Authentic Photography Tour of Ethiopia in 2018
Simien Mountain Landscapes, Gelada Monkeys, Lalibela’s Churches, Tribes of the Omo Valley & The Rare Ethiopian Wolf
- Participation is confined to a maximum of fourteen (14) photographers. Twelve (12) places have already been reserved.
- If you are interested, I recommend you book as early as you can as the remaining places are likely to fill quickly.
- NEW OPTIONAL EXTENSION: Click the “Itinerary” tab to see details of the new optional extension to the Danakil Depression.
Should you have any queries before booking please call me on 0418 923 103 or drop an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This exclusive, small group tour provides a unique opportunity to photograph the “best of the best” of Ethiopia.
Split by the Great Rift Valley and rippling with seemingly endless mountains, Ethiopia’s geography is as dramatic as its history and ancient cultures. It is the cradle of our earliest known ancestors; a hub for some of the first Christians, Muslims and Jews, a last frontier for a number of Africa’s most photogenic tribes and the home of the rare Ethiopian wolf (reportedly only about 500 remain on the planet).
Why These Particular Subjects & Destinations?
This photo tour is not about photographing lions, leopards, other ‘big cats’ or Africa’s ‘Big Five’, as I anticipate those interested in joining this tour will already have been on a number of such photo safaris with me, or with others.
A photographer can visit Africa many times to capture its spectacular wildlife, scenery and cultures, but the discerning eye seeks and appreciates uniquely iconic photographic opportunities in destinations less well-travelled by others. I continually seek such destinations and this one reveals a part of Africa, you possibly may not have known existed
I wish to introduce you to the iconic subjects of Ethiopia, each distinctive in its own right but when brought together into one tour, offers a rich selection of natural history, nature, cultural and rare wildlife. The photography you will experience on this tour is some of the richest you will find in Africa, if not the world.
The itinerary has been crafted to provide unforgettable experiences and truly compelling images.
I work solely with local Ethiopian guides who specialize in the Omo Valley. Over many years they have built up an enviable reputation for guiding the best photographic tours into the valley and their rapport with many of the valley tribes allows them entry to places that many photographers rarely get to visit.
For the 2018 tour I have added two special highlights. The first is the Bale Mountains where I am confident we will find and photograph the highly endangered Ethiopian wolf.
The second highlight is, I have timed the tour to visit Lalibela on St George’s Feast Day when there will be a multitude of pilgrims surrounding St George’s church – the most famous of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. The scenes here should provide amazing photographic opportunities and be one of the highlights of the tour.
Simien Mountains Scenery, Gelada Monkeys & Ethiopian Wolves
Simien Mountains National Park, listed as a World Heritage Site in 1918, is one of the most dramatic destinations in Africa and includes Ras Dejen, the country’s highest mountain, at 4,533m (14,850 feet). It is an exotic setting with endemic wildlife and breath-taking views that has forever filled photographers with awe. No wonder it is frequently referred to as the Grand Canyon of Africa.
Here we find the impressive bearded vulture, or lammergeier, with its 3m (10 feet) wingspan.
The gelada “Old World” monkey (not a baboon) is only found in the highlands of Ethiopia. It is sometimes called the “bleeding heart” monkey because of the distinctive, bright red, heart-shaped patch on its chest. They mix easily, without aggression, forming very large ‘communities’ up to 1,000 strong – one of the largest groups of any primate on earth. The average community size is 200, providing excellent photographic opportunities.
The Ethiopian wolf is the most threatened canid in the world and the only wolf species found in Africa. It is similar to a coyote or dingo in shape and size with long legs, and a pointed muzzle. This elegant wolf is only found in the mountains of Ethiopia, where reportedly no more than 500 survive, is increasingly threatened by habitat loss and diseases like rabies and canine distemper.
Lalibela’s 12th Century Churches : A Travel Photographer’s Paradise
Lalibela’s exceptional churches have been the focus of pilgrimages by Coptic Christians since the 12th century and still attract pilgrims (and photographers) from all over the world.
The church of St. George stands proud in a 25 metre by 25 metre wide pit, carved out of solid volcanic rock. The church was built by excavating a free-standing block out of the surrounding bed-rock. The early stone masons carefully chiselled away the church outline, shaping both the exterior and interior by hand. They fashioned a simple yet exceptionally beautiful cruciform structure approximately 12 m high.
If this overview has sparked your interest and you would like more information, read through the other Tabs or click the yellow ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON TOUR button in the sidebar on the right.
The Tribes of the Omo Valley
For millennia, the Omo Valley has been inhabited by a variety of ethnic tribes, each having its own distinctive and rich cultural identity.
These tribes, especially those in the more remote, lower Omo Valley, are among the most fascinating on the African continent. This tour includes a true photographic adventure into this remote region. Expect stunningly photogenic body painting and costumes which at festival times are a walking body of art. Sheltered from much of the modern world, this in a place that is still primeval, natural, and apparently ageless.
We will visit tribes on both sides of the Omo river, including spending several days photographing the Suri, arguably the most ornate tribe, and being the most remote tribe is one of the least visited, but the most desired tribe for us to photograph.
You will spend sufficient time in each location to ensure a deeper experience and capture more intimate and compelling images.
We are fellow travellers and photographers in an amazing part of the world and I have retained flexibility in the itinerary to ensure we can immerse ourselves in spontaneous photographic opportunities that unquestionably will arise. The time spent in each village will depend on the activities taking place and the richness of the photography. My aim is to provide many opportunities to photographically document the daily lives of the tribe, capture stunning portraits, and experience some of their timeless ceremonies – truly an experience of a lifetime!
The tour is limited to a maximum of fourteen (14) participants, excluding the two tour leaders, ensuring you come home with high quality images.
Photography in Ethiopia captures a moment in time, in the ancient world of people who live peacefully and close to nature in one of the most far flung, yet most beautiful parts of the world. It is also a very special personal experience.
Dates, Summary Itinerary
The 18-day photo tour commences at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday 28 October 2018 and finishes at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday 14 November 2018. The optional extension to the Danakil Desert runs from 15th to 18th Nov 2018 – see details below.
Direct links to the hotel and lodge accommodation are provided in the table.
|28 Oct||Arrive Addis Ababa Airport, Ethiopia & transfer to hotel||Sapphire Addis Hotel|
|29 Oct||Air transfer to Gondar & Simien Mountains National Park||Simien Mountain Lodge|
|31 Oct||Road transfer to Gondar||Goha Hotel|
|1 Nov||Air transfer to Lalibela||Maribela Hotel|
|3 Nov||Charter aircraft to Murulle Airstrip & road transfer to camp||Lumale Tent Camp|
|7 Nov||Charter aircraft to Mizan Teferi & road transfer to camp||Kabish Tent Camp|
|10 Nov||Road transfer to Mizan Teferi & charter aircraft to Lodge||Bale Mountain Lodge|
|13 Nov||Charter aircraft to Addis Ababa.||Sapphire Addis Hotel|
|14 Nov||Road transfer to Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa||N/A|
For additional information, which you can download, click the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON TOUR button in the sidebar.
What is the accommodation like in these remote locations in Ethiopia?
The hotel and lodge accommodation we have selected is 5-star in Addis Ababa and the best available at each of the destinations.
The mobile tent camps are comfortable with each tent having its own shower and toilet facilities.
For those who have travelled with me previously and experienced the high standard of safari lodges I use in southern and east Africa, please be aware the accommodation on this tour, outside of Addis Ababa will be of a lesser standard.
Pre & Post Photo Tour Accommodation & Airport Transfers
Should you wish to arrive in Addis Ababa a day or so earlier than 28 October 2018 or stay a few days after the photo tour finishes on 14 November 2018, I recommend you use the Sapphire Hotel, i.e. the same hotel we are using on the nights of 28 Oct and 13 Nov 2018; see the itinerary above.
Pre and post tour nights can be arranged via Our World Travel (OWT) and includes arrival and departure transfers. Simply contact Nick Missikos +61 8 9221 9977 or send an email to email@example.com
Post Tour Extension to the Danakil Depression
An ancient sea bed of salt, the tip of the Rift Valley fault line and known as the hottest place on earth, the Danakil Depression is like stepping into a Martian landscape – you will think you are literally on the edge of the Earth. At this edge, lies an amazing photography.
Dallol is a sulphurous lake that has as many colours as the rainbow, boiling out of the desert. There is no place on earth quite like it.
An ancient caravan of camels make a 16 day trek to collect salt blocks carved from the salt base. The imagery is timeless, ancient and extreme. Strings of camels create ethereal images over the desert floor and the men who work the salt block are brilliant subjects.
Lake Assal, 150 feet below sea level and the lowest point in Africa, is a thin strip of water whose reflection is so perfect, mirror-like images form on its surface. The wet section of the lake is a body of extremely salty water fed by hot springs. The dry section features a white salt bed from which lake water evaporated over the years.
In the inhospitable Danakil you can expect continuous, very high temperatures in a very harsh environment. But in amongst this heat, expect to capture images that allure, captivate and thrill.
We have arranged a small, comfortable, private camp. The walk-in safari or Meru style tents have twin beds and ensuite facilities with hot water provided by camp staff to bucket showers. We will use the camp as our base.
Dates, Transport, Costs & Registration
Dates: 15 – 18 Nov 2018.
Transport: Fly from Addis Ababa to Mekelle and road transfer from there to our Saba River Mobile Camp, where we stay on the nights of 15, 16 & 17 Nov.
Cost: US$4,675.00/person. A minimum of four (4) participants is required for the extension to proceed.
Registration: Please contact Nick Missikos on +61 8 9221 9977 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Expect it to be hot, hot, hot, around 50 degrees centigrade/120 degrees Fahrenheit, most of the time. It doesn’t get much cooler at night either! Rains fall occasionally in the desert, but this is rare.
To avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion or sun stroke, it is absolutely essential you drink lots of water and use copious amounts of sun cream, every day, avail of shade whenever possible and wear a wide-brimmed hat as you explore the desert surrounds.
There are so many; here is my selection:
- Combining the northern, central and southern parts of Ethiopia in the one photo tour is special and not offered by many.
- Photographing the endemic wildlife and endangered species of the Simien Mountains National Park – beautiful scenes of the Gelada monkeys, sightings of the bearded vulture and possibly the Walia Ibex .
- Witnessing and photographing the St. George’s Day ceremonies, – one of the most significant and colourful festival of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.
- Photograph the churches of Lalibela – churches hewn from monolithic blocks, which are in continued use since their construction in 12th century.
- This is a true photographic journey into the “best of the best” of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, one of the most culturally rich tribal destinations on the African continent.
- Visiting the villages of the Kara, Mursi, Arbore, Hamar, Dassanech and Suri tribes to photograph their daily activities, stunning portraits, and timeless ceremonies.
- In one trip you will photograph the UNESCO cultural site of Konso, people planting crops, herding livestock, tribal dancing, hairdressing like you have never seen, body painting, lip plates, beaded skins and ornate necklaces.
- The tribes live in remote locations where there are no upmarket hotels or lodges; living in a mobile tented camp is a memorable experience in this part of Africa – memories that will remain with you forever.
- You will be accompanied by two experienced and committed photographers who will provide every assistance to you – Shem Compion (South Africa) and Denis Glennon AO (Australia).
- In the Bale Mountains you will photograph the endemic and highly endangered Ethiopian Wolf. This charismatic animal is found nowhere else on earth and we end our tour photographing them.
THE PHOTO TOUR IS CONFINED TO A MAXIMUM OF FOURTEEN (14) PARTICIPANTS AND A MINIMUM OF TEN (10) PARTICIPANTS IS REQUIRED FOR THE TOUR TO PROCEED.
Costs, Terms of Payment, How to Register & International Flights
Iconic Images is obligated to pay the costs of the photo tour in US dollars.
The cost is US$16,500.00 per person, twin share, (or the equivalent in AU$ at the time of making the final payment).
A single supplement of US$3,300.00 per person (or the equivalent in AU$ at the time of making payment) for unshared accommodation applies. The single supplement is to be paid at the time of registration, if an unshared room/tent is requested.
If you are a single traveller we will do our best to find a suitable person to share the room/tent. If we are unable to find a suitable person, you will be placed in a single room and charged the single supplement fee.
We will endeavour to place a participant seeking shared accommodation with another compatible, participant requiring the same. Prior to allocating shared accommodation to participants not known to each other, subject to their approval, we will introduce the participants to each other, to check if both are happy to share the room/tent. In the event they do not wish to share the room/tent and a compatible, participant is unavailable to share a room/tent, all participants occupying unshared rooms/tents on the tour will be required to pay the single supplement cost.
Whilst we will, of course, make every effort to assist, we will not be responsible for securing compatible travelling companions for those seeking shared accommodation.
There are a limited number of unshared rooms/tents available and these will be allocated in order of receipt of registration and payment of the single supplement.
For your convenience and to minimize currency exchange risks, payments should only be made to the US dollar bank account of the travel agent, Our World Travel.
Payment by credit cards is acceptable and attracts an OWT fee of 2%; please check with Janet or Nick Missikos on how best to pay by credit card.
- A non-refundable 25% deposit together with a completed Registration Form, on or before Friday 30 March 2018.
- A second non-refundable payment of 25% on or before Friday 25 May 2018.
- A final payment of the remaining 50%, on or before Friday 27 July 2018.
How to Register
Click the “REGISTRATION FORM” button in the sidebar, download the form, complete it and follow the instructions for return to Our World Travel.
If this photo tour is not for you, perhaps you might consider forwarding the information to a friend, who may like to know about it
Flights & Insurance Enquiries
For flight and insurance enquiries, please contact Our World Travel (OWT), Shop 1/113 Royal Street, East Perth WA 6004 and request to speak to Mr Nick Missikos. His telephone number is +61 8 9221 9977 and email is: email@example.com
Nick has offered his assistance to all participants, to ensure they get best available/most cost-effective flights for their desired routing. If you intend booking flights yourself, using your frequent flyer points or other means, Nick will also help you. Travel insurance is mandatory and OWT has much experience in helping travellers obtain the most suitable policy.
Itinerary & Other Tour Enquiries
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the itinerary or the photo tour itself, before making a decision to register, please contact Denis Glennon AO, on +61 (0)418 923 103 or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ensure you download the comprehensive itinerary PDF containing most of the information you will initially need, by clicking on “DOWNLOAD ITINERARY’ in the sidebar.
Government Advice on Travelling to Ethiopia
The itinerary has been developed to avoid Ethiopia’s reported “trouble spots” and areas of reported recent political disturbances.
The advice on travel to and within Ethiopia , published by the Australian and other governments, is updated intermittently.
Prior to registering for the tour please check these updates.
Also, we suggest you check with your insurance company as to whether the cover provided under your travel insurance policy, may, in the event of a claim, be negated to any extent, by the travel advice published by the government issuing your passport, at the time of your registration for the tour.
I continually monitor latest travel advice issued by the Australian government but stress it is your responsibility to check the advice published by the government of the country issuing your passport and the status of your travel insurance vis-a-vis that advice.
Australian and US citizens require a visa to entry Ethiopia . Other passport holders should determine if they require visas.
I encourage you to obtain your visas at the relevant consulate or embassy in your home country before departure rather than waiting until you arrive in Addis Ababa.
Trying to obtain a visa on arrival can frequently be “a hassle” and time-consuming. The queues can be long and very slow-moving – not the best way to commence your photo tour after a long and tiring international flight.
For helpful information on whether you require a visa and how to obtain one, please click on this link:
Yellow Fever Certificate
I strongly advise you to check the latest requirements for holding a current yellow fever certificate for entry to/departure from Ethiopia.
If you plan to enter South Africa from Ethiopia (e.g. from Addis Ababa International Airport) it is very likely you will not be allowed to board a flight to Johannesburg unless you can produce a current yellow fever certificate. You may be asked to produce the certificate on arrival in Johannesburg; requests appear to be made on a random basis.
Additionally, please check the requirements for re-entering your home country. As a precaution, I always travel with a current Yellow Fever certificate. In 25+ years of re-entering Australia from Africa I have been required to produce a current yellow fever certificate on three occasions; again requests appear to be made on a random basis.
Predeparture Information & Checklist
To assist you prepare for the photo tour I have compiled a comprehensive, downloadable and printable PDF. It contains helpful information on:
- Travelling with and looking after photographic equipment in Africa.
- Downloading and backing-up images every day.
- Power supply in Ethiopia for charging batteries, laptop, mobile phone, etc.
- Consideration for fellow passengers and photographers.
- Keeping healthy in Africa.
- Money Matters in Ethiopia.
- Immigration and Customs at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- Arrangements to meet you on arrival at Bole International Airport.
- Travel documents, personal items & clothing checklist
- Personal medical items checklist – a layperson’s checklist.
- Camera equipment checklist – this is a comprehensive list and you should not be overwhelmed by its contents; see it as a guide.
- Summary itinerary.
- Guide to paying gratuities on the photo tour.
- My choice of lenses and other camera equipment.
The information in this PDF will help you with packing your camera equipment and other essential items so that you return home with a great collection of iconic images, and many magnificent memories.
A copy of this Predeparture Information & Checklist will be forwarded to registered participants, approximately sixty days before commencement of the photo tour.