Experience the wild and historical places of Ethiopia from hiking with baboons in the Sieman Mountains to visiting the 13th century underground churches of Lalibela, considered to be one of the Eight Wonders of the World. Witness the headwaters of the powerful Nile River by papyrus boat, shop the largest open-air market in Africa, meet Lucy (the oldest discovered human), explore ancient monasteries, and taste the local culture through a traditional cooking class.
Ethiopia has one of the most unique histories in the world. There are magnificent churches carved into underground stone (the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela) and ancient monasteries with beautiful, intricately-painted ceilings. Ethiopian culture has remained relatively untouched for centuries, allowing for an authentic experience of people and place. We spend the week exploring its culture and history, intertwined with enjoying its natural beauty: visiting the headwaters of the Nile River, crossing by papyrus boat, and hiking in the Simien Mountains. Here we’ll see the Gelada baboons, a species of monkey found only in the Ethiopian Highlands. Ending the week, we’ll learn about traditional food through a cooking class, making it possible to share a bit of Ethiopia with our friends and families back home.
You must be at least 15 years of age at the time of the event.
You must be in hiking shape for our two full hiking days.
You must be excited about visiting and touring foreign countries and exploring new and old cultures—including eating local cuisine.
You must be willing to get the doctor recommended vaccines and medications.
Our trip will begin in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. From there, we’ll hop between historical sites and natural wonders via cars and planes. We’ll stay in the northern region of the country, famous for the their mountains, monkeys, and unique historical sites.
June 11-21, 2019; $3600
Must be 14-18 years old at the time of the event
All flights within Ethiopia will be included in the trip cost. Travel from the United States to Ethiopia will NOT be included.
A $200 deposit will be due immediately upon acceptance to this event. (It's part of the destination fee, not in addition to it.) ATS has scholarship opportunities available! Contact ATS for more information or download the form off the website. Specific flight numbers and times into John F. Kennedy International Airport will be provided when we send out a detailed packet around April 1st.
Day 1 - Travel day from JFK Airport to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADD).
Day 2 - Arrive in the evening in Addis Ababa. Spend the night in the city and prepare for the upcoming trip.
Day 3 - After breakfast, start the city tour in Addis Ababa for your first glimpse of the lifestyles and cultures of this modern African city. Visit the Ethnographic Museum and the National Museum where we’ll see Lucy, a three-and-a-half-million-year-old fossilised skeleton. Continue the city tour at the bustling Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa. In the afternoon, participate in a cultural exchange with local students to discuss daily life in our different countries.
Day 4 - Fly to Bahir Dar (flight included) early in the morning and start the city tour with a boat trip on Lake Tana. There we’ll visit the famous monasteries of the Zege Peninsula which are full of beautiful mural paintings, religious books, and sacred artifacts. In the afternoon, drive to the small village of Tis Abay to visit Blue Nile Falls. Upon arrival, hike through the beautiful scenery and cross a Portuguese bridge to the waterfall. On the way back, cross by papyrus boat where the legendary Blue Nile River joins the White Nile to form the longest river in the world. Finish the day enjoying a beautiful sunset over the lake.
Day 5 - Drive to Gondar. The morning drive will take you through rural villages, offering a
wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. Explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the 17th Century Royal Enclosure (with six castles!), Fasilides’ pool, and the famous Debre Birhan Selassie church ceiling, full of staring angels.
Day 6 - In the morning, drive to Simien Mountains National Park. Do a day hike from Buytras to Sankaber. During the walk there’s a good chance of seeing your first Gelada baboons, a species of baboons unique to the region.
Day 7 - In the morning, fly to Lalibela (flight included). Visit the Northwestern Cluster of rock-hewn churches. The churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site, were built by King Lalibela to be the New Jerusalem and are considered one of the Eight Wonders of the World. Finish your day with a stunning sunset over the mountains of Lasta.
Day 8 - In the morning, hike toward Plateau Merababu through several farming villages, observing the lifestyle of the local countryside. Stop by the cliffside 13th century monastery of Asheten Mariam. Reach the Hudad lodge, where you will enjoy stunning views over the mountains surrounded by Gelada baboons. That evening we learn about Ethiopian food with a traditional cooking class.
Day 9 - In the morning, head back to Lalibela and drive to the airport to fly to Addis Ababa (flight included) with time for sightseeing and shopping. In the evening we fly back to JFK.
Day 10 - Arrive at JFK and fly home.
Experience the wild and historical places of Ethiopia