Southern Ethiopia: The Bale Mountains & the Omo Valley12 days & 11 nights, Private Journey
Handcrafted itineraries for one or more travelers with on-the-ground support, a private guide, and a private vehicle. Private Journeys represent the best of the custom programs we've designed over the years. Our insider knowledge and destination expertise make these innovative journeys truly unique experiences.Private Journey
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Day 1Arrive Addis Ababa
Upon arrival, you will be escorted to your hotel. This afternoon, embark on a tour of the city.Sheraton Addis - 1 Night
Day 2To Lake Langano
After breakfast, visit the Paleolithic open-air museum of Melka Kunture, the striking rock-hewn church of Adadi Mariam, unique stelaes from the 12th century and the traditional villages of the Gurage and Oromo people. Conclude your day at the rift valley lakes of Ziway and Langano.Sabana Beach Resort - 1 Night (B, L, D)
Day 3To Bale Mountains
Drive to Bale Mountains National Park. In Dinsho, search the trails for a variety of colorful birds, the mountain nyala, and Menelik's bushbuck.Bale Mountain Lodge - 3 Nights (B, L, D)
Day 4 - 5Bale Mountains
The Sanetti Plateau is between 12,400 and 14,300 feet above sea level, and is home to Africa's highest road, which passes close to the summit of Ethiopia's second-tallest mountain. Home to seven endangered species of birds and among the highest densities of rodents in the world, the plateau attracts an array of raptors, including eagles and buzzards. They share this abundant food source with the plateau's most celebrated resident, the Ethiopian wolf, the world's rarest canine.Bale Mountain Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 6To Lake Awassa
This morning, enjoy a trek through the forest near the lodge as you search for primates and other endemic wildlife. Then, drive to your resort on the shores of Lake Awassa.Haile Resort - 1 Night (B, L, D)
Day 7To Arba Minch
After breakfast, explore the local fish market. On your way to Arba Minch, visit the villages of Wolayta and Alaba, and stop at a wildlife sanctuary to see endemic Swayne's Hartebeest.Paradise Lodge - 2 Nights (B, L, D)
Day 8Arba Minch
Embark upon a morning cruise on the southernmost rift valley lake of Ethiopia: Lake Chamo. Keep your eyes open for resident hippo and the giant crocodile, as well as a profusion of birds like the African fish eagle and the great white pelican. After lunch, travel by road to Gamotti and visit the Gamo people, known for their traditional weaving culture, which is reflected in their clothing, fences and beehive-shaped bamboo huts.Paradise Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 9To Jinka
Head south across the lovely Weito Valley toward the village of Tsemay to visit the Woito people. In Key Afer, wander through the busy weekly market of the Tsemay, Ari and Benna tribes.Omo Eco Lodge - 1 Night (B, L, D)
Day 10To Turmi
After breakfast, drive to a Mursi village to meet with the people and learn about their culture. In Turmi, the women of the Hamer tribe are known for their fringe of ochre-colored hair and leather skirts.Buska Lodge - 2 Night (B, L, D)
Take an excursion to Murulle, a village of Karo people known for painting their bodies and faces in elaborate patterns before important ceremonies. Enjoy some leisure time this afternoon.Buska Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 12Depart Addis Ababa
Fly to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before connecting to your onward flight.(B, L, D)
Generally, road conditions in southern Africa are reasonably good; however, they vary greatly between the modern cities and the remote areas, where the dusty, gravel roads necessitate 4-wheel-drive travel. When traveling off the beaten track, roads are frequently narrow, bumpy and pot-holed, and have stretches which are not sealed, or which are under reconstruction. In Ethiopia, Madagascar, Namibia and Rwanda particularly, conditions are very dusty and the off-road journeys tend to be quite strenuous. Road conditions change throughout the year, and heavy tropical rains and extreme weather patterns can affect journey times enormously.
If we are custom designing an itinerary for you, it is always a good idea to discuss your particular requirements with your travel consultant, who will endeavor to include as much or as little road travel as you desire. The type of vehicle varies according to the country visited and the number of people within your group. In destinations where conditions require it, off-road driving will be in 4-wheel-drive Land Cruisers or Land Rovers.
Internal Flights: Scheduled flights within Sub-Saharan Africa are typically limited to 33-44 lbs. of luggage per person, depending on the airline or charter company operating the flight. Although you may have a luggage weight limit of 44-88 lbs. on your international flight as well as hand luggage, you will need to limit your baggage as required according to the country and airlines or store baggage at your arrival airport. Some flights also require that luggage be packed in soft-sided bags, which Cox & Kings will provide prior to your travel. Between the camps and lodges, we can book either shared air transfers or private charters. We will automatically book shared air transfers wherever available unless otherwise requested. Please note that shared air transfers may make stops to pick up and drop off passengers at other camps, lodges and airstrips en route. Private charter flights only stop for refueling or for customs and immigration formalities as needed. The flight times for air transfers between camps and lodges are arranged 24-48 hours prior to the flight. Departure times are therefore advised locally. Passengers weighing more than 220 lbs. should advise us in advance, as some air charter companies require that an extra seat be purchased at an additional cost for all shared air transfer flight segments. This is for safety and comfort of all guests on board.
Flight Delays & Insurance: Unfortunately, due to the increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more common. Apart from delaying your arrival at your destination, these delays can cause problems with onward connections and/or hotel and vacation arrangements, which may need to be rescheduled. Although the airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your next destination at no extra cost, additional costs may be involved after your arrival in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward tickets. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. Therefore, it is essential that you are insured against such eventualities.
Airport Departure Taxes: Many cities in Africa levy a tax for passengers departing on international flights, and where this is not included in the ticket price it will need to be paid in local currency or the equivalent in U.S. dollars. Other cities within a country may also levy a small charge for departures on domestic flights. Occasionally, taxes may be included in your ticket; we will advise you accordingly. Since there is no standard charge between countries, and taxes are subject to change, it is not possible to list the taxes in this brochure. We list applicable departure taxes in our pre-tour general information, which you should receive when you confirm your booking. We attempt to keep these as current as possible. Please ensure you keep enough local currency or U.S. dollars to cover these taxes.
Traveling by train in southern Africa can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. New luxury train routes are constantly being developed and there are now a variety of excellent routes available. Cox & Kings does not advise travelers to use the local trains, which cannot be confirmed as safe; however, the internationally acclaimed Rovos Rail and Blue Train offer a relaxed and luxurious alternative to road travel.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Africa; however, hotels used on Cox & Kings journeys can normally be expected to be very comfortable. In more remote destinations, such as parts of Ethiopia, Madagascar and Rwanda, accommodation will be more basic. Cox & Kings uses the best available properties in remote destinations and, although these will be clean and offer en suite rooms, in general they cannot be compared to modern, Western hotels. In some locations, many of the hotels we use are small, privately owned properties retaining much of their original ambience. In most destinations, service and food will be of a high quality, but in some less-developed regions hotel service can be slow and we ask you to show patience in this regard. Please note, typically all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room, please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Early Starts: When on safari, you will find it is necessary to leave your lodge very early in the morning (around dawn) in order to maximize the opportunities for game viewing, as the wildlife is more active during the cooler morning hours and in the evening.
Check-in & Check-out Times: In some situations, when a flight arrives very early in the morning, it may be that you will be taken for breakfast or sightseeing before being allocated your rooms since check-in time is normally between 12 noon and 2 p.m. and check-out time is normally 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Cox & Kings’ local representatives will ensure that you are able to access your room as early as possible, but early check-ins are not guaranteed.
Game Parks & Remote Areas: Within Africa, we generally use the best accommodation available. However, even luxurious properties are a long way from other civilization and can often only be reached down narrow and makeshift roads. Although accommodation will often be in tents, these can be more luxurious than some lodges and include private facilities. Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings, you can be sure that your accommodation in game lodges, smaller hotels and tented camps is on par with the best available in that category. Sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases we feel that such accommodation is outweighed by the experience of these more remote areas.
Location: East Africa, bordering Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan
Capital: Addis Ababa
Area: 426,372 sq. miles
Currency: Ethiopian Birr
Official Language(s): Amharic, Oromigna, Tigrigna, English, and Italian are most widely spoken
Visas: Visas may be obtained in advance, although visas are available upon arrival in Addis Ababa. Inoculations: Ethiopia requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to have proof of yellow fever vaccination.
What To See
Northern Ethiopia carries strong elements of history and religion, from the rock hewn churches of Lalibela to the home of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, Axum. Gondar’s 17th century castles give insight into the first Ethiopian empire, while wildlife can be spotted in the Simien Mountains, known for Gelada baboons and Walia ibex. The capital city of Addis Ababa is modern, with everything from great Italian food to jazz clubs and more traditional Ethiopian fare. The south of the country is a complete contrast, known for the tribes of the Omo Valley. Their stunning body paint, unique hair styles, weaving techniques and rituals take travelers to a different time and place.
Southern Ethiopia: The Bale Mountains & The Omo Valley
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