At a Glance
Dates: April 26th - May 6th, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £4,795 pp sharing (with a £200 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Ethiopia offers and extraordinary level of diversity, in terms of landscape, culture and wildlife. An incredible mix of endemic megafauna and valuable populations of Africa's most charismatic predators make this a must-do tour.
Every wildlife-watcher the world over is familiar with the 'Great Migration', the name most often given to the perpetual flow of wildebeest. zebra and other grazers between Kenya and Tanzania in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. But few know that there is arguably an ever greater migration taking place elsewhere in East Africa, and one that once dwarfed the 'Great Migration' in terms of both scale and diversity. Each year, tens of thousands of white-eared kob, tiang, Nile lechwe and even Mongalla gazelle, stream across the border between South Sudan and Ethiopia in search of better grazing. These animals spend much of the year in the Boma-Bandingilo ecosystem in South Sudan, inaccessible to most tourists (although Pictus Safaris are working on it), but for a few short months the wetlands of the Gambella National Park in a remote corner of Ethiopia play host to this incredible spectacle. What is even more remarkable is that this migration draws in the most unexpected predators, from lion to leopard, cheetah and wild dog. Some of Ethiopia's few remaining elephant, giraffe and even shoebill also persist here, making Gambella one of the most exciting and under-explored destinations in Africa.
On arrival into Addis Ababa, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative and transferred to a local hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure, with a pre-tour briefing in the hotel after dinner.
It will be an early start this morning, as our domestic flight departs Addis Ababa at 08.50. It is a 75-minute flight west to the town of Gambela, where we will spend several hours ensuring we are suitably supplied for our extended stay in Gambella NP. We will then head into one of Africa's last true wildernesses, setting up camp in the late afternoon. Game densities are much lower here than in more established safari destinations, and clients should not expect to see huge amounts of wildlife immediately. Many keystone species, including giraffe, elephant and lion are very rare due to decades of poaching and habitat encroachment. However, any time spent in this remote and beautiful corner of Africa is a true privilege.
Our camping accommodation throughout this tour is basic but comfortable, and more than sufficient for an intrepid nature-lover.
Days Three to Ten
Eight full days allow us to spend time in two completely distinct areas of Gambella. We will cover a huge amount of distance in 4x4 vehicles each day, seeking out the herds of tiang and white-eared kob that make this place so special. From open savanna to flooded rivers, there are plenty of obstacles to navigate and this tour certainly demands a real spirit of adventure.
We will spend several nights in the far south-west of the park, close to the border with South Sudan, where the highest densities of white-eared kob are to be found in peak migration season. This area is also the best bet for elephant and giraffe, although sightings of both are rare. Predators are generally only found in this western section of the park, including lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog, as they bleed into Gambella from South Sudan during the migration.
We will dedicate the most time, though, to the exceptional Duma Wetland in the north-east of the park. Whilst white-eared kob herds do extend here during the peak of the migration, densities are generally lower than further west. However, Duma is the only reliable spot in Gambella for Nile lechwe, and also boasts large populations of buffalo, Lelwel hartebeest, tiang, waterbuck, roan and, most excitingly for birders, plenty of shoebill.
Each night will be spent under canvas in this remarkable park.
Gambela, Addis Ababa & Tour End
Breaking camp early, we return to Gambela in time for our 16.15 flight back to Addis Ababa where you will connect to your onward flights.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in April and May 2023, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources, and when large predators are at their most mobile. The tour will run from April 26th to May 6th, 2023.
The cost of this trip is £4,795 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. We regret that we must levy a single supplement of £200 pp for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,500 plus any single supplement must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Addis Ababa at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Addis after 17.00 on your return, if leaving on the same day that we return to Addis to avoid disruption to your plans.
British nationals do require a visa to enter Ethiopia. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Ethiopia will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Ethiopia entry e-visa for UK citizens is $52 - these may be obtained online or on arrival into Ethiopia.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Ethiopia in April is hot, with maximum temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 24 degrees Celsius. Rain should be expected, although not every day.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
There is currently an armed conflict causing issues in several regions of Ethiopia. Whilst the areas visited by this tour are not currently significantly impacted, there is the potential for this to change rapidly. We are in constant communication with our local partners to ensure this tour can run safely.