Popular Routes – Ethiopia

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Ethiopia.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Ethiopia.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Ethiopia.

Popular Routes in Ethiopia

Popular Routes Where Wildlife Viewing Is a Major Part of the Tour

You’ll most likely arrive in Ethiopia via Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa. There is a good network of domestic flights linking many historical towns of interest. National parks can be visited by road.

Ethiopian Highlands (9 to 12 days)

This is Ethiopia’s most popular tour. You can fly between the main historical towns and visit Simien Mountains National Park by car from Gondar.

Destinations:

  • Bahir Dar (2 to 3 days) is a vibrant market town on Lake Tana and the base for visiting the impressive Blue Nile Falls
  • Gondar (1 to 2 days) is a city noted for its medieval castles (a Unesco World Heritage Site)
  • Simien Mountains National Park (2 to 3 days) is one of Ethiopia's most popular parks and offers a chance to spend time with gelada monkeys
  • Axum (2 to 3 days) is steeped in history with ancient carved obelisks and the centuries-old Christian church believed to house the Ark of the Covenant
  • Lalibela (2 to 3 days) is known for its labyrinth of rock-hewn churches from the 12th century


Popular add-ons:

  • Bale Mountains National Park for seeing the Ethiopian wolf and Walia ibex, two of Ethiopia’s most endangered endemics
  • Danakil Depression for a desert adventure in the hottest place on Earth, and for climbing the active volcano Erta Ale

Southern Ethiopia (1.5 to 2.5 weeks)

This is Ethiopia's second most popular route, which is mostly done as a road trip from the capital.

Destinations:

  • Lake Ziway (0.5 to 1 day) is a great stopover spot to see lots of waterbirds
  • Abijatta-Shalla (1 to 2 days) is a scenic park in the Rift Valley, home to big flocks of flamingos
  • Bale Mountains National Park (3 to 4 days) is Ethiopia’s most varied park and the place to see Ethiopian wolves
  • Omo Valley (4 to 6 days) is perhaps one of the last places to see some of Africa’s vanishing cultures
  • Nechisar National Park (1 to 2 days) is located in the Rift Valley and is known for its big crocodiles


Popular add-ons:

  • Lalibela for visiting ancient rock-hewn churches
  • Danakil Depression for a desert visit in the hottest place on Earth, and for climbing an active volcano
  • Simien Mountains National Park for trekking in spectacular mountains and seeing gelada monkeys and Walia ibex

Ethiopian Mountains & Endemics (1 to 2 weeks)

This tour focuses on seeing wildlife unique to the country, found in Ethiopia’s most popular parks:

  • Bale Mountains National Park (4 to 6 days) is the main stronghold of the Ethiopian wolf and mountain nyala
  • Simien Mountains National Park (3 to 4 days) offers spectacular mountain scenery and opportunities to see the Walia ibex and gelada monkey
  • Gondar (1 to 2 days) is a historical town known for its medieval castles and decorated churches


Popular add-ons:

  • Lalibela for its historical churches carved into the rock
  • Omo Valley for visiting vanishing cultures
  • Danakil Depression for climbing an active volcano, and for visiting the hottest desert on Earth

Want to Visit Ethiopia?