Enjoy the freedom of stopping at different viewpoints to enjoy the dramatic view of the Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley by drive with a comfortable air conditioned Toyota Minivan, and learn from your professional experienced English speaking tour guide of the Ethiopian birdlife and see families of hippos on a private boat ride on the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway.Meet local families and partake a typical Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, and see the bird life of the lakes and wildlife of the Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park.The tour also includes visiting the unique and still operational rock carved church of Adadi Mariam, Tiya Steles (a cemetery dating back to 12th – 14th Century AD and UNESCO World Heritage Site), and boat trip on Lake Ziway to see families of hippos and a number of lowland water birds. The tour includes a total of 580 km drive in two days.On Thursdays or Sundays, experience local culture at the colorful weekly held cultural market at Adadi town.
ItineraryDay 1: Addis Ababa – Butajira – Lake Ziway – AwassaStop At: Adadi Mariam, Addis AbabaBe met and welcomed by your tour guide at your hotel lobby at 7:30 AM and take your private comfortable air conditioned Toyota Minivan for the drive of 275 km south of Addis Ababa to Awassa with interesting stops along the way.The first stop today is at an outlook to enjoy the great scenery of the Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley. It is best known for its beautiful lakes and abundant birdlife. The Rift Valley is where Africa is in its early stage of breaking apart.Then crossing the Awash River and driving 12 km on dirt road, visit the ancient and still in service church of Adadi Mariam which is chiseled out of a single piece of rock in the 13th Century AD. Adadi Mariam rock church is believed to have been founded by King Lalibela who carved 11 more beautiful and elaborate rock churches in the Northern Ethiopia.Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Tiya World Heritage Site, Tiya, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's RegionFollowing will be visiting the Steles of Tiya located 45 km away from Adadi Mariam rock church. The Steles of Tiya is one of Ethiopia’s sites listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Here you will visit beautiful carved stone grave markers erected between the 12th and 14th Century AD in honor of important local heroes (warriors).Duration: 1 hourStop At: Haile Resort Ziway BatuAfter lunch at the town of Butajira, and another stop to see the Rift Valley of Ethiopia from another angle, enjoy a boat trip of about an hour on the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway to see families of hippos and a number of birds such as Great white pelicans, Marabou Storks, African Fish Eagle, Sacred Ibis, Hammer Kops, etcFinally, drive 115 km south to the Rift Valley Lake of Awassa. If the weather is good, enjoy the beautiful sun set over the lake.Duration: 4 hoursNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 2: Awassa – Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park – Bishoftu – Addis AbabaStop At: Fish Market at Awassa Lake, Awasa, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's RegionAfter breakfast head to Amora Gedel found by the shores of Lake Awassa. It is where locals come to have breakfast of fresh catch Tilapia fish and spot a number of birds gathered looking for leftover fish. Here you will see the rare Colobus Monkey (Black and White Monkey).Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Abidjatta-Shalla National Park, Awasa, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's RegionThen, head north to the Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park with a stop at Shashemene to visit the Jamaican Rastafarian Community.At Abiyatta Shalla Lakes NP walk for half an hour to see Ostriches, Gazelles, Warthogs, and different lowland bird species. If the weather is good (September – June), continue driving farther to visit the Natural Hot Spring waters where locals use the waters to get healed from skin diseases.Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Lake Ziway, Ziway, Oromiya RegionThen Stop at Lake Langano for lunch and drive via Lake Ziway back to Addis Ababa with another stop at Bishoftu Crater LAkeDuration: 4 minutesNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.