Iconic Ethiopia 2017 – Tour 1

<strong>Iconic Ethiopia 2017 - Tour 1</strong> - an exclusive small group tour for discerning photographers

Iconic Ethiopia 2017 - Tour 1 - an exclusive small group tour for discerning photographers

UPDATE: This photographic tour is completely filled. We are running a second tour, commencing on 6 February, to cater for those who are on the waiting list. If you are interested in joining us on the second tour, please click HERE for details. Alternatively, please email Mr. Nick Missikos at Nick@owtravel.com.au or telephone him of +61 8 9221 9977 (office) or +61 408 912 884 (mobile).

Simien Mountains, Gelada Monkeys, Epiphany Ceremony & Tribes of Omo Valley

Credit & Appreciation: The image above and all images in this webpage and in the accompanying PDF are reproduced with the kind permission of my good friends, Art Wolfe and Gavriel Jecan. Thank you Art & Gavriel. Robel Petros was the local Ethiopian guide used by Art and Gavriel when the images were captured. Robel will also be our local guide for this photo tour.

This exclusive, small group tour provides a rare opportunity to photograph the “best of the best” in Ethiopia.

Split by the Great Rift Valley and rippling with seemingly endless mountains, the country’s geography is as dramatic as its history and culture. Ethiopia is the cradle of our earliest known ancestors; a hub for some of the first Christians, Muslims, Jews and a last frontier for some of Africa’s most intriguing and photogenic tribal traditions.

Why These Particular Destinations & Subjects? 

A person can visit Africa many times to photograph its spectacular wildlife, scenery and cultures, but a discerning eye discovers and appreciates uniquely iconic photographic opportunities in destinations less well travelled by others. I continually seek such destinations for each photo safari and tour and this one reveals an Africa, you possibly may not have known existed.

It is not about seeking lions, leopards or other ‘big cats’ as I anticipate those interested in joining me on this tour will already have undertaken a number of such ‘photo safaris’ with me, or with others.

I wish to introduce you to the iconic subjects of Ethiopia, each unquestionably distinctive in its own right but when brought together into the one journey offers a kaleidoscopic selection of natural history, nature, travel and cultural photography.  The photography you will experience on this trip is some of the richest you will find in Africa, if not the world.

The itinerary is a carefully selected set of unforgettable experiences for those who dare to find them. 

It has been created for photographers who have a passion for travelling “towards the edge” in search of compelling images.

Simien Mountains & Gelada Monkeys

Simien Mountains National Park, listed as a World Heritage Site in 1918, is one of the more dramatic destinations in Africa and includes Ras Dejen, the highest mountain in Ethiopia 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. It is frequently dubbed the Grand Canyon of Africa.

Fingers crossed we can photograph the Ethiopian wolf (the rarest canid in the world), the walia ibex (a wild goat found nowhere else in the world) and the caracal. More than 50 species of birds inhabit the park, including 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 and is frequently 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 of these rare and magnificent creatures.

Timkat & Lalibela’s Inimitable 12th Century Churches : A Travel Photographer’s Paradise

Celebrated every January 19th, Timkat is the greatest colourful festival of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia and one of the most photogenic festivals in Africa. It is a three-day affair and all ceremonies are conducted with great pomp, colour and energy. On the eve of Timkat, Tabots (models of the Ark of the Covenant) are carried in procession to a river or other water where the celebration takes place. Church choirs chant hymns, accompanying a special dance by priests with prayer sticks and sistera, the beating of drums, ringing of bells, and blowing of trumpets. The priests pray throughout the night and near dawn thousands of people journey to the river or water. Many of the more fervent leap fully dressed into the water (to renew their vows) – some compelling images to be captured.

Lalibela’s exceptional churches have been the focus of pilgrimage for Coptic Christians since the 12th century and to this day still attract pilgrims (and photographers) from all over the world.

The Tribes of the Omo Valley

For millennia, the Omo Valley has been inhabited by a kaleidoscopic variety of ethnic groups having rich and distinctive cultural identities.

Tribes living in the more remote lower Omo Valley are among the most fascinating on the African continent and are hidden beyond the cities and towns of modern life. This is a true photographic adventure into the remote region of southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley. Expect stunningly photogenic body painting and costumes which at festival times are a walking body of art. For millennia, these tribes have been sheltered from much of the modern world 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 visiting the Suri tribe, the most ornate tribe, and being the most remote tribes are one of the least visited, but the most desired tribe for us to photograph. This is one of a very few photo tours that go to both sides of the Omo River.

We will spend sufficient time in each location to ensure a deeper experience, to produce more intimate and compelling images. We are fellow travellers/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 arise. The time spent in each village will depend on what activities are taking place and the richness of the photography. I wish to give you the opportunity to photographically document the daily lives of each tribe, capture stunning portraits, and experience some of their timeless ceremonies – truly an experience of a lifetime!

When larger groups visit remote tribal villages, the higher the probability your subject will be distracted, another photographer will shoot over or too close to you, other photographers take too long to shoot particularly special subjects and frequently another photographer will show up in your background. This tour is limited to only twelve (12) participants to ensure you come home with more intimate experiences, many memories, and much higher quality images.

The incredible photography available 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 beautiful parts of the world. It is a special opportunity to photographically document their daily lives, capture enthralling portraits, photograph timeless ceremonies whilst feeling you are an integral part of a very special personal experience.

Dates & Summary Itinerary

The 21-day photo tour commences at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday 15 January 2017 and finishes at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday 4 February 2017.

Direct links to the accommodation are provided in the table below.

15 Jan Arrive Addis Ababa Airport, Ethiopia & transfer to hotel Radisson Blu Hotel – 1 night
16 Jan Air transfer to Simien Mountain Park Simien Lodge – 2 nights
18 Jan Road transfer to Goha Hotel, Gondar Goha Hotel or similar – 2 nights
20 Jan Air transfer to Lalibela Maribela Hotel or similar – 2 nights
22 Jan Air transfer to Arba Minch + road transfer to Omo Valley Buska Lodge– 3 nights
25 Jan Road transfer to Dus on banks of Omo River Murelle Lodge – 3 nights
28 Jan Road transfer to Jinka, Omo Valley (OV) Omo Eco Lodge – 2 nights
30 Jan Air transfer to Mizan + road transfer to Kibish, OV Mobile Tent Camp – 4 nights
3 Feb Charter flight to Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa Radisson Blu Hotel – 1 night
4 Feb Road transfer to Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa N/A

You can download the more comprehensive itinerary by clicking the DOWNLOAD ITINERARY button in the sidebar.

What is the accommodation like in these remote locations in Ethiopia?

The accommodation we have selected is the best available in the various locations in which we will be photographing and consists of hotels, lodges and mobile tented camps.

The mobile tent camps are functional and comfortable.

For those who have travelled with me previously and experienced the high standard of safari lodges in southern and east Africa, please be aware the accommodation in some of the destinations in Ethiopia will be a lesser standard.

Accommodation Pre & Post the Photo Tour

Should you wish to arrive in Addis Ababa a day or so earlier than 15th January 2017 or stay a few days after the photo tour finishes on 4th February, I strongly recommend you use the Radisson Blu Hotel , i.e. the same hotel we are using on the nights of 15 January and 3 February 2017; see the itinerary above.


There are so many; here is my selection:

  • Combining the northern and southern parts of Ethiopia in the one photo tour is unique and not offered by many.
  • Photographing the endemic wildlife and endangered species of the Simien Mountains National Park – Ethiopian wolf, walia ibex, gelada monkey, bearded vulture, etc.
  • Witnessing and photographing Timkat, – the largest and most colourful festival of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia and one of the most photogenic festivals in Africa.
  • Photograph the amazing churches of Lalibela – churches not constructed in the traditional way but hewn from the living rock of monolithic blocks and 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.
  • You will visit the villages of the Dorze, Kara, Mursi, Ari, Erbore, Hamar, Dassanech, Suri and Surma tribes to photograph their daily activities, stunning portraits, and timeless ceremonies.
  • In one trip you will have the opportunity to photograph the UNESCO cultural site of Konso, people planting crops, herding livestock, tribal dancing, hairdressing like you have never seen, body painting, wearing lip plates, wearing beaded skins and ornate necklaces, and with a little luck being involved in a bull jumping contest.
  • The tribes live in a remote locations where there are no upmarket hotels or lodges; living in a mobile tented camp is an experience not to be missed in this part of Africa. Memories of it 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).
  • Robel Petros is one of the most experienced local guides in Ethiopia and has been the personal guide for numerous photo tours led by my good friend, Art Wolfe, the legendary US photographer. Robel has also worked with some of the leading photographers in the world. He will be our local guide for the entire time we are in Ethiopia. You will gain access to photographic opportunities that most others will not.


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$14,590.00 per person, twin share, (or the equivalent in AU$ at the time of making the final payment).

A single supplement of US$3,590.00 per person (or the equivalent in AU$ at the time of making payment) for unshared accommodation applies, if specifically requested.

This single supplement is to be paid at the time of registration. There are only two single supplement/unshared accommodation places available.

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.

For details of this account please contact either Janet or Nick Missikos on +61 8 9221 9977 or send an email to janet@owtravel.com.au or nick@owtravel.com.au

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.

Payment Process

  • A non-refundable 25% deposit together with a completed Registration Form, on or before Friday 27 May 2016.
  • A second non-refundable payment of 25% on or before Friday 26 August 2016.
  • A final payment of the remaining 50%, on or before Friday 28 October 2016.

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 all flight and insurance enquiries, please contact the sole booking agent, 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 or email him @ nick@owtravel.com.au

Should you require help with flight bookings &/or travel insurance for this photo tour, 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 join us, please contact Denis Glennon AO on +61 418 923 103 or email me @ denis@denisglennon.com

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 any 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.

Visa Requirements

Australian and US citizens require a visa for entry to Ethiopia . Other passport holders should ensure they check 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 Africa.

Trying to obtain a visa on arrival can frequently be “a hassle” and time-consuming. The queues can be long and very slow-moving; this is 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 the 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 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 this photo tour I have compiled a comprehensive, downloadable and printable PDF. It contains helpful information on:

  1. Travelling with and looking after photographic equipment in Africa.
  2. Downloading and backing-up images every day.
  3. Power supply in Ethiopia for charging batteries, laptop, mobile phone, etc.
  4. Vehicle etiquette and consideration for fellow passengers and photographers.
  5. Keeping healthy in Africa.
  6. Money Matters in Ethiopia.
  7. Immigration and Customs at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  8. Arrangements to meet you on arrival at Bole International Airport.
  9. Travel documents, personal items & clothing checklist
  10. Personal medical items checklist – a layperson’s checklist.
  11. Camera equipment checklist – this is a comprehensive list and you should not be overwhelmed by its contents.
  12. Summary itinerary.
  13. Guide to paying gratuities on this photo tour.
  14. My choice of lenses and other camera equipment for this photo safari.

The information in this PDF will help you to remember to pack your selection of 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 forty five days before commencement of the photo tour.

View Larger Map

Omo Valley, Ethiopia


If you would like to discuss any aspect of international flights &/or travel insurance for the photo tour, please contact the sole booking agent, Our World Travel, 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 or email him @ nick@owtravel.com.au.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the itinerary or the photo tour itself, before making a decision to join us, please contact:

Denis Glennon AO on +61 418 923 103 or denis@denisglennon.com


Download the PDF containing full details on payment terms and registration, the itinerary, what is/is not included, cancellation policy and fees, compulsory travel insurance, health considerations, responsibility, liability, and packing camera gear for travel.

Download: Detailed Itinerary & Other Important Information (Printable PDF)


To reserve a place, download, complete and return the form to Our World Travel.

Download: REGISTRATION FORM (PrintablePDF)


Iconic Images is the exclusive representative/agent for C4 Photo Safaris, South Africa, in Australia & New Zealand.

C4 Photo Safaris provides the on-ground logistics for Iconic Images' photo safaris/tours in Africa and is a SATSA member. The SATSA logo signifies that C4 Photo Safaris offers services that are of the highest quality and the company is deemed to be a credible and reliable provider of services to the tourism industry in South Africa. These services are independently audited on an annual basis. SATSA members are bonded, providing a financial guarantee of deposits held against the involuntary liquidation of a SATSA member.

AIPP Australian Institute of Professional Photographers SATSA Southern Africa Tourism Services Association C4 Images & Safaris
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