Ethiopia family vacation

“Ethiopia is brimming with surprises - from the warmth of its people to astonishing rock-hewn churches. But perhaps the biggest surprise of all is how easy it is to travel with kids.”

Highlights

Addis Ababa | Bahir Dar | Blue Nile gorge | Lake Tana and Island monasteries | Castles and palaces of Gondar | Simien Mountains trek | Gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves | Aksum and stelae | Lalibela | Rock-hewn churches

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made at a time to suit you and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary. Minimum 2 people
Our top tip:
Standards don't always meet Western expectations. Bring a head torch and toilet paper - especially if camping in the mountains!
Trip type:
Tailor made family vacation. Minimum age 7.
Activity level:
Leisurely-moderate (all activities optional).
Accomm:
Locally owned, 3-4* hotels. Optional camping in the mountains.
Included:
Accommodation, tour leader, drive, local guides, breakfasts, listed activities, entrance fees.
Meals:
Not included
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Traveling with a local operator

This vacation is operated by a company based in the vacation destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your vacation to suit your requirements not only concerning the dates of travel but also typically the standard of accommodation, and thus price. It is rare for local operators to be able to help with the booking of your flights.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ethiopia family vacation

This trip is a great opportunity to see Ethiopian endemic species of Gelada, Red fox and Walia Ibex. Your visit will benefit the park's effort to protect these great endemics and conserve the environment. The park is a UNESCO world heritage site and many species were once on an endangered list.

The trip also gives employment and a market opportunity for the local shop owners, markets, restaurants, guides, scouts, mule hires, and many more. Also all the accommodations throughout your trip are owned and run by the members of the local community. Your needs associated with your travel will be served by the members of the community.

As you visit the park you will stay in lodges run by the park. All the guides throughout the trip are locals who have had adequate trainings and experiences and scouts are hired from the park. Also for your trekking arrangements, we hire mules from the local farmers and purchase most of the items that are necessary for your stay from local shops.

Most of the destination suppliers have already put in place a policy of using the local resources for development of the tourism industry in their respective areas. They also have economic policies to employ their staff from the local communities and to use the local resources for the services they provide. As part of environmental conservation efforts they give information to their customers on an efficient usage of water, electricity; and give away some materials like plastic bags to recycling agencies.

Also as part of their environmental responsibilities, they participate in different conservation initiatives like in '2 trees for 2000', a millennium initiative against the deforestation and land degradation in Ethiopia.

For you to have a better knowledge of the trip we will provide you with an accurate pre-trip information pack before the start of the tour. And in order you to have a good understanding of the places, the environment, and the local community; we will supply you with our Travelers Code of Conduct which is also supplied to our staff and local suppliers.

The trip also helps us support and contribute to a local initiative at Gonder working on disadvantaged groups living in rural and suburban settings. It helps the youth without access to basic primary education and for school dropouts providing tailored and market oriented skill trainings.

Also if you have some spare time at Addis we will arrange a visit to a project which is making a difference in the lives of children. You can make a miracle happen for a child and in return get a great deal of satisfaction. Be it a small or big gift, you can help a needy child get life's essentials, like food, an education and basic health care. If you wish to sponsor a child it will also make a big difference and help break the cycle of poverty.

Reviews of Ethiopia family vacation

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 16 Nov 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The spectacular mountain scenery was something unexpected and awesome. The people were very friendly. Labilela rock hewn churches and the history was very interesting and fascinating. Overall a fantastic experience.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Toilets at Simien mountain camps were plain disgusting, dirty, soiled, impossible to use. Remember to take a good stash of toilet paper.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Local people benefited, but it is upsetting for some tourists when children demand money in some locations e.g. it was even suggested by a student who posed as a guide at Blue Nile Falls that we give children 20 US DOLLARS after wiping mud off ones shoes without an invitation to do so.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Apart from the few annoyances as described above, the tour was well organized with a very good reliable driver and the local guides were mostly very knowledgeable. This operator come highly recommended by us --- no problem with their organization.

Reviewed on 10 Mar 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I am not sure what was the most memorable or exciting part of our vacation - for the three of us it would be different things. I think for my daughter it would be the fact that a leopard visited our camp in the Simien Mountains, for my husband it would most likely be the birds - he has never seen so many different types in so short a time followed closely by the rock hewn churches. It is truly amazing to stand in a place of worship that has been carved out of a single piece of stone! For me I think it would be the people. I am amazed that the people in the north eat, dress and farm the same way that they did 2000 years ago, and the tribes in the south must be living in the same way that they were thousands of years ago. Some of the places we went, the people had never seen a white child before. So our daughter caused a lot of excitement (she is 6) but never did we not feel safe. I think because the people in Ethiopia really love children we had many funny/sweet exchanges everywhere we went.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


To be very clear of your likes and wants so Eskinder can work his magic.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Simply by bringing money into the country we must have benefited the local people. None of the hotels we stayed in were part of a chain they were all owned locally owned. We had local guides everywhere we went which was truly wonderful, not only did this give us an insight into the local customs it also put some money into the local areas. Try as I might I don't think that there is anyway I can spin it that we didn't negatively impact on the environment. We flew there, we drove everywhere except when we took our 2 internal flights, we drank bottled water....We did not litter!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I would say it was a truly amazing time. We have not come back feeling renewed and refreshed but we feel that we have been very lucky to have seen what we saw and to have had such experiences. There is no way we would have been able to have done so much without Eskinder and his team. We were in Ethiopia for 16 days and I can honesty say we will never forget them.

Reviewed on 08 Feb 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The care and attention paid to us by the tour operator throughout the entire trip. The most memorable part was firstly the charm of the people we met and the time spent in the Simian Mountains.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The outline of the trip we took specified 2 nights at the Simian Lodge and then one night in Debark - we paid a little more to cancel the night in Debark and remain in the Simian Lodge - we would recommend any one else doing this trip to do the same. There is a 2 day drive to Lalibela to see the Rock churches and then a further 2 day drive back to Addis - explore the chance of flying back to Addis from Lalibela with the tour operator and have an extra lazy day in Addis.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes definitely. The money we spent on the vacation remained in Ethiopian hands and the hotels guides etc were all Ethiopian owned. Driving is the only way to get to some places so obviously there is an impact on the environment but the experience of truly seeing the country and an appreciation of the lives of ordinary Ethiopians was really memorable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent... in particular the driver, Yaret, one of life’s gentlemen, who remained with us throughout our trip, was unbelievably helpful as was the owner of the company who maintained regular contact with us during the trip. Guides were organised in advance at every location and all had reasonable to good English and knowledge of the sites we visited. As an introduction to the African continent for me it was the best experience imaginable.

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