Ethiopian orthodox church at dawn, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia in Depth Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Trip Code:
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

15 Days Flight Inclusive
13 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

In the northeast of Ethiopia is the little visited region of Tigrai. Over the centuries a series of churches of differing sizes and architectural styles were carved into cliff-faces and rocky-outcrops, many still in use today. Whilst following Ethiopia’s classic northern circuit through Lake Tana’s monasteries, Gondar’s castles, the Simien Mountains and Lalibela’s monolithic churches, we get off the beaten path and explore this beautiful region in the heart of Ethiopian history.

At a Glance

  • 10 nights comfortable hotels, 2 nights basic hotel, most with en suite facilities
  • Travel by mini or coaster bus
  • Two internal flights
  • Off the beaten path in the Tigrai region

Trip Highlights

  • Rock hewn churches of Tigrai and Lalibela
  • Castles of Gondar
  • Spectacular scenery in the Simien Mountains
  • Stelae of Axum
  • Monasteries on Lake Tana

Is This Trip for You?

This is a busy trip and requires a certain level of fitness and agility, especially due to the heat and altitude. There are several walks that are easy to moderate in difficulty. The harder walk in the Simien Mountains is optional. When visiting the rock hewn churches in Tigrai and Lalibela passengers have to walk on uneven ground and climb on rock faces that can be slippery. Clients who suffer from vertigo should be aware that the Simien Mountains is famous for its dramatic sheer cliffs, however you do not have to walk close to the edge. The maximum altitude that we walk at on this trip is 3250m (although our drive on Day 10 will take us to 3500m). Clients with heart or respiratory problems should consult their doctor.

The optional mule ride to visit Ashetan Maryam follows the same rocky trail used for walking. This is a steep and exposed trail where the consequences of a slip of the mule could be severe. Walking the trail would take at least 2 hours. You will need to dismount the mule for a few sections of the route where the terrain is particularly steep or rocky. This route is not suitable for those nervous about or unfamiliar with steep mountain routes or riding animals such as mules. There is a heightened level of risk on this activity due to both the terrain and the level of local safety standards.

Roads are not as well maintained as in Europe and combined with the distances covered on this itinerary, we have some days with long drives. The longest drive by some margin is between Mekele and Lalibela which can take approximately 12 hours including stops for tea/coffee, lunch and photos. However, the views on en route are spectacular and should make for a memorable journey.

What tourism exists is quite well organised and in places you may be surprised at the standard of services and personnel. However, you should never forget that you are travelling in one of the world's poorest countries. Water and electricity can be erratic and hotels usually have set times when hot water is available. Please leave behind your western comforts and bring with you a sense of adventure, humour and flexibility for the experience of a lifetime!

Please note, this trip involves a boat river crossing on the optional Blue Nile Falls excursion where local safety standards may differ from those you are used to. There are unlikely to be personal flotation devices (i.e. lifejackets or buoyancy aids) available for you to use on the activity. If you cannot swim you should not take part in this excursion. If you are concerned about taking part in this activity, please discuss with your leader at the start of the tour so they can make alternative arrangements.

Festival Departures

Certain departures are scheduled to coincide with Ethiopia's festivals such as Meskal, Mariam Tsion and Ethiopian Christmas (these are highlighted on the Dates & Prices page on the website). Witnessing these festivals is a great experience but please note that some time may be spent in crowded areas. The below itinerary is not altered for these dates.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.



Adult min age:
Min group size:
Max group size:



Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Addis Ababa; city tour.

    Early morning arrival in Addis. Please note that if you are being picked up at the airport (either on the group transfer or private transfer) you will have to exit the terminal to find our representative with the Exodus board. You may see people with signs inside the terminal but they are generally people with special permission such as the UN, Government or hotels with desks inside the terminal. After a leisurely morning to relax we will spend the afternoon on a site-seeing tour of Addis Ababa. We will visit the National Museum which houses some of the country’s historic treasures. The collection of fossils and bones of early hominids discovered in Ethiopia include the 3.5 million year old remains of ‘Lucy’, the oldest hominid every found. We will also visit the Holy Trinity Church, Ethiopia’s main cathedral and home to the remains of the last emperor, Haile Selassie. Finally we will visit Menelik’s Mausoleum.
    Magnolia Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Fly to Bahar Dar; free afternoon with option of Blue Nile Falls visit.

    Today we will take a spectacular flight to Bahar Dar. From the air we can gaze across the extraordinary nature of the Ethiopian Plateau, repeatedly cut by immensely deep gorges. Bahar Dar is a small but fast growing town on the southern shore of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. It has long attracted religious men and the area contains numerous churches and monasteries, many of them on the thirty or so islands of Lake Tana. The afternoon is free to enjoy the fantastic bird-watching around the lake or head into Bahar Dar itself and explore its local market. There is also the option of doing a half day excursion to the Blue Nile Falls (usually in the morning).
    Tana Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 3

    Discover Lake Tana's famous monestaries.

    We have a full day boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the monasteries of Narga Selassie & URA Kidane Mehret. We’ll travel by boat to visit some of the more remote monasteries and churches, most of which date back to the thirteenth century. The monasteries are fascinating and unlike any others outside Ethiopia, often decorated with bright mural painting. Because of their isolation they were used to store art treasures and religious relics from all over the country. Local history says the Ark of the Covenant was kept on one of these islands when the city of Axum was under threat, and the remains of five emperors are to be found at Daga Istafanos.
    Tana Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 4

    Drive to Gondar; visit the castles, Fasilides' bathhouse and the church's ceiling.

    This morning we drive north to Gondar, the former capital of Ethiopia. Arriving in Gondar we will stop by the Kindu Trust, a local organisation which works with disadvantaged children, their families and communities.

    After lunch we will explore Gondar and visit the castles, which were built in the 17th and 18th century by several generations of Ethiopian kings. Nearby is Debre Birhan Selassie church with its sensational angelic ceiling, and the bathhouse of Fasilides where thousands of Ethiopians celebrate Timkat festival every January. Our hotel is up on a cliff top with wonderful views looking over the town.
    Goha Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 5

    Drive to Simien Mountains; afternoon hike along the plateau.

    After breakfast we drive to Debark on the edge of the Simien Mountains. The road has considerably improved and the drive should take about 2hrs. In the late morning we drive up into the mountains for some spectacular views of this unique ecosystem. The highland plateau is capped by a dramatic skyline of jagged volcanic plugs and split by deep gorges and gullies. On a good day, the views are sensational and the striking towers and formations have been described as the 'chess pieces of the Gods'. We take an optional 2hr walk, mostly flat or downhill, and hope to see the endemic Gelada baboons and Klipspringers before returning to Debark. The maximum altitude we reach is 3250m.
    Simien Park Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 6

    Continue to Axum.

    Continue on a full day's drive to the fabled city of Axum via the lowlands of the Simien Mountains and Tekeze River gorge. Though this is a long journey, the spectacular views make time slide away. Arrive in the late afternoon.
    Yared Zema Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 7

    Full day visiting the ancient capital of the Axumite Kingdom.

    Axum is the seat of the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Axum, which was once one of the most powerful in the ancient world. Located at the centre of the trading routes between the Mediterranean and India, and the great port of Adulis on the Red Sea, it was economically, politically and technically advanced and at times had control over both sides of the Red Sea.

    Axum is also the origin of Christianity in Ethiopia and believed to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The old church of St Mary of Zion was the first church to be built in Sub-Saharan Africa around 330AD. Its ruins can be seen in the precinct of the church compound.

    We visit the famous monolithic stelae of Axum, the tallest one still standing reaches over 21 metres and the greatest one of them all, once 34 metres high now lies toppled on the ground. It is still, however, the largest monolith ever erected by man. The subterranean tombs, stone inscriptions of ancient Axumite kings and the small archaeological museum are also living witness of the ancient Axumite history. We will also visit the ruined palace of the Queen of Sheba who is said to have given birth to Menelik the First, fathered by King Solomon, the founder of Ethiopia's ruling family until the late Emperor Haile Selassie.
    Yared Zema Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 8

    Visit Yeha Temple and through eatern Tigrai to Wukro.

    We leave for Wukro visiting some of the rock hewn churches of Eastern Tigrai on the way. We first pass through the Battle field of Adwa, where the Ethiopians defeated the Italian colonial army in 1896, and then stop to visit the 500 B.C. pre-Christian Temple of Yeha. We will have lunch at Adigrat and proceed on to Wukro. En route we visit the beautiful rock-hewn church of Medhane-Alem Adi Kesho in Tsaeda Imba. Overnight stay at Wukro.
    Fiseha Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 9

    Visit Wukro's rock-hewn churches and on to Mekele.

    This morning we start by driving about 20Kms North West of Wukro to visit the famous rock-hewn church of Abreha Wo Atsebeha and Wukro Cherkos, on the northern outskirts of the town, before proceeding on to Mekele in time to explore this fast growing city.
    Planet Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 10

    Drive through mountains and gorges on the way to Lalibela.

    Today is a long day’s driving but the scenery, once again, is spectacular as we pass through mountains and river gorges, seeing for ourselves why Ethiopia’s landscape is completely different to anywhere else. We eventually reach Lalibela, possibly Ethiopia’s most famous site.
    Roha Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 11

    Explore Lalibela amazing churches.

    We spend the day exploring Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches. Whilst they may feel busy compared to the ones we’ve visited in Tigrai they are still spectacular and well worth visiting. The churches are mostly cut from solid rock, and therefore have the appearance of being underground. The most famous church is Bete Giorgis (St George, patron saint of Ethiopia), carved in the form of a Greek cross. It is exceptionally well preserved and visually almost flawless.

    The churches are quite dark inside, with little artificial light, and in some cases limited natural light. In each one there is a resident priest, who is usually happy to put on richly embroidered vestments and pose for a photo with his crosses, ancient bibles and sunglasses (due to constant camera flashes!). Although the churches are remote, they are not short of worshippers: most Ethiopians, certainly of the older generation, are devout Orthodox Christians, and the services in the churches on religious festivals are of marathon length: sixteen hours is not unusual!
    Roha Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 12

    Mule trek up to Ashatan Maryam.

    In the morning we enjoy an optional (no extra cost) adventurous mule journey to visit Ashetan Maryam (St Mary), built on a ridge with excellent views over the surrounding countryside. The trip takes approximately 6 hours (round trip) and will start early to avoid the heat. We will ride the mules up the mountain for approximately an hour, before hiking the rest of the way up the mountain to the church. After visiting the church we will walk back down to the village on slippery mountain paths. This is a tough walk and is optional. If you choose not to do the walk there is plenty to do in Lalibela: There is the opportunity to walk into the town and visit some of the many shops or relax in a Tej bar to sample the local fermented honey drink or a local café to socialise.

    The rest of the day is spent absorbing the atmosphere of this extraordinary town with its Tukul or round houses. Made as two storey buildings, they are unusual in Africa.
    Roha Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 13

    Fly to Addis Ababa. End.

    An afternoon flight takes us back to Addis Ababa. We are then transferred to the hotel for day rooms and get settled before enjoying an optional final dinner at a well-known local Ethiopian restaurant. Transfer back to the airport in the late evening for our international flight back home. Please note that due to flight schedules, some departures may include an extra night at the end of the trip for flight inclusive clients and a day-time return-flight.

    The extension to the Islamic city of Harar starts today with an overnight in Addis Ababa.

    Meals included:

Post-trip Extensions


Standing on the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley, Harar's location gives wonderful views of the surrounding country, with the vast Danakil desert to the north, the fertile Harar Mountains to the west, and the cattle‐rich Ogaden Plains to the south. Here we discover a uniquely different Ethiopia in this sacred Muslim city of mosques, minarets and markets. It is a centre of Muslim learning, a city which once struck its own local currency and a place that still has its own unique language; long regarded by the outside world as a city of mystery and romance.

Please ask for prices.


Extension Day 1 - Overnight in Addis Ababa.

Main tour ends in Addis Ababa. Free time to relax.

Meals included: Breakfast


Extension Day 2 - Fly from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa and transfer to Harar.

Founded in the early 12th century, the great walls surrounding Harar were built in the 1600s to keep out powerful neighbouring hostile groups. Harar remained an important centre of Muslim learning and trade throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Once an important centre of Islamic scholarship, the city was for many years closed to Christians and early explorers were forced to enter in disguise and at their own peril. We start our exploration with a guided tour of Harar to see the mosques and interesting old architecture of the town, including the old city wall and the house of the French poet Rimbaud. Harar is home to one of the stranger sights that you're likely to see in your journey through Ethiopia. Every night, a local man goes to the outskirts of the city and calls the hyenas from the surrounding area. This practice apparently dates from the 1950s, but was based on an older tradition was first started to discourage the hyenas from stealing local livestock. As the hyenas approach, the hyena man holds out pieces of meat to them, either in his hands or sometimes between his teeth, which the hyenas then take from him. This is a practice that is handed down from generation to generation and only one person fills the role at any one time. This evening you may wish to go and witness this bizarre ritual. Please note that these hyena are wild so you should keep a safe distance.

Meals included: Breakfast


Extension Day 3 – Harar.

A full day in Harar to explore the city to see the mosques and interesting old architecture of the town, including the old city wall and the house of the French poet Rimbaud, Harari Museums, Shrines & Tombs, New & Old Markets and traditional Adare houses. Our guide will be with you and ask him to take you where you want to see or visit.

Meals included: Breakfast


Extension Day 4 - Return to Addis.

Transfer back to Dire Dawa for the flight to Addis Ababa, you will have access to a day‐use room in Addis Ababa before returning to the airport for your flight home.

Meals included: Breakfast


Please note that if you are flying with Ethiopian Airlines you will probably have to spend an extra night in Addis Ababa and catch a day‐flight (on Extension Day 5) due the flight schedules.


This extension can also be done pre‐tour.



You will spend 10 nights in comfortable hotels and 2 nights in basic hotels, most with en-suite facilities. Additionally there will be access to a day room in Addis Ababa on the final day. Accommodation is basic in comparison to European standards. Ethiopia is a developing country and there may occasionally be no hot water, or indeed, no water at all! Most rooms are furnished simply. 

Single accommodation (available on request).

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £430.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts included

Hotel meals are generally good although they can lack variety. Local dishes tend to be very good if you like hot, spicy food although milder versions can be requested. Local food is traditionally eaten with the hands. The sour bread known as injera is used as a scoop from the casserole dishes known as wat. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. It is normally drunk black with sugar. The coffee ritual is something to be experienced at least once on your trip. It is possible to get coffee with milk which the Ethiopians call Machiato. Please note that you should not drink the tap water in Ethiopia. We also suggest that clients bring snack food as this can be difficult to obtain outside of Addis Ababa.

Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared. The Ethiopian diet is meat based except for fasting days. Fasting food is completely vegan as fasters should not consume any animal by-product. Clients who have specialist dietary requirements must contact us to discuss if they can be accommodated. Ethiopia is a poor country and they are not familiar with gluten or lactose free diets.


We will be using a 4WD Toyota land cruiser, mini buses or coaster buses depending on the condition of the road and the size of the group. The distances covered are fairly large but we have tried to keep travelling time down by using two internal flights. The road from Debark to Axum is a winding mountain road and it is a full day drive but the spectacular views make it a very enjoyable journey.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

The main rains come between June and late September, and while November is one of the coolest months of the year it is also generally one of the clearest. January and February will be hotter and much drier and the landscape is likely to be more arid and dusty than in October and November, which can still be quite lush and colourful after the rains.

Weather Information

It is likely to be sunny most of the time on all departures. Most of Ethiopia is at a high altitude, so although the sun is powerful, the temperature is usually very pleasant. There is, however, the risk of sunburn at high altitude, so it is essential that you ensure you are adequately protected. Nights are generally cool to cold, depending on the altitude. Daytime temperatures seldom rise above 25ºC except at lower altitudes.

Weather Charts

Addis Ababa

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 15 Days

Festival departures do not run Sunday to Sunday. On these departures flight times will be different to standard Sunday to Sunday departures.

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Ethiopian Airlines (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or
your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Internal flights during the trip are normally with Ethiopian Airlines.

We take two internal flights: Addis ‐ Bahar Dar and Lalibela ‐ Addis. The flights are all fairly low level and give excellent views. Internal flights are included for all clients (including those on LO departure) but are subject to frequent changes of schedule and delays.


Travelling land only: 13 days starting and ending in Addis Ababa

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Addis Ababa in the morning of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent
approximately two weeks before departure.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

If you would like us to organise a private arrival transfer, the cost is £40 (subject to change) and is payable before departure.

Our hotel in Addis Ababa offers private departure transfers to the airport at no additional cost. We do not offer this service on arrival because collection from the airport is less reliable than collection from the hotel.

Please ensure that you provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure.

Location start:
Addis Ababa
Location end:
Addis Ababa

What to Take

Essential Equipment


Light jacket or fleece
Good walking footwear/boots
Walking sticks if you normally use them
Insect spray Sunhat Suncream Sunglasses Water bottle
Wet wipes
Anti bacterial hand gel
Binoculars (if you are a keen birdwatcher)
Torch and spare batteries.

At time of writing the standard weight limit for hold baggage on the recommended international carrier for this trip is 23kg. We recommend packing only one piece of checked baggage.

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 23kg.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest
you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

We also recommend wearing long trousers tucked into socks when visiting the churches in Lalibela. For festival departures we suggest that ladies take a headscarf with them.

In order to cut back on plastic waste you may wish to bring a Water-2-go bottle which allows you to fill it with tap water and filters the water making it safe to drink.


Internal Flights Weight Limit

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 23kg.

Practical Information



All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.



All nationalities require a visa for Ethiopia which can be obtained before departure (at a cost of GBP26) or on arrival (at a cost of USD50 - be prepared to queue for a while). Please note that the Ethiopian government may change their visa on arrival policy at very short notice so make sure to check the latest advice. A certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination maybe required in order to obtain your visa, for instance if you're travelling from a country at risk of Yellow Fever transmission - please check with the embassy for the latest advice.

For assistance with obtaining visas please call Travcour on 020 8543 1846 or visit their website:

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.



Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A.

Other vaccines to consider: Hepatitis B; Meningococcal Meningitis; Rabies; Typhoid; Yellow Fever.

Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit:

Malaria prophylaxis is essential on this trip, and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time


Ethiopia's Electricity:

220 Volts. Plug types C, E, F & L; establishments often take two round pin plugs.


Ethiopia's Currency

The national currency of Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (June 2017) of approximately 29 to the GBP,  23 to the USD, 17.5 to the CAD, 26 to the EUR, 17.6 to the AUD and 16.7 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs can be found throughout the itinerary. Credit cards are not accepted in most establishments, so it’s a good idea to change enough money to last for a few days at a time. We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Bring extra spending money if you wish to buy some local crafts such as jewellery, Ethiopian dresses, scarves, carved wooden crosses, basketwork, frankincense and Ethiopian coffee. Lunches and dinners not included in the itinerary will cost around 150 Birr each, so it is suggested that you take an additional US$250 ‐ $300 to cover meals and other incidental spending on drinks, souvenirs, laundry etc.


Optional Excursions (prices subject to change - paid locally)

Blue Nile Falls - US$20 per person


Tipping is optional but customary in this part of the world. We suggest that you allow US $70 to cover tips for tour guides, drivers, porters and other hotel staff over the course of the trip.

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce. Our small group size allows us to support smaller hotels and restaurants that do not usually benefit from mass tourism, bringing a positive impact to the overall employment levels and economy in the region.

There is plenty of culture to discover in Ethiopia and we include several cultural and historical sites on this itinerary such as the National Museum, Menelik’s Mausoleum and Holy Trinity Church- Ethiopia’s main cathedral. Our visit greatly contributes to the preservation of these important places.

In Gondor, we will stop by Kindu Trust, a local organisation who works with disadvantaged children, their families and communities by sponsoring children for education and also run numerous income generating projects. In their small store, they sell baskets, banana art and beads made from recycled magazines. Clients can purchase souvenirs made by the beneficiaries of the Trust, providing them a source of income. If time permits, the group may also have the chance to stop by a plowshare project in Gondar where local women get training and produce textile materials, pottery products and baskets for local markets.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.


Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.



The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Please note, although this trip doesn’t visit any FCDO no-go areas, it does visit a region close to an area where the advice is not to travel. If joining this trip, or if planning any additional travel pre or post tour in the area, you should ensure you visit their website to familiarise yourself with the advice. Any independent travel to these areas is entirely at your own risk and is likely not to be covered by your insurance.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.


These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.