Photos Courtesy of Extraordinary JourneysOne of the most frustrating things about being on vacation is trying to fit everything into that one short stay. It seems you never have the time to see and do everything you’d like to and you may never have the chance to return. Extraordinary Journeys (EJ)—specializing in bespoke African tours—knows it’s not that often people get to travel around this captivating continent. So, to help get the most out of your time there, they’ve has taken their offerings to new heights…literally.
For their new Ethiopian adventure, EJ has partnered with Tropic Air helicopter charter to show guests in eight days what they may not be able to see in an entire month by land. The bird’s eye view gives a whole new perspective to the majestic landscapes below. Check out some highlights from each of the eight days spent going above and beyond your average tour of Ethiopia.
- Begin in the fourth largest city in Africa, Addis Ababa, where you’ll meet the first of three pilots on the journey
- Take a tour of the city, visit local markets, or head to the National Museum, home to ‘Lucy’, a 3.5 million-year-old skeleton—the oldest hominid ever found
- Stay overnight at the Sheraton Addis
Day 2 & 3
- Depart for Lalibela, one of the two holiest cities in Ethiopia
- Once there, you’ll tour the famous 12th century rock-hewn churches, an UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Stay overnight at the Mountain View Hotel
- Travel north via helicopter along the Tekezé River, which has made one of the world’s deepest canyons at over 2,000 feet
- You’ll land in Ethiopia’s highest range, the Simien Mountains
- At 15,000 feet above sea level, a car will meet you to drive around and attempt to spot some indigenous animals like the Gelada baboon, Ethiopian wolf and the walia ibex
- Spend the remaining nights at Gheralta Lodge
- You’ll fly along the Simiens and touch down for a picnic breakfast before heading to the town of Aksum, known for its granite monuments
- Later in the day you’ll tour the Tigray region and see some of its 6th and 7th century rock-hewn churches
- This day will be spent 330 feet below sea level amongst the volcanoes, salt pans and acid lakes of the Danakil Depression
- Located on the Horn of Africa at a break in the Great Rift Valley, some of the hottest temperatures on earth have been recorded here
- Before the day is through you’ll also visit Irta Ale, a volcano that has been constantly erupting since 1967
- You’ll continue exploring the Tigray region and see eight of its most famous churches (since they are seven hours apart by foot, traveling by helicopter is the only way to visit them all in one day)
- A guide will lead you up the steep hillsides inside the churches to see their beautiful mural paintings and the priests who reside there
- Head back to Addis Ababa admiring the landscape along the western wall of the Great Rift Valley
- Stay overnight at the Sheraton Hotel before going back to reality
This eight-day adventure into ancient Ethiopia is priced at $136,550 for two and $142,000 for four, excluding international flights. As an extra incentive to cross this off your bucket list, if you book the trip by December 15, 2013, Extraordinary Journeys will take $5,000 off the cost.