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Addis Ababa was established in 1887 by Emperor Menelik II. Once the population had deforested the mountains surrounding the highland valley, it was the Eucalyptus tree that saved the local economy. Over a century later, the city of 5 million is thriving thanks in part to the Eucalyptus forests surrounding the valley, but also thanks to the city’s position as Africa’s diplomatic capital.
Option 1: Private Car Tour. Let Vast Ethiopia Tours guide you through the chaotic streets of Addis Ababa from the comfort of your own car and driver. On the way, we will stop at museums, Ethiopian Orthodox churches, Addis Ababa’s Merkato (one of Africa’s largest open-air markets). The full-day tour also includes lunch and juice at one of Addis Ababa’s famous juice stands.
Option 2: Local Bus Tour. Vast Ethiopia Tours knows that many travelers are curious to see how Ethiopians live. Taking local transportation is one of the best ways to tap into the local culture and daily life of the capital’s population. Let our guide take you across the city in a series of mini-bus taxis to visit the same museums, markets and parks. Enjoy lunch in a local dive, drink the stringent punch of tej (Ethiopian honey-wine) and enjoy life in the capital from a completely anonymous perspective.
Addis Ababa One-Day Excursions
This half-day excursion is Addis Ababa’s most interesting foray into the neighboring mountains, a visit to to Washa Mikael Church requires a 1.5 hour hike into the Yeka hills southeast of the city through the eucalyptus forests surrounding the capital. Washa Mikael is a rock-hewn church that local historians have dated to the 4th century. The basalt-carved structure has since collapsed leaving mysterious stone remnants of Ethiopia’s early Christianity. The tour includes transportation, fees as well as a juice and snack after the visit.
This full day excursion southwest of Addis Ababa gives visitors the chance to visit archeological sites as well as the intact rock-hewn church of Adadi Mariam. At the prehistoric site of Melka Kuntare, visitors have the chance to ponder the long history of our species’ ancestors while the mysterious engraved stelae of Tiya date back to the 14th century. Tour includes transportation, guide and lunch.
Dubbed Africa’s oldest protected park (16th century), the Menagesha forest is home to a wide variety of birds as well as the black-and-white Colobus monkey and the regal, endemic Menelik Bushbuck. The most impressive part of the visit is its proximity to Addis Ababa and the entire lack of people. A day in Menagesha can provide a much-needed break from the big city as well as a breath of uncontaminated mountain air. Tour includes transportation, guide, fees and a sack lunch.
Two hours north of Addis Ababa, the 700 meter deep gorge is home to the medieval monastery of Debre Libanos. Once the political center of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the monastery was destroyed by the invading Italians in the 20th century. The valley offers ample opportunities for day-hikes and a trip to the “Portugues Bridge” spanning a deep gorge and the Gur River with amazing views. Tour includes transportation, fees, guide and lunch.
This full-day excursion takes travelers to the beautiful Wenchi Crater Lake, located some 150km east of Addis Ababa. Travelers have the choice of descending the crater by foot or on horseback. After reaching the lake, visitors take a small boat to an island where they can visit an Ethiopian Orthodox church. The tour includes transportation, guide, fees and lunch.