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What People Are Saying About Us

I have come to expect excellence from Odysseys Unlimited and have never been disappointed.

Michael E. Leahy
Oak Lawn, IL

We have been to many, many places all over the world, with many different tour companies.  None of them compare to the Odysseys Unlimited small group experience.

Nancy & William Sondervan
Sherrills Ford, NC

The small group is wonderful and the quality of tour directors is exceptional.

Bill Jones
Vancouver, WA

All that was advertised was delivered. Consider this tour to be a real value as to sites visited, itinerary, hotels, and travel between sites.

Susan & Paul Krupp
Georgetown, TX

Odysseys does everything with style, but without pretension. Beautiful meals and hotels. Excellent guides.

Barbara Schoetzau
New York, NY

Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.

Tara Malmberg
Quitman, TX

Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.

Jean Hall
Prairie Village, KS

We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.

Roger Soder
Seattle, WA

The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.

Patricia Joyce
Peoria, AZ

We love the small group experience.

Dave & Alice Wilson
Williamstown, MA

Odysseys is the best company we have traveled with. You have first-rate tours at affordable prices, with great itineraries, excellent guides, and outstanding accommodations.

Jane & Ronald Decker
Chicago, IL

Odysseys tours are just right for us: great value, nice group size, complete trips, sufficient free time.

Laurin & Phyllis LeTart
Shepherdstown, WV

This trip far exceeded our expectations: the small group size, the quality of the tour director (the best we’ve ever had), the ability to have dinners on our own, the lower cost without a significant reduction in the quality of the accommodations.

Barry & Bobbi Rosner
Somerset, NJ

I thought I would not like traveling in a group but I was wrong! [Our tour director] was so good at making the group seem as one that it turned out to be the best part of the trip.

Donna Stevenson
Dublin, OH

It was the best value in travel we’ve ever had. It was a wonderful experience.

Trish Merrill & Mac White
Austin, TX

This was my 7th trip with Odysseys and they keep getting better and better.

Merle Frank
Miami, FL

Love the small group format and the ease of traveling with arrangements made for us.

Ken & Carolyn Helm
Newburgh, IN

Tour exceeded my expectations having never taken a group tour. An excellent experience – can’t wait for my next one!

Ronni Goldberg
New York, NY

Absolutely the best bang for the buck – organization, quality, consistency.

Harvey Wine
Dallas, TX

I like the small size of Odysseys tours. [You] have excellent Tour Directors, great itineraries and spend more time in areas than some of the other tour companies.

Lynn Bafaloukos
Glendale, AZ

Because of the group size and outstanding guides, you make travel easy for us!

Sharon Irwin & John Akamatsu
Kent, OH
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Six-time honoree Travel + Leisure's World's Best Tour Operators awards

NEW FOR 2020!

Explore the Region

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Meet Our Tour Directors

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Visits to multiple UNESCO sites
  • Historic, natural, and cultural heritage of Northern Ethiopia
  • National Museum with Lucy remains
  • Visit with Weyto people
  • Lake Tana cruise
  • Churches of Bahir Dar Peninsula
  • Blue Nile Falls
  • Gondar’s Fasil Ghebbi ruins
  • Two-night stay in Simien Mtns NP
  • Palace of Queen of Sheba
  • Archaeological sites of holy city of Axum
  • Rock churches of Lalibela
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Day 2: Arrive Addis Ababa We arrive in the Ethiopian capital (“Addis”) and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary, we have no scheduled activities or meals planned for today.

Day 3: Addis Ababa This morning we meet our fellow travelers at a briefing about the journey ahead then set out to explore this exciting, diverse capital. Tour highlights include the National Museum, where we see casts of the 3.2-million-year-old fossilized hominid Lucy, one of man’s earliest ancestors. We also visit Holy Trinity Cathedral, a national landmark and resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie, his wife, and other notables. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 4: Addis Ababa/Bahir Dar Early this morning, we transfer to the airport for the flight to Bahir Dar on the shores of Lake Tana, origin of the Blue Nile. Upon arrival, we visit the Weyto people to watch them craft the small papyrus vessels used on the lake for centuries. We travel the lake ourselves this afternoon en route to the Zege Peninsula, known for its round grass-roofed churches with magnificent murals. We see the Azoa Maria and Ura Kidane churches, both typical examples of ancient Ethiopian orthodox architecture, then visit the 14th-century Ura Kidane Mehret, a monastery deep in the forest, known for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, and golden ecclesiastical objects. Along the way, we may see some of the monkeys and birdlife that call the forest home. B,L,D

Day 5: Bahir Dar After a visit to the city’s handcraft market, we depart for the Blue Nile Falls, one of Ethiopia’s most popular sights. We hike up to the falls, where we’re rewarded with beautiful views of the fabled cataract that measures more than 1,300 feet wide and 150 feet high. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or explore as we wish. B,D

Day 6: Bahir Dar/Gondar We travel north by coach today to Gondar, the former royal capital known especially for its evocative castle complex. Upon arrival, we have lunch then explore the 17th-century enclosure of castles, palaces, and stables of Fasil Ghebbi, now a UNESCO site. We also tour the Debre Berhan Selassie Church, fancifully decorated in murals whose angels’ faces have become motifs of Ethiopian art and design. B,L,D

Day 7: Gondar/Simien Mountains National Park A stunning landscape of saw-toothed peaks and canyon-like gorges, sharp precipices and rugged escarpments awaits as we arrive midday at our lodge in this exotic park. We spend the afternoon exploring the park; later, we join in a discussion on the social behaviors of the gelada baboon found here, the last survivors of an ancient species. B,L,D

Day 8: Simien Mountains National Park We spend a full day on safari in this incredible natural setting, a UNESCO site and home to rare and endemic wildlife. As we explore, we may encounter the Walia ibex and Simien fox, as well as the friendly gelada baboons. We drive up to Sankaber (altitude 10,564 ft.), where we’re rewarded with views of the breathtaking landscape of gorges, valleys, and the country’s highest waterfall. B,L,D

Day 9: Simien Mountains/Axum This morning we depart by coach for Axum (approx. 7 hours), stopping en route for lunch and arriving late afternoon. We dine tonight at our hotel in this historic capital. B,L,D

Day 10: Axum A major trading power from about 400 BCE to the 10th century, the Kingdom of Axum brought Christianity to Ethiopia. Today’s Axum, the kingdom’s former capital and Ethiopia’s holiest city, boasts a host of UNESCO archaeological sites, many of which we see on our full-day tour. We explore Stelae Park, site of giant stelae and obelisks which proclaimed the kingdom’s might, including the Obelisk of Axum, the largest single piece of stone erected anywhere on earth. We also see several royal tombs, and visit St. Mary of Zion Church, purported site of the Ark of the Covenant. B,L,D

Day 11: Axum/Lalibela We fly today to Lalibela, renowned for its 11 monolithic rock churches dating from the 7th to 13th centuries, and as a revered center of Ethiopian Christianity. We see these UNESCO sites for ourselves as we visit the churches, some carved into the rock and others freestanding. Highlights include Bet Medhane Alem, which resembles a Greek temple; Bet Emanuel, with its elaborate exterior; and elegant Bet Giyorgis. B,L,D

Day 12: Lalibela Today we encounter more of Lalibela’s Christian heritage, beginning at the Asheton Maryam monastery carved into the rock face 13,000 feet above Lalibela and offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Later we travel about 1½ hours outside the city to the remarkable cave church of Yemrehanna Kristos, set in a cavern and decorated with elaborate carvings and murals. B,L,D

Day 13: Lalibela/Addis Ababa We return to Addis Ababa by air today, arriving at our hotel midday. The remainder of the day is at leisure before we gather to celebrate our Ethiopia adventure at tonight’s farewell dinner. B,D

Day 14: Addis Ababa/Depart for U.S. We depart for the airport and our return flights to the U.S. B

Day 15: Arrive U.S. We arrive in the U.S. and connect with our flights home.

Please note: This trip involves full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking on uneven terrain. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest. In addition, the relatively high elevations (6,000 ft. to 8,500 ft. at most venues – with the Simien Lodge at 10,800 ft.) could pose problems for guests with certain health conditions. You should consult your personal physician if you have concerns.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 12 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels and lodges
  • 32 meals: 12 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 11 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all park entrance fees
  • Mineral water while on tour
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private coaster bus transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for hotel and lodge staff, including dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2020 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Feb 7
Feb 21
Nov 27
Mar 6
Apr 17
Nov 6
May 8
May 22
Sep 25
Oct 9
Oct 23, 30*
Boston, New York$5,497$5,697$5,797$5,997
Chicago, Houston,
Los Ang, Wash, DC
$5,797$5,997$6,097$6,297
Atlanta, Baltimore,
Char, Cinc, Cleve,
Dallas, Detroit,
Miami, Phil
$5,897$6,097$6,197$6,397
Den, Minneapolis,
Orlando, Phoenix,
Port (OR), San Fran,
Seattle, Tampa
$5,997$6,197$6,297$6,497

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees of $602, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $1,295. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2020 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees) are guaranteed.

*Accommodations days 4-5: Abay Minch Lodge (Bahir Dar)

Airline upgrades (subject to availability) on round-trip international flight: Business Class – $5,195 per person; Premium Economy – $1,795 per person

Accommodations
    Sheraton Addis, Addis Ababa / Days 2-3, 13, Extension / Deluxe

    One of Ethiopia’s leading hotels, the Sheraton Addis has hosted numerous dignitaries and entertainers in the 20 years since its construction.  This elegant hotel sits in downtown Addis Ababa between the National Palace, home of Ethiopia’s president, and the Menelik Palace, residence of the Prime Minister.  Amenities include a stunning 11 dining options, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, full spa with sauna, gift shop, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access in public areas.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, complimentary tea or coffee service served upon request with wake-up call, TV, and phone.

    Kuriftu Resort and Spa, Bahir Dar / Days 4-5 / Superior First Class

    Kuriftu Resort & Spa sits in an ideal location: directly along the southern coast of Lake Tana, at the northern end of the city of Bahir Dar.  The resort lies nearly hidden among the lush jungle greenery, and is built using carved dark wood and stone to blend in seamlessly with the natural environment.  This expansive resort offers a restaurant and bar, full spa with massage treatments (for a fee), outdoor swimming pool with lounge areas and views over the lake, laundry service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Mayleko Lodge, Gondar / Day 6 / Superior First Class

    The Mayleko Lodge first opened in 2013, and combines Ethiopian tradition and contemporary aesthetics.  The lodge consists of a main building and 17 round, thatch-roofed bungalows built from reclaimed hardwoods, all set within a garden on the outskirts of Gondar.  Amenities of the lodge include a restaurant, bar, outdoor swimming pool with lounge areas, fitness room, massage services (for a fee), laundry service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet in public areas.  Guest rooms have private bath, comfortable sitting area, and all bathroom amenities.

    Simien Lodge, Simien Mountains / Days 7-8 / First Class

    The Simien Lodge owns a breathtaking location on the lip of a massive canyon in the Simien Mountains National Park.  Simien touts itself as “the highest lodge in Africa,” at an elevation of 10,700 feet, and the dramatic views over the edge of the escarpment have to be seen to be believed.  At the main lodge building, amenities include a restaurant decorated in traditional Ethiopian style (including a large, central fireplace) and specializing in international fare, a bar (“the highest bar in Africa”), optional trekking and mountain biking excursions (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Like several other lodges on this tour, the Simien’s accommodations consist of individual thatch-roofed cottages (called tukels), which have private bath, solar-powered underfloor heating (although nights are still chilly due to the altitude), traditional Ethiopian décor including original oil paintings, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, and full-length mirrors.  Note: As this lodge sits in the Simien Mountains National Park, animals (including gelada and birds of prey) often roam near the lodge.

    Sabean International Hotel, Axum / Days 9-10 / First Class

    The Sabean International Hotel sits in northern Axum, just a few minutes’ drive from the famed Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.  The hotel offers a restaurant, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), TV/lounge area, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Guest rooms have private bath, in-room safe, sitting area, and TV.

    Maribela Hotel, Lalibela / Days 11-12 / First Class

    Set in the heart of the Lalibela mountains, the Maribela Hotel was built to pay homage to the world-famous rock churches of Lalibela.  The hotel is built partially from stone, and rock gardens and outdoor seating areas made from stone (with ample cushions and pillows) complete the aesthetic.  The Maribela boasts breathtaking views of the Ethiopian highlands and includes a restaurant and bar, colorful Ethiopian décor, comfortable seating areas both indoor and out, laundry service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Guest rooms are tastefully appointed and have private bath with complimentary toiletries and slippers, along with views of the Ethiopian highlands.

    Haile Resort, Arba Minch / Extension / Superior First Class

    The Haile Resort Arba Minch sits along the eastern edge of the city of Arba Minch, and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and nearby Abaya Lake.  The hotel is part of the Haile Hotels & Resorts group, which was established by Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopia’s greatest-ever long distance runner.  Amenities of this resort include a restaurant and several bars and lounges, full fitness center, spa with sauna and massage treatments (for a fee), a variety of sports activities (including basketball, volleyball, and tennis), infinity swimming pool with lounge areas, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms are spacious and have private bath and mountain views.

    Eco-Omo Lodge, Jinka / Extension / First Class

    Located outside the town of Jinka and bordering the Neri River, the Eco-Omo Lodge offers an authentic Ethiopian lodge experience.  The lodge and its 20 individual guest huts are all permanent structures with thatch roofs, and the rock paths and native vegetation around the lodge heighten the lodge’s natural aesthetic.  Amenities include a restaurant, bar, generator-powered electricity (which may go in and out), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Individual sleeping quarters have private bath, fan, and mosquito nets.  Note:  As this lodge is in a remote area, the standard here will be more basic than at other hotels on your tour.

    Paradise Lodge, Turmi / Extension / First Class

    Located outside the market town of Turmi, a central hub for the indigenous tribes of the area, the Paradise Lodge offers a perfect location from which to explore Ethiopia’s Rift Valley region.  The lodge’s wood-and-thatch buildings are typical of the area, and amenities include a restaurant and bar serving locally grown vegetables and fruits, spa and massage services (for a fee), and gift shop.  Guest rooms have private bath, and beds have mosquito netting.  Note:  As this lodge is in a remote area, the standard here will be more basic than at other hotels on your tour.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Southern Ethiopia

6 days/5 nights for $1,995 total price
Single Supplement: $395

Encounter the tribes and traditions of the southern Omo Valley, along with the wildlife of two national parks.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Air transportation Addis Ababa/Arba Minch/Jinka/Addis Ababa
  • 5 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Arba Minch at Haile Resort (Sup. First Class); 1 night in Jinka at Eco-Omo Lodge (First Class); 1 night in Turmi at Paradise Lodge (First Class); 1 night in Addis Ababa at Sheraton Addis (Deluxe)
  • 14 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing, including visit with Dorze people; cruise on Lake Chamo; walking safari in Nechisar National Park; Konso UNESCO site; Mago National Park; excursion to Mursi village; visit with southern tribespeople in Omo Valley UNESCO site
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private van transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Airport transfers
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Please note that guests on the extension will leave Addis Ababa on Day 14.

Destination Insight

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