DAYS 25 – 49: ETHIOPIA & KENYA
Many of the roads you travel on in Ethiopia are very poor dirt or gravel roads and often in mountainous areas, so travel is slow. Ethiopia has a lot more visual & indigenous history than any other sub – Saharan country. You will have about 4 days in each of the towns of Gondar (the capital of Ethiopia from 1632 until 1868 ) and Bahir Dar, from where it is possible to organise visits to some of Ethiopia’s most famous sites, including the holy city of Axum and the rock-hewn churches at Lalibela. Lalibela churches date from the 12th Century and have been kept alive by generations of dedicated priests who guard their precious religious and artistic artifacts.
Your route to Addis Ababa takes you via Lake Tana and the spectacular Blue Nile Gorge and Falls. From Bahir Dar you can organise boat trips to some of the small islands in Lake Tana which have Monasteries dating back up to 900 years and which are still looked after by monks who live from subsistence farming.
A couple of days’ drive brings you to the capital Addis where you have the chance to indulge in some authentic Ethiopian coffee or explore ‘El Mercato’ – one of Africa’s largest open air markets.
Departing Addis your overland tour continues south heading into the Omo Valley. This little visited region is home to some of the most colourful ethnic groups in Ethiopia. The friendly Hamar people are noted for their ornate, interesting hairstyles and the Mursi people are famous for the clay lip plates and earlobe decorations. An optional 2 day tour will take you into the Omo National Park.
You will then travel through one of Africa’s greatest natural features – the East African Rift Valley. Overland trips through East Africa will allow you to experience absolutely spectacular scenery first hand, and the Rift Valley is a definite highlight. Stretching from beyond the Dead Sea in Jordan down to Mozambique in Southern Africa – the valley floor seems to sweep on forever and is dotted with volcanic peaks, shimmering lakes and countless springs.
The north of Kenya is very remote and here you will encounter some of the worst roads on the entire trip. Nomadic tribes people like the Rendille and Borena in Marsabit and the Samburu (cousins of the Maasai) still wear very distinctive and often elaborate dress.
You pass the foothills of Mount Kenya before tackling some mountainous driving through the Nandi Hills – taking you via Eldoret before continuing into Uganda.