13 DAYS - DISCOVER THE BIRTHPLACE OF COFFEE - ETHIOPIA

Discover the birthplace of coffee – Ethiopia. (13 days)

Day 01) Addis Ababa

On arrival in Addis Ababa you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After lunch a tour of Addis Ababa has been arranged which will include the National Museum to see “Lucy”, the oldest hominid fossil as well as other archeological findings. Also visit the Entoto Mountains and the site of the former capital. Return to Addis Ababa via the markets of Merkato, the largest open air market in Africa.

Overnight Hotel

Day 02) Addis Ababa/Jimma

After breakfast, transfer by coach to the southwestern highlands and the town of Jimma in the Kaffa region. The southwestern region is quite distinct from other regions in Ethiopia. Here you’ll see a mixture of broad grasslands, terraced hillsides and broad rivers and forests. The area is famous for coffee and Kaffa (the province) is said to be where the original wild plants were found. Jima is the commercial centre for the coffee produced in this region. Overnight Central Jimma Hotel.

Day 03) Jimma/Bebeka

Pack an overnight bag and head out to Mizan Tefari and the Bebeke Coffee Plantation (30k from Mizan Tefari). Bebeka Coffee Plantation covers some 6,000 hectares and is the largest and oldest Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia. There will be a tour of the plantation which will include the organic coffee plantation and the experimental spice and fruit plantations. Beehives have been established and the honey is highly recommended. Overnight in the Bebeka Guesthouse – a comfortable lodge set in the plantation and home to a wide variety of birdlife. Explore the surrounding forest before dining in the canteen.

Day 04) Bebeka/Gerra/Jimma

This morning head for Gerra and the forest coffee area that is still owned by the family of the former king of the Kaffa region, Abba Jiffar. A member of the family will escort you around the estate including the Abajifar Museum and Palace. Return to Jimma and your overnight accommodation.

Day 05) Jimma / Sodo

After breakfast depart Jimma heading for Sodo passing over the Omo River at Bele Bridge The drive will take you past more coffee plants growing in the forest. Overnight: Bekele Molla Hotel

Day 06) Sodo / Yirga Alem

This morning proceeds to Yirga Alem, stopping enroute for lunch at Awasa, the capital of the old Sidamo province. Overnight: Aregash Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 07) Yirga Alem

Today visit the heart and soul of Ethiopian coffee growing – the cottage farmers. Approximately 35% of Ethiopian coffee is gown this way. Overnight: Aregash Lodge

Day 08) Yirga Alem

Free day to enjoy the area around the Lodge. Aregash Lodge is one of the first eco-tourism lodges to be built in Ethiopia. Built in the Konso style the Tukuls (huts) are built of local bamboo. The lodge is built on the edge of a cliff overlooking a stunning gorge. Guided walks through the area are available. Enjoy a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony at the Lodge. The Coffee Ceremony is at the heart of Ethiopian hospitality. An invitation to attend the ceremony is a mark of friendship and respect and not to be hurried. Overnight: Aregash Lodge

Day 09) Yirga Alem/Tiya/Addis Ababa

Leaving Aregash Lodge and heading back to Addis Ababa, stopping at the village of Adadi to visit the rock-hewn church of Adadi Mariam. The church is believed to date from the 12th or 13th century. Continuing on to Tiya, (a UNCESCO World heritage site). This historical site contains some 40 ancient stelae the largest is some 2m in height. French excavations have shown that the stelae mark mass graves but little is known about the reasons behind this site. Overnight Hotel

Day 10) Addis Ababa/Harar

Take the morning flight to Dire-Dawa, on arrival transfer to Harar and your hotel. Harar is known for its sun-dried coffee and the mildly narcotic leaf called “Chat” which is legal in Ethiopia. Harar was founded in the 7th century and is one of the oldest cities in Ethiopia. Harar is a Muslim city and in the 17th and 18th centuries became known as an important centre for Islamic studies. Handicrafts flourished during this time and have continued to this very day. After lunch stroll through the ancient twisted streets of the old town. See the houses of the typical Hadere (people of this region). Visit the museum which has been designed like a typical Hadere home and contains examples of traditional arts and crafts etc. In the evening see the Hyena Men.These men make their living hand-feeding, or sometimes feeding from their own mouths, offal and bones to the hyenas that live in the surrounding hills. This practice has been going on for decades and the hyenas answer to the calls of the Hyena Men. Overnight: Harar Heritage Hotel

Day 11) Harar

This morning drive to Babille and the Valley of Marvels in the Dakhata

See the volcanic rock formations that have been formed over time. Some are topped by precariously balanced boulders. Return to Harar for lunch.

Day 12) Harar

This morning travel by 4 wheel drive to Gerawa to see the best of Harar Coffee grown in forests south west of Harar. Return to Harar and your overnight accommodation.

Day 13) Harar / Addis Ababa

This morning visit the Asma’addin Bari Market outside the walls of the city near the Shewa Gate. After an early lunch, depart for the town of Dire Dawa established by the French in 1902 as the first major railhead on the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway. Visit the Chat market in Awedia on the way. Transfer to the airport at Dire Dawa for the flight to Addis Ababa. This evening attend dinner at Ethiopia traditional restaurant accompanied with music and dancing. Overnight Hotel.