Day Tour from Addis Ababa to Rift Valley

1-Day Private Excursion from Addis Ababa to Rift Valley Lake of Ziway

Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya - Day Trip from Addis Ababa

This Day Tour to Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya is one of Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours best day trips from Addis Ababa.

With this private day trip, visit Steles of Tiya (UNESCO World Heritage Site), experience culture at local villages, and boat excursion at the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway.

Reach us on WhatsApp to organize a private one-day tour of the Rift Valley with a start and end at Addis Ababa.

Private small group excursion (one day round trip) is by driving with comfortable vehicle. Things-to-do include: -

* visit Tiya burial ground (14th Century AD and UNESCO World Heritage Site)

* experience local life with family visits,

* enjoy the panoramic view of the Rift Valley, andBirds at the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway South of Addis Ababa

* have a private boat ride on Lake Ziway to explore the Ethiopian bird life.

Total Distance – 350 km (~ 218 miles)

Duration – 11 to 12 hours

Group Size – 1 to 6 visitors

Transportation – Private Toyota Corolla (1 or 2 travelers) and Toyota Minibus (3 to 6 travelers) equipped with AC and seat belts

Overview of Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya - Day Tour from Addis Ababa

This is a multi-faceted day trip from Addis Ababa. It includes cultural site visit, nature and wildlife, scenery, and cultural experience. Our 1-day excursion to the Rift Valley allows you have a bigger picture of Ethiopia in one day. It is a combination of wildlife, birding, scenery (geography) and cultural experience. This one day trip around Addis Ababa is a great introduction to Ethiopia, especially for first-time visitors.

You’ll learn about Ethiopia's diversity on this day-long excursion to the south of Addis Ababa. The historic route of northern part of Ethiopia is notable for historical attractions. North of Addis Ababa is also remarkable for ancient religious sites like the rock churches of Lalibela.

But, the southern part of the Ethiopia is unique for its natural, scenic, and cultural sites. Have a glimpse of Southern Ethiopia with our one-day journey from Addis Abeba to the Rift Valley.

The excursion takes about 12 hours by driving with a private vehicle. The day trip covers about 350 km circuit (loop) with a start and end at Addis Ababa. A professional local tour guide with deep knowledge of the area takes you around. Our guides have years of experience in guiding international tourists on the day tour from Addis Ababa.

Principal places of visits and things to do of the day trip are: -

Steles of Tiya – Cemetery dating back to the 12th to 14th Century AD. Tiya Steles is the closest UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ethiopia to Addis Ababa. Learn the culture of erecting stone grave markers.

Scenery of the Rift Valley – Visitors who enjoy scenic beauty find this day trip from Addis Ababa worthy. Along the drive, stop at some viewpoints to admire views of the Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley.

Local village and family visits – take one-hour visit to the local people of the Oromo tribe to learn their way of living. Experiencing a different culture helps to see life from a different point of view and to appreciate what we have.

Boat trip on the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway – with one hour private boat trip on Lake Ziway, see many lowland water birds of Ethiopia. You will also see a couple of hippos.

Day Tour Detailed Itinerary

Pelicans at the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway Ethiopia - Photo by Merit Ethiopian Experience ToursYour local tour guide will meet you at your hotel/place of stay in Addis Ababa at 7:00 AM. Pick-up from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is also possible for arriving visitors.

Before the rush hour starts, drive south of Addis Ababa. After driving 30 km farther, stop at an outlook to enjoy the spectacular Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley.

With half an hour drive, you will get to the Awash River (one of the biggest rivers in Ethiopia). Take a walk to cross the Awash River to see some people washing clothes. Get authentic photos of locals as they cross the bridge with donkeys to get drinking water.

Continue driving 30 km farther south and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stelae of Tiya. At Tiya, learn the old tradition and history of dedicating steles for the dead. Have a look at 40 steles - ancient upright stone slab bearing carved markings.

TIYA UNESCO World Heritage Site EthiopiaThe small town of Tiya, 85 km south of Addis Ababa, is inhibited by the local tribal people of Oromo and Gurage. Past Tiya, you will drive to the area of the Gurage people. The Gurage are noted for their cultivation of Enset (False Banana Tree). They use the roots of Enset to make porridge (oatmeal) and bread.

Have lunch break at the town of Butajira. Then, drive 50 km to the east to Lake Ziway. This is a great drive to notice as the geography and vegetation changes gradually. You will have a couple of stops to take photos of the Rift Valley.

Before getting to Ziway, stop at the villages of the Oromo people to learn how to bake the Ethiopian national bread known as “Enjera or Injera”. You will also take part in the cultural Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

Drive to Lake Ziway and take a 1-hr private boat trip on Lake Ziway. With the boat excursion on Ziway, you'll see families of hippos and many lowland water birds. Talk to us for details of this full-day guided tour from Addis Ababa.

Some familiar birds you will spot include African Fish-Eagle, Spur-winged Lapwing, and African Fish Eagle. At Lake Ziway, you'll also see Hamerkop, African Sacred Ibis, and Marabou Stork.

There are more than 100 bird species to see around Lake Ziway. African Spoonbill African Pygmy-goose, Black Heron African Darter, and Long-tailed Cormorant are other birds you'll identify at Lake Ziway.

BLACK HERON at the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway, South Ethiopia

Your local tour guide will point out an island in Lake Ziway which is believed to house the Original Ark of the Covenant for 72 years in the 9th Century AD. The Original Ark of the Covenant is now at Axum, northern Ethiopia.

On the way back to Addis Ababa, drive north on the main highway from Addis Ababa to Kenya. The last 60 km drive will be on Ethiopia’s only toll road, which was built by a Chinese construction company.

If time allows, this day trip from Addis Ababa may include a stop at one of the crater lakes of Bishoftu or Debre Ziet.

This Addis Ababa layover tour is flexible to fit with visitors' other inquiries or can be extended to a two-day tour from Addis Ababa.

Have you taken this excursion with Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours before? Please leave a review of your day tour with us on TripAdvisor with the link below.



RELATED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - Day Trip Addis Ababa to Rift Valley Lakes

What can I do near Ziway Lake?

To discover worth visiting sites near Lake Ziway, we suggest the following activities: -

  • Hiking on Tulu Gudo Island of Lake Ziway. Tulu Gudo housed the Original Ark of the Covenant for 72 years in the 9th Century AD.
  • Visit the villages of the local Zay (Zai) people at an island in Lake Ziway. Zay (Zai) people are believed to be the indigenous people who brought the Original Copy of the Ark of the Covenant from Axum.
  • Take a winery tour of Castel Winery by the shores of Lake Ziway. Castel Winery is the first privately owned winery and vineyard in Ethiopia.
  • With prior notification, we organize a private tour to AFRIFLORA SHER – SherEthiopia. It is the biggest rose farm in the World exporting 3 to 4 million roses to the Netherlands every day.

Depending on how many days in Addis Ababa you have, there are other interesting places to visit in full day tours from Addis Ababa.

We organize private day trips to Debre Libanos Monastery, to Lake Wenchi Crater Lake, and Adadi Mariam Rock Church. It is possible to arrange the day trips to fit with the arrival and departure times of your flight with Ethiopian Airlines.

Reserve our day trips in/near Addis Ababa with free cancellation before 24 hours of the tour start time.

Contact us for booking the Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya - Day Tour from Addis Ababa.


Book EthioPerience!

MEET the best - Travel Ethiopia with Merit footer

Contact us soon at

Call us on +251-91-136-0488 OR +251-96-307-8067

Drop us a message or chat with us on WhatsApp

TwitterFollow us on Twitter

Facebook – Get in touch with us on Facebook

LinkedIn – Connect with us on LinkedIn

Instagram – See where we can take you in Ethiopia

Pinterest – Discover what you can do in Ethiopia with MERIT

Discover Lake Ziway with a day tour from Addis Ababa!

- -
nach oben