HA1 THE HORN OF AFRICA TOUR

Somaliland, Djibouti & Eritrea

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Djibouti: up-and-coming destination; Lowest point in Africa, lunar landscapes; Unique and fascinating Addis Ababa city tour; Eritrea - unique architecture, culture, landscapes, and compelling history; Somaliland - visit a 'country' that doesn't exist!

INQUIRE ABOUT THIS TRIP
  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Tue 10 Nov 2020Wed 25 Nov 2020 $5550 USD

The above prices are subject to an additional $340 for taxes/fees levied on flights that occur as part of the tour. The internal airfares ARE included (any exceptions are listed in red below), but we list the taxes separately on your invoice as they are beyond our control and can change at any time.


Due to the nature of internal flights, this tour requires a $1500 per person deposit

Optional Single Supplement: $859 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $430 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.


Tour Overview


This bold and unique new Horn of Africa tour travels the road MUCH less travelled, to four fascinating and friendly neighbours with much to offer the intrepid traveller. This is definitely an up-and-coming adventure destination, featuring the autonomous and stable, yet politically unrecognized 'country' of Somaliland (not to be confused with greater Somalia); the enigmatic and little-visited Djibouti with some of the continent's most dramatic scenery, and Eritrea, recently emerging from decades of isolation and ready to welcome the world.

Regions visited: East Africa
Countries visited: Ethiopia; Somaliland; Djibouti and Eritrea


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Welcome to Addis Ababa, the largest city on the 'Horn of Africa.'

The Horn of Africa is the easternmost extension of African land and is usually defined as the region that is home to the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, whose cultures have been linked throughout their long history. Overall, the Horn of Africa is estimated to consist of over 2 million sq kilometers (772,200 square miles), most of which boasts a semi–arid to arid climate. Despite difficult living conditions in many parts of the region, recent estimates put the population of the region at about 90.2 million.

The HOA became a major center for trade and commerce around 500 C.E; a major commodity traded along these routes was ivory. Indeed, the Greeks were so involved with the elephant hunting trade in the Horn of Africa that the Greek language was occasionally used on official state documents. Other important exports of the region included frankincense and myrrh, both luxury goods that were highly valued in classical antiquity. Despite the recent political strides in Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Horn of Africa as a whole has faced devastation in the recent years, and many of the religious conflicts in the region continue to remain unsolved, particularly the tensions between Christians and Muslims.

Overnight in Addis Ababa.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Addis Ababa: City Tour
This morning we tour Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, which translates as "New Flower" in the Amharic language. The city shows little sign of losing its youthful, lusty edge and is the pulsing heart of this eclectic nation's resurgence as one of the world's fastest-growing economies. "Addis," as it's often simply known, is the world's third-highest capital city at 2400 meters (7,880 ft), and has worn its heart on its sleeve since it was founded by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik about 1892.

Although not well-known outside the country, the Ethiopian National Museum is a world-class museum; truly a hidden gem! The most famous exhibit is the replica of Lucy, an early hominid, but the museum offers much more. With Ethiopian civilization being one of the oldest in the world, the artifacts within the museum span thousands of years, including some from its earliest days. During our visit, we'll see a wide variety of artifacts, from sculptures to clothing to artwork, both traditional and modern.

Next is the Ethnological Museum, a fascinating place with exhibits relating to the history and culture of Ethiopia. There are many displays of the various ethnic groups with information about each of their lifestyles. A large amount of ethnic outfits, instruments, tools, and other artifacts accompany each ethnic exhibit, making it one of the most interesting museums in the city.

We also visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the second most-important place of worship in Ethiopia and the final resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie.

At some point today we should be able to sample Ethiopia's 'Black Gold'. It's impossible to separate Ethiopian culture -- that unparalleled Ethiopian-ness -- from coffee, and this is the land of the finest Arabica coffee. As legend would have it, it was discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd boy and his goats sometime around the sixth century.

Overnight in Addis Ababa.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Fly to Hargeisa, Somaliland
Today we fly to Hargeisa - welcome to Somaliland!

Somaliland, officially the Republic of Somaliland, is a self-declared state, internationally considered to be an autonomous region of Somalia. The local Somaliland authorities declared the region's independence from the rest of Somalia in May 1991, but neither the Somali federal government nor any other country or international organization has recognized its sovereignty. The area is viewed as much safer than most of its neighbouring East African countries. The local government is very anxious to show its stability and, as a result, foreigners are generally treated with respect and interest. This is a truly unique travel experience, well off the beaten path, and in a "country" that doesn't exist!

We arrive in Hargeisa and transfer to our hotel; we spend the afternoon exploring the city and seeing some of its sights, including the War Memorial, with its unusual monument of a crashed MiG fighter plane, and the gold and camel markets. There is very little tourism (and no tourist industry) here, as almost all visitors are working for an NGO or other organizations.

Overnight in Hargeisa.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Hargeisa - Laas Geel Complex - Berbera
Today we depart for Berbera, on a well-secured and trafficked road, with a stop at Laas Geel en route.*

Laas Geel, also spelled Laas Gaal, are cave formations which contain some of the earliest known cave paintings in the Horn of Africa. Laas Geel's rock art is estimated to date to somewhere between 9,000 and 3,000 years BC. The site is placed on a granite outcrop that rises from a plateau at an altitude of 950 meters above sea level, at the confluence of two seasonal rivers, a key fact to explain the existence of rock art in the outcrop. Even today, the name of the site (“the camel’s well” in Somali) makes reference to the availability of water near the surface of the wadis.

The paintings at Laas Geel are spread across 20 shelters split into three levels some of which can be as wide as 10 meters and as deep as 5 meters. All the shelters and paintings are within walking distance from each other. The paintings in Laas Geel depict scenes of daily life of the nomads who inhabited the area and their animals as well as ceremonial scenes. Some of the paintings are monochrome and others polichrome but they are all remarkably well-preserved and vivid for something which is thousands of years old. The colours used are warm, either red, yellow or orange.

After visiting the site we continue to Berbera, with its interesting architecture from both the Ottoman and British periods. Berbera is a coastal city which serves as the biggest seaport for Somaliland, with clean and unspoiled beaches on the Gulf of Aden. This evening you might try some of the seafood for which the town is famous.

* To travel outside of major cities, foreigners are not required by law to take an armed guard with them as these routes are well-patrolled and secure; however, out of an abundance of caution, we choose to use this service for our journeys to/from Berbera, including our time at Laas Geel.

Overnight in Berbera.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Berbera - Hargeisa
We spend the morning exploring Berbera, especially the old quarter of the town.

In antiquity, Berbera was part of a chain of commercial port cities along the Somali seaboard. During the early modern period, Berbera was the most important place of trade in the entire Horn of Africa. It later served as the capital of the British Somaliland protectorate from 1884 to 1941, when it was replaced by Hargeisa. It’s hard to believe when you see it, but Berbera was once a busy town. Lying on the Gulf of Aden opposite Yemen, it has been a centre of maritime trade since ancient times. Today this shady town consists mostly of crumbling buildings and mud-and-thatch houses. Berbera’s potential is immense, though, with superb beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. If, one day, Somaliland appears on tourist brochures, Berbera will probably top the bill.

After a break for lunch we'll return by road to Hargeisa.

Overnight in Hargeisa.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Hargeisa, Somaliland - Fly to Djibouti City, Djibouti
Today we fly to Djibouti City (likely via Addis).

Djibouti City is the capital and largest city of Djibouti, located in the coastal region on the Gulf of Tadjoura. Home to around 600,000 inhabitants, the city contains over 60% of the nation's population. The settlement was founded in 1888 by the French on land leased from the ruling Somali and Afar Sultans. During the ensuing period, it served as the capital of French Somaliland and its successor the French Territory of the Afars and Issas. Under its veneer of urban bustle, the city remains a down-to-earth place.

Depending on our arrival time, we may begin our Djibouti City sightseeing upon arrival.

Overnight in Djibouti City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Djibouti City: City Tour - Tadjoura & Sables Blancs
Djibouti City is the capital and largest city of Djibouti, located in the coastal region on the Gulf of Tadjoura. Home to around 600,000 inhabitants, the city contains over 60% of the nation's population. The settlement was founded in 1888 by the French on land leased from the ruling Somali and Afar Sultans. During the ensuing period, it served as the capital of French Somaliland and its successor the French Territory of the Afars and Issas. Under its veneer of urban bustle, the city remains a down-to-earth place, with jarring cultural and social combinations.

This morning we will enjoy a panoramic tour of the city during which we plan to see the colourful market, the railway station, the main port and the central mosque.
Later we will take a private boat across the Gulf of Tadjoura to Tadjourah, the capital of one of the six regions in Djibouti (+/- 1.5 hours). Upon arrival we will head straight to our hotel which is situated right on the beach at Sable Blancs.

You will have some free time to relax in the afternoon before dinner at our hotel.

Overnight at Tadjoura.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Tadjourah - Lake Assal - Djibouti City
Today we travel by road southwest to Lake Assal, located in the north-central part of Djibouti. Shortly after our departure from the beach area we will make a brief stop in Tadjoura, known as the 'White City.' The Sultanate of Tadjoura has many white buildings and is a historic city. This was where the French colonization started when the sultan granted a piece of land to the French. Soon Djibouti City became the most important city of the country. Nowadays Tadjoura serves as an important port and fishing settlement.

Lake Assal is a saline lake, which lies 155 m (509 ft) below sea level in the Afar Triangle, making it the lowest point on land in Africa and the second-lowest land depression on Earth after the Dead Sea. Situated in the Danakil Desert, the lake is bounded by hills on the western region. No outflow occurs from the lake, and due to high evaporation, the salinity level of its waters is 10 times that of the sea, making it the most saline in the world after Don Juan Pond, Antarctica. Salt extraction by the Afar nomad tribes of camel drivers and Issas from Lake Assal's salt bank established the ancient caravan routes. These linked the lake with the mountains of Ethiopia for barter trading such items as sorghum, coal, and other commodities. Salt was also bartered with South Abyssinia for items like coffee, ivory, musk, and also (historically) slaves. It was a source of wealth for the local tribes.

After a day of scenic stops and short walks we will continue our journey back to Djibouti City.

Overnight in Djibouti City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 Djibouti City, Djibouti - Fly to Asmara, Eritrea
Today we fly from Djibouti City to Asmara (via Addis Ababa). Welcome to Eritrea!

Filtered by Italian artistic sensibility, Asmara has welcomed practically all the styles of the early twentieth century, becoming the Modernist city of Africa par excellence. A sort of white paper where the Italian architects of Italy's fascist era, far from the constraints of the mother country, could design the city of Utopia. This is definitely a place to test yourself with the most different architectural styles in vogue in the first decades of the last century in Europe.

Overnight in Asmara.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Asmara: City Tour
This morning we'll begin our discovery of Asmara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Asmara has the world's highest concentration of architectural styles of the 1930s. Simple geometric shapes of classical proportions are enhanced by slender horizontal curves and soaring stepped towers. We find portholes, loopholes, and elongated windows, circular balconies and jutting wings; cylindrical stairwells and arched canopies, curved shelves and bizarre zig zag chimneys. Originally whitewashed, this beautiful city has been enriched by the colours of Africa with apricot and turquoise, burgundy, lime green and pale gold pastels. Marble vases suspended with geraniums and dahlias, and occasionally we discover a Renaissance villa, with wrought iron gates and turret towers, a French castle tower, or a Palladian villa with Corinthian columns and pink tympanum. Art deco villas, cubist, rationalist, expressionist, futurist and neoclassical architectures decorate the corners of the city with a Western style magnificence that may leave you perplexed.

One of the greatest monuments of the city is the Catholic Cathedral of Santa Maria, in pure Lombard Romanesque style with interior completely frescoed. We'll visit the National Museum, with archaeological finds of ancient civilizations and a rich collection of arts and typical clothing of the nine ethnic groups of the country.

The Coptic church Nda Mariam (E. Gallo, 1920) built over the ancient one, is also worth a visit. The best synthesis about liveliness and colour of ethnic Eritrean groups is the Medeber, a market dated eighteenth century, where artisans in small shops mould objects of all kinds by recycling metal.

The Cemetery of Asmara, located on a hill from the red earth, is a place filled with light, colour, sound and it is one of the most important places to get a historic insight into the Italian adventure in Eritrea.

Overnight at Asmara,

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Asmara: Excursion to Kohaito
After breakfast we have an excursion south to Kohaito.*

At Dekemhare we have a short walk into the center, with the Italian style houses of the early 1900's.

Proceeding to Segheneyti, where we will observe some majestic sycamore trees, the largest in the country. The most beautiful is reproduced on a banknote of the country. Arrival in Senafe and Kohaito, where the ruins of the ancient Axumite cities of Metara and Coloe rise.
Based on the different names in the area that are related to the elephants, Kohaito is believed to have been a center of ivory trade and an agricultural area due to the many remains of stones for grinding. At the beginning there were only 46 sites identified, but now the number has risen to 900.

Particularly interesting is the dam called Safira in Kohaito, 2500 years old, whose construction is attributed to the 6th century before Christ. The style and solidity of the dam shows how the population possessed an advanced construction technology. According to legend, the Queen of Sheba quenched herself with the waters of this dam. Although detailed scientific research has yet to be completed, Kohaito's civilization lasted about 1,000 years and is antecedent to the Axumite civilization. The strategically important position of Kohaito meant that this area served as a "bridge" between Adulis and other civilizations, such as Metara, Keskese and Belew-Kelew.

Another historically important place is Keskese, located in an area of 11 square kilometers distant 125 kilometers from Asmara, near Senafè. Among the many remains in the place, of great interest are some fallen steles (10 meters in length), five stone pillars bearing Sabee writings, remains of large and small walls, and cemeteries. Also scattered throughout the area are various crafts, stone tools, stone and brass ornaments. Although no detailed scientific research has been conducted so far, based on the study of the materials found on the surface and on the findings written in the Sabean language, it is believed that Keskese developed towards the ninth century before Christ.

Return to Asmara.

Overnight in Asmara.

* Please note that this excursion is subject to confirmation of necessary road permits. In the unlikely event that permits are not obtained, our excursion will turn around from the Valley of the Sycamores.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Asmara: Train Excursion - Massawa
After breakfast we enjoy an excursion on board the legendary train pulled by locomotives from Asmara to Nefasit and back.*

You will have the rare opportunity to travel along one of the most daringly-designed railways in the world, whose construction began in 1897, on board trains that go back to the times of the colonies. We will cover the stretch Asmara-Arbaroba, about 18km one of the most striking and scenic part of the entire route.

A century ago, Italians built a futuristic railway in Eritrea. Today, amid the wounds of a recent war, steam locomotives have returned to run on the tracks of the former Italian colony. An extraordinary enterprise commissioned by the Asmara Government and carried out by over seventy-year-old railway workers, the railway line that connects the cities of Asmara and Massawa, exceeding almost 2400 meters in height, is unanimously considered a masterpiece of Italian engineering.

After a break for lunch we'll continue by road to Massawa, losing about 2300m/7,545 ft of elevation in just 100 km of road.

This is the "Road of the Italians", dating to 1936 and considered marvel of civil engineering. It is not the only marvel, however, as the railway still runs in several places parallel to the road. The road climbed from 1,220 meters in Keren to 2,356 in Asmara and then down, in just 115 kilometers, to the harbor city of Massawa. Along the way you will meet the towns of Nefasit, Embatcalla, Ghinda, Dongollo Alto, and lastly Dongollo Basso, famous for its mineral waters.

This is the largest plateau in Africa, which spills down from the heights of Asmara to the sands of a wonderful sea coast. Along the road, about twenty kilometers from Massawa, we will make a brief stop at the monument of Dogali, where in January 1887 the five hundred men commanded by Col. De Cristoforis were massacred by the Abyssinian warriors of Ras Alula.

Finally we arrive at the sea! The two attractive islands that make up Massawa are called Taulud and Massawa, and both are connected to the mainland by causeways.

* Occasionally, usually due to mechanical problems (the railway and rolling stock sometime show their age, despite being lovingly maintained), the rail excursion may not be available. If this happens, we will continue with Asmara city touring with content at the discretion of your Tour Leader and local guide.

Overnight at Massawa.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 Massawa Area Touring - Asmara
In the morning we have an excursion to Green Island, in front of Massawa city, possibly for a little time to swim and just enjoy the beach.

Sturdy and tenacious, like Eritreans themselves, Massawa City has survived throughout the centuries. This old port city preserves an ensemble of wonderful Ottoman architecture. The beginnings of Massawa are shrouded by a long past. It is known that in the times of Axumite Empire (first centuries AD) this was small village, which was overshadowed by Adulis port which was located some 50 km to the south. Massawa has two historical districts, each on its own island. The oldest and most valuable is the Old City on Batz’ (Massawa) Island: a coral island without fresh water sources, covered with valuable Arabic and Ottoman architecture.

A 440m long causeway leads to the other part of historical city – Taulud Island. This island was uninhabited until the late 19th century, when Italians started construction here. This island is connected to the mainland with 1030 m long causeway. We will see the most interesting buildings in Massawa--the Shrine of Sahaba, a small shrine in the site, where, according to legend, the followers of prophet landed in 615 AD. The Sheikh Hanafi Mosque is the oldest mosque in Eritrea, built in the 15th century AD. Imperial Palace on Taulud is an ornate building constructed for French consul Werner Munzinger in 1872-1874. The Banco d’Italia is a gorgeous building, constructed in the 1920s.

This afternoon we return to Asmara along the traditional road, always with stops along the way at the most interesting view and places. Later we have some leisure time for a walk to discover Asmara by night, maybe enjoying an excellent coffee and the quiet and cheerful coming and going of young people and tourists. The bars of Asmara are part of the history of the bright African city, from the early twentieth century to today, some unaltered in a time
that seems suspended. On the main avenue, Harnet Street, the most popular bars, such as the historic bar Empire, have outdoor tables, sit down, drink coffee, "espresso", tea or the excellent cappuccino, you can taste the brioche or pastries, and you watch the passing people.

Overnight at Asmara.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Asmara - Keren: Town Tour
Early this morning we depart for Keren, (1392m/4,567 ft), the crossroads between the highland and the lowland and well-known for its silver filigree works. With a few stops along the way, we arrive in the afternoon.

On arrival we'll explore the city and its market. Other worthwhile places include: the Italian and British war cemeteries, the mosque and the little Greek church near the market, the governor country-seat, the Romanesque Saint-Michael church, and the old Fortress. Last but not least, we visit "Mariam Dearit", a chapel built inside as tree! The "Madonna of the Baobab" is also highly venerated by Muslims and often there are ecumenical and inter-religious pilgrimages; the pilgrims who reach this sanctuary each year are about forty thousand. The sanctuary is managed by the Cistercian monks who have resided in the sanctuary since 1960. There are several versions and legends about the origin of this sanctuary.

The city of Keren, home of the Bilen people, sprawls on a wide basin surrounded by granitic mountains on all sides; this remains a still authentic slice of Africa and the nostalgic atmosphere makes it fascinating. The most vivid and colourful attraction of Keren is its market, focus of industrious life and meeting point of all the tribes of the vast area. Through the covered food market, the streets of the tailors, the silversmith’s streets, and the market dedicated to women (housewares and cosmetics) you reach the riverbed where the wood and coal market is held. As our visit coincides with the weekly Monday market, this should be an interesting and highly colourful insight into local life.

Finally we visit to the war cemeteries in which Italian soldiers and Askari are buried (the Eritreans who fought alongside the Italian troops) and the British cemetery.

Overnight in Keren.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Keren - Asmara
Today we finish off any sightseeing not accomplished yesterday and make our way back to the capital, arriving in the afternoon with time to prepare for our farewell dinner and our long journey home.

Overnight in Asmara.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Departure
Departure from Asmara.

For information on extending to our longer tours of Ethiopia, please refer to tour codes HA2 and HA3.

BOB VOYAGE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Best Western Addis Ababa

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Addis Ababa
Country: Ethiopia

Unfussy rooms in a refined hotel featuring a restaurant, a cafe/bar & a spa, plus free breakfast.


Click here to visit hotel website

Sugaal Hotel


Location: Hargeisa
Country: Somaliland

This is a relatively new hotel with clean rooms and a great restaurant by foreign chefs. It's located right in
... centre of the city with close proximity to all the central landmarks and amenities. Hotel features free wifi and full air-conditioning. This hotel has no official star rating or website.
Read More.

Maan-soor Hotel


Location: Berbera
Country: Somaliland

This seaside venture consists of a handful of cottages scattered around a large property just spitting distance from Baathela Beach.
... are plain but comfortable. Amenities include an attached restaurant, satellite TV, wifi and air-conditioning.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Hotel Sheraton

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Djibouti City
Country: Djibouti

The hotel enjoys a magnificent view overlooking the Red Sea and is situated at 5 minutes from the city centre,
... minutes from the international harbour and only 15 minutes from the International Airport.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Midian Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Asmara
Country: Eritrea

Midian hotel is located minutes from the Airport and is located in the center of the Asmara city. Opened in
... 2006 and surrounds a landscaped courtyard.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Sarina Hotel


Location: Keren
Country: Eritrea

The rooms are spacious, comfortable and clean, food is good and the bar area great to relax and have a
... This is largely regarded as the best hotel in town - friendly but with a few rough edges that are more charming than frustrating. The hotel does have wifi or a website.
Read More.

Grand Dahlak Hotel

Rating: 2 Star Accommodation2 Star Accommodation
Location: Massawa
Country: Eritrea



Click here to visit hotel website


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner daily; some lunches (as per tour itinerary). All transport (including internal flights), accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary.

Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters (where available), local guides.

Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arrivals/late departures if extra accommodation is also booked through us.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, some lunches, drinks (other than tea/coffee), personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'.

Airport transfers for Land Only customers.

Optional trip cancellation insurance (you are required to be medically insured)**. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas and locally-paid departure taxes.

You should budget $200-250 for visa fees:

Djibouti visa: Available on arrival
Ethiopia visa: Available on arrival
Somaliland (NOT Somalia) visa: Available on arrival
Eritrea visa: Visa in advance

More details on visas provided upon reservation.

* Insurance: Medical insurance is mandatory for this tour. When considering travel insurance for this trip, please be especially mindful of possible exclusions of coverage for destinations that currently have government travel advisories in place. It is incumbent on you, the traveller, to ensure that you are comfortable with what your chosen policy will and will not cover.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is planned for the coolest and most comfortable time of the year in the entire region. That said, we will still encounter dry heat with humidity near water and at lower elevations. In and around Asmara and Addis we will enjoy spring-like temperatures due to elevation. Rainfall is unlikely, though possible at some locations.

Transport and Travel Conditions

City tours in Djibouti City and Addis Ababa are conducted via a single touring coach/bus; elsewhere, our ground transport will be provided by multiple, modern and spacious, air-conditioned Toyota Landcruiser 4x4 vehicles (or similar). While in Somaliland we will be accompanied by an armed escort.

Most roads travelled are paved, though some are in rough shape and there will be some unpaved stretches that are rough and dusty.

Internal flights will be via Ethiopian Airlines.

We have rated this tour a "Level 2" largely because the length of some travel days, the rough roads, the heat and dust, the basic nature of some accommodation (baggage handling not available), the remoteness of locales visited, and the attendant lack of easily accessible modern medical care. If you have difficulty walking, even over short distances, or require the assistance of a cane, we regret that this tour is not suitable for you. This is an ambitious adventure that requires a sturdy constitution, flexibility, and a spirit of adventure.

Government travel advisories currently apply to this tour, specifically to Somaliland (Somalia) and Eritrea (Djibouti & Ethiopia carry no such advisories). Though all countries included have enjoyed a prolonged period of stability and we expect our tours to operate on a "business as usual" basis, we encourage all travellers (as we do for any destination) to review online government advisories that provide guidance on, among other things, issues concerning security. We are presently very confident that your journey will be problem-free, and want to ensure that you feel likewise before choosing to join this trip. By advancing a deposit to Adventures Abroad, you acknowledge your full awareness that visited country(ies) carry a travel advisory issued by DFAIT Canada and/or the US State Dept (please also refer to our general Booking Terms & Conditions under the "resources" tab on this page). Please note that DFAIT and the US Dept of State tend to lump Somaliland (not an internationally recognized "country") in with their information pertaining to greater Somalia, where conditions are markedly different. For a more complete and detailed report, please refer to the foreign travel advice section of www.gov.uk, which does treat Somaliland separately.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

Accommodation

Our hotels in all four capital cities are clean and comfortable, Western-style properties. Elsewhere, our accommodation is surprisingly comfortable but of a simpler standard with a few rough edges and service that is perhaps spotty yet friendly.

Please note that, due to the high cost of single accommodation in the region, this tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you (please see 'Dates & Prices' page for rate).

All rooms are air-conditioned with private bath - click on 'Map & Hotels' tab for more information.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout; local guides will also accompany in each country at various locations. Local expert and highly experienced drivers in all locations.

Group Size

Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

HA1 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION16 days

TOUR STARTAddis Ababa

TOUR ENDAsmara

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32 days from Entebbe to Zanzibar
Experience the great diversity of East Africa on this mammoth, month-long Rwanda, Uganda,… Read More
27 days from Cairo to Arusha
The initial portion of this wondrous 27-day Egypt, Kenya & Tanzania Tour is an adventure… Read More
27 days from Nairobi to Antananarivo
A special treat before we head into the heart of Tanzania on this 27-day,… Read More
27 days from Entebbe to Arusha
Uganda, a country that has been striving to put its troubled past firmly behind it, has… Read More
27 days from Addis Ababa to Addis Ababa
26 days from Johannesburg to Nairobi
One of the world's most dynamic and exciting cities in the world awaits us as we being… Read More
26 days from Nairobi to Cape Town
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is our first port of call on this 24-day explorative… Read More
25 days from Kigali to Zanzibar
This unbelievable Kenya & Tanzania Tour through four world-class destinations (includes… Read More
22 days from Addis Ababa to Addis Ababa
An ancient land of stunning sceneries, fascinating cultures and first-rate historic… Read More
22 days from Mahe to Moroni
Imagine brilliantly bright, turquoise waters lapping on a shore of pristine white,… Read More
22 days from Kigali to Maun
This Africa 2020 Tour was designed by, and will be led by, senior Tour Leader Victor… Read More
21 days from Entebbe to Nairobi
No longer a country plagued by civil war and unrest, Uganda has recently come to enjoy a… Read More
21 days from Cairo to Nairobi
For the initial 12 days of this Egypt & Kenya tour, an incredible adventure through two… Read More
20 days from Nairobi to Zanzibar
Our Kenya and Tanzania tour takes you to destinations without equal in the realm of… Read More
20 days from Kigali to Arusha
Sign up for this wondrous Kenya & Tanzania Tour (as well as Rwanda) and be treated to… Read More
18 days from Addis Ababa to Khartoum
This bold and unique new Northern Sudan Tour travels the road MUCH less travelled, to… Read More
15 days from Nairobi to Arusha
No destination can compete with the safari opportunities in these two stunning East… Read More
14 days from Antananarivo to Antananarivo
Our Madagascar tour reveals an island of gold-sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees,… Read More
14 days from Kigali to Nairobi
The initial portion of our Rwanda & Kenya Tour, an exciting adventure through two highly… Read More
13 days from Addis Ababa to Addis Ababa
Our 13-day Ethiopia tour is an adventure through the diverse landscapes and unique… Read More
13 days from Nairobi to Zanzibar
The perfect introduction to the bounties of East Africa, our 13-day Tanzania tour… Read More
13 days from Entebbe to Kigali
The outstanding natural beauty and diversity of landscape in Uganda has long served as… Read More
9 days from Nairobi to Nairobi
On our Kenya tour, you'll discover a land of glacier-coated mountains, arid plains and… Read More
8 days from Nairobi to Arusha
Our Tanzania tour explores the largest nation in East Africa, and it is, without doubt,… Read More