This trip is one of our most varied to date. Starting in Addis Ababa, we learn about the history of Haile Selassie, the Rastafari movement, the Derg and the Ethiopian civil war which led to the famine of the 1980's. We then travel onwards to visit the khat markets of Dire Dawa and the beautiful UNESCO listed ancient walled city of Harar. As well as a wealth of cultural sites there is also the opportunity to feed wild hyenas that roam the streets at night! On to the self declared Republic of Somaliland where we learn about the Somaliland civil war which led to the breakaway state declaring independence. We will also visit 5000 year old cave paintings at Las Geel and the coastal resort of Berbera, where we can enjoy freshly caught fish and relax on completely deserted beaches.


We've been running our tours to Horn of Africa for 3 years now. Formerly known as British Somaliland Protectorate, the region gained independence in 1960 and became part of the State of Somalia along with Puntland and Somalia. In 1991 full civil war broke out in Somalia and the ensuing massacres led the people of Somaliland to fight for international recognition ever since. With deserted beaches, 5000 year old cave paintings and a tiny capital city full of warm friendly people, Somaliland offers a unique side of Africa that is so far, empty of tourists. Be amongst the first to venture into this part of the world!

Day 1

Arrive in Addis Ababa and make your way to our hotel. Day at leisure.

For those of you taking our Danakil extension trip, the group will arrive back from Mekele at 21:10 and be transferred to the hotel.

Taitu Hotel, Addis Ababa St George's Cathedral, Addis Ababa Taitu Hotel, Addis Ababa  

Day 2

After breakfast we will take a full day tour of Addis Ababa. In the morning we will visit we will visit the National Museum, to view amongst many other historical relics, 'Lucy'; the world's oldest humanoid skeleton, dating back over 3 million years. Afterwards we head to St George's Cathedral before stopping for lunch and sampling some Ethiopian coffee - arguably the finest you will taste in the world!

After lunch we will will move on to the Holy Trinity Cathedral to see the tomb of Hailie Selassie before finishing at the Red Terror Martyrs Museum. Here we will hear moving first hand accounts of the bloodshed, torture and mass killing carried out by The Derg; the military junta during the late 1970's.

Evening at leisure.

Day 3

Early morning rise ready for a 5:30 departure to Dire Dawa by minibus. Stop mid way through the journey at a local roadside restaurant for lunch.

Arrival into Dire Dawe around 15:30 and check into our hotel. Rest of the day at leisure to relax in the outdoor swimming pool or go for a stroll around the city.

Day 4

After breakfast we will take a tour of Dire Dawa Railway Museum. An extraordinary site; semi abandoned, partly still in use; the station was built over 100 years ago and has barely changed in all that time with most of the original French built machinery still in place and in use. Afterwards we visit the khat, camel and spice markets. Watch the locals sat in the sun, chewing their khat without a care in the world and take in the overpowering smells of dried chilli being crushed down into powder to sell on at the markets.

We stop at a local restaurant for lunch before taking a private minibus to Harar. One hour later we arrive and check in to the Heritage Plaza hotel. Rest of the day at leisure with the option of feeding wild hyenas in the evening!*

Day 5

After breakfast we take a tour of the UNESCO listed city of Harar. We'll see the colourfully dressed local women, wild eagles circling the butchers shops, fresh coffee being processed and khat being pulped into a paste to make tea from. We'll also visit the tomb of Sheikh Abadir, the Arthur Rimbaud Centre, City Gates, Ras Tafari's house, Ras Makonnen's Palace, Jamia mosque and the Smugglers market.

Evening at leisure, with the option of attending a local bar and club in the evening.

  Arthur Rimbaud Centre, Harar Eagles, Harar Street scene, Harar Hyena feeding, Harar   

Day 6

After breakfast we take a private minibus for the 3.5 hour journey to the Somaliland border. After passing through border controls we are picked up by our Somali guides and taken on a further two hour journey along desert roads to the capital city, Hargeisa.

Check into our hotel in the centre of Hargeisa before spending the rest of the day at leisure.

  Sandstorm near Jijiga, Ethiopia Somaliland border crossing Somaliland tortoise Shop, Hargeisa   

Day 7

After breakfast we head out to the livestock market to witness the spectacle of hundreds of camels and other livestock being traded. We then take a tour of the city centre where we see the moneychangers with their piles and piles of Somaliland shillings, the bazaar, Central mosque and the MIG monument before stopping for lunch.

In the afternoon we visit Naasa Hasblood or Virgin Breasts Mountain, twin hills situated just outside of Hargeisa. Chance to see wildlife along the way such as tortoises, baboons and the rare beira antelope - indigenous to the region. We will trek to the top of one of the twin hills to see spectacular views of the Somaliland desert. On our way back down we will cut through a pungent smelling baboons nest (if vacant!). Return to the the hotel and rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 8

Departure at 8:00 after breakfast and drive by private minibus 60km North to Laas Geel cave paintings. The ancient artwork dates between 9000BC and 3000BC. They are some of the best preserved paintings in the world and were only discovered by the Western world as recently as 2002 by a French archaeological team.

In the afternoon we drive on to the coastal city of Berbera, stopping for lunch en route. On arrival into Berbera we will view some of the English and Russian colonial architecture before heading to the sea front to view the bombed and abandoned ships that remain from the Somalian civil war. Afterwards we will check into our hotel, situated right on a deserted beach where dolphins and turtles can regularly be spotted. Evening at leisure.

Day 9

Spend the morning at your own leisure; relax on the beach, swim in the sea or take a stroll around the dusty centre of Berbera. In the early afternoon we'll go for lunch at one of Berbera's fish restaurants before taking a walking tour of Berbera town.

Rest of day at leisure.

Day 10

In the morning we depart back to Hargeisa, arriving in time for the 17:40 Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis (not included). For anyone wishing to travel on to Djibouti we will put you in touch with our partners who you can book with directly. You can travel overland or fly with Jubba Airways.

For information on our pre trip extension to the Danakil depression, please click here.

The tour includes:

- 3 star central twin hotel accommodation
- all road transport in Ethiopia and Somaliland
- all tours, entry fees and permits for Las Geel caves
- experienced English speaking guides
- accompanied by Western guide throughout the trip
- all breakfasts

Not included:

- Lunch and dinners (approx $10-15 per day)
- International flights and airport transfers
- Ethiopian and Somaliland visas (approx £55)
- Tips for guides (approx $20 in total)
- Flight from Hargeisa (Somaliland) to onward destination (£150 to Addis Ababa, £200 to Dubai)
- Hargeisa airport departure tax (approx $20)
- Other personal expenses

Rooms are on a twin basis and if you are travelling alone we will allocate someone for you to share with if possible. To have your own single room there is an additional cost of £115.

^flight upgrade available on request.

*The wild hyenas that roam Harar have been fed by a local family for over 60 years. For a payment of 100 Birr (£3) , you can feed the hyenas along with the 'Hyena Man' who will entice them onto your back or to feed from your mouth! However, although there have been no incidents with feeding these hyenas, you must be aware that they are wild animals and potentially dangerous so if you wish to join in with the feeding you do it entirely at your own risk!