2 Days Trip to the Rift Valley Lakes of Ethiopia

Two Days/One Night private tour from Addis Ababa to the Rift Valley Lakes of Southern Ethiopia by drive with private vehicle

Explore Lakes in Rift Valley, visit UNESCO Site of Steles at Tiya, discover wildlife of Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park, meet Jamaican Rastafarians at Shashemene, experience life at the Fish Market of Lake Awassa (Hawassa), and enjoy private boat excursion at Ziway Lake with our guided 2-Days nature and culture tour from Addis Ababa


Duration – Two Days/One NightVisitors feeding Colobus Monkey at Lake Hawassa, South Ethiopia

Means of Transport – Private Vehicle and Boat on Lake Ziway

Total Distance Covered – 575 km (about 357 miles)

Places to visit and things to do: -

 Melka Kunture Prehistoric Site - Know more about ancient human beings and modern humans evolved. Visit four small tukul hut museums. See an open-air archaeological (excavation) site which is about 800,000 years old.

 UNESCO SITE of Steles of Tiya – learn the culture of erecting gravestones decorated with carvings by visiting the cemetery of Tiya (12 – 14th Century AD and UNESCO World Heritage Site)

 Local village visit and cultural experience – meet locals at their house and learn how to bake Enjera (the Ethiopian pancake), and take part in a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

✿ Stop at best outlooks to enjoy picturesque view of the Great East African Rift Valley

 Boat ride on Lake Ziway to spot a number of water birds and see families of hippos

✿ Fish Market of Lake Awassa – Experience how people of Awassa (Hawassa) have breakfast of fresh catch fish, taste tasty Fish soup, see Vervet Monkeys and Colobus Monkeys, and spot a number of birds

✿ Meet members of the Jamaican Rastafarian Community at Shashemene town and learn about their belief – Rastafarianism

✿ See five of the seven Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes

Road map of places to visit during the two days trip to Rift Valley Lakes with start and end at Addis Ababa city



Day 1 – Addis Ababa – UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tiya – Boat Trip on Ziway Lake – Shashemene – Awassa (Hawassa)

Day 2 - Awassa (Hawassa) – Abiyatta-Shalla Lakes National Park – Langano Lake – Ziway – Bishoftu (Debre Ziet) – Addis Ababa

With this 2-days tour from Addis Ababa visit Melka Kunture Prehistoric Site, and the grave site of Tiya (UNESCO World Heritage and 14th Century AD).

Explore 5 Rift Valley lakes, Bishoftu (Debre Ziet) Crater Lake, Fish Market of Lake Awassa, and Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park and enjoy scenic stops to enjoy the view of the Rift Valley.

Also, visit the cultural market of the Oromo people (only on Thursdays and Sundays), boat ride on Lake Ziway, and attending a typical Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

Animals visitors would see include Baboons, warthogs, gazelles, ostriches, hippos, etc. and birds like Storks, Ibis, Plovers, Stilts, Fish Eagles, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, etc.

Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours creates the ETHIOpERIENCE you need in Ethiopia.

Day by Day Itinerary of the 2 Days Private Tour of Rift Valley from Addis Ababa

Day 1 – Addis Ababa – Steles of Tiya - Awassa

The first day of this two days tour from Addis Ababa takes you 275 km south of Addis Ababa to Awassa. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Steles of Tiya. Tiya is a grave site where you will see 40 big stone gravel markers. They erected in honor of local warriors between 12th to 14th Century AD.

Along the way, visit villages of the Silte and Gurage tribal groups. At the village of the Gurage people, learn how to prepare Kotcho (bread they prepare from the root of Enset or False banana tree). Stop at different viewpoints to enjoy views of the Ethiopian part of the Great East African Rift Valley.Ostriches_At_Abidjatta_Shalla_National_Park.jpg

Enjoy a private boat trip on the Rift Valley Lake of Ziway for about an hour. Identify a number of low land water birds like Spur-Winged Lapwing, African Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, Hammerkop, Black Heron, Malachite Kingfisher, African Jacana, Hadada Ibis, etc. and families of hippos. When crossing the Awash River, look for crocodiles.

The next stop of the tour is at Shashemene town to visit the Jamaican Rastafarian Community at their church.

Rastafarians believe our last Emperor (Emperor Haile Sillassie I) whose name before he assumed power is RAS TEFERI as their God or the Black Messiah. Then, drive 25 farther south to Awassa (Hawassa).

You will enjoy one of the best sunset of your time touring Ethiopia at Awassa, if the weather is good. Awassa is one of the biggest cities of Ethiopia and the regional capital of Ethiopia. O/N – Haile Resort Hotel

Day 2 – Awassa – Shashemene – Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park– Addis Ababa

After breakfast, drive to Amora Gedel by the shores of Lake Awassa. Visiting Fish Market of Lake Awassa is one of the top experiences this two days tour from Addis Ababa offers.

Meet locals of the Sidama tribe as they have breakfast of fresh catch Tilapia fish and spot a number of birds gathered looking for leftover fish. Walk around Lake Awassa to see the rare Colobus Monkey (Black and White Monkey).Rift Valley of Ethiopia View

Then, head north to the other Rift Valley Lake of Langano with a stop at the Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park.

With half hour walking tour in Abiyatta Shalla Lakes National Park, see Ostriches, Gazelles, Warthogs, and different lowland bird species. Drive 5 km to a viewpoint to see the great view of the twin lakes of Abiyatta and Shalla.

Lake Shalla is the deepest lake in Ethiopia, and it is a breeding ground for the seasonal flamingos. If the road condition is good continue driving farther to visit the Natural Hot Spring waters where locals use the waters to get healed from skin diseases.

With a lunch stop at the Rift Valley Lake of Langano, drive on the Express Way back to Addis Ababa.

See Adadi Mariam Rock Church – visit the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church of Adadi Mariam, which was carved out of rock in the 13th Century AD for tours beginning on Thursday or Sunday at Addis Ababa.

Visitors will enjoy visiting a colorful weekly held cultural market of the Oromo people at the small town of Adadi Mariam - Only when the tour departs either on Thursday or Sunday. 

NOTE – This two days tour from Addis Ababa to the Rift Valley can be organized to fit visitors interests best by extending duration and adding more places of visits.

Please, contact us for prices, details, and booking!

Addis Ababa to Rift Valley Tour – Questions and Answers

What is the relationship between Rastafarians and Ethiopia?

Rastafarians revere the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I as a god. Why? Rastafarians considered the coronation of Haile Selassie I (formerly Ras Tafari) as Emperor of Ethiopia in 1931 as a fulfillment of Marcus Garveys 1920 prophecy. 

Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned, he shall be your Redeemer preached Garvey a decade before Emperor Haile Selassie I came to power. For Rastafarians, Shashemene is home - the Promised Land.

With this two days guided trip from Addis Ababa, visit a Rastafarian Community at Shashemene and learn their beliefs.


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