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Blue Nile and Lalibela ET

Visiting: Ethiopia
Trip Duration 14 Days

Reviews for Blue Nile and Lalibela

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

Trip notes

Each departure date has its own dedicated trip note, detailing all you need to know about that trip. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Blue Nile and Lalibela trip available at present.

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Blue Nile & Lalibela reviews verified by reevooReevoo

51 reviews

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Blue Nile & LalibelaScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 51 reviews
(10 out of 10)


An excellent trip. Sue's passion for her job and in depth knowledge of the country gave us a very good taste of Ethiopia. There was variety in what we saw - history, wild life, culture, scenery and Ethiopian life - so something for everyone. Sitting with the gelada baboons in the Simien Mountains and experiencing the Easter services in the Lalibela churches stand out for us.
The trip is not for everyone but if you can put up with power cuts, water shortages, plumbing problems, often poor service and, at times, basic conditions and are able to cope with the altitude then this is the trip for you.
Confirmed traveller: 16 April 2017
Published on: 19 April 2017
(10 out of 10)


Overall the trip was more than I expected as the tour leader was so enthusiastic about Ethiopia and the people. She made the experience come alive. Highlights for me were the Geladas in the Simean National Park, Axum and the rock hewn churches in Lalibela. However every day was an adventure with new experiences. This is a country which I would return to.
Confirmed traveller: 16 April 2017
Published on: 19 April 2017
(10 out of 10)


A fantastic trip to a beautiful country. Sue the tour leader was one of the best.
Confirmed traveller: 19 February 2017
Published on: 21 February 2017
(9 out of 10)


New Hartford CT USA
I've taken tours with @8 different companies, in 30+ countries, and this is easily one of the best. Itinerary started a bit dull but continuously gained momentum and interest. Sue Guthrie is an exceptional, highly organized leader who goes way beyond the call of duty to give her clients a wonderful, worry-free tour. She thinks of so many things to avoid wasting time, like calling ahead for our room numbers so we have the fastest check-in possible. The level of accommodation was all over the place, from some of the worst to some of the best; such is the reality of Ethiopia; if you're staying in what's considered the best hotel in town, you accept that you could have had it worse. There are some long days of bus travel and early rising for flights. Our experiences with gelada baboons and the sites in Lalibela were wonderful over-the-top. Ethiopia is a varied and beautiful country, highly interesting and great fun -- well worth a visit. I'll add, you never know what you'll get for travel companions in the group -- I was fortunate to have one of the best groups of fellow travelers imaginable.
Confirmed traveller: 18 February 2017
Published on: 24 February 2017
(9 out of 10)


This trip was fantastic and highlighted how diverse Ethiopia is. We were able to experience this diversity across the country from the Qat market, stunning countryside, Addis's museums, out of place Castles in Gondar and the amazing Lalibela at Easter.
Sue Guthrie our tour guide was outstanding, her level of knowledge about the country is second to non and it is all credit to her that she received the Wanderlust Award in 2015. Injections about the country's history or it's relationship with the surrounding neighbours were so interesting and helped put things into perspective. The local tour guides were great and it was definitely interesting to have input from someone who lived in the area we were visiting.
Some of the hotels were basic but we had been told this in advance. The decision to give a few additional hours in the splendour of the Goha Hotel in Gondor was a great one.
My only minor criticism would be the length of time give to look around the 2 museums in Addis, it was too short for the amazing amount of information they contained.
All in all a trip I would highly recommend and it delivers exactly what was in the brochure and if you are lucky enough to have Sue as the leader you will have an even more amazing trip.
Thank you
Confirmed traveller: 02 May 2016
Published on: 20 May 2016
(8 out of 10)


This is a wonderful introduction to a fascinating country which has a relatively low presence on the world stage. The country boasts stunning scenery, World Heritage site churches and delightfully unspoilt, very religious and charming people. Considering that this is not a rich country, the lack of begging is very noticeable and our Tour Leader - the wonderful Sue - more about her later! - was very strict, & rightly so, about not giving out handouts to the children and this policy makes for sweet, shy children who take delight is just shaking your hand.

The hotels range from lovely to fine & all are clean & functional so fit the bill perfectly. There were a couple that were brilliant with huge showers & TVs but all the hotels had delightful staff who couldn't do enough to assist you.

The food is based on the injera - a large, soft, sour, spongy pancake - not the most brilliant of tastes, but you can easily substitute rice or potatoes. They do do, however, lovely sauces, but watch for the chilli content - when they are hot, they are super hot. Otherwise there is masses of international food.

As to the trip itself. This is an excellent introduction to this fascinating country more than ably led by the indomitable Sue. Explore should be down on their knees in gratitude that Sue is on their books - she loves, loves, loves Ethiopia & has its very best interests at heart. Wherever we went, there were constant cries of Sue, Sue, Sue and she has a huge amount of friends amongst the guides, drivers, hotel staff and even the Airport Manager, who are all delighted to see her & her tour party as well. She knows Ethiopia so well - she has been there for 15 years - and is so knowledgeable that the all her bits of information further increase your knowledge of this country.

Meals with Sue were always a treat - she is feisty, interesting, funny, crazily generous and was a delight to have amongst us - she added a wonderful dimension to our conversations and of course helped with our meal choices. Her choice of guides and drivers was faultless and all knew their stuff well.

I would add just one note. I took out a lot of little treats for the children. Within minutes Sue has disavowed that notion. It is difficult to stop yourself from giving them things & I think Explore should inform future clients not to take out anything bar pencils, pens & blank books, as there is a charity called Pencil Case that aims to help whole schools with writing equipment. Had I known that I could have bought far more of those items and ditched the ones that I bought.

This is a lovely holiday - interesting, varied, new & an excellent way to see Ethiopia, with everything done for you easily and seamlessly.
Confirmed traveller: 01 May 2016
Published on: 09 May 2016
(8 out of 10)


This trip far exceeded my expectations ! For me, as a keen birder the highlights were the sheer number of birds & species – especially the lammergeiers at Lalibella and the early morning boat trip on Lake Tana. Sitting amongst the geladas in the Simien mountains, the procession around the church at Axum and Lalibella – the scenery, the churches & Ben Abeba restaurant were also amazing experiences.
Sue Guthrie was a brilliant tour leader. Being English but also having an amazing knowledge of the country, its people and history gave us an excellent insight through a westerner’s eyes in a way that no local leader could have done.
The hotels and food are pretty basic at times but always clean & the locals always tried hard to correct any issues that they could. A cold beer was always available ! The pool , good food & home-made ice-cream at the hotel in Gondar were a highlight, even if for only one night.
I will always remember the striking faces of the people & their smiles – they have so little but always seem happy.
Confirmed traveller: 20 March 2016
Published on: 13 April 2016
(10 out of 10)


We expected to be impressed by the rock cut churches in Lalibela but Axum was a unexpected surprise. The walk in the Simien Mountains and sitting with the Geladas was a highlight. There was a lot of travelling but overall the trip was fantastic.
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2016
Published on: 21 March 2016
(10 out of 10)


The tour leader is poised, professional, efficient, knowledgeable, good natured, experienced, and a model of good relations with the local people as her knowledge of Amharic is excellent. Her ability to move a group of people from place to place, fly to new location with ease proves the use of the "kitty money" to be of excellent value.

The hotels are just as described in the website, some better than others, but all clean. The stopping places while traveling by bus are well-chosen, carefully vetted, and clean.

The itinerary is jam-packed with wonderful places, historic sites, and scenic overlooks. The hikes are very do-able and I was able at age 76 to complete them.

The briefings we had before each visit enhanced their impact.

I have traveled with explore between 15-18 times, and appreciate the great value for the money!
Confirmed traveller: 05 March 2016
Published on: 13 March 2016
(8 out of 10)


The middle and end of the tour were 1st class. Axum was an excellent venue for Timkat. The Simien mountains were superb. Sue was a wonderful leader: very informative, enthusiastic and efficient and helpful. Sue was able to add in seeing St George's day in Lalibela, which was wonderful The hotels in Bahar Dar and Lalibela were very good and the one in Debark was the first to have everything working!
I think there is a question about whether the trip to Harar, and the Awash National Park is worth the heavy amount of travelling required to get there.

This is maybe not the place to speak of the Explore headquarters, which was not up to scratch, but it needs saying. The wait to speak by phone was very long. We received an out of date itinerary (others didn't) and only online. We did not get a list of hotels so my companion didn't bring a bathing costume. Sue did not have my passport number though I was the one to book the holiday. It looks as if admin standards have slipped a bit.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 29 January 2016
Published on: 17 February 2016

We’re sorry to hear that you were unhappy with the service you received prior to your trip. Unfortunately we can experience high volumes of calls at certain times of the day, but we are continuously working on our service levels and we have recently hired a number of new staff members to help deal with the volume of incoming calls.

We do recommend downloading a set of trip notes online before you depart, but we also will always send you your final documentation 3 weeks prior to your departure – this will include a copy of the itinerary and a list of the accommodation details.

We’re glad you enjoyed your overall trip experience despite these issues and we really appreciate your comments for your Explore Leader Sue.