☛ Explore Rift Valley's five lakes (south of Addis Ababa),
☛ Visit the Tiya Steles UNESCO Site,
☛ Discover wildlife of Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park,
☛ Meet with Jamaican Rastafarians at Shashemene,
☛ Experience what it's like to live at the Fish Market of Lake Awassa (Hawassa), and
☛ Enjoy private boat excursion at Ziway Lake
Everything with our 2-Days guided nature and culture tour from Addis Ababa
Duration – Two Days/One Night
Means of Transport – Private Vehicle and Boat on Lake Ziway
Total Distance Covered – 575 km (about 357 miles)
Places to visit and things to do: -
✿ Melka Kunture Prehistoric Site - Know more about ancient human beings. Learn how we the modern humans evolved. Visit four small tukul hut museums. See an open-air archaeological (excavation) site which is about 800,000 years old.
✿ UNESCO SITE of Steles of Tiya – learn the culture of erecting gravestones. Visit the cemetery of Tiya (12 – 14th Century AD). Speculate what the symbols and carvings on the steles signify.
✿ Local village visit and cultural experience – meet locals at their house. Learn (practice) how to bake Enjera (the Ethiopian pancake), and join them on a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.
✿ Stop at best outlooks to enjoy picturesque view of the Great East African Rift Valley
✿ Boat ride on Lake Ziway to spot a number of water birds and see families of hippos
✿ Fish Market of Lake Awassa – Experience how people of Awassa (Hawassa) have breakfast of fresh catch fish. Try tasty Fish soup, see Vervet Monkeys and Colobus Monkeys, and spot a number of birds
✿ Meet members of the Jamaican Rastafarian Community at Shashemene town. Better understand about their belief – Rastafarianism
✿ See five of the seven Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes
Road map of places to visit during the two days trip to Rift Valley Lakes with start and end at Addis Ababa city
Day 1 – Addis Ababa – UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tiya – Boat Trip on Ziway Lake – Shashemene – Awassa (Hawassa)
Day 2 - Awassa (Hawassa) – Abiyatta-Shalla Lakes National Park – Langano Lake – Ziway – Bishoftu (Debre Ziet) – Addis Ababa
With this 2-days tour from Addis Ababa visit Melka Kunture Prehistoric Site, and the grave site of Tiya (UNESCO World Heritage and 14th Century AD).
You'll see 5 Rift Valley lakes and the Bishoftu (Debre Ziet) Crater Lake. Visit the Fish Market of Lake Awassa, and Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park. Take scenic stops to enjoy the dramatic views of the Rift Valley.
Also, visit the cultural market of the Oromo people (only on Thursdays and Sundays). Boat ride on Lake Ziway and attending a typical Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony are part of the tour.
With this two-day nature tour, see baboons, warthogs, gazelles, ostriches, hippos, and Vervet monkeys. Watch birds like Storks, Ibis, Plovers, Stilts, Fish Eagles, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, etc.
Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours creates the ETHIOpERIENCE you need in Ethiopia.
Day by Day Itinerary of the 2 Days Private Tour of Rift Valley from Addis Ababa
Day 1 – Addis Ababa – Steles of Tiya - Awassa
The first day of this two days tour from Addis Ababa takes you 275 km south of Addis Ababa to Awassa. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Steles of Tiya. Tiya is a grave site where you will see 40 big stone gravel markers. They erected in honor of local warriors between 12th to 14th Century AD.
Along the way, visit villages of the Silte and Gurage tribal groups. At the village of the Gurage people, learn how to prepare Kotcho (bread they prepare from the root of Enset or False banana tree). Stop at different viewpoints to enjoy views of the Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley.
Enjoy a private boat trip on the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway for about an hour. Identify may low-land water birds like Spur-Winged Lapwing, African Sacred Ibis, and the African Spoonbill.
Hammerkop, Black Heron, Malachite Kingfisher, African Jacana, Hadada Ibis, etc. are other birds you'll see. When crossing the Awash River, look for crocodiles.
The next stop of the tour is at Shashemene town to visit the Jamaican Rastafarian Community at their church.
Rastafarians regard that Emperor (Emperor Haile Sillassie I) as their God or the Black Messiah. Emperor Haile Sillassie I's name before he assumed power was RAS TEFERI. Rastafarians get their name from ‘Ras Teferi’. Then, leave for Awassa. Drive 25 farther south to Awassa (Hawassa).
You will enjoy one of the best sunset of your time touring Ethiopia at Awassa, if the weather is good. Awassa is one of the biggest cities of Ethiopia and the regional capital of Ethiopia. O/N – Haile Resort Hotel
Day 2 – Awassa – Shashemene – Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park– Addis Ababa
After breakfast, drive to Amora Gedel by the shores of Lake Awassa. Visiting Fish Market of Lake Awassa is one of the top experiences this two days tour from Addis Ababa offers.
Meet locals of the Sidama tribe as they have breakfast of fresh catch Tilapia fish and spot a number of birds gathered looking for leftover fish. Walk around Lake Awassa to see the rare Colobus Monkey (Black and White Monkey).
Then, head north to the other Rift Valley Lake of Langano with a stop at the Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park.
Take a half an hour walking tour in Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park. See Ostriches, Gazelles, Warthogs, and different lowland bird species. Drive 5 km to a viewpoint to see the great view of the twin lakes of Abiyatta and Shalla.
Lake Shalla is the deepest lake in Ethiopia, and it is a breeding ground for the seasonal flamingos. If the road condition is good, continue driving farther to the hot springs. Visit Natural Hot Spring waters where locals use the waters to get healed from skin diseases.
With a lunch stop at the Rift Valley Lake of Langano, drive on the Express Way back to Addis Ababa.
See Adadi Mariam Rock Church – visit the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church of Adadi Mariam. It is a unique rock cut church from the 13th Century AD carved by King Lalibela.
Twice a week, there is an added visit to interesting market. Visit a colorful weekly held cultural market of the Oromo people at the small town of Adadi Mariam. The market visit is available only when the tour departs either on Thursday or Sunday.
NOTE – This two days tour from Addis Ababa to the Rift Valley is adaptable to fit visitor’s interests. We design to make is best by extending duration and adding more places of visits.
You can customize this tour by combining driving and using domestic flight. You can drive one way to Awassa (Hawassa). And take Ethiopian Airlines flight from Awassa (Hawassa) to Addis Ababa.
Please, contact us for prices, details, and booking!
Addis Ababa to Rift Valley Tour – Questions and Answers
What is the relationship between Rastafarians and Ethiopia?
Rastafarians revere the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I as a god. Why? Rastafarians considered the coronation of Haile Selassie I (formerly Ras Tafari) as Emperor of Ethiopia in 1931 as a fulfillment of Marcus Garvey’s 1920 prophecy.
“Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned, he shall be your Redeemer” preached Garvey a decade before Emperor Haile Selassie I came to power. For Rastafarians, Shashemene is home - the Promised Land.
With this two days guided trip from Addis Ababa, visit a Rastafarian Community at Shashemene and learn their beliefs.
How to extend this 2-days trip? What other interesting sites (attractions) to visit in the Rift Valley?
If you have a day or two available to extend this rift valley tour of 2-days, consider the following places of visits.
Wondo Genet (Wendo Genet)
Wondo Genet, also known as ‘Wondo’ in short, is 18 km west of Shashemene. Wondo Genet is famous for its natural hot spring waters. The natural hot springs are popular by locals for its medicinal powers.
Wondo Genet is also a site of one of the few natural (indigenous) forests left in East Africa. This natural forest is best attraction for naturalists and bird watchers. You will spot a number of birds including mountain buzzards, spotted creeper, Abyssinian woodpecker, yellow fronted parrot, banded barbet, Ethiopian oriole, etc.
You can extend your two days tour to the rift-valley in visiting Wondo Genet. You’ll have a leisure time at Wondo Genet taking bath in the natural hot springs and swimming. The swimming pool of the Wabe Shebele Resort is filled with waters from the natural thermal springs.
Take short walks in the compound of the Wabe Shebelle Resort compound to see Anubis Baboons, Colobus Monkeys (Black and White Monkeys) and Grivet Monkeys. The Wabe Shebelle Resort was founded by Emperor Haile Sellassie I as a royal family resort.
If you have time, visit a local house of Jamaican Rastafarians near Wondo Genet.
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