This trip is one of our most varied to date. Starting in Addis Ababa, we learn about the history of Haile Selassie, the Rastafari movement, the Derg and the Ethiopian civil war which led to the famine of the 1980's. We then travel onwards to visit the khat markets of Dire Dawa and the beautiful UNESCO listed ancient walled city of Harar. As well as a wealth of cultural sites there is also the opportunity to feed wild hyenas that roam the streets at night! Onto the self declared republic of Somaliland where as well as learning about the Somaliland civil war which led to the breakaway state declaring independence we will also visit 5000 year old cave paintings at Las Geel and the coastal resort of Berbera where we can enjoy freshly caught fish and relax on completely deserted beaches.
We've been running our tours to Horn of Africa for 3 years now. Formerly known as British Somaliland Protectorate, the region gained independence in 1960 and became part of the State of Somalia along with Puntland and Somalia. In 1991 full civil war broke out in Somalia and the ensuing massacres led to the people of Somaliland to fight for international recognition ever since. With deserted beaches, 5000 year old cave paintings and a tiny capital city full of warm friendly people, Somaliland is a extremely unique side of Africa, that is so far empty of tourists. Be amongst the first to venture into this part of the world!
|Tour dates||Tour name||Price|
|8-12 November 2018||Danakil Depression tour/extension**5 places remaining**||895 €|
|12-21 November 2018||Ethiopia & Somaliland tour||TOUR FULL!|
|7-11 November 2019||Danakil Depression tour/extension||895 €|
|11-20 November 2019||Ethiopia & Somaliland tour||1310€|
The tour is priced at 1210€ and includes:
- 3 star central twin hotel accommodation
- all road transport in Ethiopia and Somaliland
- all tours, entry fees and permits for Las Geel caves
- experienced English speaking guides
- accompanied by Western guide throughout the trip
- all breakfasts
- Lunch and dinners (approx $10-15 per day)
- International flights
- Ethiopian and Somaliland visas (approx £55)
- Tips for guides (approx $20 in total)
- Flight from Hargeisa (Somaliland) to onward destination (£150 to Addis Ababa, £200 to Dubai)
- Hargeisa airport departure tax (approx $20)
- Other personal expenses
Rooms are on a twin basis and if you are travelling alone we will allocate someone for you to share with if possible. To have your own single room there is an additional cost of £195.
Please note that some sections of these tours travel to areas where the British FCO advises against all travel too. Namely the road from Hargeisa to Berbera in Somaliland, and Mogadishu on the optional extension.
We research the security of our destinations highly and safety is a priority for us, however, we advise you do you own research too to ensure you are comfortable with your trip.
During the journeys through these areas in Somaliland and Mogadishu, we will be travelling with armed guards.
Please note these travel warnings may also affect travel insurance for these regions, please contact us for advice on this.
A deposit is taken on booking (£150) and can be made by credit card (via Paypal) or bank transfer.
Balance can be paid in advance by bank transfer or Paypal and is due 8 weeks prior to departure.
12th November 2018
Arrive in Addis Ababa to be met by our driver who will transfer you to your hotel. Day at leisure.
For those of you taking our Danakil extension trip, the group will arrive back from Mekele at 21:10 and be transferred to the hotel.
After breakfast we will take a full day tour of Addis Ababa. In the morning we will visit we will visit the National Museum, to view amongst many other historical relics, 'Lucy'; the world's oldest humanoid skeleton, dating back over 3 million years. Afterwards we head to St George's Cathedral before stopping for lunch and sampling some Ethiopian coffee - arguably the finest you will taste in the world!
After lunch we will will move on to the Holy Trinity Cathedral to see the tomb of Hailie Selassie before finishing at the Red Terror Martyrs Museum. Here we will hear moving first hand accounts of the bloodshed, torture and mass killing carried out by The Derg; the military junta during the late 1970's.
Evening at leisure.
Early morning rise ready for a 5:30 departure to Dire Dawa. We will make the 10 hour journey by comfortable air conditioned coach^. Refreshments provided on board and we will also stop mid way through the journey at a local roadside restaurant for lunch.
Arrival into Dire Dawe around 15:30 and check into the Samrat Hotel. Rest of the day at leisure to relax in the outdoor swimming pool or go for a stroll around the city.
After breakfast we will take a tour of Dire Dawa Railway Museum. An extraordinary site; semi abandoned, partly still in use; the station was built over 100 years ago and has barely changed in all that time with most of the original French built machinery still in place and in use. Afterwards we visit the khat, camel and spice markets. Watch the locals sat in the sun, chewing their khat without a care in the world and take in the overpowering smells of dried chilli being crushed down into powder to sell on at the markets.
We stop at a local restaurant for lunch before taking a private minibus to Harar. One hour later we arrive and check in to the Heritage Plaza hotel. Rest of the day at leisure with the option of feeding wild hyenas in the evening!*
After breakfast we take a tour of the UNESCO listed city of Harar. We'll see the colourfully dressed local women, wild eagles circling the butchers shops, fresh coffee being processed and khat being pulped into a paste to make tea from. We'll also visit the tomb of Sheikh Abadir, the Arthur Rimbaud Centre, City Gates, Ras Tafari's house, Ras Makonnen's Palace, Jamia mosque and the Smugglers market.
Also, today is Timkat - Ethiopia's biggest festival. In the afternoon it's possible to sit in the main square and watch the huge processions of people parading and dancing through the city streets.
Evening at leisure, with the option of attending a local bar and club in the evening.
After breakfast we take a private minibus for the two hour journey to the Somaliland border. After passing through border controls we are picked up by our Somali guides and taken on a further two hour journey along desert roads to the capital city, Hargeisa.
Check into our hotel in the centre of Hargeisa before spending the rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast we head out to the livestock market to witness the spectacle of hundreds of camels and other livestock being traded. We then take a tour of the city centre where we see the moneychangers with their piles and piles of Somaliland shillings, the bazaar, Central mosque and the MIG monument before stopping for lunch.
In the afternoon we visit Naasa Hasblood or Virgin Breasts Mountain, twin hills situated just outside of Hargeisa. Chance to see wildlife along the way such as tortoises, baboons and the rare beira antelope - indigenous to the region. We will trek to the top of one of the twin hills to see spectacular views of the Somaliland desert. On our way back down we will cut through a pungent smelling baboons nest (if vacant!). Return to the the hotel and rest of the evening at leisure.
Departure at 8:00 after breakfast and drive by private minibus 60km North to Laas Geel cave paintings. The ancient artwork dates between 9000BC and 3000BC. They are some of the best preserved paintings in the world and were only discovered by the Western world as recently as 2002 by a French archaeological team.
In the afternoon we drive on to the coastal city of Berbera, stopping for lunch en route. On arrival into Berbera we will view some of the English and Russian colonial architecture before heading to the sea front to view the bombed and abandoned ships that remain from the Somalian civil war. Afterwards we will check into our hotel, situated right on a deserted beach where dolphins and turtles can regularly be spotted. Evening at leisure.
Spend the morning at your own leisure; relax on the beach, swim in the sea or take a stroll around the dusty centre of Berbera. In the early afternoon we'll go for lunch at one of Berbera's fish restaurants before taking a walking tour of Berbera town.
Rest of day at leisure.
In the morning we depart back to Hargeisa, arriving in time for the 17:40 Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis (not included). For anyone wishing to travel on to Djibouti we will put you in touch with our partners who you can book with directly. You can travel overland or fly with Jubba Airways.
For information on our pre trip extension to the Danakil depression, please click here.
Is Somaliland safe?
Somaliland is a separate entity to the rest of Somalia and is perfectly safe for tourists. It is for all intents and purposes, a separate country. The country has it's own government, currency, border control, police and army. The Somaliland people are desperate for their country to be recognized as an independent state and are extremely warm and friendly to visitors.
Do I require visas for Ethiopia and Somaliland?
Visas are required for both Ethiopia and Somaliland. Ethiopia visas are available at Embassies around the world. For UK citizens they are priced at £15. Somaliland visas are available in the UK, USA and Ethiopia. Visas in London are priced at £30. For anyone based in other countries, please contact us for advice on obtaining your visa.
Are credit cards accepted?
Credit cards are not widely accepted in Ethiopia and are not accepted at all in Somaliland. ATM's can be found in Addis Ababa to withdraw cash but we don't recommend relying on them, bring enough money with you. US dollars are accepted everywhere in Somaliland.
Will my mobile phone work?
Your phone will not connect to the local network in Somaliland. In Ethiopia you can connect for calls and texts but generally roaming is not available. Check with your network provider for clarification.
Where does the tour end?
The tour ends in Hargeisa to give people the flexibility to continue travelling around the region if they so wish. For those wishing to go directly back to Addis Ababa to fly home, flights can be arranged for £150 or we can help arrange a cheaper route by land. You may also wish to consider travelling onwards to other countries in the region such as Djibouti, Yemen or South Sudan.