Ethiopia in Depth: Timkat Festival

16 days
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£2,699
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Trip code: 
AYG
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–18

Timkat Festival - one of the greatest celebrations on Earth.

Mysterious, deeply traditional and breathtakingly beautiful, Ethiopia is unlike any other country on the African continent. Its location at the confluence of civilisations and important trade routes means that it developed a rich history, culture and heritage which is still strongly felt today. This unique culture is framed within the rugged beauty of some of the finest mountain scenery in Africa.

Ethiopia’s Timkat Festival is one of the greatest celebrations on Earth and a great time to visit the country. We also have special departures during the Meskal Festival and Ethiopian Christmas. Please note this page relates to the 'Discover Ethiopia Timkat' Departures view relevant pages for the standard 'Discover Ethiopia' and 'Ethiopia in Depth' trips. Also please note that the itinerary below related to the celebrating the festival in Mekele, see trip notes for the Gondar itinerary.

Highlights

  • Timkat Festival
  • Castles of Gondar
  • Spectacular scenery in the Simien Mountains
  • Stelae of Axum
  • Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Tigrai

Key information

  • 12 nights comfortable hotels, 2 nights basic hotel, most with en suite facilities
  • Travel by mini or coaster bus
  • Three internal flights
  • Harar extension available

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
(354) 567 8978
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

    Depart London.

  • Day 2

    Arrive 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.
    Ghion Hotel or similar

  • Day 3

    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.

    Tana Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Full day visiting Lake Tana and its monasteries.

    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: Breakfast
  • Day 5

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

    MEKELE TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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

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

    GONDAR TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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, this is where we'll be enjoying the festival tomorrow so may delay our visit.

    As today is the eve of Timkat, there will be a colourful procession with singing and chanting parades of all the churches in town and heading the Fasilades bath house.

    Our hotel is up on a cliff top with wonderful views looking over the town.

    Goha Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Drive to Simien Mountains; afternoon hike along the plateau.

    MEKELE TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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 1.5hr 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

    Timkat Festival in Gondar.

    GONDAR TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    Today is the most important day in the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar. We get up early this morning to take part in the Timkat festivities. We join the Ethiopian crowds at Facilides baths whose water has been blessed by priests and by the side of which the Talbot (replica of the Arc of the Covenant) has spent the night. Young men dive into the water to symbolise the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan. Later a procession with singing and chanting parades the Talbot back to the church. The Timkat Festival has been described by some as one of the greatest festivals in the world.

    Goha Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Continue to Axum.

    MEKELE TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    We continue on the rugged road for 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

    Drive to Simien Mountains; afternoon hike along the plateau.

    GONDAR TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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 1.5hr 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: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Full day visiting the ancient capital of the Axumite Kingdom.

    MEKELE TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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

    Continue to Axum.

    GONDAR TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    We continue on the rugged road for 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: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit Yeha Temple and through eatern Tigrai to Wukro.

    MEKELE TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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

    Full day visiting the ancient capital of the Axumite Kingdom.

    GONDAR TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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: Breakfast
  • Day 10

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

    MEKELE TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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

    Visit Yeha Temple and through eatern Tigrai to Wukro.

    GONDAR TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Timkat Festival in Mekele.

    MEKELE TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    Today is the most important day in the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar. We get up early this morning to take part in the Timkat festivities. We join the Ethiopian crowds at the springs whose water has been blessed by priests and by the side of which the Talbot (replica of the Arc of the Covenant) has spent the night. Timket literally means Baptism and Timket festival symbolise the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan. Later a procession with singing and chanting parades the Talbot back to the church. The Timkat Festival has been described by some as one of the greatest festivals in the world.
    Planet Hotel or similar

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

    GONDAR TIMKAT FESTIVAL ITINERARY

    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: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Drive through mountains and gorges on the way to Lalibela.

    Today is an extremely 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: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    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: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Mule Trek to Ashante Maryam.

    In the morning we enjoy an optional adventurous mule journey to visit Ashetan Maryam (St Mary), built on a ridge with excellent views over the surrounding countryside. The trip takes approximately 5 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 café and sample the local fermented honey drink.

    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: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Fly to Addis Ababa.

    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. Those on the group flight will head to the airport later this evening. 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.
    Ghion Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Trip ends.

    The trip ends after breakfast, those on the group flights land in London (depending on flight schedules).

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Post-trip Extensions

Harar

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 - 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.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 2 – 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 3 - 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 4) due the flight schedules.

 

This extension can also be done pre‐tour.

Essential Info

Visas

Ethiopia

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.

Vaccinations

Ethiopia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and 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 can be catered for but they will have a limited choice. 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.

Weather

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 such as the Rift Valley and Tekezze River gorge.

Addis Ababa

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 not difficult. The harder walk and mule ride in Lalibela is optional. When visiting the rock hewn churches in Lalibela, you will have to walk on uneven ground and climb steps that can be slippery.

If you suffer from vertigo you 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.

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.

The Timkat Festival can be very crowded and busy and wandering hand have been known to pick pockets, so care should be taken with valuables.

The maximum altitude reached on this trip is 3250m. Clients with heart or respiratory problems should consult their doctor. Please leave behind your western comforts and bring with you a sense of adventure, humour and flexibility for the experience of a lifetime!

Call us on
(354) 567 8978
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will spend 12 nights in comfortable hotels and 2 nights in basic hotels, most with en-suite facilities.

We use good tourist class hotels which are typically the best available in the areas that we visit, but accommodation is basic in comparison to European standards. Please do not expect all the facilities to work flawlessly. Ethiopia is a developing country and there may occasionally be no hot water, or indeed, no water at all! Most rooms are furnished simply with twin beds and private facilities. Towels and soap are usually provided, but extras such as hairdryers or fridges are not. Laundry services are available in most hotels for a small fee.

Please note that on the Timkat departures it is very occasionally necessary to sleep in a tent. The hotels are usually over booked at this time of year and cannot always offer a room to everyone.

Single accommodation (available on request)

Call us on
(354) 567 8978
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

African sunset

From the volcanic slopes of Kilimanjaro to the highland plateaux of the Simien Mountains, Exodus has cultivated an ar

  • Reviewed January 2017
    Anne Hillman

    Timkat Festival time!

    What a brilliant trip in an amazing country. Every day was different and full of surprises ...the scenery was awesome and the smiles of the Ethiopians lit up each day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day spent in the Simian Mountains surrounded by baboons and the Timkat Festival. What a privilege to be welcomed and made to feel so much part of such an important festival.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabre was simply the best tour guide you could want. He loved and was so proud of his country and people and his enthusiasm was catching. Nothing was too much trouble. He has so much knowledge of his country and never got tired of sharing it with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ethiopian will surprise and delight you, but it is in Africa so sometimes you just go with the flow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an emerging country very proud of its heritage and traditions. We hardly saw any other visitors which probably made our experience more intense , so do go soon.
  • Reviewed February 2015
    Tatyana Yegorova

    Fascinating country but challenging tourist infrastructure

    Ethiopia is a lovely country with fascinating history, beautiful people and very unique culture. The tour itinerary was well developed where it covered main points of interests on the historical circuit in addition to attending a colorul Timkat festival. The tour was very organized from the logistics perspective (buses, hotels, flights) and everything went very smoothly. The quality of the hotels were the downside of the trip; however, it was my understanding that there were not too many choices in Ethiopia. If you choose to go on the trip, you shall be ready to tolerate very poor (unclean) accommodations, lack (or poor flow) of hot water and unreliable electricity in many of the hotels. The weather tend to flactuate during the day so you may want to bring clothes that allow layering. All is one, the experiences of the trip were very interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Timkat festival was the highlight of the trip, where one can see the blend of Christian Orthodoxy with African tribal culture. I also enjoyed the painted churches on Lake Tana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader was a great tour manager and was able to keep the group together. I did feel on occasion that he didn't have sufficient expertise on some of the places we visited; however, he did a fantastic job in organizing the tour logistics and taking care of the little details on the trip, so all in all, I was very happy with him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready to deal with lack of hot water and dirty hotels. Bring wipes, dry shampoo, first aid kit, mosquito repellent, clothes to layer and your own sleeping bag or a set of your own sheets. And a sense of humor!

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Tatyana for her review, although we were sorry to read that she was disappointed with some of the accommodation. We use hotels which are typically the best available in the areas that we visit, but unfortunately accommodation options are relatively limited in Ethiopia. We are glad that despite this Tatyana found the trip to be interesting.

    Tom Harari - Trip Manager for Ethiopia

  • Reviewed January 2015
    Derek Holwill

    Ethiopia - Timket Festival

    For the most part, exceeded expectations. The festival in Axum was a wonderful experience - pleasingly haphazard! Wildlife (particularly birds) better than anticipated

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Timket

    What did you think of your group leader?

    V good - his English could perhaps have been slightly better

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    ,

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Worth considering doing away with the night in Addis after the return from Lalibela and heading straight for the south - perhaps with a hotel half way to Awassa? It's a long journey with lots to see on the way and I would swap the extra half day in Addis for more time in the south

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: sales@exodus.co.uk

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