Horn of Africa

from US$3,275

Explore the wilder parts of Ethiopia plus Somaliland. You will visit the hottest inhabited place on earth, climb up to remote rock churches, and feed the wild hyenas of Harar.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Culture
  • Activity Level Challenging
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    8
All about the Horn of Africa.

We begin in Ethiopia on a road trip through the otherworldly Danakil Depression. You will pass through the hottest inhabited place on earth, visit Erta Ale’s lava lake, and witness salt mining Afar nomads. While in Tigray, in the north of Ethiopia, we’ll visit some of the most spectacularly located rock churches you’ll ever see.

Then we’ll fly to the east of Ethiopia to the ancient walled city of Harar, exploring the narrow alleyways where wild Hyenas still wander. Finally, we will cross into the de-facto independent state of Somaliland to see the stunning cave paintings at Las Geel and enjoy the atmosphere in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa.

Then, for the truly intrepid, add on an extra 48 hours in Mogadishu with our experienced guide and security team.

Highlights

  • Experience the Danakil Depression – the hottest inhabited place on earth
  • Feed wild Hyenas at dusk in ancient Harar
  • Explore one of the world’s least visited countries – Somaliland
The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Accommodation
  • Ground transport
  • Three internal flights (Addis Ababa to Mekele / Mekele to Addis Ababa / Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa)
  • International flight from Hargeisa to Addis Ababa (or Hargeisa to Mogadishu if the guest is joining the Mogadishu add-on)
  • Guiding
  • Breakfast
  • All meals and camping equipment when in the Danakil Depression
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Ethiopia visas ($50 each. You will need to get two if you return to Addis Ababa at the end of the trip)
  • Somaliland visa ($50 in Addis Ababa)
  • Hargeisa airport departure tax ($41)
  • Other meals
  • Insurance
  • Entrance fees
  • Flights
  • Drinks
  1. Day 1 Arrive in Addis Ababa

    You will have an optional tour of the city depending on arrival time. This could include a trip to the Archeological Museum (where you can meet 3.25 million year old Lucy), the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Ethnological Museum (the former residence of His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie) and Mercato – the largest open-air market in Africa.
    Overnight in Addis.

  2. Day 2 Addis – Mekele – Dallol

    A morning flight from Addis to Mekele. From here we will drive approximately 260km to Hamedella via Berhale (where a police escort joins us). We will then continue to Dallol. At 116m below sea level, it is the lowest place in the Danakil Depression and generally considered the hottest inhabited place on earth. The otherworldly landscape around Dallol hosts colourful sulphur and salt lakes as well as thermo-active springs. The route passes many salt-laden camel caravans crossing the bleak landscape. You’ll also get time to meet some of the Afar people that live near Lake Assal.
    Overnight in Dallol in very basic conditions.

  3. Day 3 Dallol – Erta Ale

    After spending the morning visiting further sites in Dallol, you will begin your journey by 4×4 to Khiwa where the Danakil Depression begins. One of the lowest places in the world it is an inhospitable landscape of sulphur springs, acid pools, and colourful rock formations. We will collect our police escorts in Khiwa and then our Afar militia escort in Kesrawat. In the late afternoon, we will reach the base of the volcano. We will wait until nightfall before beginning the 3-hour trek to the volcano’s rim (for those that need them camels are available for hire). On the rim, you will be able to gaze into the boiling lava of one of the world’s only permanent lava lake. An experience you will never forget.
    Overnight camping or sleeping on a rope bed at Erta Ale.

  4. Day 4 Dallol – Mekele

    Rise with the sun and spend the early hours of the day walking around the pits and craters of Erta Ale. Then return by foot to the base of Erta Ale.
    Return and overnight in Mekele.

  5. Day 5 Mekele – Hawsein

    Drive to the Tigrayan mountains to visit the most remarkable rock churches cut into the mountains near Hawsein. These will include Mikael Imba (requires a 20-minute walk and a short ladder) and the easily-accessible churches of Wukro Chirkos and Abreha we Atsbeha.
    Overnight in a lodge at Hawsein.

  6. Day 6 Hawsein – Mekele – Dire Dawa – Harar

    In the morning, before the heat of the day rises, visit either Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor. Both churches require a challenging 1-2 hour hike to reach. The reward is commanding views of the surrounding areas and visiting some of the most remote churches in the world in the most unsuspecting of places. Return to Mekele to take a flight to Dire Dawa followed by a drive to Harar. Time permitting, we shall visit the lively market at Kefira and/or the chat market on the way.

  7. Day 7 Harar

    A full day to explore the walled city of Harar – considered by some to be the 4th holiest city in Islam. The old city is famed for its medieval townhouses and has 82 mosques, including three built in the 10th century. The walls surrounding the sacred city of Harar were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. African and Islamic traditions combine, creating a particularly unique character. One of Harar’s more unusual traditions is the nightly feeding of wild hyenas that wander the streets.
    Overnight in Harar.

  8. Day 8 Harar - Hargeisa

    A full day to drive from Harar to Hargeisa crossing the border between Ethiopia and Somaliland on the way. As you progress, you will pass out of the green Ethiopian lands into the brown scrub desert of Somalia, spotting camel trains as you drive.
    Overnight in Hargeisa.

  9. Day 9 Hargeisa - Las Geel - Hargeisa

    After a visit to the Hargeisa Camel Market, we will take you (with your security escort) to the beautiful cave paintings at Las Geel, one of the most intriguing sights in the Horn of Africa. On the overhangs of a rock in the desert are some of the world’s best-preserved ancient cave paintings. Dating from 5000-9000 years old they depict cows, people, dogs, and even giraffes. Return to Hargeisa.
    Overnight in Hargeisa.

  10. Day 10 Hargeisa - End

    Transfer to airport for morning flight to Addis.
    Connect with evening flights home.
    Those travelling to Mogadishu will depart on the same day from Hargeisa to Mogadishu.

Hotels, Lodges & Rope Beds

We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on you sharing a twin room.
There will be camping in the Danakil Depression.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
Included in the price:
  • Accommodation
  • Ground transport
  • Three internal flights (Addis Ababa to Mekele / Mekele to Addis Ababa / Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa)
  • International flight from Hargeisa to Addis Ababa (or Hargeisa to Mogadishu if the guest is joining the Mogadishu add-on)
  • Guiding
  • Breakfast
  • All meals and camping equipment when in the Danakil Depression
Not included in the price:
  • Ethiopia visas ($50 each. You will need to get two if you return to Addis Ababa at the end of the trip)
  • Somaliland Visa ($50 in Addis Ababa)
  • Hargeisa airport departure tax ($41)
  • Other Meals
  • Insurance
  • Entrance fees
  • Flights
  • Drinks

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Duis sed odio sit amet nibh vulputate cursus a sit amet mauris. Morbi accumsan ipsum velit. Nam nec tellus a odio tincidunt auctor a ornare odio.

Sed non mauris vitae erat consequat auctor eu in elit. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Mauris in erat justo.

Nullam ac urna eu felis dapibus condimentum sit amet a augue. Sed non neque elit. Sed ut imperdiet nisi.

Proin condimentum fermentum nunc. Etiam pharetra, erat sed fermentum feugiat, velit mauris egestas quam.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
April 2, 2020 - April 11, 2020
Confirmed
US$3,275
N/A
November 12, 2020 - November 21, 2020
Available to book
US$3,275
N/A