoy a guided visit to Yemrehanna Kristos, an Axumite church that predates the nearby cave churches by nearly a century. Named for a 12th century ruler of the once-mighty Axumite Kingdom, this ancient church is built inside a natural cavern in the mountain ridges below Mount Abuna Yosef, one of the country’s tallest peaks. Its construction is quite unusual, built with alternating layers of recessed timber beams and projecting plastered stone. The windows are embellished with carved cruciform lattices and the entire interior is decorated with geometric carvings and paintings.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 5 – Mon, April 9, 2018: Fly to Arba Minch

    After breakfast, we’ll head to the airport for our included flight back to Addis Ababa where we connect with the onward flight into southern Ethiopia. On arrival in Arba Minch, we’ll be escorted to the Paradise Lodge, where thatched bungalows and private verandahs offer wonderful views over the forests and lakes of the region.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 6 – Tue, April 10, 2018: Lake Chamo + Chencha

    Surrounded by lush vegetation and wetlands that give way to picturesque rolling hills, Lake Chamo is home to hippos, a remarkable variety of birds and enormous crocodiles that grow to more than 18 feet in length – among the largest ever recorded. This morning after breakfast, we’ll embark on a guided boat expedition across the waters of Lake Chamo to search for these amazing wildlife inhabitants!

    After lunch, we travel into the Guge Hills north of Arba Minch to Chencha, a highland village of the Dorze. This tribal group is especially known for their unique bee-hive shaped homes which they build from local materials including hard wood poles, woven bamboo, ensete leaves (false banana) and other natural materials gathered from the mountains. Towering as high as 20 feet (two stories), these dwellings usually feature just one door with no windows and are built to stand for up to 80 years. Inside you’ll usually find a fireplace, seating area and bedrooms. Smaller structures can include a guesthouse, workshop, kitchen and even a cattle shed. With expert insight from our guide, we’ll observe and even experience various facets of daily life – from the crops the villagers plant and the foods they eat to the colorful cotton textiles they weave.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 7 – Wed, April 11, 2018: Into the Omo Valley

    Today’s overland journey takes us into the mesmerizing landscapes of the Omo Valley to Jinka where we’ll check in to the Eco-Omo Safari Lodge. At dinner this evening, our expert guide will provide important and fascinating information for our upcoming experiences with the tribes of Ethiopia’s celebrated Omo Valley.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 8 – Thu, April 12, 2018: Ways of the Mursi + Onward to Turmi

    Situated on the eastern banks of the Omo River and bisected by the Mago River, a tributary of the Omo, Mago National Park is a remote sector of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, home to the Mursi, a tribal group known for adorning themselves with paint, beads and ornaments of horn and feather.

    Heading out from our lodge in Jinka, we’ll travel deep into the National Park to spend time with Mursi villagers. The women of the tribe adorn their faces and bodies with white paint and from the age of 15 or 16 also wear pottery or wood discs in their lower lips. Through the years, larger and larger plates are inserted causing the lip to stretch. By tribal custom, the larger the lip plate, the more the women is worth before marriage. Although this practice is an integral part of their heritage and tradition, the plates are worn for only short periods of time as they are heavy and uncomfortable. The men of the Mursi tribe also use white paint on their bodies and faces, and are widely known for their fierce ceremonial dueling with a donga, a long wooden pole.

    Drawing tribal villagers from near and far, many who come with livestock in tow and laden with goods to barter and sell, the region’s weekly markets offer a chance to experience Ethiopia’s diverse tribal traditions in a lively and colorful setting. From Mago National Park, we’ll travel to Key Afer to mingle with Bena, Ari and Tsemay villagers at the weekly Thursday market, a memorable experience that promises a deeper look inside the life of these tribal groups. We then continue to Turmi where we’ll check in to the Buska Lodge for a 3-night stay.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 9 – Fri, April 13, 2018: Tribes of the Omo River’s Eastern Shores

    Today’s guided exploration introduces us to two of the tribal groups that live along the eastern banks of the Omo River. In the morning, we spend time with the Karo, a small tribe with an estimated population of less than 3,000 people. Raising small cattle and practicing flood retreat cultivation of maize, beans and sorghum, the Karo are an agro-pastoralist society known for their highly-detailed body painting. White chalk paint is the basic material with some use of colored paints derived from natural occurring pigments in local minerals, iron ore and charcoal. Red clay mixed with butter is sometimes used to color the hair. We’ll also see the men of the Karo with scars they have given themselves to represent an enemy or dangerous animal killed.

    In the afternoon, our guide will introduce us to the life and culture of the Hamer Tribe who live in distinctive huts made of wood, straw and mud and who subsist with cattle herding and agriculture. The women of the tribe are known for their colorful dress and elaborate jewelry made from beads and cowrie shells. The men are celebrated for their traditional bull jumping, a rite of passage that is part of an event that can last three days. The man must jump over a line of 10 to 30 bulls several times without falling. If the task is completed, the young man joins the ranks of the Maza, other men who have successfully completed the bull-jumping. Because this is a coming-of-age rite, there’s no assurance that the time of our visit will coincide with the event. Regardless, our time here promises a deep look into some of Ethiopia’s vanishing tribal ways. At the end of the day, we return to the Buska Lodge for dinner and another night.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 10 – Sat, April 14, 2018: Omorate + the Omo River’s Western Bank c

    Head out from our lodge after breakfast and travel overland to Omorate, a riverside town deep in the lower Omo Valley. From here we cross the river to immerse in the lives and customs of the people who have lived for millennia here along the Omo’s western shores.

    Also known as the Galeb, the Dassanech are cattle herders, farmers and fishermen. Unlike southern Ethiopia’s other tribes, the Dassanech are not defined by ethnicity and members come from the many different ethnic groups that inhabit the region. There are eight clans that comprise the Dassanech tribe, each having its own name; these include the Elele, Koro and Inkoria. Each clan is defined by its territory, with the Inkabelo being the wealthiest of the eight clans. As we spend time with the various Dassanech clans, we’ll gain deep insight into their daily lives and some of their unique cultural traditions related to fertility and marriage.

    From here, we’ll head to the town of Dimeka to mingle with members of the Hamer Tribe at their Saturday market; this is one of the most atmospheric and liveliest of the region’s weekly markets. After dinner, enjoy your third and final night at the Buska Lodge in Turmi.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 11 – Sun, April 15, 2018: Highlands of the Konso Tribe c + Back to Arba Minch

    After breakfast, we’ll check out and travel northward into the scenic highlands to spend time with the Konso people who live in unusual walled towns and settlements strategically built on hilltop plains and summits. Here we’ll learn about living cultural traditions that stretch back more than 400 years. Konso villages are partitioned into separate communities with each community having a main hut. The entire enclave can be entered only through a limited number of gates and a series of maze-like alleys provide added security. Surrounding these settlements, we will see extensive dry stone terraces that bear witness to the generations of Konso who have struggled to grow their crops of sorghum and grains in an inhospitable region of hard, dry rocky soil. These terraces protect valuable soil from erosion, collect water and create the terraced fields that have allowed the Konso to live here for centuries. Unique burial rites in the surrounding forests and anthropomorphic wooden statues are other cultural traditions that we will come to understand and appreciate. From the Konso highlands, we continue back to Arba Minch to spend another night at the Paradise Lodge.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 12 – Mon, April 16, 2018: From Arba Minch to Addis Ababa

    After breakfast, we head to the airport for our included flight back to the capital. Upon arrival, we’ll be escorted once again to the Radisson Blu Hotel where we have the afternoon to refresh, relax or explore. This evening’s congenial farewell dinner at Yod Abyssinia features a variety of traditional Ethiopian dishes. Lively performances of song and dance showcase Ethiopia’s diverse ethnic groups and provide a wonderful conclusion to our exploration of the country and its people. After a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, we’ll be escorted back to our hotel.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 13 – Tue, April 17, 2018: A final day in Addis Ababa

    You’ll have most of this day to enjoy as you wish. After lunch, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward flight.  Meals B+L

Extend Your Trip

  • Begin with Bob in the Ancient Walled City of Harar

    3 days for $1,499 | April 3 to 5, 2018

    Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient walled city of Harar is also famed as the home of Hyena Men such as Abbas Yusuf who, like their fathers before them, have learned to feed the wild hyenas that enter the city every night from their caves outside of town. Our 3-day Pre-Tour to is fully guided from Addis Ababa and includes transportation, accommodations, meals + sightseeing. A pre-tour hotel night on April 2 is available.

    View Day by Day »

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Check In!

  • Radisson BLU Hotel - Addis Araba, Ethiopia

    The Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Ababa is located in the city center within walking distance of the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC). The Addis Ababa hotel offers easy access to the city’s major businesses and organizations and is just a 15-minute drive from Bole International Airport. Tour popular nearby attractions like the National Museum and Holy Trinity Cathedral. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Ababa includes 204 rooms and suites with premium amenities like a separate shower and bathtub and a mini-bar. Guests can order daily specials from an a la carte menu at our onsite restaurant Verres en Vers, or drink refreshing cocktails at the hotel’s Signature Bar. Enjoy international specialties at the Super Breakfast Buffet. Pamper yourself at the Rainforest Day Spa after a full day of work or sight-seeing.

  • Tukul Village Hotel - Lalibela, Ethiopia

    Tukul village is a new hotel with attractive views of Lalibela and its surroundings. It is in fact not a hotel but a small village. It is within walking distance of many of the ancient churches - THE attraction of Lalibela - such as the Church of St. George.

  • Paradise Lodge - Arba Minch, Ethiopia

    Paradise Lodge was opened in 2008 as a means to transform the hospitality industry in Africa by providing guests with unparalleled service and an authentic experience while preserving the natural environment and strengthening the local culture.

    With contributions from 56 southern nations of Ethiopia and thousands of delighted guests, the Paradise Lodge has been serving this mission even as they expand their services and provide new experiences to their customers.

  • Eco-Omo Safari Lodge - Jinka, Ethiopia

    The lodge is ecofriendly, based on a low impact concept, constructed using as much as possible natural materials and at the same time creating a good harmony with nature. The rooms are high quality tents placed on wooden platforms, which in turn are covered with a second roof made of grass. Their mottos are reducing, reuse and recycle.

    The Omo valley has been preserved till now thanks to its geographical position. Here are found 18 diverse tribes untouched by modern civilization. The nature, often endemic to this part of Ethiopia, offers magnificent attraction for bird watching and trekking activities.

  • Buska Lodge - Turmi, Ethiopia

    Situated in the heart of Southern Ethiopia in the Omo Valley, Buska Lodge is an unpretentious eco-lodge offering travelers the best accommodation and meal service in this region

    Buska Lodge overlooks the plains of Buska Mountain and has been constructed to blend beautifully in to the natural surroundings.

    Buska Lodge offers the rare opportunity to learn about and experience the culture and traditions of the local Hammer community offering a rare glimpse into the cultures of the Omo Valley. The Hammer are famous for their Evangadi dance and Bull jumping ceremony where a young man who wants to marry jumps over a line of bulls in order to show that he is worth to the bride's family. The Hammer share traditions and rituals with surrounding people like the Tsemai, Ari, Karo, and Bena.

Our President’s Adventure Value

+ Hosted throughout by Bob Drumm, President of Alexander+Roberts
+ Comprehensive sightseeing with our experienced professional Ethiopian Trip Leader and never more than 16 guests including all entry fees
+ The Easter celebrations of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church including the Ceremony of the Last Supper at Holy Trinity Cathedral and Easter Sunday at the ancient churches of Lalibela
+ All 36 meals: 12 breakfasts, 12 lunches, and 12 dinners
+ 12 nights in the best available hotels and lodges
+ All on-tour transportation and airport transfers
+ All three internal flights
+ Luggage handling and all hotel taxes and fees

Trip Pricing

  • Traveling as a single?

Land Only - Per Person Double

Dates   The Best Available Hotels + Lodges
Departure Return   Regular Deal
4/17/2018 $6099 $5799

Select all Deals that apply for best available price.

  • Save $600 per couple + $300 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you book and pay-in-full.
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    • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
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    For Groups of 8 or more please call 800.221.2216

Extend Your Trip

  • Begin with Bob in the Ancient Walled City of Harar

    3 days for $1,499 | April 3 to 5, 2018

    Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient walled city of Harar is also famed as the home of Hyena Men such as Abbas Yusuf who, like their fathers before them, have learned to feed the wild hyenas that enter the city every night from their caves outside of town. Our 3-day Pre-Tour to is fully guided from Addis Ababa and includes transportation, accommodations, meals + sightseeing. A pre-tour hotel night on April 2 is available.

    View Day by Day »

Trip Pricing

  • Traveling as a single?

Extend Your Trip

  • Begin with Bob in the Ancient Walled City of Harar

    3 days for $1,499 | April 3 to 5, 2018

    Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient walled city of Harar is also famed as the home of Hyena Men such as Abbas Yusuf who, like their fathers before them, have learned to feed the wild hyenas that enter the city every night from their caves outside of town. Our 3-day Pre-Tour to is fully guided from Addis Ababa and includes transportation, accommodations, meals + sightseeing. A pre-tour hotel night on April 2 is available.

    View Day by Day »

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