See East Africa in all its beauty, from the mystical cities and towns of northern Ethiopia to the vast open plains of the Serengeti. This tour combines 7 days of culture and history exploring the ancient kingdoms of Axum and Lalibela with 8 days of stalking the Big Five in Tanzania! Along the way be pampered in spa resorts like the Kiriftu Lodge in Bahir Dar and the world renowned Serena Lodges throughout your stay in Tanzania.
WhenThis tour is offered year round
InclusionsHistoric site and park entrance fees, english speaking guides, minivan, 4X4 shared vehicle with guaranteed window seat for wildlife viewing, accommodations and meals as specified
Meeting PlaceWe will pick you up upon your arrival at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
TransportationMinivan, 4X4 vehicles, domestic flight in Ethiopia
AccomodationComfort to premier class hotels and lodges
PriceFrom $3,967 to $4,997 Per person, double occupancy. Based on wildlife season. Price Not included domestic & enter-countries international flight.
On arrival in Addis Ababa staff members will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfer to Harmony Hotel. An overview of the program and itineraries will be given. The rest of the day we visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we will view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeleton was discovered in 1974. We also visit the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, Holy Trinity Cathedrals and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis. In the evening, enjoy a “welcome dinner” where we will taste various national dishes, watch dances of various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. A traditional coffee ceremony will also be served.
Harmony Hotel (L,D)
Board your early morning flight to Bahir Dar and drive to the small town of Tiss Abay to visit the Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat or 'Smoke of Fire'.Even though much of the water has been diverted to power local hydroelectric generators, the Falls is still an intriguing sight. The surrounding area is extremely fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and teff, the prime ingredient for making injera, the national bread and increasingly popular, gluten-free super-food you may have heard of back in the United States. After lunch board a cruise vessel on Lake Tana to visit the ancient monasteries. We will visit two of the most accessible monasteries; Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam. Your hotel is located on the shores of Lake Tana.
Kuriftu Resort (B, L, D)
GONDAR, the Camelot of Africa
On our drive (180km) to this ancient Imperial city, we travel through a fertile landscape of wide open fields of a typical African tableau and then undulating farmland. The town was once the capital of Ethiopia, founded in 1635 by Emperor Fasilides, who built a palace and seven churches. The subsequent five emperors built their own respective palaces. Referred to as the Camelot of Africa, we visit the royal enclosure containing six castles, a complex network of connecting tunnels and raised walkways. Nearby is the Debre Birhan Selassie church with its sensational angelic ceiling and the bathhouse of Fasil where thousands of Ethiopians celebrate the Timkat festival every January.
Goha Hotel (B,L,D)
Morning flight and then a full day of sightseeing in Lalibela, designated a Unesco World eritage Site in 1978. King Lalibela commissioned the construction of the 11 rock churches in the center of town to fulfill his dream of a New Jerusalem. There are no less than 1000 churches in the Lasta Region of Lalibela, some hidden in enormous caves, but it's exceptional to find 11 churches of such master craftsmanship in one locale. These brilliant feats of engineering and architecture are often referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".
Mountain View Hotel(B,L,D)
Today we will visit the church of Yimrhane Kristos. This exquisite church, a masterpiece of Axumit wood and stone construction is renowned for its interior decoration, it’s beautiful wooden coffer ceiling inlaid with hexagons and medallions with both figurative and geometric motifs. Drive back to Lalibela. In the afternoon, we will visit the remaining rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
Mountain View Hotel.(B,L,D)
Axum, historical and archaeological wonders
Morning flight to Axum. The city is the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Axum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, and the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of her ancient palace. We visit the new and the old Cathedral of St Mary of Tsion and the sanctuary that houses the original Arc of the Covenant. The older of the two cathedrals, built in the 16th century, is believed to be built on an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest church in Ethiopia.
Consular Hotel (B,L,D)
In the morning transfer to the Airport and fly back to Addis and continue to the Merkato Outdoor Market. In the evening, enjoy a fare well dinner where we will taste various national dishes, watch dances of various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. A traditional coffee ceremony will also be served.
Harmony Hotel (B, L, D)
Morning transfer to Bole International airport for your flight to Mt. Kilimanjaro airport. Meet and Greet services at the airport and transfer to your hotel located a short distance from Arusha Town Centre.
The day at leisure and overnight Lake Duluti Serena Hotel on bed and breakfast basis.
Lake Duluti Serena Hotel
(Formerly Serena Mountain Village) Nestled at the foot of the wooded slopes of Mount Meru, this unique hotel stands amid coffee plantations on the shores of tranquil Lake Duluti. Designed to echo the traditional style of the colonial coffee farm, which originally stood on this site, Lake Duluti Serena Hotel offers a range of tastefully presented cottage-styled rooms set amid extensive landscaped grounds.
Lake Manyara National Park
Morning at leisure with safari briefing followed by lunch. Afternoon join seat in vehicle safari and you depart Arusha passing through the Masai Steppe filled with many picturesque African villages as well as maize, coffee and banana plantations. At the town of Makuyuni you turn North West and continue the journey up through a scenic escarpment that brings you to your lodge, perched on the edge of the Rift Valley with stunning views over the distant Lake Manyara.
Overnight at Lake Manyara Serena on full board basis
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
Standing high on the edge of a towering terracotta escarpment with panoramic views over the glittering alkaline waters of Lake Manyara, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge offers a unique blend of tranquillity, wildlife discovery, and ornithological richness. The unprecedented range of high-adventure sports, meanwhile, include mountain biking, canoeing and forest walks, while cultural choices include tours of the neighbouring villages and dance displays by the local Iraqw and sukuma people (all at additional costs).
Lake Manyara and Serengeti National Parks
After breakfast there is a game drive in Lake Manyara National Park that returns to the lodge for lunch. Leaving Lake Manyara behind, the journey continues North West across the stunning hilly countryside of the highlands which is filled with wheat and coffee plantations, and then into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. From here lie the vast plains of the Serengeti, where you’ll hopefully start spotting game well before you get into the park.
Overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge on a full board basis
Serengeti Serena Lodge
Set high on the saddle of a tree-clad ridge, commanding panoramic views across the Serengeti, this lodge is the ultimate fusion of traditional African architecture and world-class style. Winner of numerous awards from the world travel press, it is perhaps the finest venue the Serengeti has to offer.
Serengeti National Park
Morning and afternoon game drives in Serengeti National Park.
Overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge on a full board basis
Serengeti National Park - Ngorongoro Crater
After breakfast you depart for Ngorongoro with a picnic lunch viewing game across the vast Serengeti plains, stopping en route for a picnic lunch. You then continue to your lodge, set high on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.
Known as ‘The eighth wonder of the world' the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa's best-known wildlife arenas. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers a unique biosphere, which has remained virtually unchanged since the dawn of time. Deep within the Crater, enclosed by towering walls, some 25,000 large mammals wander the plains, lakes and forests of ‘The land that time forgot', dominated by enormous bull elephants, rhinos and lions.
Overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge on a full board basis
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Regularly voted one of the best hotels in the world, this unique lodge clings to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the largest and most perfect volcanic crater on Earth. Long and low, the lodge is built from local river stone and camouflaged with indigenous vines. Designed to blend completely into the landscape, it is entirely invisible from the floor of the Crater 600 metres below
A highlight awaits you this morning as you depart to explore what is commonly referred to as the World’s largest wildlife zoo. After breakfast, you descend with a picnic lunch through the early morning mists and 2,000 feet into the crater. Ngorongoro Crater is the World’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Due to its size and diversity, the crater floor is comprised of several distinct areas, ranging from forest, swamps, lakes and springs, to open grassland and some sandy dunes. It’s an awesome wildlife experience. A picnic lunch is served overlooking a small lake populated with hippos. You return to the lodge in the late afternoon.
Overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge on a full board basis
Ngorongoro Crater - Tarangire National Park
Departing Ngorongoro Crater after breakfast,head south east past Lake Manyara and Mto wa Mbu village. Through the highlands and the Karatu district, you’ll view the scenic wheat plains and coffee plantations here before journeying down the spectacular escarpment where you turn south on to the main Arusha – Dodoma road and into the park. From here to the lodge, you’ll enjoy a game drive en route. After lunch and perhaps a swim, the remainder of the afternoon will be spent on a game drive.
Overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge on a full board basis
Tarangire Sopa Lodge
Hidden among the kopjes, lies Tarangire Sopa Lodge, surrounded by ancient baobab trees. It is the home of the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa, and other game including the elusive leopard. Over 400 bird species can be spotted here as well. With water constantly available in the area, the greenery is lush providing a wonderful contrast to the burnt ground
Tarangire National Park - Arusha
Depart after breakfast and head northeast to Arusha. The journey will pass through the Masai Steppe filled with many picturesque African villages as well as maize, coffee and banana plantations. On arrival in Arusha you will be provided lunch followed by transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport to your flight to Addis Ababa connecting with your evening flight.
Fathia O.: Everything was perfect...amazing, very professional, highly knowledgeable..
Ed B.: (The tour guide was) one of the best I have had in my 40 different tours.
Merry B.: I cannot say enough good things about the level of professionalism. We learned so very much and truly would like to return...