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21 Days Culture tour itinerary for ethiopia: Discover The Diverse Geography & Culture Of Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Afdera, Aksum, Arba Minch, Bahir Dar, Dallol, Danakil Depression, Debarq, Erta Ale, Gondar, Hawzen, Jinka, Lalibela, Mekele, Turmi

Climbing Tour
Culture Tour
Camping Tour

Explore the entire Northern circuit which includes Tigray churches, Axum, Simien mountains, Gondar, Bahir Dar & Lalibela; and also go on a visit to the unique Omo Valley. 

DAY 01

Addis Ababa-Mekelle-Afdera

  • Fly from Addis to Mekelle in the morning and proceed to Afdera (220 km). It is one of the most spectacular and most inhospitable regions in the world.

  • Drive to Afdera via the small village of Eribt. Afdera is one of the cities in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, named after the saline Lake Afdera located in the southern part of the Afar Depression. 

  • Enjoy swimming in the salt lake and also, the hot spring nearby. 

  • Overnight camping near the lake.

DAY 02

Afdera - Dodom 70km

  • Visit the salt Miners (locals who pump salt water and evaporate it to produce salt) near the lake.

  • Drive to Dodom at the base of Erta Ale. Dodom is about 8.5 km from the volcano and it takes 3 hours trekking to reach the base.

  • Have an early dinner at around 1700 and start trekking up Erta Ale at 20:00. Camels will transport all camping material including food and water, to the rim of the volcano where will spend the night watch the dramatic action of boiling lava. Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia.

  • Overnight camping on top of the mountain.

DAY 03

Erta Ale-Hamad Ela

  • Wake up early for the sunrise and visit the north crater.

  • Descend from Erta Ale at around 0700.

  • Leave for Dodom and arrive at the camp by 0930

  • Have breakfast and relax

  • At 1030, drive to Hamed Ela. 

  • Have a picnic lunch on the way, under the shade of a palm tree.

  • Reach Hamed Ela by 0430

  • Overnight in camp at Hamed Ela.

DAY 04

HamadEla - Dallol - Mekelle

  • Drive to Ragad (Acebo), where the locals mine salt. The Afar Depression is covered in salt across its area of around 1200 sq. km.

  • Watch how the miners break the salt from the ground, cut it into blocks and load it on to camels.

  • Drive to Dallol and observe the changing landscape formed by volcanic activity.

  • Drive back to Hamed Ela and proceed to Mekele.

  • Overnight stay at a hotel in Mekele.

DAY 05

Mekelle – Hawzen

  • In the morning, drive to Hawzen to visit the rock churches of Gheralta cluster. On the way, visit Abreha and then proceed to Mariam Korkor. 

  • You will have time to have your lunch in the Gheralta Lodge. 

  • After lunch, drive 10 km to Abune Yemata and visit Abune Yemata Church.

  • Overnight stay at a hotel in Hawzen.

DAY 06

Hawzen – Axum

  • After having breakfast, drive to Axum. 

  • On the way, visit the monastery of Debre Damo (not allowed for women and accessible only by rope) and Yeha Temple.

  • Lunch: Takeaway.

  • After lunch, proceed to Axum and visit the stelas, St. Mary Church and the grave of Queen Sheba. 

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Axum.

DAY 07

Axum – Debarek

  • Drive from Axum to Debarek.

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Debarek.

DAY 08

Debarek – Sankaber – Gich

  • Drive from Debarek to Sankaber and then trek from Sankaber to Gich.

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Gich.

DAY 09

Debarek – Gondar

  • Drive from Debarek to Gondar.

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Gondar.

DAY 10

Gondar – Bahir Dar

  • Drive 185 km from Gondar to Bahir Dar.

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Bahir Dar.

DAY 11

BaherDar - Lalibela

  • Drive Baher Dar to Lalibela.

  • Overnight: Hotel in Lalibela

DAY 12


  • Visit churches in Lalibela.

  • Overnight: Hotel in Lalibela

DAY 13

Lalibela – Addis Ababa– Omo valley

  • Fly from Lalibela to Addis on a morning flight.

  • From the airport, drive to Omo valley.

  • Overnight: Hotel in Arbaminch

DAY 14

Arbaminch - Turmi

  • In the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market”, and the local hippos.  

  • Afterwards, depart from Arba Minch to Turmi.  

  • On the way, you will pass through the village of Weyto (market day - Saturday), which is home to the Tsemai tribe.  

  • Continue through the Weyto Valley to Erbore, where you will briefly visit a local Erbore village (market day - Saturday).  

  • Finally, proceed to Turmi, home of the Hamer tribe.  

  • At night, you might get lucky and enjoy the traditional night dancing of the Hamer tribe, known as 'evangadi'.

  •  Overnight: Hotel/Camping in Turmi

DAY 15


  • In the morning, take a day trip to Omorate and visit the Dassenech tribe.  

  • Here you will cross the Omo River by local boat.

  • Afterwards, return to Turmi (Monday - market day) for a visit to a local Hamer village. You might see 'Jumping of the Bulls', a traditional Hamer coming-of-age ceremony.

  •  Overnight: Hotel/Camping in Turmi 

DAY 16

Turmi - Jinka

  • Depart for Jinka, via Dimeka and Key Afar. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka, which is one of the most colorful sights in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer, Benna and Karo.

  • Afterwards, continue to Jinka

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Jinka.

DAY 17


  • In the morning, drive through the Mago National Park to a local village of the Mursi tribe. The Mursi are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates.  

  • In the afternoon, after returning to Jinka, you can visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center to learn more about the local tribes.

  • Alternatively, take a hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari village.

  • Overnight: Hotel in Jinka

DAY 18

Jinka - Arbaminch

  • After breakfast, depart from Jinka to Arba Minch via Key Afar and Konso. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, where you will see the Benna and Tsemai tribes trading goods. This is another popular market in the region.

  • After the visit, proceed to Konso (market days are Mondays and Thursdays).  The Konso people are known for their wooden statues known as wakas which are erected in honour of dead heroes, and the innovative agricultural terracing.

  • You will have an opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues.  After the visit, proceed to Arba Minch.  

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Arba Minch.

DAY 19

Arbaminch - Addis

  • Early in the morning, depart from Arba Minch for a full day drive to Addis Ababa.  

  • On the way, you will get some time to visit one of the following archaeological sites:

    • Tiya - ancient stellae field and UNESCO World Heritage site

    • Adadi Maryam – rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela

    • Melka Kunture – pre-historic tool-making site

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Addis.

DAY 20

City tour in Addis

  • Enjoy city tour in Addis.

  • Overnight stay at the hotel in Addis.

DAY 21

Addis – Home

  • City tour in Addis.

  • Fly back home.

  • 150 USD Per Adult (* Price is per day & is for 2/more pax if 1 person 250)
  • 4WD/minibus including fuel & driver's allowance.

  • Guide.

  • Entrances.

  • Hotel/lodge/camping.

  • Meal.

  • Water.

  • International & domestic flights.

  • Tipping

  • Alcoholic beverages.

  • Personal insurance.

  • Payments for taking picture of locals.

Addis Ababa, Afdera, Aksum, Arba Minch, Bahir Dar, Dallol, Danakil Depression, Debarq, Erta Ale, Gondar, Hawzen, Jinka, Lalibela, Mekele, Turmi

Climbing Tour
Culture Tour
Camping Tour

Contributed By

Israel Kindeya

starting from
USD 150
Type of Tour

Private Tour


This tour is offered throughout the year.

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