Addis Ababa and its surroundings have more to offer than people think. This is the ideal short tour if you don’t want to drive too much and stay around the capital city Addis Ababa. You’ll have a glimpse of everything: churches, historical sites, gorgeous landscapes, nature, markets, wildlife and nice lodges. Staying all around Addis Ababa we can be really flexible to cut or add other days depending on your wishes or available time.

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Addis Ababa, arrival and city tour  Addis Ababa
Day 2 Daytrip Debre Libanos  Addis Ababa
Day 3 Addis Ababa – Menagesha – Weliso  Weliso
Day 4 Weliso – Wenchi Crater Lake – Weliso  Weliso
Day 5 Weliso – Debre Zeit  Debre Zeit
Day 6 Debre Zeit – Awash National Park  Awash NP
Day 7 Awash Falls Lodge – Sodere  Sodere
Day 8 Sodere – Addis Ababa, market and departure  -

Route map

Route map
Route map

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, arrival and city tour

Welcome to Addis Ababa! After completing entry formalities, you'll be transferred to your hotel. We'll then embark on a city tour where we'll visit museums, markets, churches, and the main historical monuments of the city. If you're interested, we can visit a local project at a wheelchair center where people produce handicrafts. By buying a handmade pottery, candle or doll, you can provide support for the people living here. In the evening, we have dinner together.

Day 2: Day trip Debre Libanos

The drive to Debre Libanos leads across the highlands north of Addis Ababa. It offers a glimpse into the lovely village landscape of Ethiopia until suddenly a more than 1,000m deep gorge opens at Debre Libanos. We take a short rest at the top of the gorge, where various birds can be observed. On a short hike (1.5 to 2 hours) we cross an old bridge built for commercial purposes, in order to arrive at a terraced waterfall and caves inhabited by monkeys.

In the afternoon we visit the sanctuary, where the famous monastery of Debre Azbo (later Debre Libanos) was founded in the 13th century and destroyed in 1937 during the Italian occupation. We visit the octagonal church with the glass-paintings of the artist Afework Tekle, who also designed the windows of the Africa Hall in Addis Ababa, as well as the newly built museum in which art treasures of the monastery are shown. In the late afternoon, we return to Addis Ababa.

Day 3: Addis Ababa – Menagesha – Weliso

Today our journey to the west of Ethiopia begins. Our first stop is about 30 km from Addis Ababa. On a hike (2 to 3h), we will explore the Menagesha Forest with its typical plants such as the Giant juniper, Giant lobelia, heather and Giant ragweed. Some of the oldest trees are over 400 years old. In addition, wild animals such as Guereza monkeys and Menelik bushbucks can be observed. In the afternoon we reach Weliso. This place is known for its hot springs and the thermal bath.

Day 4: Weliso – Wenchi Crater Lake – Weliso

Today we take a day trip to the northern Crater Lake Wenchi. Here we have a five to six hours hike (optionally as riding tour) through the beautiful countryside. Firstly we walk down to the Crater Lake and then through a lovely green valley with numerous clear water springs and small streams. The route takes us past corn mills which are powered with water and are still used today. Overnight as on the previous day.

Day 5: Weliso – Debre Zeit

The first 110 km drive of today brings us to the southwestern outskirts of Addis Ababa. Before entering the capital city we drive 80 km further south to reach the archaeological site of Tiya, one of the country’s cultural heritages registered by UNESCO. There many of the erected stones are engraved with enigmatic symbols, representing a prehistoric burial complex.

Afterward, we drive back on the same way and before entering Addis Ababa we take the Expressway, currently the only highway in Ethiopia, to reach the city of Debre Zeit. This town in the south of Addis Ababa was built around several crater lakes which not host green foods and a multitude of birds like the African Fish Eagle, the Pied Kingfisher, and many others.

Day 6: Debre Zeit – Awash National Park

The road to the east of Debre Zeit gradually descends into the East African Rift Valley, which in this region is characterized mainly by volcanic mountains and lava fields. On the way, we meet dromedary caravans of the semi-nomadic Afar ethnic group. In the afternoon we drive through the southern part of the national park to explore fauna and flora. For example, Oryx antelopes, crocodiles, kudus and dikdiks can be observed. With some luck, we can spot cheetahs. We stay at a lodge located directly at the Awash Water Falls.

Day 7: Awash Falls Lodge – Sodere

Before breakfast, we undertake a small hike along the Awash River. During this walk, various bird and monkey species, as well as crocodiles can be observed. After the breakfast at the lodge, we turn back to Nazret, the capital city of the Oromo region. Close to the city, on the shores of the Awash river, there are hot springs. The Sodere Resort is the best place to relax from the past days. Besides the hot springs, here we find a swimming pool, too.

Day 8: Sodere – Addis Ababa, market, and departure

Today's ride will take us back to Addis Ababa, where your return flight will probably take off late in the evening. There is time enough for visiting a market or shops in Addis Ababa to buy souvenirs. Finally, there is a joint traditional Ethiopian dinner with music and dance performance. End of the trip and departure depending on flight times.