Northern Ethiopian

The north of Ethiopia holds some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Learn more about the historical and natural attractions of this country below.


Lalibela has been a place of pilgrimage since it was built nearly 1000 years ago. Still today, this holy city brings thousands of faithful Ethiopians and tourists from all over the world to wonder at the unimaginable feat of King Lalibela and his people, who carved these 11 churches from the bedrock using only crude hand tools.

The Danakil Depression The Danakil Depression, with its other-worldly landscapes, offers a rewarding experience for those who venture out. This is the land of the Afar nomads, who trek over barren lands with their camel caravans transporting blocks of salt mined from large salt flats for sale in the larger towns.

North & Danakil – 12 Day Tour

12 Days
DAY 1- Addis Abeba – Bahir Dar We will take the morning flight to Bahir Dar (duration approximately one hour). Bahir Dar is a beautiful city located at lake Tana. It is the capital of the Amhara Region and known for its wide avenues lined with palm trees and a variety of colorful flowers. We will take a relaxing boat trip on Lake Tana and visit the peninsulas Zege with the Azwa Maryam monastery and Ura Kidanemariam. Lake Tana consists of a number of islands, some of them are inhabited. A lot of islands consist of very old monasteries and church treasures. The locals use boats made of papyrus to travel on the lake and to get and sell goods on the market. If we are lucky we will be able to see hippos. We will spend the night at the Abay Mentch Lodge.
#DAY 2- Bahir Dar – Gondar After breakfast we will head towards Gondar (180 km). The drive takes about three hours through beautiful and interesting landscapes. After checking into the hotel and having lunch we will visit the famous castle-site of emperor Fassilidas as well as the Debrebrihan Selassie church that is well known for the painting of its sealing. Afterwards we will head to the bath of emperor Fassilidas – another UNESCO world heritage site of the city. We will enjoy a traditional dinner at the Four Sister Restaurant and sleep at Hotel Goha.

#DAY 3- Gondar – Simien Mountains We will drive to Sankaber which is about 140 km away from Gondar. We will pass the head office of the Simien Mountains in Debark to register and pick up our trekking equipment as well as a scout and guide. After trekking for a couple hours we will check into the Simien mountains lodge where we will be spending the night.

#DAY 4- Simien Mountains – Gondar After breakfast we will trek about three hours (500 m hight difference) to the Jinbar waterfall. On the way we will enjoy the splendid landscape and different kinds of flowers and trees. It is possible to see a klipspringer and mini bushbuck. Leopards also live in the area but are seen very rarely. Maybe we are going to be the lucky ones. The delightful gelada baboons are always around, for sure we will see them. After enjoying lunch at the waterfall we will head back towards Gondar to spend the night at Hotel Goha.

#DAY 5- Gondar – Lalibela After breakfast we will take the 30 minute flight to Lalibela (9:45 am). We will be picked up from the airport and driven to the Mountain View Hotel. After lunch we will visit the first group of the 11 rock hewn churches – one of the UNESCO world heritages. We will enjoy our dinner with a fantastic panoramic view at the Ben Abeba Restaurant. Overnight at Mountain View Hotel.

#DAY 6- Lalibela After breakfast we will climb up with our guide and donkeys to visit the cloister Ashete Mariam. It is located 3200 m above sea level. It takes 2 hours to climb up (8 km). After reaching the top of the hill we will enjoy the splendid view of Lalibela and the area. In the afternoon we will visit the second group of the churches including the most famous one. Dinner at Ben Abeba Restaurant, overnight at the Mountain View hotel.

#DAY 7- Lalibela – Axum After breakfast we will take the 40 minute flight to Axum (10:35 am). After lunch we will visit the famous Obelisk and the Queen of Sheba’s Bath. Also the cathedral of St Mary of Zion can be visited. It was built in 1665 by Empereor Fasilides and due to the believe of Ethiopians it is said to have previously housed the Ark of Covenant. Only men are allowed to enter the church. Dinner and overnight at the Sabean International Hotel.

DAY 8- Axum – Mekele Today we are going to have a full day drive to Mekele. We will spend the night in Mekele.

#DAY 9- Mekele – Afdera Early in the morning we will drive to Afdera via Abala enjoying the scenery of the road. It is going to be a full day of driving and we will arrive late in the afternoon to camp in Afdera. We will enjoy the hot springs (bring your bathing suit!) and the scenery. We will observe the workers extracting salt from the mines.

#DAY 10- Afdera – Kurwased – Dodem – Erta Ale In the morning we depart shortly after breakfast to pick up escort police from the police station. We will continue then to Kurwased to get permission from the local authority and escort additional local military. We will also arrange camels for carrying the camping gear, luggage and water for the volcano. Afterwards we will start hiking up the Erta Ale Volcano Hills (613 meters above sea level) which is 15 km one way. We are going to see the volcanic eruption which is very colorful and spectacular. At night we will camp nearby the eruption on the crater rim above the active lava lake.

#DAY 11- Erta Ale – Dodom – Hamad Ela We will wake up with the sunrise and spend some time walking around pits and craters. We will head back to Dodom before the sun gets too strong and have breakfast there. After spending some time in Dodom to pack our equipment, we will continue our tour to Hamad Ela – a village with a total population of 500 people. We will walk around the village and admire the camel caravan as they arrive to spend the night at the village where we are going to spend the night camping.


#DAY 12-Hamad Ela – Daloll – Lake Assal – Mekele -> Addis (domestic flight) After breakfast we will drive to Ragad (Asebao) where the salt is mined. We are going to learn how the salt is broken from the ground, cut into rectangular pieces and loaded on camels. Afterwards we will continue driving to Dallol and visit the different landscapes formed by volcanic activity. It is located 116 meters below sea level and one of the lowest places on earth with colorful salt mining. We will also visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans and walk with the Afar people who live there. Afterwards we will drive back to Mekele and fly back to Addis Abeba (end of tour).