Ethiopia Photography Tour
14 Day Tour / Price from £3390 - £5095 per person
September 2019 - Places available
Experience the beauty and intrigue of Myanmar
Explore Ethiopia, the ‘cradle of humanity’.
Travel to Ethiopia and discover a beautiful country, barely touched by modern society offering fantastic and unique photography opportunities. It’s an incredible combination of history, tradition, culture and nature.
From 3 million-year-old fossilised hominid remains in Addis Ababa to the amazing rock-hewn churches, hidden crypts and grottoes in Lalibela, this trip take you deep into human history. The 500-year-old monastery islands of Bahir Dar, the elegant castles of Gondar, the majestic geological formations of the Simien mountains, the giant obelisks that rise out of Axum, and even the rumoured home of the Ark of the Covenant. There will be the opportunity to trek to the rim of the Volcano,Ertt-Ale
This 14 day trip travels through the north of the country, taking in views of the Blue Nile and trekking to the peaks of the Simien Mountains (meeting red-chested Gelada baboons). This tour will involve some camping, giving a true connection to the nature and landscape. You’ll be sure to taste the country’s famous coffee and delectable cuisine, and meet the genuine and friendly people along the way.
With such a unique mix of attractions and uncommon photographic opportunities, travelling to Ethiopia is like visiting several countries in one trip.
This is an adventure like no other.
Search for the source of the Blue Nile on a boat cruise at Lake Tana
Discover the churches and unique castles of the regal city of Gondar.
Visiting the majestic Simien Mountains which offers stunning landscapes.
Drive to Axum (270Kms) on one of the most scenic routes in the country.
Trek to the crater rim of Mt Ert-Ale for an overnight stay
Visit the Pagan Temple of Yeha
Explore Lalibela's unique churches - astonishing constructions sculpted from huge slabs of stone
Hands on learning by a professional photographer
Insights into travel, landscape, documentary, portraiture photography
DAY 1: ADDIS ABABA/JUPITER HOTEL
On arrival in Addis Ababa you'll be met and transferred to Jupiter Hotel.
In the afternoon you will have a city tour of Addis Ababa including a visit to the National Museum, Holy Trinity Cathedral and drive around the main public squares of the capital.
The National museum includes many archeological and historical collections from the country. The Paleontological section contains many fossilized hominids including "Lucy", a female hominoid that lived some 3.2 million years ago, and many more hominids have been discovered in the country since then and Ethiopia claims now to have possessed twelve of the fourteen discoveries on the origin of early mankind.
The Holy Trinity cathedral is the most important worshipping place in the country, second only to the old church of St Mary of Zion in Axum. There are some very good stained- glass windows and beautifully carved imperial thrones inside this Cathedral. This is also the final resting place for Emperor Haile Selassie and his family.
Arrival Transfer – Included on a group basis
JUPITER HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 2: ADDIS ABABA / Bahirdar
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bahirdar. On arrival you'll be met and transferred to your hotel.
The flights to Bahirdar is spectacular. From the air we can see the extraordinary nature of the Ethiopian plateau, cut again and again by immensely deep gorges
Today we will visit the Blue Nile falls in the morning and boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the Lake Tana Monasteries in the afternoon.
Located 32kms south of Bahir Dar, the Blue Nile Falls measure over 400 metres wide and descends 48 metres. These falls are known locally as Tis Isat (Smoking Water) and are a spectacular sight when in full flood.
However, the new hydro-electrical plants and dams have somewhat impacted on their magnificence, so depending on when travelling the falls can sometimes be no more than a Trickle. It's possible, take a longer scenic walk past the main viewpoint (1.5kms) or a shorter walk to reach the foot of the falls. You will then cross the Nile River by boat to reach your vehicle and you drive back to Bahirdar for lunch.
Covering over 3500 square kilometres, Lake Tana is Ethiopia's largest lake and is home to 37 islands, of which 20 contain monasteries. Many of these monasteries are believed to date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Legend has it that the Ark of Covenant was hidden here for protection during the times when Muslim forces invaded from the east.
Today after lunch (own expense), you will board to take a boat cruise on Lake Tana. Your boat trip takes you to two monasteries of Ura Kidane- Mehret, which dates from the 16th to 18th centuries and is renowned for its collection of crosses and crowns and its incredible painted walls that portray a virtual 'who's who' of Ethiopian saints.
O/N HOMLAND HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 3: BAHIRDAR/GONDAR
Drive to Gondar (180Kms) and tour of Gondar in the afternoon. The afternoon tour includes visit the medieval castles of Gondar and the famous church of Debre Berhan Selassie with its unique murals and the bath of Fasillades and the ploughshare project if time permits.
Gondar was the 17th and 18th century capital of Ethiopia and is notable for its Medieval Castles and churches. The city's unique Imperial compound contains a number of Castles built between 1632 and 1855 by various Emperors who reigned during this period. These dramatic Castles, unlike any other in Africa, display richness in architecture that reveals the Axumite traditions as well as outside influence, bath of Fasillades and the castles of Gondar provide insight in to the prosperity of Ethiopia in the 17th & 18th centuries.
O/N GOHA HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 4: GONDAR/SIMIEN MOUNTAINS
We travel by road the 105 kilometres to the small town of Debark, the nearest town to the Simien Mountains National Park and the HQ of the park is also situated here. On arrival you'll check you're your hotel before continuing our drive to the National park.
From Debark the landscape suddenly opens onto a picturesque valley dotted with mud huts, horses and livestock. We start our walk at Buyit Ras, entrance to the park, and start walking towards Sankaber.
A spectacular day- there are outstanding views of the gorge and mountain range and it is easy to understand why the striking formations have been described as 'the chess pieces of the Gods'. There is a good chance of seeing the indigenous Gelada, also known as the 'bleeding heart' baboon or Lion monkey. The Gelada is in fact neither baboon nor monkey but the last remaining species of a branch of high altitude, grass eating primates that have all but vanished.
O/N SONA HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 5: SIMIEN MOUNTAINS/AXUM
After breakfast, drive to Axum (approximately 7-8 hours) via the lowlands of the Simien Mountains and Tekeze river gorge which is one of the most scenic routes in Ethiopia.
The journey takes you north through spectacular pinnacles, valleys and a lot of ascents and descents along the hills of the mountains which takes most of our journey of the day.
Later in the day, we come to the home to the Tigrayan people (look out for the Shuruba hairstyle of the women) who have lived a way of life that has remained unchanged for centuries. This area played a significant role in Ethiopia's war with Italy in the 1930s and later on in Ethiopia's civil war.
O/N SABIAN HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 6: AXUM/ SABIAN HOTEL
Today you will visit the stelae fields, several tombs, the ruins of the Queen of Sheba's palace and an archaeological museum. The field is home to over 100 stelae - the largest one measuring 33 metres and weighing an incredible 517 tones. Stelae (or monoliths) are carved from a single piece of granite, often elaborately decorated to resemble a multi-story house complete with windows, doors, locks and structural beams!
The mausoleums in this area include the tomb of the false door and also the tombs of King Kaleb and Gebre Meskel. The archaeological museum gives you further insights into this incredible society! The St Mary of Zion Church was the first built in sub-Saharan Africa and is believed to have once housed the famous Ark of the Covenant. While you will not see ''The Ark' you can certainly view some of the incredible collections of crowns that belonged to former Ethiopian rulers. The original church no longer stands; instead there are two churches on the site - one dating from the early 17th century and another built in the 1960s.
The Kingdom of Axum lasted from 1 AD to 700 AD and grew to rank among the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world. It was positioned at the centre of an important trading route that stretched from Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea and all the way to India and Sri Lanka. Axumite society was rich, well organized and technically advanced. In this period, bronze, silver and gold coins were produced in vast numbers, amazing tombs and monoliths constructed and Christianity was introduced to Ethiopia.
O/n Sabian hotel or Similar (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 7: AXUM/WUKRO
We leave Axum for Gherealta and visit the 600 B.C. Pagan Temple of Yeha en-route.
Yeha is an hour -and-half drive from Axum and it is situated in the middle of the most scenic Adwa mountains where the Ethiopians and Italians fought a major battle in 1896.The Temple, which could be reminiscent of those in Yemen and other parts of South Arabia consists of large smoothly polished stone blocks, some as much as three hundred centimetres long, neatly placed one above the other, without using any mortar. The roof and one side of the wall are missing but several square holes in the remaining walls indicate where partition, probably of wood, once stood.
The famous battle field of Adwa, where the Ethiopians & Italians fought in 1896 also lies on this route and we will stop here briefly to enjoy the mountains scenery of the region.
There will be a lot of photo stop opportunities on this journey and we will stop at Adigrat for lunch and proceed on to Gherealta in the late afternoon.
The unique chain of mountains of Gherealta, is the home of the rock churches, some famous for their architecture, ancient paintings and relics.
O/N FISEHA HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 8: WUKRO/HAMED-ELA/CAMPING
We set off south of Wukro and turn east at Agulai towards Berhale and soon began descending in to the Danakil depression and the landscape starts to become more and more dry and less and less inhabited and, of course, hotter and hotter. But, driving through mountain sides, edges of the rift and viewing of layers of rock formation from Millions of years takes you back to the early period of geological formation of the earth. After two and half hours' drive and, of course, with one or two photo stops en-route, we arrive at Berhale for our packed lunch and with a treat of cold drinks in one of the local restaurants.
Berhale is one of the major Afar towns and here you are expected to collect your local Afar contingent (guide and policemen) to travel with you in the region. This is mandatory for all travellers in the Danakil depression
After spending a couple of hours at Berhale for lunch and collecting our local guide and policemen, we proceed on to Hamed ILA and the drive contours around dry river beds and flat plains which is really very scenic landscape.
After unloading our camping equipment at Ahmed ILA, we proceed on to Lake Asale for Salt Caravan and beautiful sun set in the late afternoon. The sun set from the shore of Lake Asale in the late afternoon and chains of camel Caravans passing by in the background is quite scenic in the Danakil depression.
Hamed Ela is the gate way to Dallol and Asale and this is the place where most of the travelers spend the night before visiting Dallol and Asebo.
The accommodation is camping in the tents or sleeping in the open air on wooden and woven rope beds. The option to stay in the tents can be too hot and sleeping in the open air can also at times be too windy.
O/n camping at Hamed -Ela (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER)
Day 9: HAMED-ELA/AB-ALA/CAMPING
In the morning, after having breakfast, we drive to Dallol (25Kms) and visit the colourful landscape formed by volcanic activities. Dallol is 116 meters below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world, has colorful sulfur springs. Amazing moon like colourful creations of the Sulfur and huge rock salt mountains are to be found here.
After Dallol, we proceed on Asebo, the place where the salts are mined and observe the breaking of the salt from the ground, cutting the rock salt in to rectangular pieces and loading on camels for transportation and this is the place where the salt caravan starts from.
We drive back to our camp site at Hamed Ela for some time to relax and have lunch and continue driving via Berhale to Ab-Ala.This is a pleasant place after experiencing such a hostile climatic condition at Dallol and Hamed-Ela.
O/N CAMPING AT AB-ALA (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER)
DAY 10: AB-ALA-ERTA-ALE/CAMPING
We drive to Erta-Ale, the highlight of the trip, and the drive takes take about 6 -7 hrs to Askoma, the base camp. As we drive, we pass through changing landscape of solidified lava rock, sand and the occasional palm lined oasis.
We pass several small hamlets scattered here and there in this desert land, before reaching Askoma base camp or parking area. We have an early dinner from around 17:00 (depends up on our arrival) and we start trekking up to Erta Ale and reach the summit around 21:00. Camel/s will be arranged to transport our sleeping bags, some foods, mattresses and water, to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava. Erta -Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia.
It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. New Erta Ale is part of the world's only permanent lava lake and we will spend an unforgettable night on the top of the mountain. The magma flow moved 3.5 Kms south from old Erta Ale to the new eruption point.
O/N CAMPING AT ERTA-ALE (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER)
DAY 11: ERTA-ALE /MEKELE
Early morning rise with the sun and time to walk around pits and craters. The main pit-crater, 200 m deep and 350 m across, is sub-circular and three storied. The smaller southern pit is 65 m wide and about 100 m deep. Once you have an early morning walk on the summit, you head back to Askoma around 7:00am and you will reach the camp site the latest at 10:30am.
After some time to relax and have breakfast. At the camp, we drive to Afdera. After driving for 30kms on solidified lave rock and sandy group, we join the main road which is asphalt road all the way to Mekele.
O/N ZEMARIAS HOTEL or SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY
DAY 12: MEKELE/LALIBELA
Start the long journey to Lalibela (400Kms) early in the morning on a smooth paved road and, after a couple of hours, we reach the spectacular mountain range of Amba Alaje and followed by green valleys and flat plains before turning west towards Lalibela at Woldia.
The road after Woldia offers one of the most scenic routes in the country which involves climbing on winding road along steep hills and ever green lush valleys up to the Delanta Plateau (3500Meters) which is the most beautiful Ethiopian highland scenery and arrive at Lalibela in the late afternoon.
O/N ROHA HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 13: LALIBELA/TOUR OF ROCK HEWN CHURCHES OF LALIBELA.
Lalibela is one of the world's greatest historical and religious sites in the Christian world. Between 1137 and 1270, several astounding rock-hewn churches were constructed in Lalibela. Whilst these churches are Ethiopia's top attraction the town of Lalibela, which lies in the Lasta Mountains at a height of 2630 metres above sea level, is a very isolated place.
Lalibela churches are astounding because most are not carved into the rocks, but actually freed entirely from them. Today (Full day) is spent exploring the town churches. The Northern Group contains seven churches, a tomb, a chapel and a sunken chapel. At the centre of the group is Bet Medhane Alem, measuring 33.5 metres by 23.5 metres and said to be the largest rock-hewn church in the world. A tunnel connects three of the churches in a courtyard to the east, whilst another tunnel connects two other churches to the west of Bet Medhane Alem. However, it is Bet Georges, carved in the form of a Greek cross and lying slightly apart from the main northern cluster that is the most famous and frequently photographed. This church is exceptionally well-preserved and is probably the most visually perfect. The Eastern group of five churches includes the only hypogenous church, where only the roof remains attached to the overhead rock.
O/N ROHA HOTEL OR SIMILAR (BREAKFAST ONLY)
DAY 14: LALIBELA/ADDIS ABABA
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Addis Ababa and the tour ends up on your arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa.
END OF Tour
What you will gain from this tour
The tour is designed for a beginner in photography and those with experience. We will begin at the basics of photography enabling you to develop a strong foundation in photographic technique, creativity and composition.
Our aim is to help you grow as a photographer by working with you as part of a group and individually with hands on support, and reviews of your work. Learning within a group will give you the opportunity to share ideas, knowledge and your passion, which will expand your photographic perspective.
With our guidance we encourage you to discover you own visual voice and focus on what appeals to you photographically whether be landscapes, portraiture, travel or documentary style. We give plenty of demonstrations and photo shoots set, which will be exciting and give you the chance to capture some stunning, images.
Our approach is to keep the itinerary interesting and varied but at the same time not having a huge list of places to visit. Therefore having quality time at locations so as to get the most out of it both photographically and on a personal level. Immersing your self both visually and sensually. The approach is holistic and aims at giving you a real feeling for the pulse of place and the people of Ladakh and share cultural experiences and seeing breath taking natural landscapes.
Required photography experience
This tour is for beginners in photography and those with photographic experience. If you need to chat about this or anything else please feel free to get in touch with Neil anytime.
Photography guidance by a professional photographer
Cover of the essential photography techniques
Lots of practice and hands on experience with demonstrations
Feedback given along with review sessions
Photographic styles explored
Shooting towns and buildings
Photographing food and markets
Price and Booking of the Photography Tour
The price range is from £3390 - £5095 per person
(The difference in price is dependant on the number of participants)
When booking a deposit of £200 is required.
Group size - Maximum 12
Bookings are handled by the Intrepid Travel Private Groups department in the United Kingdom. Your contract is with them, and they will handle all payments. This means that you are protected by their industry bonding. If you purchase a flight for you through them you can be issued with an ATOL certificate.
To make a booking please fill out the booking form on the link below. This will be forwarded to Intrepid Travel who will contact you directly to take the deposit payment.
What is included
English speaking photography tour leader throughout
Half a day boat trip on Lake Tana
Accommodation on bed & breakfast basis at hotel & full board at camp
Entrance fees as per the itinerary
Payment for the guide, scout at park, local leader, policemen, & local militia,
Paymentfor local chief, camel fee, site cleaning fees
Payment for cook, & assistance cooks, camping & cooking equipment
Group arrival & departure transfers
2 internal flight (ADD-BJR & MQS-ADD)
Ground transportation using coaster bus except the 4 days in Danakil depression where we use 4WD landcruisers
Assistance - 24-hour support from our local office
What is not included
International arrival/departures flights
International airport departure tax
Travel and personal insurance
Tour guide for free time or days
Any visas required
Services not mentioned in the itinerary
Early check in or late check out at hotels
Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
Tips for leaders, guide and driver
Expenditure of personal nature
Personal medical supplies and vaccinations
Any medical expenses
Please do contact us with any questions you may have.