HOME





TRAVEL BLOG
ABOUT US
ENQUIRE
BROCHURE
CONTACT US
PRIVACY & COOKIES
Although we are now working from home, if you are due to travel shortly we will be in touch to support and guide you in either postponing or cancelling your trip, based on Foreign Office advice and your insurance arrangements.
 
When you feel ready to do so, we are here to help you plan your next holiday, knowing availability in many key destinations is already tight for next year. To help you move forward with confidence, our booking conditions have been relaxed in case you are unable to travel due to COVID-19 issues beyond your control (eg a new wave of infections; visa restrictions; mandatory quarantine; or cancellation of your international flight).
 
Thank you for your ongoing kindness & support in these difficult times. And remember that all our holidays are fully financially protected, wherever in the world you live.

Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director
Big Five Safari in Kenya Holidays Tours Masai Mara Amboseli Zanzibar 5

Historic Ethiopia + Kenya Safari


YPK11A
11 NIGHTS
FROM £3,995
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Holiday Ethiopia Tour Blue Nile Gondar Lalibela Safari Masai Mara Kenya

This holiday to Ethiopia combines a private tour of its key sights with a thrilling Big Five safari in the famous Masai Mara in Kenya. Take a boat ride to see the ancient monasteries on Lake Tana, view the Blue Nile Falls, vsit the Simien Mountains, castles & palaces of Gondar & rock-hewn churches of sacred Lalibela. English speaking guides, all transfers, game drives & park fees included.

Holiday Ethiopia Tour Blue Nile Gondar Lalibela Safari Masai Mara Kenya
• 
Holiday to Ethiopia: Private Tour
• 
Bahir Dar
• 
Lake Tana Monasteries
• 
Blue Nile Falls
• 
Simien Mountains
• 
Gondar
• 
Lalibela
• 
Rock Hewn Churches
• 
Safari Masai Mara, Kenya
• 
Big Five Game Drives
• 
Holiday to Ethiopia: Private Tour
• 
Bahir Dar
• 
Lake Tana Monasteries
• 
Blue Nile Falls
• 
Simien Mountains
• 
Gondar
• 
Lalibela
• 
Rock Hewn Churches
• 
Safari Masai Mara, Kenya
• 
Big Five Game Drives
Day 1
You will be met at Bahir Dar Airport and transferred to your hotel in this palm-tree lined resort town, decorated with colourful flowers, situated on the shores of Lake Tana - the largest lake in Ethiopia.
 
In the afternoon we visit the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie at Bizeit, with great views of the town and the point at which the Blue Nile flows out of the Lake Tana.
Day 2
Today we drive to the small town of Tiss Isat to visit the Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tiss Abay (meaning 'Smoky Waters').
 
Until the construction of a hydroelectric power plant upstream, these were the second largest falls in Africa. They vary from a single stream in the dry season to four streams of turbulent brown water that are more than 1,300 ft (400 m) wide during the August & September rainy season, dropping down over 150 ft (45 m) into a sheer chasm below, giving rise to steam clouds and a spray of water that drenches onlookers. Walk 20-minutes to a great viewing point or, if you are more energetic, walk down to the base of the falls. At the local market you can buy hand-woven capes and scarves made of good local cotton and at Weyto village you can see the production of traditional Tankwa papyrus boats.
 
In the afternoon we return to Bahir Dar and take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the 14th century monasteries of Ura Kidane Mihret and Azwa Mariam, situated on a large peninsula. These monasteries are known for their colourful religious frescoes and an impressive display of illustrated bibles written in Ge’ez, Ethiopia’s oldest language.
Day 3
A full day on the road today as we leave Bahir Dar and travel 6-hours to Debark, continuing to our Simien Mountains National Park lodge in the northern Ethiopian Highlands - a dramatically beautiful World Heritage Site.
 
We drive through the spectacular landscapes of one of Africa's largest mountain ranges, with many deep valleys and jagged peaks. Here you will find Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in the country and the fourth highest in Africa soaring over 15,000 ft (4,630 m).
 
Simien Mountains National Park covers an area of over 70 square miles (190 km²). This high altitude park is situated between 4,500 and 6,200 ft (1,900 to 4,430 m) and has a variety of Afro-alpine flora, including 57 different tree species and many herbaceous plants, spread across three distinct botanical zones. Over 180 bird species have been recorded here and this park is home to 35 different mammals.
 
Note: Be aware that your lodge in the Simien Mountains is at high altitude at 10,500 ft (3,200 m).
Day 4
This morning enjoy walking in Simien Mountains National Park. The alpine meadows in the highest reaches of this park have very little vegetation and snow falls regularly, but they provide essential sanctuary to the animals that live here.
 
Simien Mountains National Park was created primarily to protect the critically endangered Walia Ibex, which you can see clinging to the sheer rock faces. It is also home to other endemic species such as the colourful Gelada ('bleeding heart') baboon; the Ethiopian wolf (also known as the Simien fox); Menelik's bushbuck; caracal and the rare Lamergeyer (a huge vulture).
 
Enjoy outstanding views of the gorge and mountain range, whose striking formations have been described as ‘the chess pieces of the Gods’.  We also drive to Chenek which at 11, 877 ft (3,620 m) has an impressive escarpment with scenic views of Mount Buhit. Here you will have the best opportunity of observing the endemic Walia ibex, as well as many different bird species and the varied alpine flora.
Day 5
This morning we leave Simien Mountains National Park and drive 3-hours to Gondar.
 
This historic city was the 17th century capital of the Ethiopian Empire under king Fasilidas and also of the ancient Abyssinian Empire. Its emperors built many castles here, giving the region a very European feel - hence the name 'African Camelot'. The whole city is today a World Heritage Site.
 
We visit the Imperial Castle Compound with its six castles, including including the oldest and most magnificent Fasiledes Castle, with its Royal Enclosure and Emperor Fasilidas’ Pool. This is where the colorful Timket festival (Epiphany) is celebrated every January, when pilrims still take a plunge.
 
We also visit the church of Quskuam Mariam, the residence of the Empress Mintewab and the church of Debre Berhan Selassie (meaning 'Light of the Trinity'), located on the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. This church was not destroyed, even during the dervishes, and on its painted 18th century ceiling over 100 winged cherubs look down on you, with slightly different but equally quizzical expressions. Full of all the colour, life, wit and humanity of Ethiopian art at its best, the walls provide a compendium of the country's saints, martyrs and folklore.
Day 6
Transfer to Gondar Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Lalibela Airport and transferred into this spiritual town - the 'African Jerusalem'.
 
Perched high on an isolated mountain over 8,500 ft (2,600 m) above sea level, Lalibela is home to 11 spectacular rock-hewn churches built by King Lalibela (1181 - 1221) after whom the town is named. Each church is carved entirely out of a single block of granite, with its roof at ground level, and each is built in a different architectural style. The entire town seems frozen in biblical times and is today a pilgrimage site for Christians.
 
After lunch we visit the First Group of extraordinary rock-hewn churches and their subterranean complex of passages, found by a stream called the River Jordan. Bete Medhanialem (Saviour Church), Bete Miriam, Bete Denagel, Bete Meskal, Debra Sina and Bete Golgotha are all part of the amazing UNESCO World Heritage site found at Lalibela.
 
Note: When entering churches, men should wear long trousers. Women should wear jeans or long skirts (avoid short skirts and shorts) & must wear a head scarf. Please be aware there is a lot of walking and climbing up and down rough steps when visiting these churches.
Day 7
This morning we take a mule ride to the top of a hill to view the semi-monolithic church of Asheton Mariam (13th century AD). Here you will be rewarded with unforgettable views of the surrounding area.
 
In the afternoon we visit the Second and Third Group of Lalibela's famous churches. These include Bete Gabriel & Raphael, Bete Merquorios, Bete Emmanuel and Bete Abba Libanos.
 
Finally we visit the famous Bete Giorgis - Church of St George - carved in the shape of a cross from solid red volcanic rock. It is the most beautiful rock-hewn church in the world and symbolises Noah's Ark.
Day 8
Transfer to Lalibela Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Nairobi Airport and transferred to your hotel in this bustling city.
 
Check in and relax in your warm and friendly African surroundings.
Day 9
Transfer to Wilson Airport in Nairobi for your light aircraft flight to the Masai Mara, named after the Maasai people and the Mara River that divides the park.
 
Masai Mara National Park is famous for its exceptional population of game and the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest from the adjoining Serengeti National Park. This phenomenon occurs every year from July to October, when game migrates along a circular route from the plains of the Serengeti to the Masai Mara and back again in search of fresh pastures, followed by hungry predators - most notably lions and hyena. After checking in to your lodge, enjoy a late afternoon game drive.
 
Note: As you will be flying in a light aircraft you must pack soft sports bags only, as rigid suitcases will not fit into the luggage pods. A baggage allowance of 15 kg (which includes your hand luggage) is strictly enforced for safety reasons. Excess baggage can be stored with our representative in Nairobi.
Days 10 To 11
Today is dedicated to game viewing on the open plains of the world famous Masai Mara region.
 
We set off early each morning, when game viewing conditions are at their best, to view the abundant wildlife of this region. Return to the lodge to rest in the heat of the day, before setting off again in the late afternoon for another game drive.
 
Nestled within the enormous Great Rift Valley, the Masai Mara is famous for its many prides of lions, packs of hyena and other predators - as well as huge herds of wildebeest, which number over one million, zebra and giraffe. All the Big Five can be seen here, as well as numerous other species including the Thomson's gazelle, topi, kongoni, impala, roan antelope and hippo. The nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely found elsewhere in Kenya, also inhabits this park as well as the endangered cheetah and black rhino.
 
Bird watching is also excellent with over 450 different species. These include the Marabou stork, Secretary bird, Crowned crane, Ostrich, African pygmy falcon, Brown snake eagle, Black-chested snake eagle, Bateleur, Martial eagle, African paradise flycatcher, Red-fronted & White-headed barbet, Black-faced go-away bird, Woodland kingfisher, Violet-backed starling, Black cuckoo-shrike and various species of larks, cisticolas, vultures, hornbills and so much more.
 
Note: If your lodge is situated in a private conservancy, you will need to pay an extra $130 pp if you want a game drive that enters the Masai Mara National Reserve. As wildlife ranges freely between the surrounding conservancies & the national park, without any fences to restrict their movement, this is only necessary during the migration season and should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.
Day 12
Enjoy some final game viewing in the Masai Mara this morning, before your transfer to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Wilson Airport.
 
Here you will be met and transferred to a local restaurant for an included lunch - with your choice of:
(a) Carnivore - known for its barbeque and steaks;
(b) Haanda - which specialises in northern Indian cuisine; or
(c.) Nyama Mama - a modern fun African roadside dinner that creates Chapatti wraps, stews & other locally inspired food.
 
Afterwards you will be transferred to Nairobi Airport for your flight home.
Contact us
Order a brochure
Feedback