Rock-hewn churches, the Rift Valley, impressive castles, ancient tribes, island monasteries

One of Africa’s most diverse and spectacular countries, Ethiopia is cazenove+loyd’s exciting and adventurous new destination. Ethiopia has emerged as the place to go – a land of contrasts and home to some of the oldest civilisations in the world.

‘The land of a thousand smiles’ – Ethiopia has so much to offer from the moment you arrive. Addis alone boasts the remains of ‘Lucy’, the world’s oldest known almost complete hominid skeleton as well as the Mercato – Africa’s largest market, and the resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie. All this before you have even scratched the surface.

Ethiopia is one of those countries that you could explore time and time again and still find reasons to return; The country has something for everyone whether it is hiking through the Simien Mountains in search of its endemic mammals, delving deep into its more recent history and its emperors penchant for castles in Gondar, visiting the rock hewn churches of Lalibela (sometimes called the eighth wonder of the world) or gaining an insight into the lives of the beautiful Omo people.

Luxury tourism is still a relatively new concept for Ethiopia; the hotels are unsophisticated – comfortable rather than luxurious. However, this is part of the adventure, and what they lack in facilities the staff make up for in charm, living up to their reputation as the most friendly people in Africa. A number of high-end hotels have, however, also appeared in recent years, with the Sheraton in Addis and a new luxury lodge in the Bale Mountains. Ethiopia should be at the top of any Africaphile’s or Adventurer’s wish list.



As every one of the holidays we create is truly tailor-made, all of our clients come back with different and interesting stories. We love to hear from our clients on their return to find out about their most memorable moments. Our Destination Experts are also always travelling to our extraordinary destinations and every trip allows us to refine and add value to our clients' future experiences.

Luxury trip to Ethiopia

Three brothers in Ethiopia

So we set off to Ethiopia with great expectations, ready to discover both the culturally rich south and majestic monuments and ancient cities of the north.

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Ethiopia bespoke travel

The Ancient Hamer Tradition Of Bull Jumping

On Octavia's research trip to Ethiopia she witnessed a very rare ancient rite of passage –bull jumping. As very few Westerners have ever experienced such a traditional Ethiopian celebration, her excitement was definitely justified. The whole experience was very thrilling and a fantastic opportunity.

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Places to Stay

At cazenove+loyd, we have no vested interest in the hotels, lodges, boats, trains and tented camps which we select. We only choose what is right for a particular client. We visit each destination in our three regions on a regular basis and have detailed conversations with our clients on their return so our choices are continually refined. Here are just four c+l reviews. This is by no means a prescriptive list, but hints at what we look for and value in places to stay.

Luxury holiday to Ethiopia

Tukul Village, Lalibela

Tukul Village is adored by many for its unique charm and the fact that it reveals a bit more Ethiopian character and colour than many hotels in Ethiopia. With that, it includes food which offers an interesting mix of ideas, fresh vegetables, and fruits that aren’t always easy to find elsewhere.

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Luxury holiday to Ethiopia

Limalimo Lodge, Simien Mountains

Located right at the edge of the Simien Mountain National Park providing an endless landscape, Limalimo Lodge allows you to indulge in extravagant beauty whilst still embracing a feeling of comfortable security and tranquillity.

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Bale Mountain Lodge

Bale Mountain Lodge, Bale Mountains

Ethiopia’s newest gem is Bale Mountain Lodge, a lodge designed to blend seamlessly into its surroundings of wild coffee plants and cloud forest. Located within a park known for its biodiversity Bale Mountain Lodge focuses on an entirely new concept for Ethiopia – that of conservation and eco-luxury, aiming to change the standards of tourism in the country.

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Kuriftu Resort and Spa

Kuriftu Resort and Spa, Lake Tana

A peaceful and relaxing haven on the shores of Lake Tana, Kuriftu Resort is one of the more luxurious hotels in Ethiopia. Stone chalets are more reminiscent of East Africa than Ethiopia and are dotted about the bougainvillea filled gardens. If you want that extra bit of comfort with great views of Lake Tana then Kuriftu is the perfect choice in Bahir Dar.

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For over 20 years we have been creating the best luxury tailor-made holidays, we know our countries inside and out and really know how to get under the skin of each one and the best way to experience them.

Luxury holiday to Ethiopia

Off the beaten track mountain-top monastery mission

For those who like to work a little before being rewarded with a treat, then the concept up climbing up a mountain path for half an hour to reach a tiny little monastery then this is for you.

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The Dorze people belong to one of the Omotic groups in the South West of Ethiopia. They are a hard working tribe renowned for their skill in weaving, bamboo carpentry and other traditional crafts. You can visit their village and get a real insight into their day to day life alongside the syndicates that they have created to help the local people.

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Lalibela is one of those heritage sites that lives up to and exceeds its reputation. The feat of creating these incredible churches is mind-blowing and a testimony to the skill of mankind or depending on your beliefs - the glory of God. Attributed to King Lalibela the churches are a glorious indication of Ethiopia’s historic and impressive past and are still in use today.

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In our minds there is no more spectacular way to explore Tigray than on foot. This remote and mountainous part of Northern Ethiopia is just waiting to be explored and with the opportunity to escape the tourist route and discover untouched parts of the countryside it is something not to be missed. Tigray is the northern most region of Ethiopia and dominated by the mountains.

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Not only are the Hamer people the most famous of all Ethiopian tribes but they are also some of the country's most kind and gentle people. Taking huge pride in their appearance, women have tightly plaited hair, dyed ochre red and an array of beads, necklaces and leather skirts decorated with cowries.

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Flying over a landscape by helicopter no matter where you are in the world is always an amazing experience however exploring Ethiopia by air is truly awe-inspiring. A country dominated by mountains and escarpments, the Great Rift Valley and harsh deserts and depressions, it is a country of great contrasts and extremes.

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We know Ethiopia better than most. The possibilities are endless and ever-changing. On the map below, we have plotted some of our current favourite places to stay, some c+l highlights and a few pertinent client stories. And you can see if there is a team member travelling in that particular country and link through to them and what they are up to, so you can get them to call you on their return.

Best time to visit

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Best time to go

Ethiopia is best visited from October through to March when the weather is dry and the days are warm. This also ties in nicely with their peak festival time of December and January. Mid-May until mid-September is their rainy season.

Much of the popular and historical northern part of the country is in the highlands and so temperatures can be cool at night whereas the tribes in the south are at lower levels and it can get much warmer. Ethiopia tends to be a stand-alone trip but it could be combined with Kenya.

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Our well travelled Destination Experts have extensive first hand knowledge of their destinations and can open doors that others simply can’t.