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Cathy Winston
Award-winning travel writer
Cathy Winston

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Our verdict:

From Unesco World Heritage sites to breathtaking mountain views, Ethiopia is a country that’s as fascinating as it is undiscovered. Experience the reality of life here as part of a small group, on an active adventure with local guides, and a chance to see wildlife, coffee plantations and unique festivals.

Recommended tour operator: YellowWood Adventures

YellowWood Adventures says:

Ethiopia delivers the unexpected like no other country in Africa. Dubbed the “Cradle of Humankind”, Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonised – a visit feels like taking a step back into ancient times.

  • expert local guides
  • unique experiences
  • wildlife options

This is definitely a country best explored as part of a small group with local guides. Our small group adventure tours (for all levels of fitness) have up to 12 participants, generally between 30 and 50 years of age and with a mix of nationalities. Accommodation is in a mix of four-star hotels, lodges and camps and we generally hike for around six hours a day, with the option to enjoy some horse-riding too.

We aim to bring together unique experiences, cultural insights and authentic hospitality which bring the incredible diversity of Ethiopia to life.

The country’s churches and monasteries include nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites – among the highlights are the 13th-century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, all 11 of which are linked by underground passages (which you can explore). Our Lalibela and Gheralta Mountains tour is one of the most popular we offer.

Hiking in the Simien Mountains, with their breathtaking vistas, is another highlight together with a walk across the Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountain National Park. In addition to ancient forests filled with waterfalls, wildlife sightings should include Mountain Nyala, Ethiopian Red Wolf, impala, warthogs and Colobus Monkeys. Find out more details here.

One of our tours is centred around the coffee plantations, walking through beautiful jungle to meet the villagers who work there, processing the precious beans to be exported around the world.

We have created a really special nine-day adventure, departing 5 January 2019, which takes in the Ethiopian Christmas – called Genna. It is the most important religious festival in the country and a unique opportunity to experience the elaborate rituals and parades alongside thousands of Ethiopian pilgrims.

We arrange everything for you – transfers, guides, vehicles and drivers, accommodation and meals. Our local guides all have personal connections with and first-hand knowledge of the communities you’ll be visiting. We can also advise on international flights.

The best time to travel to Ethiopia is between September and June, the dry season. We offer a twin-share option – we will pair you up with a fellow traveller of the same gender – or you can opt to pay the single supplement.

Discover our full range of small groups tours in Ethiopia.

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