Travel Ethiopia Djibouti: rift lakes, Balé, Harar


Level: Discovery


This very complete trip allows you to fully enjoy Ethiopia and Djibouti on a unique stay.

After spending 2 days in Addis Ababa to get to know the capital and the heights of Entoto, you will reach the lakes of the great African rift, Ziway, Langano, Awasa; you will spend a night in the comfortable lodges of each of them.

Then a complete change of environment with the 2 days incursion we will make in the BALE Mountains, renowned for the presence of endemic mammals such as the Abyssinian wolf, the most famous of them.

Then we will stop in Wondo Genet to enjoy its hot springs, and in Awash, before arriving in Harar (where we will spend the night in an amazing house in the old town...).

After visiting the sites of the region we will leave Dire Dawa to go to the Republic of Djibouti where we will have time to appreciate some of the remarkable sites, such as the Assal Lake whose beauty inspired the writer-adventurer J. Kessel, the Goubet and its Devil's Island, the Abe Lake famous for its lunar landscapes and its sunsets and sunrises. You will have the opportunity to stay in 2 famous camps of the country, one on the seaside near Tadjourah where you will be amazed by the underwater fauna and flora, the other one in the Goda Mountains well placed in a green setting, which will give you the opportunity to visit gardens and villages around.

Finally you will return to the Ethiopian capital by a flight from Djibouti to Addis.

Central-Eastern Ethiopia
  Sea & Lakes
  Itinerant stay

This trip to both countries from Addis Ababa assumes that travelers take an international flight to Addis Ababa and back. The return flight from Djibouti to Addis, as well as visas for Djibouti and the second entry into Ethiopia, are included in the package.


DAY 1 Arrival in Addis Ababa - Transfer to Abegaz Hotel

Program according to arrival time

Evening meal at Addis Jewel of India

Night: Abegaz Hotel in Addis


DAY 2 Visit Addis Ababa and Entoto Hill

Morning: walk on the heights of Entoto-visit of the museum and imperial palace- Entoto Mariam Church- Haile Gebre Selassie Sports Complex

Lunch at the Taitu Hotel - one of the oldest establishments in the city

AfternoonVisit to the National Museum (Lucy) and the Red Terror Martyrs' Museum - Shiro Meda Traditional Clothing Market

Evening meal at Habesha 2000 with Ethiopian dance show

Night in Abegaz Hotel


DAY 3 Addis to Lake Ziway

Departure to Lake Ziway via Butajira, Enseno

Morning: drive and visit to the monolithic church of Adadi Maryam

Lunch in Ziway at Kuriftu Castle

Afternoon: Boat trip on Lake Ziway

Evening meal and night in Bethlehem Hotel du Lac Ziway


DAY 4 Visit to the Rift Lakes: Shala, Abiata, Langano

Departure for Lake Langano (40 kms)

Morning: Visit Shala and Abiata Lakes after drive and transfer to hotel

Lunch at Simbo Beach resort in Langano

Afternoon: swimming on the Langano lake, one of the only lakes in the country allowing swimming

Evening meal and night at Simbo Beach Resort in Langano


DAY 5 Day trip to Lake Awassa

Departure for Lake Awassa - 60 kms

Morning: Trip to Lake Awassa - Walk to the market

Lunch at Luwa Bar in Awassa

Afternoonexcursion to Mount Tabor

Evening meal and night at Lewi Hotel Piazza in Awassa


DAY 6 En route to the BALE Mountains

MorningJourney by 4×4 from Awassa to Robe (BALE Mountains) via Dodola-240 kms 4h30

In Dinsho buy tickets for the BALE MOUNTAINS National Park

Lunch in the Gaysay Prairie (before Dinsho)

Afternoonexcursion on the site to meet Nyalas, monkeys and Ibis

Evening meal and night at the Siko Mendo Hotel in Robe


DAY 7 Excursion to the BALE Mountains

Morning and afternoon: Excursion to the Sanetti plateau in search of the Abyssinian wolf and to the Tullu Deemtu peak at 4377 m

Lunch: picnic

Evening meal at Harena Coffee in Goba

Night at the Siko Mendo Hotel in Robe


DAY 8 Visit to Wondo Genet

Morningjourney by 4X4 vehicle from Robe to Wondo Genet - 230 kms -3h50

Lunch on the way or at Wondo Genet

Afternoon: natural hot water pool bath

Evening meal and harmedt at the Resort Hotel in Wondo Genet


DAY 9 Wondo Genet to Awash

Morning: 4×4 from Wondo Genet to Awash - 340 kms - 5h30

Lunch on the way or in Awash

Afternoon visit hyena burrows and hot springs of Filwoha

Evening meal and night at Buffet d'Aouache in Awash


DAY 10 Awash to Harar

Morning: 4×4 drive from Awash to Harar-280 kms - 5h30

Lunch on the way

Afternoon: walk in the new town of Harar visit of the brewery - In the evening show of the Hyenas meal

Evening meal at Fresh Touch in the old town

Night in an amazing traditional guesthouse in the old town: Anisa Abdella Guesthouse


DAY 11 Visit Harar and surrounding sites

Morning: visit of the old town of Harar with its colourful houses, the Arthur Rimbaud centre, a coffee shop - visit of one of the markets

Lunch at Fresh Touch in Harar

AfternoonBabillé elephant sanctuary (32 kms road to Jijiga) - drive to Dire Dawa in the late afternoon

Evening meal at African Village in Dire Dawa

Night at the Selam Blue Hotel in Dire Dawa


DAY 12 Visit to Dire Dawa

MorningVisit of Dire Dawa: big market of Kafira - visit of the old Ethiopian Railway Company

Lunch at Selam Blue Hotel in Dire Dawa

AfternoonVisit to the Lega Oda cave with its cave paintings

Evening meal at Paradisio Restaurant in Dire Dawa

Night at the Selam Blue Hotel in Dire Dawa


DAY 13 Dire Dawa to Djibouti

MorningDire Dawa - Djibouti - 300 kms

Transfer to Africorne Travel accommodation

Lunch at the restaurant on the port of Djibouti

Afternoon : visite du refuge DECAN ou de la ville de Djibouti suivant nos jour et heures d’arrivée

Visite des places Mahamoud Harbi (ex place Arthur Rimbaud), du 27 juin (ex place Ménélik), rue des Caisses, rue des Mouches

The DECAN refuge is an animal park near Djibouti, where animals from the country and also from other parts of Africa live.

Evening meal in Djibouti

Night: in the apartment of Africorne Travel

Africorne Travel offers you a comfortable air-conditioned apartment to stay overnight, where you can have a breakfast prepared according to your wishes. Of course, if you prefer, hotel accommodation can be booked.


DAY 14  From Djibouti to Tadjourah via Lake Assal - 230 kms

Morning: departure from Djibouti. About forty kilometres before reaching Lake Assal, we'll stop to admire the breathtaking scenery of the Dimbiya canyon, nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of Djibouti"...

A few kilometres further on, another stop at the stele of J. Borrel, a French magistrate whose partially burnt body was found at the bottom of the cliff on the morning of 18 October 1995. The "Borrel affair" has poisoned the relations between the Djiboutian and French states for several years.

Then we leave the road to take the "access ramp" to Lake Assal. Located 153 meters below sea level, Lake Assal is one of the saltiest lakes in the world (over 300 grams of salt per liter of water). This fact, combined with the high evaporation rate due to the intense heat, explains why salt has been mined here for hundreds of years. No living organism can survive in the waters of Lake Assal. If the weather is good, we will be able to swim there; plastic shoes are necessary to avoid hurting ourselves on the sharp salt crystals.

The very high temperatures that prevail in this place do not make it very hospitable, but its legendary beauty, described in particular by the adventurer writer J. Kessel, makes it a site not to be missed.

Lunch: picnic on the beach at Le Goubet in the shade of a hard stand, facing Devil's Island

Afternoon We will visit the lava field located between Assal and Goubet, where we will observe the rift fault on a few meters; at this place, it is only a few centimeters wide. Then we will take the road to Tadjourah.

Arrival in the evening at Ras Ali camp just after crossing Tadjourah.

The Ras Ali camp is located at the very edge of the sea, at the end of a track of about ten kilometres. The sanitary facilities are rudimentary for a European, but very adequate and clean. The food is excellent and the site is a paradise for snorkeling. You can also practice kayaking.

Evening meal and night at Ras Ali camp


DAY 15  From Ras Ali beach to Bankoualé camp - 50 kms

Morning: Baignade, palmes masque et tuba, kayak sur la plage de Ras Ali pour aller visiter la mangrove naissante.

Lunch at Ras Ali camp

Afternoon Departure for the Bankoualé camp

Le campement de Bankoualé est situé dans un écrin de verdure, à flanc de colline. C’est un endroit charmant, où règne une agréable fraîcheur ; il est réputé pour ses jardins de part et d’autre de l’oued. Le village est en face du campement de l’autre côté de l’oued. Peu avant Bankoualé, se trouve le village d’Ardo avec sa coopérative artisanale et son école que nous ne manquons pas de visiter.

Sur le trajet nous ferons un détour jusqu’à la ville de Randa pour y admirer son imposant figuier étrangleur pluri centenaire

Dinner and night at the Bankoualé camp


DAY 16  Visit of the surroundings of Bankoualé and return to Djibouti

Morning : excursion dans les jardins de Bankoualé et visite du village d’Ardo.

Lunch in Bankoualé

Afternoon: Return trip to Djibouti

Evening meal in a restaurant in Djibouti

Nuit dans l’appartement d’ Africorne Travel


DAY 17   Visit to the Lac Abbé 'planet' 200 kms

MorningDeparture from Djibouti. Up to Dikhil we take an asphalt road for 120 kms; it is the main road taken by Ethiopian truckers from the port of Djibouti to Addis Abeba, for the import of goods necessary to the country's economy.

We will cross the semi-desert expanses of the Petit Bara and the Grand Bara where we will observe mirages, whirlpools and gazelles with a little luck.

Lunch at the restaurant in Dikhil

Afternoon After Dikhil, we leave the road to cover 80 km of sometimes sandy tracks. We pass through the villages of As Eyla and Koutabouya. At the end of the route, we may spot some warthogs.

Site frontière entre l’Ethiopie et Djibouti, le lac Abbé présente un panorama unique. Ses cheminées de calcaire offrent un paysage lunaire, très prisé par les photographes du monde entier, particulièrement aux lever et coucher de soleil. Une vieille rumeur dit que la première version du film « La planète des singes » aurait  été tournée au Lac Abbé; il n’en est rien, mais le site reste exceptionnel.

The sulfur scents wafting from the many fumaroles gave the lake its name. Indeed, Abbé means “rotten”!

The unique landscapes of the chimneys, which can reach 50 metres in height, would almost make us forget the presence of the lake, on whose shores pink flamingos can be observed!

Arrive at the Lac Abbé camp in the evening to watch the sunset.

Evening meal and night at the Lac Abbé camp


DAY 18  Lac Abbé – Arta- Djibouti – 220 kms

MorningWe will have to get up very early to see the sunrise in the middle of the chimneys! Then we will try to approach the pink flamingos at the edge of the lake, which from year to year withdraws more and more far. We will also observe some boiling water sources.

Then we take the way back to Djibouti.

Repas de midi à Arta au Sunny Hill.

Arta is a charming locality, "perched" at 600 meters above sea level, where the notables of Djibouti have a second home to enjoy its mild temperature, 4 or 5 degrees lower than Djibouti.

In the afternoon we will take the track that goes down to the pebble beach for a snorkeling session: amazement guaranteed!

Evening meal: Restaurant in Djibouti

Night: Africorne Travel apartment


DAY 19  Day at the beach of Korambado - 15 kms

Snorkeling on the program for this day

Lunch in a straw hut on the beach

A good 4×4 vehicle is needed to go down to Korambado. Not far from Djibouti, the site is interesting for snorkeling (east side). Some "local color" straw huts, installed on the seafront, provide the shade and the meal necessary to spend a very pleasant day.

Evening meal at the restaurant in Djibouti. On the menu Yemeni fish; the fish you choose yourself, is cut into two slices and placed in a circular oven....

Night at Africorne Travel apartment


DAY 20 Domestic flight Djibouti Addis Ababa

Transfer to Djibouti airport in the morning