Ethiopia Helicopter Safari
Ethiopia is a land of dramatic landscapes, whose varied scenic highlights range from the jagged peaks of the Simien Mountains and chasmic Blue Nile Gorge to the active lava lakes of the Danakil and bare sandstone cliffs of eastern Tigray.
Flying over a landscape by helicopter is always an amazing experience; and as such exploring Ethiopia by air is truly awe-inspiring. A country being dominated by mountains and escarpments, the Great Rift Valley and harsh deserts and depressions, Helicopter safari is the ideal way to discover them in their true sense.
This year (2018), Rainbow Travel in partnership with its sister company, Trans Nation airways has started organizing a highly private and flexible Helicopter Safari in Ethiopia. Trans Nation airways is one of Ethiopia’s well recognized and leading private airline, operating Two DASH-8-200Q Aircrafts and BELL 222 UT HELICOPTER.
Helicopter tour is the perfect way to access remote areas quickly and easily, without the need for landing strips or clearances hence making your safari truly privileged and unique. Flying over Ethiopia is a humbling experience, as the vastness of the land stretches before you, and the drama and excitement of Ethiopian wildlife unfold before you. Our carefully planned Ethiopian helicopter safari gives you a bird’s eye view of the rugged terrain, alluring gorges, ravishing tablelands and and other parts of Ethiopia one may otherwise would have no chance to appreciate.
There are stunning sights from the air which include chains of mountains, lakes, deserts, forests and national parks always following the most scenic routes and touching down wherever possible. In Ethiopia, the most famous destinations include the Simien Mountains National Park, the Danakil Dessert and Ertale Volcano, the rock hewn churches of Lalibella and Tigray, the Tribes of the Omo Valley and also short flights over Addis Ababa and its environs. Moreover, Rainbow Travel can customize private safari which will include a combination of helicopter safari and normal surface tour packages.
Cover Endless Ground from the Air
Suggested Ethiopia Helicopter Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival at Addis Ababa
Up on arrival at Addis Ababa bole international airport you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. If your arrival time permits, you will have a sightseeing tour of the capital city-Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is the fourth largest city in Africa – a melting pot of cultures and a bizarre combination of past and present – the coexistence of old imperial statues alongside hammer and sickle placards of the former Marxist regime and the juxtaposition of wattle and daub huts with austere Italian Fascist buildings and luxurious hotels. Lift the city’s skin and the same contrasts apply: Tej Bets still serve traditional honey wine and Azmaris sing centuries-old songs, while a few blocks further, neon signs light up modern bars and discotheques with the latest global hits. Our city tour will take you to the National Museum, which houses a variety of exhibits on three floors, telling stories from pre-historic, ancient to modern times. Of particular interest is ‘Lucy’- the oldest hominid ever found. ‘Lucy’ was excavated in 1974 and named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” is said to be 3.2 million years old. You will also visit the Ethnography Museum, the surrounding Enototo Mountain and Mercato,the colorful local market in the city.Overnight at the Sheraton Hotel.
Day 2 & 3: Lalibela via Blue Nile Gorge
Trip to Lalibela, following the Blue Nile Gorge along truly stunning landscapes in the company of an expert guide.You will arrive at Lalibela mid morning. In the company of a local guide, you will visit some of the famous 12th century rockhewn churches. The city of Lalibela is together with Axum, is one of the two most important holy cities in Ethiopia with its famous rock-hewn churches housed in the largest monolithic rock-hewn buildings in the world. The city and its churches are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was constructed by King Lalibela of the short lived Zagwe dynasty after the fall of the Axumite Empire around the 11th century. The churches were carved out of the red granite rock of the Lasta Mountains in only 40 years. Many of the churches are connected with each other by means of narrow underground passages. In the caves,passages and in the churches, priests and monks can be found reading the Holy Bible and praying. Each church has its own unique architectural style and most are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The most elaborate and most famous church is the Bete Giorgis church, in the shape of a perfect Greek cross. Today, it is not only the physical structures that remain frozen in time, but a place of pilgrimage for many of Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians. Overnight at Mountain View Hotel.
Day 4: Trip to Simien Mountains National Park and Back to Gheralta
This morning you head north enjoying a spectacular helicopter flight following the course of the Tekeze River. The Tekezé River has created one of the world’s deepest canyons – over 2000 feet st some places. In mid-morning you will land in the Simien Mountains. At 4,543 meters (almost 15,000 feet), the Simiens are Ethiopia’s highest mountain ranges, home to the fascinating Gelada baboon, elusive Ethiopian Wolf and the endemic Walia Ibex. A vehicle will meet you, and you will spend your stay enjoying the unique life in these remote mountains. Overnight at Gheralta or Korkor Lodge
Day 5: Dawn Flight to Simien Mountains, A Visit to Axum And Fly back to Gheralta
With a picnic breakfast on board, you embark on a dawn flight to the Simiens. With the sun behind you, the jagged spires and pinnacles are impressive sights. Lammergerie vultures are found exclusively in mountainous terrain, and we often have great sightings of them soaring overhead. After a picnic breakfast, your helicopter trip will take you to the fascinating town of Aksum – famous for its Stellae (granite monuments). The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum mark the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire & Persia. Pilgrims still journey to Aksum and the majority of Ethiopians passionately believe that the Ark of the Covenant resides here. In the afternoon you will explore the Tigray region and some of its incredible rock-hewn churches, believed to date back to the 6th or 7th Century. Overnight at Gheralta or Korkor Lodge
Day 6: Discover the Danakil Depressions
This morning you head for the Danakil Depression- a place of acid lakes, volcanoes and giant salt pans. More than 100 meters (330 feet) below sea level, the Danakil Depression is peppered with colorful sulphurous springs, acid lakes, active volcanoes and giant salt pans. Some of the hottest temperatures known to man are registered here in the Danakil Depression. Unlike anything else on this planet, this extraordinary place is located on a geographical fault within the Great Rift Valley, at the Horn of Africa. On route you may catch sight of camel caravan belonging to the Afar nomadic people transporting salt bars. You will also visit Irta Ale, a volcano in a state of continuous eruption since 1967 and is the most famous of the Danakil Depression’s volcanoes. Overnight at Gheralta or Korkor Lodge
Day 7: Explore the rock churches of Tigray
On this day you will continue your exploration of the churches of the Tigray region. The amazing rock-hewn churches are perched on top of steep hills, or carved into cliff faces only accessible by narrow foot paths which scale up the edge of the hills. Very little is known about the origin of the 120 year old rock churches or their architectural history. Local narratives attributes most of the churches to the 4th century Aksumite Kings, Abreha and Atsbeha. Inside many of the churches are to be seen colorful frescoes – hundreds of years old. The priests who live on these mountains follow a simple life that revolves around the Orthodox Christian calendar. Your exploration will be led by a professional local guide who facilitates unique access to the churches and their ancient artifacts. Only helicopter flight makes it possible to see all eight of the region’s most famous churches in a day as these churches are distant apart to try on foot. Overnight at Gheralta or Korkor Lodge
Day 8: Return flight to Addis Ababa via the Great Rift Valley
Our return flight to Addis Ababa follows the western wall of the Great Rift Valley and spend the rest of the day at the Sheraton or you will have a shopping tour.