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active 3 days ago

Marco Degasper

I was born in 1979 in Bruneck, Province of Bolzano, in northern Italy and speak fluent German, Italian and English. I worked as project manager in Bolzano for almost 10 years (PMP certified), and I'm an enthusiastic mountain climber and marathon runner. It was precisely because of my passion for running that I discovered Ethiopia. Since 2009, I'm traveling and since 2014 living there, managing an ecotourism company.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Trekking and hiking tours, adventure, MTB and cycling tours, cultural and historical tours, coffee tours, birdwatching, outdoor activities, camping trips, group tours, special interest tours, photography, press and media."

How did you get involved in travel?

"I'm enthusiastic mountain climber and marathon runner. And it was precisely because of this that I discovered Ethiopia and got a passion for it. On my fists travels to Ethiopia in 2009 I knew and got friend with some Ethiopians already working in tourism, and we decided to establish our own company."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Hiking for 2 days to a remote Ethiopian monastery and spending the night there with the monks and priests sharing food and their local wine :-)"

Marco is part of the following groups: Ethiopia Travel Agents
Top itineraries and travel advice

Recent trip reviews for Marco

The tour was great, and Mihiret  was perfect....
Ethiopia | Jul 7 - Jul 13, 2023

M
MG Group R.
Houston, TX | Reviewed on Jul 17, 2023

The tour was great, and Mihiret  was perfect. I am always looking for partnerships that allow me to send my travelers to countries where I don't have to be present to engage with them the entire time, and she took care of that. She made everyone feel welcome, she treated us like family, and, OMG I could go on and on. I've traveled all over Africa, this was by far one of my greatest experiences. We all felt like we were among family. Our drivers took care of us and met all of our needs. Everybody was so welcoming to us upon arrival. Great experience all around!

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Jul 17, 2023

Hello, thanks for the nice feedback. And I'm happy to hear that we've chosen the correct guide for your group. Marco

East Africa
Ethiopia | Sep 29 - Oct 9, 2018

T
Tom W.
Ormond Beach, FL | Reviewed on Oct 13, 2018

Our guide Elayas was simply superb. We were greatly surprised and excited about the rich scenery, history and traditions in Ethiopia . Evenings of traditional dancing, and foods were an unexpected bonus. The ritual coffee ceremony almost every day was most appreciated, giving us a welcome boost. Local markets were festinating & robust , especially in Lalibela. The people everywhere were friendly and helpful.

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Oct 17, 2018

Hi Tom,
I'm happy to hear that with Elyas we've chosen the correct guide for you and you enjoyed the tour in its full extent.
Hope to see you soon here in Ethiopia again,
Marco, Elyas and the rest of the team

Photography Tour
Ethiopia | Sep 23 - Oct 4, 2018

Solovkin
Solovkin S.
Somerville, MA | Reviewed on Oct 07, 2018

Its has been amazing 12 days trip with Mihiret being a tour guide and organized by Marco.

Ethiopia is not an easy country when it comes to street and people photography. However every visit to a location was organized with much knowledge, expertise and love., and as a result I got thousands of great photos.

Mihiret speaks local languages, knows, traditions, all do's and what is also very important - dont's.

Highly recommended!

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Oct 08, 2018

Dear Stan,
thanks for 5 stars!
I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the time with Mihiret.
Hope to see you again...
Marco

Jewish heritage
Ethiopia | Jul 9 - Jul 16, 2018

M
Malka R.
Tucson, AZ | Reviewed on Jul 18, 2018
My experience in Ethiopia was great. Our guide, Tadele Molla, was very accommodating and tried his best to to meet our needs. Since we did not eat all the meals we asked for our laundry to be paid for instead which worked our great. There were a few miscommunications which were frustrating. When corresponding with Marco I asked about tipping and how much money I should bring. He said everything was covered and all we needed was for things I wanted to buy. Tadele had us tip the daily... Read more

My experience in Ethiopia was great. Our guide, Tadele Molla, was very accommodating and tried his best to to meet our needs. Since we did not eat all the meals we asked for our laundry to be paid for instead which worked our great.

There were a few miscommunications which were frustrating. When corresponding with Marco I asked about tipping and how much money I should bring. He said everything was covered and all we needed was for things I wanted to buy. Tadele had us tip the daily guides, of which there were 3 different ones. That needs to be made clearer. Two of the hotels did not have working toilets or showers so we asked for a change of rooms/hotels.

We had hoped to get into the Jewish village in Addis Ababa but that did not work out either. Our entire purpose in going to Ethiopia was to see our roots so it would have been nice to be told ahead of time that that excursion might be difficult. We talked to so Israeli volunteers that said they had no difficulty and all that needed to be done was contact the local rabbi of the village.

I know language can be an issue in communication so I am willing to take on some of the responsibility and tried to be clear in my questions and concerns.

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Jul 20, 2018

Dear Melka
It is nice to know that you have enjoyed the trip. It is also great that you had two fantastic events,despite the fact that there has been some disappointment which will be a good feeback for us. We wish you had an opportunity to meet those jewish family in Addis and we will be aware of that in the future, if we receive the same kind of people like you, having the same interest.
Thank you very much for all
Best regards
Marco

Historic Ethiopia
Ethiopia | Jun 18 - Jun 22, 2018

J
Jen B.
Australia | Reviewed on Jun 25, 2018

Marco was so helpful and always responded very promptly. All the guides and drivers were great, especially Haile.

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Jun 27, 2018

Hi Jen, I'm glad you enjoyed the time with Haile and that it was a good decision to take him as driverguide.
Marco

Ethiopia
Ethiopia | May 25 - Jun 2, 2018

V
Virginie B.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on Jun 04, 2018

My mother and I had a brilliant time in Ethiopia, and the quality of the trip exceeded our expectations. Marco and Yirga were very helpful, flexible, with a constant smile, and looked after us the whole time. Every day was different and captivating, with knowledgeable local guides who also helped us understand the local life and the people of Ethiopia.
We highly recommend a visit to Ethiopia, and Simien Eco Tours. You will not be disappointed.

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Jun 06, 2018

Hello Virginie and Genevieve,
thanks for the positive feedback. I don't see the need to add anything to it :-)
All the best,
Marco

Day Trips from Addis Ababa
Ethiopia | May 26 - May 26, 2018

M
Matthew R.
Canada | Reviewed on May 28, 2018

The tour was good however the guide and entrance fees were more than previously stated by email from the company. Considering the tour only pays for transportation and not the guide, entrance fees, or food it was quite expensive. Marco was fairly prompt in answering my questions by email. Debre Libanos Monastery was quite interesting and the highland views minus the pollution are quite pleasant. The red terror museum was a very and eye opening interesting experience and the driver was kind and helpful.

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on May 31, 2018
Dear Matthew,
if you check my previous communication I wrote:
"...yes, a guide is mandatory and about 400-600 Birr, depending what you're seeing. For entrances you can consider 500 Birr per person, maximum."
I checked again with our driver and other people the prices and the entrances are as follows:
monastery: 200 Birr per person
portuguese brige: 45 Birr per person
total: 245 Birr per person
The guide fees are:
monastery: 200 Birr
portuguese brige: 200 Birr
total: 400 Birr
So you see... Read more

Dear Matthew,
if you check my previous communication I wrote:
"...yes, a guide is mandatory and about 400-600 Birr, depending what you're seeing. For entrances you can consider 500 Birr per person, maximum."

I checked again with our driver and other people the prices and the entrances are as follows:
monastery: 200 Birr per person
portuguese brige: 45 Birr per person
total: 245 Birr per person

The guide fees are:
monastery: 200 Birr
portuguese brige: 200 Birr
total: 400 Birr

So you see that the fees are largely within the limit I gave you. Therefore I totally disagree with your comment and find your vote 3 out of 5 unfair, considering also that we were flexible enough to anticipate the daytrip by 2 days with very short notice.
Marco

Very Short Time but want to see some of your city!!
Ethiopia | May 20 - May 20, 2018

S
Stephen K.
Denver, CO | Reviewed on May 22, 2018
Marco and his assistant were really quite perfect for what we were looking for---10 hour lay-over, we were met outside and taken care of by Marco, who showed off his Ethiopian pride by showing us a capsulated version of the vibrant city. We feel that he sensed what we were looking for and was generous with his knowledge and money---we had little cash, so Marco paid for some souvenir with his cash and we settled up at the end. We loved the enculturation of hanging with local people, coffee... Read more

Marco and his assistant were really quite perfect for what we were looking for---10 hour lay-over, we were met outside and taken care of by Marco, who showed off his Ethiopian pride by showing us a capsulated version of the vibrant city. We feel that he sensed what we were looking for and was generous with his knowledge and money---we had little cash, so Marco paid for some souvenir with his cash and we settled up at the end. We loved the enculturation of hanging with local people, coffee ceremonies, lunch, breakfast and the markets.

I highly recommend this kind of trip to anyone who has a brief time in Addis ESPECIALLY for the food and culture. Thank You to all.

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on May 22, 2018

Hi Stephen and Jeanne,
you had very short time, but I'm glad that you fully enjoyed it.
Hope to see you back in Ethiopia so that we can show you the rest of the country...
Marco

Trip to Ethiopia
Ethiopia | Apr 7 - Apr 18, 2018

R
Robyn B.
Australia | Reviewed on Apr 24, 2018
I had wanted to go to Ethiopia for sometime, when it was decided I searched the internet for a company that could deliver the tour that I wanted.
I found kimkim and through them found Marco from Simien Eco Tours.
I also looked at least 3 other tour operators. I had a specific list of things I wanted to see and was open to suggestions of what else Ethiopia had to offer. I specifically wanted to go to Aksum, Lalibela and the archaeology site where 'Lucy' was found. I emailed Marco stating as...
Read more

I had wanted to go to Ethiopia for sometime, when it was decided I searched the internet for a company that could deliver the tour that I wanted.
I found kimkim and through them found Marco from Simien Eco Tours.
I also looked at least 3 other tour operators. I had a specific list of things I wanted to see and was open to suggestions of what else Ethiopia had to offer. I specifically wanted to go to Aksum, Lalibela and the archaeology site where 'Lucy' was found. I emailed Marco stating as much and his first reaction to the Lucy site was 'why would you want to go there, there is nothing there'.
I must admit I was a bit annoyed that I received this reply and responded with 'Because I want to!'. His reply to me was a detailed itinerary of our trip which included the northern historic tour of Bahir Dar, Gondar, the Simien Mountains, Aksum, Lalibela and then a drive to Samera and the Lucy site. The fact that he immediately responded to the request of the client sealed the deal with me.
The itinerary was more than I had anticipated and was delivered very professionally.
We were met at the airport by Marco taken to our hotel to freshen up from the long trip. We met a short time later and he advised us of our trip in the days ahead. We were taken to see the National Museum and the displays therein. My focus was on Lucy and I was not disappointed. However, if you are looking for a museum similar to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo then you will be disappointed. This is Ethiopia and I think that western tourism is in its infancy, the infrastructure is still a work in progress.
We were then taken to lunch, to be introduced to the local food, injera. We went to the Taitu Hotel, as Marco advised it is in a seriously rundown condition, there are bedrooms, but you certainly wouldn't stay there, however the restaurant hadn’t changed in a hundred years and the food was great. And he wasn't wrong, it is a great restaurant for the tourist to begin. Marco had to beg off after lunch and left us with Mohamed and a driver, we were asked where we wanted to go and decided to have a look at the Mercato Markets.
We also spoke about other things to do in Addis, the only other choice was a church. We don't go travelling without doing some research on the place and I already knew that there is not a lot to do in one day for a tourist in Addis. We were happy with the Mercato for a couple of hours.
Marco picked us up in the morning and took us to the airport for our flight to Bahir Dar where we would meet our guide Yirga who would look after us for the next 12 days.
The flight was uneventful and were met an hour later by Yirga and our driver Awasha. Over the next 12 days Yirga was the best. His English was excellent, his knowledge of all things Ethiopian fantastic. He told us that he had been a guide for at least 15 years, this certainly showed, what really impressed me was his enthusiasm.
Bahir Dar was excellent, a trip to the Blue Nile Falls, a boat trip to the 14th century monastery was a great day the next day we drove to Gondar. At Gondar we had a guide (I apologize for not remembering his name) who showed us around the castle (palace) and a couple of churches. One thing which always pleases me is the knowledge that the guides have of what they are showing you. The castle you might be able to see in half an hour, with the guide we spent 2 -3 hours and learned so much, I wish I could remember it all.
On to the Simien Mountains the next day. A simply wonderful drive, we arrived early afternoon and after checking in Yirga suggested a short walk. He loves trekking and short walk to him was 2 hours, fortunately for us it was all downhill!! Along the way we saw a small group of gelada baboons, several different birds and many species of plants all which Yirga knew the English names.
We were met 2 hours later by our driver with the car and were driven back up the lodge. We were stopped by a large group of gelada's. Having these animals within an arm’s reach was quite remarkable.
Next day off to Aksum. Aksum is a very holy city and if you don't know anything about it get on the internet and do your research, 2 days was not enough. Again, Yirga made sure that we were Ok and again provided us with a guide for the city and surrounds and again everything was exceptional.
We flew to Lalibela and were met with a new driver, Bekele, a great driver and a very nice man.
Again, we had a great guide and again we had a great time in Lalibela. Lalibela is the hone to the rock hewn churches and they do not disappoint. After spending a day and a half looking at the churches, we went to the open-air market. It was Saturday and market day, and what a great market this is, through the household goods, pots, pans etc through the vegetable area, through the meat market, meat was still live on the hoof, sheep, goats and cattle. Then onto the grain, wheat, split peas, tef, all for sale (tef is the grain they use to make injera) Then onto the spices, what a great day.
A quick note on the hotels we stayed at, as earlier stated tourism infrastructure is still a work in progress, the hotels look nice and the staff are unbelievably friendly and accommodating, but not everything works as you might like, accept the small inconveniences as a work in progress and have a good chuckle. You don't live there, are only in Ethiopia for a short time so enjoy.
For me the best was yet to come. We had a long drive to the city of Samera, not that it is far in distance but the roads, goats, sheep, cows, people on the road slow you down a bit. However, the scenery was fantastic. We drove for about 7 hours with a couple of stops for coffee and lunch.
The next day we drove south to the Hadar region, stopped in a small town to negotiate with the town mayor for the right to drive to the Lucy site, all the official paperwork in order and off we go across the landscape, we had to take the town mayor and another. Along the way we went through an administration centre, a few buildings in the middle of nowhere, we picked up the local policeman (not sure why) and set off for another 45 minutes through the landscape.
We arrived, walked for about 10 minutes over hill and dale and came to a stone cairn with a plaque stating that Lucy was discovered here in 1974. There was much backslapping, hi-fiveing and hand shaking, why because it turns out that we are the very first tourist to ever visit this site. Over the years there have been a few archaeological groups come out and survey or dig, a couple of documentary groups but never any tourists except us. It was Yirga's first time as well and he was as excited as us.
I know that I have waffled on a bit, but I wanted to try and give you an account of the great trip we had in Ethiopia. I cannot praise Marco enough for the organisation of the trip that he put in, there was no hiccups. Yirga, what can I say about this young man, except that his attention to us, our needs and wants went far beyond what I was expecting. I have no doubt that he provides this level of service to all his clients and he will truly make your holiday memorable.
To Marco and Yirga and all who made our holiday what it was, I can only say Ameseginalehu.

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Apr 26, 2018

Dear Robyn,
wow, what a long review full of enthusiasm! This shows me you really enjoyed the tour.
I'm happy to hear that your expectations, especially in terms of the Lucy site, have been fully met.
There are also other archaeological sites that you still haven't seen. So we're happy to see you again here... ;-)
Marco & Yirga

Historic Ethiopia
Ethiopia | Dec 7 - Dec 16, 2017

Tiffany
Tiffany M.
North Las Vegas, NV | Reviewed on Dec 18, 2017

Visited Addis Abbaba, LALIBELA, Gondar, Simien Mountains. The places were in an itinerary suggested by Marco after evaluating my personal interests. I saw amazing churches with amazing architecture, sat with wild baboons, tried cultural foods and unexpected dancing! This trip was amazing. I would recommend Ethiopia for a unique travel experience and definitely recommend this company!

Local specialist: Marco Degasper
Marco
Marco Degasper
Local specialist in Addis Ababa | Replied on Jan 01, 2018

Dear Tiffany,
it's good to hear that you enjoyed your trip and have been satisfied with our services.
Thanks,
Marco