Addis Ababa and Its Surrounds

Addis Ababa Day Trips & Excursions

Addis Ababa Tours. Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and the African Union and is often called the “ African Capital” due to its historical, diplomatic, and political significance for the continent. For those who have only a day or less to spend touring the capital, we have a variety of one-day tours. Our beautiful Addis Ababa is a lively city with a rich history. As there is much to see you have to choose where you want to go. Below is our suggested itinerary. If your time is limited we can reduce the full day tour program to a half day tour. We offer a wide range of Addis Ababa Day Tours and Excursion for you to see Addis Ababa, Ankober, Debrelibanos Monastery and Blue Nile Gorge, Menagesha Forest…All our Addis tours can be private. Our day tours start every day and are fully customizable

Enjoy a day trip with Inspiration tour operator from Addis Ababa. See our options and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I. Addis Ababa City Tour

You will be met by our local tour guide then you will start Addis Ababa city tour. Addis Ababa ("New flower" in Amharic) is the third highest capital in the world with an altitude of 2,400 m. Founded in 1887 by Emperor Menelik II, it is also known as the capital of Africa for hosting multiple international institutions such as the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. This private Addis Ababa tour lets you see the sights you are most interested in with our local tour guide.

Highlight City Tour

1. Entoto Mountain:

The capital of Ethiopia before Addis Ababa. Here you will have panoramic views of the city with fresh air from the eucalyptus fore sts.

2. Ethiopian Ethnographic Museum:

It is the ethnographical museum, with great displays of the many cultures of Ethiopia, housed in the former palace of Haile Selassie.

3. National Museum:

It is one of the most popular museums where Ethiopia’s home for the oldest and famous hominid fossil ‘Lucy’

4. Holy Trinity cathedral church:

It is one of the biggest most beautiful Ethiopian Orthodox cathedrals.

5. Merkato:

Finish the day with shopping in Merkato, the local marketplace which is said to be Africa’s largest open-air market.

6. Cultural Shopping Experience:

Experience authentic Ethiopian crafts, high quality, handmade household products inspired by traditional Ethiopian patterns. Each luxurious piece is beautifully handmade and enriches the contemporary lifestyle.

7. Cultural Coffee Ceremony:

Ethiopia's coffee ceremony is an integral part of our social and cultural life. An invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship or respect and is an excellent example of Ethiopian hospitality.

8. Cultural Dinner

We can also take you for dinner to a traditional restaurant, where you will enjoy an unforgettable soiree with dancers and singers representing some of the country’s many ethnic groups

II. Day Trip To Debrezeit

Bishoftu Day Trip in Addis Ababa : After breakfast, drive 48 km southeast of Addis Ababa to Bishoftu, a resort town. After arrival, visit the 5 crater lakes which the town is famous for. You will have a chance to see nearby attractions to Bishoftu such as Mt. Yerer and Green Crater Lake. This town is located at an altitude of 1,925 meters above sea level. In the late afternoon drive back to Addis Ababa.

III. Day Trip to Debre Libanos Monastery

Drive through a spectacular mountain scenery and visit the beautiful medieval monastery founded in the 13th c by Abune Tekle Haimanot who reputedly stood 7 years on one leg praying. The church with its magnificent murals it is surrounded by stunning and overwhelming scenery. The monastery complex sits on a terrace between a cliff and the gorge of one of the tributaries of the Abbay Rifer (the Blue Nile).

Jemma River gorge and Portuguese bridge:

The ‘portuguese Bridge’, was not as its name suggests built by the Portuguese but was in fact built in the 19th century by and Ethiopian, called Rad Darrgein (who was Menelik’s II uncle) in the 19th century. It is built in the style of the 17th century bridges around the Nile. After crossing the bridge, go to your left by the side of the river until you reach on a large rock suitable to view the 600m waterfall. The view in this area is simply breathtaking, with a waterfall and a deep gorge leading down to the Jemma River Valley. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of nearly 1000 meters to the valley below. It is also a habitat of several rare birds (lammergeyer, Abyssinian ground hornbill, endemic banded barbet, Abyssinian woodpecker and much more) and endemic Gelada baboons. The scenery is stunning, and it is very peaceful.

IV. Day trip to Lake Wonchi Crator Lake & Monastery

Early in the morning drive from Addis Ababa to Lake Wonchi via Ambo town. Wonchi Crater Lake is the beautiful legacy of a once powerful volcano which is located on the mountain range between the towns of Ambo and Woliso. This beautiful lake is situated at an altitude of about 3000m above sea level. Wonchi contains hot springs and waterfalls with breathtaking valleys and stunning scenery. On the island there is an ancient monastery named Cherkos. Besides all this, Wonchi is the home of wonderful and indigenous forest reserves. Wonchi is truly regarded as a paradise for trekkers! The panorama on both sides of the gravel road to Wonchi is simply breathtaking. Once you arrive at the Crater Lake, you are totally mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape and the freshness of the air.

V. Ankober (160 km)

Drive to Ankober, pass through a fantastic countryside with panoramic views. Till 1878 Ankober served as the capital of Ethiopia. Visit the ruins of the old palace of Emperor Menelik II. Trekking around the spectacular and panoramic area, look for endemic birds like the Ankober serin, Blue-winged geese and Abyssinian longclaw. Return drive to Addis.

VI. Adadi Mariam-Weliso (158 km)

Drive to Adadi Mariam, a rock hewn church dating back to the 12-14th Century which is similar in style to the churches of Lalibela. This church is unique as it is the southern-most church of its type, and stands alone – no other rock-hewn churches are in the area. It has been surmised that King Lalibela ordered the construction of Adida Mariam for his visit to southern Ethiopia. The site dates to the 13th century, but is still an active site of worship. While it dates to around the same time as the Tiya stelae, and is only ~30km north of them, Adadi Mariam provides a strong contrast to the pagan-like aura at Tiya.

VII. Tiya Stale

Close by the Adadi Mariam church are the stelae of Tiya. The monuments – 36 in all – are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture, standing between 1 and 2 meters in height. Excavations have revealed that the site is an ancient cemetery, housing the remains of both males and females, aged from 18 to 30. Dating to between the 10th and 15th centuries, the stelae are covered in symbols whose meaning remains unknown. The swords and other symbols carved into the rock are unique to themselves; no other symbols of their type have been discovered. Tiya is easily accessible off a main road from Addis Ababa. It has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is relatively untouched by tourism compared to other parts of Ethiopia.

VIII. Awash National Park (225 km)

Drive to Awash National Park, established in 1966, the Park is home to more than 80 species of mammals and 454 species of birds, with major attractions like the Filwuha hot springs, Awash Falls and Fentale crater. Trek along the Awash River and game drive, where large herds of Beisa oryx and Gazelles roam. Climb Mt. Fentale (2007 m) or swim at the hot springs in a natural blue water swimming pool. Drive back to Addis.

IX. Wendo Genet (235 km)

Drive to Wendo Genet, swim and relax by the hot spring which is believed to have curative properties. Enjoy the sunset from the veranda of your hotel. The natural forest is unsurpassable in beauty. Drive to Awassa, visit the huge and colorful fish market where early in the morning people gather to buy and eat raw fish; and drive back to Addis, stopping by Lake Langano for a relaxing swim at Lake Langano.

X. Birding Day Trips from Addis Ababa:

Pick up from your hotel to start your birding day trip is at 6:30 AM. You will directly drive to the Sululta Plains to see Rusty-breasted Wheatear, Blue-Winged Goose, Wattled Ibis, Thekla's Lark, Speckled Pigeon, Abyssinian Longclaw, White-winged Cliff-chat, and many more other bird species. Then, proceed to Debre Libanos to see Little Rock-thrush, Black-crowned Tchagra, Banded Barbet, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, Common Bulbul, Thick-billed Raven, Common Fiscal, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Abyssinian Slaty-flycatcher, Pin-tailed Whydah, and more birds. Around mid-afternoon, drive back to Addis Ababa where you will finish your day tour.

XI. Menagesha National Forest

Departing west from Addis Ababa, drive to the Menagesha National Forest for some hiking. Here you will enjoy the wildlife, such as the colobus monkeys and endemic Menelik’s bushbuck, as well as birds, including the endemic Ethiopian oriole and Abyssinian woodpecker. You can also stop at the Gefersa Reservoir, which supplies water to Addis Ababa, and is a nice birdwatching and wildlife spot. Return to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

back to top