LOST TRIBES OF ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia is the land of a thousand miles, the country where the two oldest religions co-existed in harmony for centuries, home of the arc of covenant and seed-bed of Christianity & origin of civilization. The land of friendly people with acclaimed hospitality. The only land in Africa that is infamous for its unique calendar and alphabets. Above all things, it is a country of great antiquity with a culture and traditions dating back more than 3000 years.
IS THIS TRIP FOR YOU?
Our days will be filled with endless photo opportunities, starting very early, before sunrise, and ending after sunset. This workshop requires you to be a very well traveled and adventurous photographer who is in good physical condition, and loves to have a great time when traveling.
Please note that this Quest is unique and accommodations outside of Addis, we stay in “best available” hotels. Although there are private bathrooms in the rooms, you must expect only cold-water showers. Outside of Addis, our meals will be simple and lack variety because there are limited resources in the countryside. Ethiopia has some good beers, but the local wines are not distinguished. You may want to bring your favorite alcoholic beverage.
Electricity in hotels in rural areas can be intermittent and sometimes generators are operated only during certain hours of the day. Questers should be prepared for a rugged experience. We ask that you bring flexibility and a spirit of adventure to this unique Quest, and take pleasure in the knowledge that you will be visiting a fascinating country.
This itinerary was created for all levels of photographers.
Road travel in rural Ethiopia is very challenging. Our vehicles may break down or get flat tires on occasion, and that can delay the trip. We use vans for the trip, but they may not compare favorably with the vehicles you may be familiar with from safari countries such as Botswana and Kenya. While we are on our rural road journeys, there are no organized toilet facilities available. We will make “pit stops” from time to time so trip members can get out of the vehicle and find a private spot behind a bush.
As a matter of courtesy, permission should be sought before photographing individuals and in many parts of the country, particularly among the Afar and among the ethnic groups living by the Omo River, people will demand a fee.
The Ethiopian calendar is seven years behind the calendar we use here in the United States. Furthermore, the Ethiopian calendar has 13 months, which causes an even greater difference between our calendars.
There are as many as 84 languages spoken in Ethiopia! Although the official language is Amharic, many Ethiopians speak a local language and are instructed in English.
Because of elevation, temperature rarely exceeds 25c (77 degrees Fahrenheit). In the Omo Valley it can get considerably hotter.
Pack light clothes for the daytime and light jacket or sweater for the evenings. A good pair of walking/hiking shoes, hat and sunglasses.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Ethiopian national dish consists of injera, a flat, circular pancake made of fermented dough on top of which are served different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables and pulses. Sauces are generally spiced with berbere, a blend of herbs and spices (including hot peppers) that gives Ethiopian food its characteristic taste.
Vegetarians should try "fasting food" (for devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christians fast days make up nearly half the year), a colorful spread of Salads, vegetables and pulses, devoid of all meat and animal products.
Addis Ababa now boasts of a wide variety of restaurants, and at hotels in tourist sites European style food such as pasta is always available.
The Ethiopian currency is the birr, the rate of which against the US dollar is fixed in weekly auctions. Visit for current exchange rates. In order to change birr back to dollars upon leaving the country, visitors will be asked to produce bank receipts.
PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS
Visas are required for all visitors to Ethiopia. A Tourist Visa for 2 years costs $70. US citizens can obtain visa on arrival at Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa).
There is a US $20 departure tax for international flights.
Traveling by road allows visitors to experience Ethiopia’s wonderful scenery, but road conditions are generally poor, and mountainous topography in the north will cut speed.
HEALTH AND MEDICAL
All visitors should be in possession of valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Immunization for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid and Polio is recommended.
Malaria: in many sites malaria is not a problem because of the elevation. Visit the US Center for Disease Control for more information.