Harar & the Bale Mountains
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The Rift Valley and its tribes are at the heart of this journey, and we have plenty of time to explore the lakes and towns. We spend time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Harar where we go on a guided tour. This historic gem is also infamous for the butchers who feed the wild hyenas at night at the edge of the town. The Bale Mountains are one of Ethiopia’s best trekking areas and home to many endemic species of plants and animals; we spend three nights here to really get under the skin of the place and go in search of the elusive Ethiopian Wolf on the Sanetti Plateau.

  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline, Trekking, Hiking, Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites, Parks & Nature Reserves
  • Physical rating: Moderately Active
  • Supplier Tour ID: ZAO2/162962
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Arba Minch, Ethiopia
  • Finishes: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Arba Minch
  • Awassa
  • Wendo Genet
  • Bale Mountains National Park
  • Lake Ziway
  • Awash National Park
  • Harar
  • Addis Ababa



Day 1: Arba Minch

Border Information: If you are joining in Arba Minch, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

Welcome to Ethiopia! Today is the arrival day for those joining in Arba Minch, and will be a free day to explore the town.

There will be an important meeting with your crew at 6:00pm today. Look out for a note from them at the hotel reception letting you know where to meet.

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.


Day 2: Arba Minch

Today we have time for optional activities such as taking an optional boat trip on Lake Chamo to the view the crocodiles that reside there (known locally as the crocodile market) or to take bike rides around the city.


Day 3: Awassa

Today we will head north to the small town of Awassa, where we can visit the local fish market.

After our visit we will head to Wendo Genet, a small town in the hills above Awassa, where we will stay for the night.

During our stay here we may have time to explore the region, go on an optional walk to some nearby waterfalls, or take a dip in the nearby hot springs.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.


Day 4-6: Bale Mountains National Park

Today we will leave Wendo Genet and drive to the stunning Bale Mountains National Park.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

We will enjoy 2 full days to explore the National Park. We will keep one day completely free to head out for optional guided walks - there are several possibilities for routes, including highland routes up the hills and moorlands searching for mountain nyalas, or lowland walks through the forest areas to look for Bale monkeys! On the other day we will drive in the truck up to the Sanetti Plateau, all the way to the second-highest point in Ethiopia (the 4359m summit of Tulu Dimtu) to explore the primeval landscape and search for Ethiopian wolves.

In the Bale Mountains we will stay in dorms in a basic lodge near the entrance to the National Park.


Day 7-8: Lake Ziway

Today we will leave the Bale Mountains and head to the small town of Ziway.

The following day we will take an optional boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, where we will have a short guided tour of the ancient monastery there and view some of the old religious manuscripts.

In Ziway we will stay in a small local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.


Day 9: Awash National Park

In the morning we will leave early and head for Awash National Park.

In the afternoon we will take a park scout out with us to explore the surrounding area and to try to find game or just to enjoy the stunning scenery of this lovely national park. We overnight in the lovely Awash Falls Lodge; who said Luxury was not part of overlanding! This is a stunning place to experience a great little national park .

Estimated drive time - 7 - 8 hours


Day 10-12: Harar

Today we will have a long drive east through the mountains to the ancient trading city of Harar. We will stay in a charming small hotel in the old city inself.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours

The following day we have a free day in ancient Harar and will have an included guided city tour of the walled city of Harar (Harar Jugol). Enjoy its colourful markets, mosques and shrines. In the evening you can visit the Hyena Men who feed the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city.

Our final day in this incredible city is a free day to explore this amazing city on your own. It is one of the most important historic sites on this trip and one not to be missed.


Day 13: Addis Ababa

Today we will have a long drive West through the mountains to the capital city, Addis Ababa

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.


Day 14: Addis Ababa

Today we have a free day in Addis Ababa and will organise an included guided tour of the city including visiting St. George's Cathrdral, The Menelik mausoleum, The national Museum and the colourful city market.

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.


Day 15: Addis Ababa

Today the trip ends and so there is no accommodation booked if you are leaving from Addis - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Border Information: if you are leaving in Addis Ababa, you will most likely exit Ethiopia from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).

    • Experience the true local culture at this fish market. If you would like to try the soup make sure you bring your own bowl!  
    • Guided hikes through Bale Mountain National Park
    • Head up to the incredible Sanetti Plateau on a day trip with our overland truck, stopping to explore the area on foot and search for Ethiopian Wolves
    • Head out with a scout to explore the trails of this National Park
    • Take a guided tour for half of the day through the winding streets of this ancient city
    • Visit "Lucy", one of the oldest complete hominid skeletons ever found, at the National Museum
    • Stroll through the Addis Ababa Mercato, one of the largest markets in Africa
    • Visit Africa Hall, a symbol of African independence and optimism
    • Visit the St. George's Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral), built to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians in 1896
    • Visit the Menelik Mausoleum, built to serve as the tombs of emperors and princes
    • Explore the fascinating Ethnological Museum, one of the best museums in Africa set in a former palace of Haile Selassie
    • Full day guided tour of the city taking in stops at many of the cities major highlights.
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
    • 5% Camping - 95% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
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  • Hiking & Trekking
  • History & Culture
  • Nature & Wildlife