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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 1,843

Blue Nile & Lalibela ET

Visiting: Ethiopia
Tour Duration 14 Days
  • Castle of Gondar
  • Gelada baboons
  • Entertaining the local children
  • Castle at Gondar
  • Typical Ethiopian Coffee ceremony in Axum
  • Tour Style: Classic
  • Tour Type: Small Groups
  • Tour Pace: Busy
  • Tour Comfort: Standard

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14 reviews for this tour

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Blue Nile & Lalibela tour available at present.

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10 Elizabeth Chick, 10/04/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

So many highlights - Lake Tana, the Simien Mountains, Aksum, Lalibela, the beautiful people and great group

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10 Maria Gardiner, 11/03/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The hippos and reed boats on Lake Tana; seeing Lucy in the National Museum in Addis Ababa; the view from my hotel room in Lalibela.

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9 , 24/01/14


Caroline Taylor

Tour Name

Blue Nile and Lalibela

Tour Code


What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Hyena man in Harar, walk in Simien mountains, and waterfall walk near blue nile source plus the breathtaking scenery and the people

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Excellent, made sure everything ran smoothly, very enthusiastic about Ethiopia and knowledgeable

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Make the most of your free time to go into the towns and meet the locals

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Local dish is diabolical, vegetarian may be a better option

10 Catherine Rhodes, 02/09/13


Catherine Rhodes

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Walking in the Simien Mountains being utterly awestruck by the majestic views; sitting on our hotel balcony in Lalibela watching a thunderstorm roll in; being rendered speechless by my first glimpse inside Ura Kidane Mehret Monastery on Lake Tana; seeing castles from a fairy tale in Gonder

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Sue was excellent, and I really appreciated her efforts to learn everything she could about the country and its people and to then share all of her knowledge with the group at appropriate times. Organisationally, she was faultless which is verging on miraculous in a country without a particularly well developed tourist infrastructure. Her love of the country and the people shone through everything she did.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Don't expect this to be a relaxing trip with gourmet food and 5 star accommodation, but do expect to be educated, challenged, enlightened, humbled, amused, fascinated, confused and awestruck at every turn. Having travelled in 10 other sub-saharan African countries, I can safely say Ethiopia is unique - there is nothing to compare with it.

10 Elsbeth Headley, 21/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

For me, the scenery and wonderful landscapes were the highlights. The Simien mountains in particular were incredible, and the vastness and serenity of them really took your breath away. Sitting with baboons in the Simiens was also a real privelege. Finally, the Ethiopian people themselves - warm, open, and always with a smile.

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10 Joanne Bayram, 17/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

There is a lot of travelling in this trip - several internal flights and some long drives, but the travelling itself helps you get a feel of the expansive geography and it's worth the effort to get around all the major sites - they are all worth seeing and experiencing.

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10 Paul Thomas, 17/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Cliche but too many. Ethiopia has numerous five star attractions that are unique to it. Hiking in the Simien mountains was my favourite perhaps. I love UNESCO sites so historical Gondor, Axum and Lalibela kept me entertained. The wildlife and waterfalls of Awash and Lake Tana were also very good.

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10 Evelyn, 15/09/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Sitting with the Gelada Baboons in the Simiens and standing in St.George's rock hewn church in Lalibela..and eatingand sharing supper with a local family also in Lalibela where a monk blessed the bread baked for Easter

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0 Sarah harrison, 15/05/12
This was the trip of all trip to waver ALL preconceptions of Ethopia; no drought, no starving children but a well established and efficient method of traditional farming techniques, trade and bustling markets like nowhere else on earth! Addis Ababa is also a newly thriving industrial country. We had the most welcoming, knowlegable and enthusiastic British tour guide Sue, who had live in Ethopia for over 9 years. Don't be put off by the three internal flights, see them as short hops to see the most of this exquisite counrty. Susie has a nack of queue hopping at the airports - its not what you know but who!! There were highlights ever day so it's hard to pinpoint just a few; feeding the wild hyenas in Harar and watching them parade down the high street, sunset in Awash Nationl Park, the sunrise boat trip on Lake Tana, the Castles at Gondar, a breathtaking walk along a ridge in The Simien Mountains following the Gelada baboons, the assume grave stone-like stelae at Axum, the relaxing mule trek through the hill farms and the least, the inspirational rock cut, sunk churches of Lalibela, an UNESCO world heritage site. Not to mention the chat markets and the Queen of Sheba' s shower and all of the beautiful children who never stop smiling. The local music, singing and cuisine a must, trust me on this one! The road are empty as most Ethopians walk everywhere, from dawn 'till dusk. Go now before tourism changes an often Biblical way of life. How can I upload a selection of photos. - they are stunning?!
0 Sue Collins, 13/03/12

For me,this trip will rank amongst the best of holidays. Ethiopia is unlike other African countries, having many historical sites and evidence of ancient civilisations. The rock churches of Lalibela , the stelae at Axum and much more. Was the Queen of Sheba an Ethiopian and is the Ark of the Covenant really housed under 24hr guard at Axum?. I like to think so.

Visiting one of the churches on Lake Tana happily coincided with a festival day and so we were able to see the parading of the holy tabot by the priests and congregation accompanied by much singing and dancing. A great spectacle.

Awash national Park has wildlife and exotic birds and whilst walking in the Simian Mountains we stood and watched the famous and much photographed Gelada baboons.

The mule trek to Ashatan  Maryam church was not for the fainthearted but much enjoyed by those who braved the ride.

So much more not even mentioned, the markets, the food and the roads!! The visit to the Red Terror museum in Addis was very thought provoking.

Ethiopians are friendly and welcoming to us feranji (foreigners)and accommodation though basic was quite adequate.

Our tour leader,Sue, enthused us with her love of her adopted country and we were so lucky to have her with us.

0 Pat Rutherford, 17/05/11
We went on this wonderful tour in January so that we were in Axum during  the Timkat Festival.  .We found the whole experience a delight, mixing with the local people, seeing their traditions and enjoying the atmosphere.  We moved on to the Simien mountains, the scenery was stunning.  People have said how baboons can be aggressive, but the Gelada Baboons were very calm and we were very close to them, without any worries.  Then we went to Lalibela and saw the incredible rock churches -  just amazing.  We walked through the passageway ‘hell to heaven’.  Try it, it is worth it.  Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, is wonderful and early morning it really is ice blue in colour, even though the hippotamus are bathing in it!  We had an excellent Tour Guide who obviously loved the country herself and shared this love with us.  The only regret we have is that we didn’t take clothes with us which we would have been  happy to leave behind or give away during the tour. (ET - 18th January 2011)
0 Charles Ogilvie, 23/12/10
Fascinating culture and friendly people.  Enjoyed the mule trek up to Ashata Maryam church.  Bear in mind hot water is not always readily available for showers. (ET - 31st October 2010)
0 Andrew Turner, 18/11/10

Ethiopia must be the hidden gem of Africa.  Stunning, diverse scenery, incredible culture and history and wonderful people.  For an insight to a different Africa, you have to experience Ethiopia.    Lake Tana is serene. Tississat Falls are majestic. The castles of Gondar gives a real insight to the history of the country.  The Simien mountains are stunning - beautiful beyond words.  Then there's the Rock Churches at Axum - you've seen the pictures of St Georges church - impressive, incredible, and only one of several to see !    

One of the best organised trips we've taken with Explore, brilliantly led by our Tour Leader, excellent itinerary.  A sensational trip, getting the balance absolutely right.    Not physically demanding, but a tiring trip.  But worth every ounce of effort.  Immerse yourself in it - it's an incredible experience and a wonderful trip. (ET -10th October 2010)

0 R.B, 22/09/10
It had rained heavily the night before so it was a relief to see clear blue skies above Debark, our base for a daywalk in the nearby Simien Mountains. After less than an hour's drive up a winding mountain track, we got out and began hiking along the escarpment of the Simien Mountains. The fine weather ensured spectacular views, but would we get to see any Gelada Baboons I wondered? Before long, we spotted a large troop of them on the next hillside and unlike so many other species of wildlife, they seemed unbothered by our presence. I sat myself down in front of the general direction that the Baboons were slowly moving- shuffling along on their backsides and picking at the grass. One very impressive male with his bright red chest and flowing golden mane, inched within about 2 metres of me before noticing me- he briefly glanced in my direction, simply made his way slowly around me and carried on grazing. An amazing and unexpected wildlife encounter to rival anything I've ever seen elsewhere in Africa. (ET- 28th March 2010)
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