Incredible Ethiopia

Trip Code: YOZE

Why we love it

Search for the source of the Blue Nile on a boat cruise at Lake Tana, then discover the churches and unique castles of the regal city of Gondar., Trek the majestic series of undulating amethyst peaks that make up the Simien Mountains, looking out for the distinctive red-hearted gelada., After learning about its deep history, relax in the beautiful streets of Aksum and watch life go by, imagining when it was once at the centre of an important trade route that stretched from Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea, Explore Lalibela's unique churches - astonishing constructions sculpted from huge slabs of stone - that make up one of the world's greatest historical and religious sites., Meet locals for a cooking class and traditional coffee ceremony

Is this trip right for me?

In Lalibela and Simien Mountains National Park we include day hikes to experience the beauty of the regions on foot.

Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude.

There will be some long drives on days 7 & 10.

Some passengers on this trip will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip. To see what you're missing out on check out our Best of Ethiopia trip.

Refer to Special Information within the itinerary to see if your chosen date is aligned with any festivals

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travelers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altit.
3. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Ethiopia before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page -

What to bring/pack

We recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although a light weight cargo is also a good option. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

- Walking shoes or boots. This trip includes some hiking so we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. In the wetter months on Sep, Oct, Mar & Apr these shoes are likely to get quite muddy.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- A light head scarf (white if attending Timket) for women to wear at churches and during festivals
- A mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Shorts down to the knees are ideal for warmer weather. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.

- Waterproof/windproof jacket is a good idea for wet days, and early morning or evening activities when it can be cool.
- Personal medical kit. Large kits will be on hand at the lodges and from your leader but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, probiotics, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc.
- Insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Camera with spare batteries.

- Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate
- A good book, a journal and/or headphones for the long drives.
- Power bank with USB charger
- A good quality, high-beam headlamp or torch for around the lodges and hotels at night.

Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential.We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip.

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

In many parts of Africa women travelers should dress modestly as there is a wide range of cultural differences. Please bring skirts or shorts that reach just above the knee and tops that cover shoulders at a minimum.

Physical rating


A intermediate level of fitness is required to be able to enjoy this trip to the fullest. There are included hikes at Simien Mountains National Park and Lalibela that go above 2800m/9000ft.

Joining your group

Golden Royal Hotel, Woreda 03, House number 2043 100m in front of Tele Medhane Alem towards UNHCR office, Bole, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA, Phone: +251 903182555

Joining instructions

Transfers are available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Please speak to your booking agent for more information. If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer, please ensure you have provided Intrepid with your arrival flight details at least 15 days before the departure of your Intrepid trip.

On arrival, please proceed outside the arrival terminal building to the entrance of the carpark and look for your transfer representative, likely standing in the shade, holding a board with your name. They will not be waiting inside the arrivals hall as there are strict government restrictions in place that prevent transfer drivers from waiting inside.

If you cannot locate them, please call our local operator on +251 (911) 457 196.

Alternatively complimentary shuttles are available through the Golden Royal Hotel (formally Sheger Royal Hotel) and are available by calling the hotel once you have landed on 0116392777. These are different to transfers pre-booked through Intrepid and will require waiting for multiple travellers across different arrival flights.

Finishing your trip

Harbe Hotel, Lalibela, Lalibela, ETHIOPIA, Phone: +251 333 360090

The Harbe Hotel is located 20 kilometres from the Lalibela International Airport. Private airport transfers are available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Contact your booking agent for details.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 12

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 5

Local food is traditionally eaten with the hands and sometimes can be spicy. The sour bread known as injera is used as a scoop for the casserole dishes known as wat. Vegetarians can be catered for, though you may find the diet somewhat limited. Please notify of us of any dietary requirements prior to the start of your trip.

Climate & seasonal information

Religious Festivals are a big part of the Ethiopian calendar and provide a great insight into the local culture as well as often being a time for celebration. However, this can often mean a slight change of itinerary to experience these events. The below departure dates are in line with special religious dates. Experiencing these festivals will be dependent on the current status of Covid-19 and suggestions regarding gatherings.

The 17 April 2021 departure aligns with the festivities before Palm Sunday. Depending on the status of Covid-19, we may witness a demonstration of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

The 26 September 2021 departure will begin with a welcome meeting at 1pm so the afternoon is available to take part in Meskel Festival. At Meskel Square the clergy of all the churches of the city gather to perform religious ceremonies involving singing and dancing. In the late afternoon bonfires and candles are lit by the bishop and crowd.

The 23 November 2019 departure will arrive into Axum in time for Mariam Tsion festival in the late afternoon. Here the large gathering of pilgrims praise St Mary with singing and chanting. The following day the group will wake early to observe the main religious procession of the Mariam Tsion festival.

The 28 December 2019 departures aligns with Orthodox Christmas. Ethiopia (and especially the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) still use the old Julian calendar, so they celebrate Christmas on January 7th, not December 25th. The Christmas celebration in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is called Ganna and most Ethiopians go to Church on Christmas day.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page:

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

+254 796 611 289 or +254 795 832 616


As a developing nation hot water is not always available at the accommodations.


Privacy Preference Center