Covering all the major sites of northern Ethiopia, this scheduled departure small group tour makes the most of your time with flights for longer journeys and road transfers for the shorter ones. It also includes a visit to the Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site of stunning beauty.
Ethiopia’s northern historic route & Simien Mountains over 9 days
Archaeological, religious and Imperial heritage of Ethiopia
Lake Tana monastries
The ruined Palace of the Queen of Sheba, Dungur Palace and the Gudit Stelae at Axum
Ancient tombs, palaces and baths of the Emperors from 6th to 17th Century
The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
The tour at a glance
1 night Jupiter International Hotel, Addis Ababa, BB 1 night Avanti Resort, Bahir Dar, Full Board 1 night Goha Hotel, Gondar, Full Board 1 night Simien Lodge, Simien Mountains, Full Board 2 nights Sabean Hotel, Axum, Full Board 2 nights Maribela Hotel, Lalibela, Full Board
Ethiopia Tour Dates 2019
Nov 25 – Dec 03, 2019 (St Mary of Zion Festival in Axum) Dec 11 – Dec 19, 2019
Ethiopia Tour Dates 2020
Jan 19 – Jan 27, 2020 Feb 16 – Feb 24, 2020 Mar 14 – Mar 22, 2020 Apr 07 – Apr 15, 2020 May 16 – May 24, 2020 Jul 01 – Jul 09, 2020 Aug 16 – Aug 24, 2020 Sep 18 – Sep 26, 2020 Oct 24 – Nov 01, 2020 Nov 25 – Dec 03, 2020 Dec 09 – Dec 17, 2020
This tailormade Tanzania itinerary aims to show you not only some of the safari highlights of Tanzania. But it also of focuses on some of the scenic and cultural highlights which are often missed on those whistle-stop road safaris.
This is a fantastic and unusual drive-in, fly-out Tanzania safari. The drive in shows you the scenery of northern Tanzania and you get a real sense of the countryside. In a way that a fly-in safari can never do. But we fly out from the Serengeti which cuts down the driving dramatically at the end! So you get the best of both worlds.
In Hidden Tanzania, we take you via Lake Natron and the Rift Valley escarpment up to the northern reaches of the Serengeti. Not only is this a fascinating and very scenic alternative route to the north. But it also allows you to break your safari with some time of either adventure activities or relaxation at Lake Natron.
As this is a tailormade itinerary, we adapt which camps we recommend in the Serengeti by season. So below we give some suggestions of typical camps we may use. But the exact one in your quote will depend on the time of year and thus where the Great Migration is likely to be at that time.
Hidden Tanzania at a Glance
1 night Arusha, Onsea House, Dinner, B&B (or treat yourself to Arusha Coffee Lodge)
1 night Tarangire, Nimali Tarangire, Full Board & Activities
2 night Lake Natron, Lake Natron Camp, Full Board & Activities
3 nights Northern Serengeti, Nimai Mara or similar*, Full Board & Activities
Time of Year to visit
Given the routing, it is best undertaken when the migration is in the central to northern part of the Serengeti. That is also the nicest time to visit Lake Natron. I would say it is ideal from mid June to September and also good in May, June and October. Many people would find it too hot in Lake Natron in the summer months of November to April.
This can be adapted by adding or (to some degree) subtracting nights. So you can reduce the nights in Ngorongoro Crater down to two if needed. We also strongly recommend adding on a few nights on the beach at Zanzibar at the end. You can fly ”direct” from the Serengeti all the way to Zanzibar, just stopping briefly in Arusha on selected days.
For the perfect escape from the crowds, take a week to explore the wild, remote but rewarding Tanzanian National Parks of Katavi and Mahale in Western Tanzania. Both are gloriously scenic but utterly contrasting, linked by convenient safari flights and by the fact that they are both marvellously isolated and little visited. Where else but Katavi can one enjoy vast herds of buffalo, pools oozing with more hippo than mud and great river bridges of crocodile? And then secure such privileged, exclusive access to chimpanzees so close as in Mahale?
Western Tanzania Adventure
Wonderfully remote and un-touristy, Katavi offers a varied landscape of beautiful woodlands, floodplains and arid landscapes. In the dry season, there is nowhere to match Katavi National Park for huge herds of elephant. At any time of the year, the Hippo Pool puts all other hippo pools to shame; hundreds of closely-packed hippos grunting and snorting generally luxuriating in a great, black, sticky mud of hippo waste!
In a more fragrant setting lies the Mbali Mbali Katavi camp, with a superb view of the plains on which predators and elephant roam. One of the great joys of the Mbali Mbali Katavi camp is the way that elephant move so freely in front of the camp and between the tents!
The Mahale National Park is the most remote and one of the smallest of Tanzania’s National Parks, its forested mountain peaks hugging the shore of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania and providing a protected habitat for chimpanzees. Inaccessible by road, Mahale covers an area of approximately 1,600km2. Access is initially by light aircraft, and then by dhow.
Hilly and richly vegetated, Mahale is one of two chimpanzee protection zones in Tanzania; the other is the nearby Gombe Stream National Park. A Japanese research team has habituated one group of Mahale chimpanzees called the Mimikire Clan (out of a total population perhaps approaching a thousand), allowing some excellent sightings.
Don’t expect the reward of a great encounter without some hard walking and climbing! The best time to visit is generally accepted to be the dry season which runs roughly from July to October. It is possible to visit at all times of year, but away from the dry season you can expect the walking to be harder because of the slippery tracks and because the chimpanzees will tend to be further away from the lake shore. Your base here is the lovely Mbali Mbali Mahale.
Accommodation at a glance, Monday departures:
Mbali Mbali Katavi, (Full Board & Game Drives – 3 nights Mbali Mbali Mahale, (Full Board & Game Drives – 4 nights
Note: You can also depart on a Thursday (instead of Monday) in which case you would have 4 nights in Katavi and 3 nights in Mahale