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Things to do in Ethiopia

Our most recommended things to do in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa: Debre Libanos, Blue Nile Gorge & Cave Church

1. Addis Ababa: Debre Libanos, Blue Nile Gorge & Cave Church

Visit the impressive Debre Libanos Monastery, the famed Portuguese Bridge, the spectacular Blue Nile Gorge, and the haunting Saint Teklehaimanot Cave Church in just one day with an English-speaking guide. Marvel at breathtaking mountain landscapes and endemic wildlife, like bleeding-heart gelada baboons. After pickup at your hotel or at the airport in Addis Ababa, drive 100 kilometers (68 miles) to the north and pass over undulating mountain ranges that shelter the famous bleeding-heart baboons, as well as various endemic birds. Arrive at Debre Libanos, a monastery complex founded by Ethiopian Saint Abune Tekle Haymanot in 1284 that sits on a terrace between a cliff and the gorge of one of the tributaries to the Blue Nile River (Jamma River). Then, experience the breathtaking views of the Blue Nile Gorge, often compared with Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Admire the Portuguese Bridge, built by Ras Darge in the 1890s in a classic Portuguese style. Enjoy the scenic views, interact with the Oromo people, and trek to the Saint Teklehaimanot Cave Church where around 300 monks were slaughtered in 1936 by Italian invaders. On the way back to Addis Ababa, make a stop at the Entoto Mountain for panoramic views of Addis Ababa from 3,300 meters (10,827 feet) above sea level. The tour concludes with drop-off at the airport or your hotel

Addis Ababa: Guided City Tour

2. Addis Ababa: Guided City Tour

Get picked up from your hotel in Addis Ababa or at the Arrivals Hall of Bole International Airport where you will meet your English-speaking guide. After a quick refreshment, embark on your guided sightseeing city tour of Addis Ababa. First, drive up to Mount Entoto for spectacular panoramic views over the city. Descend by way of the National Museum where you will have the chance to observe the fossil of 'Lucy' - the oldest ancestor of humans.  Then, visit the remarkable Ethiopian Orthodox ancient churches of the Holy Trinity which were built during World War II. Proceed to Ethnographic Museum, which was the former palace of Emperor Hailie Selassie.  After lunch, see the tombs of Emperor Hailie Selassie and admire the amazing paintings and church frescoes. Finally, end the tour with a stroll through the spectacular open-air markets - the biggest in East Africa. In the evening, transfer back to your hotel or the airport in time for your departure.

From Bole: Tiya, Adadi Mariam, & Melka Kunture Private Trip

3. From Bole: Tiya, Adadi Mariam, & Melka Kunture Private Trip

This private day tour from Addis Ababa takes you through the scenic East African Rift Valley part of Ethiopia to the unique rock carved church of Adadi Mariam, ancient grave site of Tiya (UNESCO World Heritage), and experience the daily life of locals with family visit. Appreciate interesting places and activities such as the unique still operational church of Adadi Mariam which is cut out of a single piece of rock in the 13th Century AD, an ancient cemetery of Tiya, and a traditional village of the Oromo people. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley and learn also how to cook Enjera, an Ethiopian pancake. This is a Tour limited to a maximum of 6 people. This is 9-hour long tour with Later you will be transferred to the airport for your departure.

From Gondar: 2-Night 3-Day Simien National Park Trek

4. From Gondar: 2-Night 3-Day Simien National Park Trek

• Day one: Gondar - Debark - Sankaber  Your Ethiopian trekking adventure begins here with a two-hour drive to Debark, the entrance to Simien Mountains National Park. Get all the formalities and permits for visiting the famous Simien Mountains sorted before entering the park. Meet your personal cook and the scouts who will assist you throughout the tour, and collect your camping gear.  Continue on a one-hour drive on a rough road to Sankaber for your first hike of two to three hours to assist with acclimatization process. The first of many amazing views of the dramatic mountain range is sure to amaze you. Settle in for an overnight in the Sankaber camp.  • Day two: Sankaber - Geech Pack up your gear at Sankaber and meet your mule men before commencing the trek. Hike to Geech in five to six hours (11,800 feet, 8 miles), spotting many gelada baboons, klipspringer, and bush buck on the way. Walk along the escarpment before dropping down for impressive views. Eagles, vultures, and ravens are commonly seen here. On day two you'll also pass by Genbar Falls, an incredible 1,640-foot sheer drop of water. In the evening, climb Mount Kedadit (12,335 feet) for an unforgettable sunset. Overnight at the Geech campsite.  • Day three: Geech - Chenek - Gondar From the Geech campsite, trek back to Chenek. After lunch, drive back to Gondar to get dropped off at your hotel or any other address.

Lalibela: Churches Full-Day Private Tour w/Coffee Ceremony

5. Lalibela: Churches Full-Day Private Tour w/Coffee Ceremony

See the complex architecture and unusual features of Lalibela's incredible churches on a full-day guided tour. Marvel at important churches, including Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Giyorgis. Immerse yourself in local tradition with a coffee ceremony and an afternoon of live music. After pickup, begin your guided tour in the northwestern cluster of churches. Visit Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael, and Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). Admire the distinct architectural features and rock cuttings. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant at noon. After, continue to the south-eastern cluster of churches. See Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, arrive at the famous Bet Giyorgis, constructed in honor of the patron saint –Saint George. Finally, make your way to a family home for a traditional coffee ceremony and learn more about local life and culture. In the evening, watch traditional Amhara tribal music and dance. At the end of your trip, enjoy a return transfer to your chosen point in Lalibela.

Simien Mountains National Park: Full-Day Hiking Tour

6. Simien Mountains National Park: Full-Day Hiking Tour

Begin your full-day Ethiopian trekking adventure from the old, once-capital city of Gondar. Get picked up from your hotel and drive two hours to Debark, the entrance of Simien Mountains National Park. Upon arrival, get all the formalities and permits figured and meet your guide and the national park scouts who will assist you throughout the day. Then, drive 13 miles to the first area of the park and the starting point of your hike. Begin trekking on a three-hour trail all the way up to Michibi, where you will see the endemic gelada baboon and many varieties of plants and birds. Enjoy the spectacular view of the Simien Mountains from above. End the wonderful day with drop-off to your hotel in Gondar.

From Lalibela: 3-Day Trekking Tour & Village Homestay

7. From Lalibela: 3-Day Trekking Tour & Village Homestay

Journey through the Ethiopian Highlands on a guided, three-day trekking adventure from Lalibela. On your tour, immerse yourself in highlander culture amidst the stunning natural beauty of the Lasta Mountains. See the first big birds, experience a coffee ceremony, and visit a working monastery. To begin your tour, your guide will meet you at your hotel in Lalibela at approximately 7:30am. From there, trek in the direction of the scenic Lasta Mountains. After about three hours, you'll reach the Merebarbu Plateau. Pause for a snack of fruits and kollo, a typical Ethiopian roasted barley.  Continue your hike to the plateau of Ad Medhane Alem, or Atabkit, known as the "tight pass." Here, delight in the expansive views of the highlands stretching out before you. Birds of prey, such as the Lammergeier and the Augur buzzard, soar overhead as you tuck into lunch provided by the eco lodge. After lunch at Atabkit, trek to the Ad Medhane Alem Village and get acquainted with your host family for the evening. Explore the village with your family and partake in the honored custom of an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. In the evening, gather around the fireplace and relax as dinner is served. The next morning, following breakfast with your host family, set out on a shorter trek to Tigu Kebele, about three to four hours. Along the way, pass by highland farms, where you'll see families at work and children at play. Cows and sheep graze freely in the fields. Upon arrival in Tigu Kebele, stop by your accommodation for the evening, the Abune Yosef Eco Lodge. For lunch, you'll hike to a scenic spot 40 minutes away, situated at an altitude of 4,000m. Relax in the stunning surroundings of the Abune Yosef conservation area. Spend your afternoon in Tigu Kebele with two options. You can choose to hike further after lunch to the other side of the mountains for impressive views. Wander onwards to the twin Ziggit peaks, and even climb to the top of Rim Gedel, the highest summit in the Lasta Mountains at 4,284m altitude. Alternatively, you can choose to join in the daily rhythm of the village locals. Milk a cow, learn how to bake the famous Ethiopian Injera bread, harvest some crops with the farmers, or visit the local mountain school for a glimpse into Highlander culture. After your evening in Tigu Kebele, greet the next day with breakfast and a descending trek to the working monastery of Asheten Maryam. Carved into the mountainside, this remarkable structure is home to monks, nuns, and rare religious artifacts, including ancient crosses and a Bible. Finally, continue along your way back to Lalibela, where your tour of the Ethiopian Amhara Highlands concludes in the mid-afternoon.

Other Sightseeing Options in Ethiopia

Want to discover all there is to do in Ethiopia? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Ethiopia

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 16 reviews

I only had a 16 hour layover in Ethiopia and this was the best way to spend my day. My guide and driver were absolutely amazing, always trying to make sure that I was getting the most of the experience. They explained so much of Ethiopia's culture and history to me. It felt like I was there for more than just a day. They really helped me with not getting bad deals from locals who wanted to charge more to foreigners. I wish I would have called them as soon as I arrived from the airport instead just taking a taxi outside of the airport because they definitely charged me way too much. At the end of the day this tour helped me to just relish in the moment and enjoy some of the best parts of Addis Ababa!

I did my tour with Yihun and it was a really nice experience. I was on a private tour as it was booked quite late and i was alone there. I was taken from the airport and we drove through some iconic sights of Addis-Abeba. It was Epiphany holiday so there were a lot of people on the streets, marching and celebrating. A lot of roads were closed so we finished a bit late but a was safely brought back to the airport, there were no problems. If you are few hours in Addis-Abeba, on a layover with Ethiopian Airlines with a single entry visa - then this tour is highly recommended. I enjoyed a lot.

Excellent Team. Joseph, the guide with a big knowledge about the sightseeing and he spoke fluent English. Nico a safe, friendly and funny driver. Felt very comfortable with them. Thanks so much for this great time!

It was an amazing tour! Congratulations Yihun and Gemechu for building such a great experience for us. If you are traveling to Addis, please do not hesitate in going with them!! cheers

Excellent tour! Our guide was very knowledgeable, polite and professional. It was a very nice day. Hoping to get back to Ethiopia and travel around the country.