In association with Jewish Heritage tours

21 Feb – 7 March 2019

Jewish Renaissance has run two tours to northern Ethiopia and a third is planned for November 2019.  So strongly did Rabbi Sybil Sheridan and exceptional guide Abye Tilahun Lakew inspire JR travellers with their deep knowledge and love of the whole country that we were begged to run another to the South of the country. This tour will again be led by Sybil and guided by Abye.

Lion of Judah, Addis Ababa

Lion of Judah, Addis Ababa


Thursday 21 February

Leave Heathrow on Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 701 at 8.15pm.

Friday 22 February

Arrive 6.30am at Bole International Airport where we are welcomed by our guide Abeye and check in at the Jupiter International hotel.

After a rest and lunch we assemble for a visit to Haile Selassie’s former palace which is now the home of the Ethnological Museum. An exhibit here represents the best of the arts and crafts of the country and gives an in-depth insight into the various peoples of Ethiopia. We visit the Beta Israel Synagogue for a brief talk about the Jews of Ethiopia and enjoy their Kabbalat Shabbat service. Dinner and overnight at the Jupiter International hotel.

Saturday 23 February

An optional return to the synagogue for Shacharit services followed by lunch and a tour of the city to see the National Museum, where cultural and archaeological exhibits include a plaster cast of ‘Lucy’, the 3.2 million-year-old human, followed by a trip up Entoto hill to enjoy the wonderful view. Dinner and overnight at the Jupiter International hotel

Sunday 24 February

After lunch we fly to Dire Dawa and then continue by coach to Harar. Dinner and overnight at Heritage hotel.

Monday 25 February

Harar is a unique combination of mosques and shrines, busy market places, coffee-scented streets, crumbling walls and charming people - probably the most colourful in Ethiopia.  The main attraction is the walled city of Jegol at the centre of the city. Our full day tour includes the home of the poet Rimbaud. In the evening, you will see the renowned ‘Hyena men’ and return to the Heritage hotel.

Tuesday 26 February

We have a 5-6 hour drive to the Awash National Park. The park, which is mainly acacia woodland and grassland, has tracks to spectacular scenic attractions including the Filwoha hot spring oasis in its groves of palm trees and the Awash River gorge as well as the handsome oryx.  Dinner and overnight at the Awash Falls lodge.

Bale Mountains National Park   ©ETO

Bale Mountains National Park ©ETO

Wednesday 27 February

In the morning we drive to the Bale Mountains National Park where fertile land is cultivated by the Oromo people. Lunch is at Dinsho (Park Head Quarters) followed by a drive to Goba which should include sightings of local bird life. Dinner and overnight at Wabi Shebelle.

Thursday 28 February

After an early breakfast we drive through Harena forest and past Mount Tullo Deemtu to the Sanetti Plateau.  Here you may spot several endemic flora and fauna species including the illusive Ethiopian wolf and indigenous plants like the giant lobelia and giant heath. Dinner and overnight at Wabi Shebelle.

Friday 1 March

After a relaxed morning we drive back to Addis Ababa, returning to the Jupiter hotel.

Saturday 2 March

We are lucky to be here for the annual national celebration of the victory of Adwa, where, in 1896, Emperor Menelik defeated the invading Italian forces, an Ethiopian version of David and Goliath. After lunch we take a flight to Arbaminch. We visit the village of the Dorze tribe, famed for their beehive shaped houses and their weaving skills. They are also farmers, who prevent soil erosion by ingenious terracing of the mountainside and plant their own small garden with vegetables, spices, tobacco and Enset (false-banana).  We dine and stay overnight at Paradise Lodge.

Sunday 3 March

After breakfast we take a boat trip on Lake Chamo where you might spot hippos and giant crocodile and also visit the National Park. Return to Paradise Lodge.

Monday 4 March

We have a 7-hour drive towards Jinka, through the lands of the Tsemay and Benna people. On the way, we visit Konso tribal village, which managed to develop a highly specialised agriculture economy and, in the process, one of Africa’s most fascinating cultures.  Dinner and overnight at Eco-Omo Lodge.

Tuesday 5 March

Mago National Park

Mago National Park

Jinka is the nearest town set in the hills above Mago National Park. We visit the Mursi tribe where the women insert wooden and terra-cotta discs into their ear lobes and lower lips. Though these 'lip plates' may appear bizarre to outsiders, the Mursi regard them as signs of beauty. After lunch we drive to Turmi via the Dimeka Market, one of the most colourful markets in the area visited by many tribes, including Hammer, Benna and Karo. Dinner and overnight at Buska Lodge.

Wednesday 6 March

We drive to Koricho, a settlement for the Karo ethnic groups, with beautiful views over the Omo River and traditional Karo dwellings. They are experts in body painting, using clay and vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each face, chest, arms and legs. Karo men also sculpt and shave their hair into extravagant shapes topped off with ostrich feathers. In the afternoon we visit one of the Hamer tribes in the Turmi vicinity.  Dinner and overnight at Buska Lodge.

Thursday 7 March

We have a 7-hour drive via Key Afer where it is market day for the Tsemai and Benna tribes. In the afternoon, we catch our flight from Arbaminch to Addis Ababa.

We are met at Addis Airport by members of our Ethiopia Agent Jacaranda and they take us to our final meal in a traditional restaurant with live cultural music and dance. We drive to Bole airport in time for the 1.15am flight home to London.


The cost will be £2,453 per person sharing a double/ twin room. It includes all costs in Ethiopia: transport, guides, hotels, meals with one bottle of water, village and museum fees. The cost excludes International flights, personal insurance and visa fees. Domestic flights are included in costing if you arrive in the country on Ethiopia Airlines. Otherwise there will be an additional $720 USD to pay.

NOTE: The Hilton Hotel in Addis is luxurious and highly recommended by those who went on our North Ethiopia 2017 tour. However please note that other hotels we shall be using – the best there are available – will not always come up to European standards. This is the price to be paid for an unforgettable adventure in a region where there are few tourists and ways of life that are unlikely to be sustained for much longer. Note also that while JR tours are normally designed to accommodate those who do not travel on Shabbat, this was not possible for this tour.

£300 pp deposit is required to reserve a place on the trip which will be confirmed once 10 bookings are received, when flights will be booked.

This tour is for Jewish Renaissance subscribers only, so if you are not already a subscriber you will need a subscription – click here to subscribe.

Please send expressions of interest to and you will be sent a form to reserve a place, on payment of a returnable deposit cheque for £300 per person, which will not be paid in until the tour is confirmed.