Day Tour from Addis Ababa to Rift Valley Lake of Ziway
Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya - Day Trip from Addis Ababa
This Day Tour from Addis Ababa to Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya is one of Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours best day trips from Addis Ababa. With this private day trip, visit Steles of Tiya (UNESCO World Heritage Site), local villages, and the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway.
Reach us on WhatsApp to organize a private one-day tour of the Rift Valley from Addis Ababa.
Private small group excursion (one day round trip) around Addis Ababa by drive to: -
* visit Tiya burial ground (14th Century AD and UNESCO World Heritage Site)
* experience local life with family visits,
* enjoy the panoramic view of the Rift Valley, and
* have a private boat ride on Lake Ziway to explore the Ethiopian bird life.
Total Distance – 350 km (~ 218 miles)
Duration – 11 to 12 hours
Group Size – 1 to 6 visitors
Transportation – Private Toyota Corolla (1 or 2 travelers) and Toyota Minibus (3 to 6 travelers) equipped with AC and seat belts
Overview of Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya - Day Tour from Addis Ababa
This is a multi-faceted day trip from Addis Ababa. It includes cultural site visit, nature and wildlife, scenery, and cultural experience. The excursion helps visitors who have one day around Addis Ababa to have a great introduction to Ethiopia, especially for first-time visitors.
Contrary to the historic route of northern part of Ethiopia (for e.g., the rock churches of Lalibela), the southern part of the country is famous for its natural and cultural sites. Southern Ethiopia's tourism is mainly to visit the tribal people of the Omo Valley, who live along the Omo River.
The excursion takes about 12 hours by driving with a private vehicle, which covers about 350 km circuit (loop). A professional local tour guide with deep knowledge of the area and years of experience in guiding international tourists accompanies the day tour from Addis Ababa.
Principal places of visits and things to do of the day trip are: -
Steles of Tiya – Cemetery dating back to the 12th to 14th Century AD. Tiya Steles is the closest UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ethiopia to Addis Ababa. Learn the culture of erecting stone grave markers.
Scenery of the Rift Valley – Visitors who enjoy scenic beauty find this day trip from Addis Ababa worthy. Along the drive, stop at some viewpoints to admire views of the Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley.
Local village and family visits – take one-hour visit to the local people of the Oromo tribe to learn their way of living. Experiencing a different culture helps to see life from a different point of view and to appreciate what we have.
Boat trip on the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway – with one hour private boat trip on Lake Ziway, see many lowland water birds of Ethiopia. You will also see a couple of hippos.
Day Tour Detailed Itinerary
Your local tour guide will meet you at your hotel/place of stay in Addis Ababa at 7:00 AM. Pick-up from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is also possible for arriving visitors.
Before the rush hour starts, drive south of Addis Ababa. After driving 30 km farther, stop at an outlook to enjoy the spectacular Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley.
With half an hour drive, you will get to the Awash River (one of the biggest rivers in Ethiopia). Take a walk to cross the Awash River to see some people washing clothes and photograph locals as they cross the bridge with donkeys to get drinking water.
Continue driving 30 km farther south and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stelae of Tiya. At Tiya, learn the old tradition and history of dedicating steles for the dead. Have a look at 40 steles - ancient upright stone slab bearing carved markings.
The small town of Tiya, 85 km south of Addis Ababa, is inhibited by the local tribal people of Oromo and Gurage. Past Tiya, you will drive to the area of the Gurage people, who are noted for their cultivation of Enset (False Banana Tree) whose roots they use to make porridge (oatmeal) and bread.
Have lunch break at the town of Butajira. Then, drive 50 km to the east to Lake Ziway. This is a great drive to notice as the geography and vegetation changes gradually. You will have a couple of stops to take photos of the Rift Valley.
Before getting to Ziway, stop at the villages of the Oromo people to learn how to bake the Ethiopian national bread known as “Enjera or Injera”. You will also take part in the cultural Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.
Drive to Lake Ziway and take a 1-hr private boat trip on Lake Ziway to see families of hippos and many lowland water birds with a full-day guided tour from Addis Ababa.
Some familiar birds you will spot include African Fish-Eagle, Spur-winged Lapwing, African Fish Eagle, Hamerkop, African Sacred Ibis, and Marabou Stork.
Other birds which are not frequently encountered the day tour helps you to see include African Spoonbill African Pygmy-goose, Black Heron African Darter, and Long-tailed Cormorant. There are more than 100 bird species to see around Lake Ziway.
Your local tour guide will point out an island in Lake Ziway which is believed to house the Original Ark of the Covenant for 72 years in the 9th Century AD. The Original Ark of the Covenant is now at Axum, northern Ethiopia.
On the way back to Addis Ababa, drive north on the main highway from Addis Ababa to Kenya. The last 60 km drive will be on Ethiopia’s only toll road, which was built by a Chinese construction company.
If time allows, this day trip from Addis Ababa may include a stop at one of the crater lakes of Bishoftu or Debre Ziet.
This Addis Ababa layover tour is flexible to fit with visitors' other inquiries or can be extended to a two-day tour from Addis Ababa.
Have you taken this excursion with Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours before? Please leave a review of your day tour with us on TripAdvisor with the link below.
RELATED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - Day Trip Addis Ababa to Rift Valley Lakes
What can I do near Ziway Lake?
To discover worth visiting sites near Lake Ziway, we suggest the following activities: -
Depending on how many days in Addis Ababa you have, there are other interesting places to visit in full day tours from Addis Ababa.
We organize private day trips to Debre Libanos Monastery, to Lake Wenchi Crater Lake, and Adadi Mariam Rock Church. It is possible to arrange the day trips to fit with the arrival and departure times of your flight with Ethiopian Airlines.
Visitors can reserve our day tours with free cancellation prior to 24 hours before the starting time of the respective tours.
Contact us for booking the Lake Ziway and Steles of Tiya - Day Tour from Addis Ababa.
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