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Luxury Ethiopia Vacations, Gheralta Mountains

Experiences

The Tribes and National Parks of Ethiopia

Discover Ethiopia’s diverse and dramatic landscapes from coffee forests to sand flats. See this incredible region’s ancient cultural heritage and track its rare, endemic wildlife.

When to go
Nov-Mar, June-Sept
From price
$8,500 pp*
Ideal length
7 nights

ETHIOPIAN WOLF & HONEY HARVESTERS

Arrive in Ethiopia on a charter plane transfer to Bale Mountains National Park. This park is a patchwork of terrain, taking in the Sanetti plateau, Harenna forest, Gaysay grasslands, and its fragrant juniper woodlands.

Across the plateau, you’ll track Africa’s rarest canid—the beautiful Ethiopian wolf. After a day of discovery, return to your boutique lodge in the forest, watching the sunset color the mountains.

Discover more of the park the next day, selecting your own routes through gorges and forests. Fly fish for trout in the rivers that crisscross the parkland, and swim in secluded waterfalls. Keep an eye out for the endangered mountain nyala, Bale monkey, as well as the vast array of endemic bird life.

As dusk purples the sky, join the honey harvesters deep in the Harenna forest. This indigenous community has an incredible knowledge of the local fauna as well as a long tradition of beekeeping. The honey harvesting takes place at night and with no protective clothing (a few stings are part of the process). The trees are climbed with a rope shimmying up the trunks to reach the hives higher up. You can sample the honey gathered fresh from the hive on the harvester’s descent.

PICK YOUR COFFEE & SIMIEN LODGE

Your cup of coffee the next morning will eschew modern conveniences as you procure it from the source. With a local guide, you’ll make your way to a wild coffee forest where you’ll learn how to pick beans and make your own coffee. If that wasn’t enough of a pick-me-up, a unique coffee ceremony will follow.

A cultural immersion follows with the Oromo people—Africa’s largest, single ethnic group. You’ll learn about how their traditional process of transhumance—known as Godantu—has allowed them to thrive in this wild region. That evening, in a forest clearing lit by candles, enjoy an atmospheric dinner listening to the sounds of the animals and birds amid the gathering dusk.

Your next destination—Simien Lodge—is reached by charter plane to Condar. This lodge is the highest in Africa and, as you’d imagine, the views are incredible. From here, you’ll trek into the Simien Mountains, marveling at its dramatic pinnacles and gullies, to encounter the unique Gelada monkeys. Then you’re on the road to Tigray—a scenic drive through northern Ethiopia.

GHERALTA MOUNTAINS & DANAKIL DESERT

When you arrive in Tigray, your accommodation here is the stunning Korkor Lodge. Ringed by the beautiful Gheralta mountains, you’ll set out to discover the region’s rich history. Chiefly this takes the form of the incredible churches found here, built into pre-existing caves with facades carved from the rock. Take a helicopter up to see the site and the surrounding vistas from above.

Next, you’ll arrive in the Danakil Desert. Here, in one of the world’s most inhospitable corners, you’ll set up a camp on the shores of the Saba River before seeing the salt harvesters at work. Watch them loading salt onto camels for the journey from the flats to the highlands.

See the sulfur pools on the far side of this volcanic lake as well as the beautiful colors and sculptural salt pillars. You’ll meet the Afar people and, while exploring more of this hostile land, learn how they eke out an existence in this stark environment. Come the cool of the evening, retire to a fly-camp by a remote river with the desert sky dazzling overhead.  

* Prices depend on level of experiences and accommodation. This is based on 4 adults traveling for 7 nights excluding international flights.