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Vast Ethiopia

21 Days
The traveler who truly wants to “experience” all Ethiopia has to offer will be drawn to Vast Ethiopia Tours’s Complete Ethiopia Tour. In just under three weeks, travelers can participate in the tribal culture on the Southern Cultural Route and afterwards travel through time on the Northern Historic Route. First, in the Omo Valley, travelers witness Ethiopia’s many ethnicities and cultural traditions. The Southern Cultural Route takes travelers to the heart of the most remote tribes, whose animist beliefs strike a chord with the true African experience. Each tribe has its own distinctive characteristics and traditional ways of life. The Mursi and Surma people are famous for their lip plates, the Arbore and Hamer, for the amazing paintings on their bodies. The...

Tribes

12 Days
Ethiopia has more than 80 ethnicities living within its borders, all speaking different languages and practicing different customs. VAST’s Southern Cultural Route takes travelers to the heart of the most remote tribes, whose animist beliefs strike a chord with the true African experience. We start in Addis Ababa and drive south to visit the Gurage people and visit various archaeological sites and a rock-hewn church reminding us just how far south the Christian kings extended their religion. We continue south and visit the Dorze people who live high above Arba Minch in the Guge Mountains. After returning to the Rift Valley, we take a look at the Nechisar National Park. From Arba Minch we journey in the Omo Valley and its main town, Jinka. The road through the Omo Valley brings...

Natural Wonders

12 Days
Over geological time, the northern part of the Great Rift Valley has formed a triangular basin between the Danakil Desert and the Afar Plain that today holds some of the most astounding terrain in the Horn of Africa. In the Danakil Depression, the topography sinks as low as 125m (410ft) below sea level. And within this inverted world of rock and heat, rise volcanic peaks to as high as 2500m (6200ft). While temperatures can reach 50o C, the Danakil Depression is not exactly a breezy tour, but an inhospitable environment for all living creatures, including human beings. Nonetheless the Afar region is home to the Afar people, who have survived centuries by adopting a nomadic existence and local economy based on salt trading in the highlands to endure the extremes. Perhaps the most famous...

Historic Route

15 Days
Ethiopia has a proud and long history extending all the way to the known beginnings of human kind. The Historic Route overland tour takes visitors from the current capital of Addis Ababa to the former capitals of the Gonderite and Axumite empires, as well as to the sacred city of Lalibela and the rock churches of Tigray. The journey takes travelers some 2000 kilometers through the Ethiopian countryside, mountains and desert. Driving from site to site gives the traveler a chance to see the places in between, enjoy local culture and see the Ethiopia that exists outside of these incredible historic sites. From Addis Ababa, we journey north and visit a series of churches before arriving to Bahir Dar on Lake Tana. Our next stop is Gonder, where visitors walk through the great castles,...

Coffee & Culture

7 Days
The rarely visited Southwest region of Gambella is an excellent alternative for cultural tourism for travelers who have already been to the tribal villages of South Omo or who prefer to see something less affected by mass tourism. This off-the-beaten-track takes visitors through the middle of Oromia, passing first through the Gurage region southwest of Addis Ababa and then through the Gibe river valley to Jimma, an evergreen region of Ethiopia steeped in culture and history, much of which has to do with coffee. Spend the afternoon in one of Ethiopia’s largest coffee plantation in the same mountains where coffee Arabica was discovered. Here you will see how Ethiopians grow, harvest and produce coffee for export as and the domestic market. The tour continues through the green...

Bird Watching

10 Days
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most prolific bird watching destinations. An astounding 862 recorded birds species can be found in Ethiopia. The most motivated ‘tickers’ come from all over the world to enhance their bird lists with Ethiopia’s many endemic species. The bird populations swell between the months of November and February when some 200 species of Palaearctic migrants arrive from Europe and Asia to join the already abundant number of birds that can be found in Ethiopia. VET’s main tour takes birders across stunning landscapes as they explore the Great Rift Valley lakes, each teeming with its own microcosm of bird life. Next, VET allows birders to explore the surrounding mountain forests, which support a wholly different selection of endemic birds....

The Great Rift Valley

10 Days
The Great Rift Valley is a vast geographical and geological feature of East Africa and South West Asia created by the rifting and separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates over 35 million years ago. This geological feature runs north to south for some 6000km from northern Syria to central Mozambique. The valley varies in width from 30-100km and in elevation from a few hundred meters to several thousand meters. The Rift Valley Lakes are a group of lakes formed by the Great Rift Valley of Eastern Africa. These lakes include some of the oldest, largest and deepest lakes in the world and are a fresh water region of great biodiversity. The Ethiopian Rift Valley offers eight spectacular chains of lakes. These formed during the period of high rainfall in the quaternary era when...

Somaliland

16 Days
For many, visiting Somaliland is somewhat of a traveler’s coup. While the country of Somalia is by and large too dangerous to visit, the northern region of Somaliland is a welcomed change from the perpetual violence plaguing the coastal country. Join one of Vast Ethiopia’s most experienced guides and journey away from the Christian highlands of Ethiopia into the heart of Muslim East Africa and eventually to the shores the Indian Ocean. Our adventure goes first to Ethiopia’s famed Awash National Park, complete with a gushing waterfall, hot springs, birding and game drive. Next spend a few days in the walled city of Harar, Islam’s most historical and holy city in the Horn. The 16th-century walled city, known as the Jugol, is nothing less than stimulating with its alleyways,...

Trekking Tours

6 to 8 Days
There are few more exciting ways to enjoy Ethiopia’s natural beauty and witness the isolated life in high mountain villages than trekking through one of Ethiopia’s many mountain ranges. Vast Ethiopia Tours offers trekking enthusiasts of all levels a wide variety of destinations as well as many options and modes of transport. Allow Vast to take care of the logistics, equipment and food for your visit to the spectacular Simien Mountains in the north or the equally stunning Bale Mountains in the south. And if you’re looking for a more genuine look into Ethiopian highland culture and customs, see our Unique Tours to the peaks of Abune Yosef and Mekdela. The Simien Mountains The Simien Mountains, commonly known as the “Roof of Africa,” is home to the...

Vast Cares Trip

Take a trip with VAST Cares and volunteer your time and donations while you´re in Ethiopia. VAST Cares integrates community service and group donations into your Ethiopian tour. VAST Cares has a variety of partners doing different activities. VAST Cares tends to place a strong emphasis on education and learning and can organize visits in which you can work with school children, donate school supplies or be part of the curriculum. VAST Cares partners and facilitates support for the following organizations: Fregenet Foundation: A primary school set up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2004 to honor Fregenet Tafesse Woubshet, a 29-year-old American citizen of Ethiopian origin, who died in an auto accident. The school enrolls children from the poor communities of Addis Abeba and HIV/AIDS...

Religious Festivals

4 Days, aprox.
The best way to truly experience Ethiopian culture is through its many festivals and religious ceremonies. With some foresight and organization, these events can be visited as part of a variety of tour packages. Due to Ethiopia’s religious history, celebrations and festivals play an important role in daily life. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church ceremonies are unique and impressive, especially Timket, Genna and Meskel. During these festivals, religious followers and priests across the country follow ancient customs and dress in traditional garb. The Ethiopian Orthodox church celebrates some 150 major and minor festivals per year and many of these holidays not only mobilize a large percentage of the local population, but attract tourists from all over the world. Every year, Vast...

Addis Ababa & Surroundings

1-2 Days
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....

Harar

8 Days
Unique not only to Africa, but the entire world, Harar stands as one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Harar is the crossroads of the history of Africa and Arabia, a meeting point in the Horn of Africa where styles, languages, and architecture converge. Its creation is unknown, but by the 11th century, Harar became the center of Islam in the Horn of Africa. The 16th century was the city’s golden age, a time when poets penned the beauty of Harar and coffee was the drink of choice. Later the city was walled and off-limits to Christians. Intrepid explorer, Richard Burton, won the fame for the first Christian to enter the walled city, known as the jugol, in disguise as an Arab trader in the 1850s. Many more came, and today the city’s prized visitors are the tourists who come...