Full Itinerary for Origin of Coffee Adventure
Day 1: Fly to Addis Ababa, tour the city
With a local guide we will take a short tour of the city, stopping off at the cathedral, Mercato and museum to get a feel for the place. We will also visit a culture house to see local dancing and sample tej honey wine before our first group dinner.
Day 2: Fly to Jimma, drive to Bonga, walk to a waterfall
We will hop on a short national flight down to the city of Jimma, from where we will drive the two hours to Bonga in the Kaffa Biosphere Reserve, taking in the truly spectacular views along the way. We will stretch our legs by taking a walk to see a beautiful waterfall in the jungle where we will also pass a bee farm. Our guesthouses are located just outside of the town, amidst a beautifully maintained exotic gardens surrounded by acacia trees and jungle.
Day 3: Visit the wild coffee forest, visit Tatmara coffee farm
When coffee plants are not maintained they grow into huge trees which still bear the caffeinated fruit. We will walk through idyllic farmsteads to view one of these ancient wild coffee forests, where lichen hangs from the shaded trunks; one of the few remaining in the world today. We will then walk through a wild coffee farm located in the heart of the jungle and meet the people who maintain it.
Day 4: Visit the ECX, a tea plantation and Beha village
We will visit the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange office in Bonga to experience ‘cupping’ – the process whereby coffee is tasted to categorize its qualities. We will stop by a tea plantation on the way to the stunning Beha village to experience the coffee ceremony and local cuisine. Today is also the festival of Genna which we will celebrate in the town of Bonga!
Day 5: Drive to Tepi and explore the region
The Tepi Coffee Plantation Project is the second-largest coffee plantation in Ethiopia. Covering 6,205 hectares, it produces over 2,500 tonnes of raw arabica beans each year. The surrounding area is very hilly and was densely forested. The region also exports cardamom, ginger, corn, honey, beeswax, timber, sugar cane, bananas, mangoes, and other fruit. We will visit the local churches and learn about the local spirit cults following Bulafo and Ginabo.
Day 6: Visit Lemkaffa coffee plantation and Dadiban hotspring
We will continue our tour of the region by visiting another beautiful coffee plantation; a convenient excuse to keep exploring some of the most stunning scenery in the entire country. We will view Colobus Monkeys and all manner of tropical birds and wildlife, finishing up by taking a dip in a natural hotspring. For those who like horse riding we can rent horses for these journeys.
Day 7: Drive to Jimma, tour Jimma
In Jimma, a major nerve centre for coffee in the Oromia region, we will visit the palace and museum of Abba Jifar, King of the Gibe Kingdom of Jimma. The largest and most powerful of the five kingdoms of Gibe, it was established around 1830, when silver Maria Theressa Dollars and bars of salt were the main circulation of currency. Jimma is a very lively town so we can explore the markets and later on some of the nightspots from our hotel.
Day 8: Fly back to Addis Ababa, visit coffee company
In the morning we will fly back to the capital. After freshening up in our rooms we will take a trip out to a local coffee company, in whose impressive facilities we will see the beans being washed and processed for export. The complex also has a beautiful in-house coffee shop where we will experiment with creating different kinds of drinks before dinner in the best Italian in town.
Day 9: Fly out of Addis Ababa
Optional Lalibela add-on
Day 9: Addis Ababa to Lalibela
We hop on our short one-hour national flight to the historic town of Lalibela where we will begin our guided tour of the ancient 13th Century rock-hewn churches, easily the most famous of all the monuments across this enormous country. Our professional local guide will lead us through the intricate system of underground passages that link the incredibly beautiful churches in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 10: Visit Asheton Maryam Monastery
The monastery is one of the highest in Ethiopia, set at an elevation of almost 4000m to the southeast of Lalibela. Carved into a cliff face, it was founded by King Nakuta La’ab, whom is most likely buried there. The small and unadorned church houses some impressive crosses, illuminated manuscripts and other treasures, although arguably the most remarkable aspect of the visit is its magnificent setting and the stunning views.
Day 11: Lalibela to Addis
There are eleven rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, many of them interconnected by an intricate network of caves and tunnels! We will continue exploring this incredible area in true Indian Jones fashion the morning before flying back to Addis in the afternoon for an evening out experiencing live Ethiopian Jazz at one of the best spots in town!
Day 12: Fly out of Addis