Family trip to Ethiopia

By Bob Cone
This item appears on page 31 of the January 2018 issue.

Bob, Addis, Matt, Anna, Javi and Joan kneeling above the Church of St. George in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Photo by Tefera Alemu

In 2003, when our first grandson, Addis (“new”), was born, my wife and I promised to take the family to Ethiopia when they were ready. In 2017, grandparents, parents and grandsons took the long-awaited trip, July 17-31. And what a trip it was.

For all six of us, the trip cost $11,000, which included one internal flight, accommodations for 10 of the 13 nights in two or three rooms each night, all meals and ground transportation. Guides’ tips were not included. 

In planning the trip, I worked with our knowledgeable, expert guide, Tefera Alemu of Tefera Tours (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;, From Addis Ababa, we flew to Bahir Dar and then, by car, basically followed the northern “historic route” to Gondar, Aksum, Mek’ele, Lalibela and back to Addis, with interesting stops along the way.

Every day was filled with adventure, learning and fun. Tefera arranged a first-day tour of Addis that included visits to museums and markets, a meal with his family and a night at a local nightclub/restaurant; made reservations for the flight to Bahir Dar and all hotels; found ample opportunities for us to hike and for our grandsons to play soccer and basketball with local youth; hired expert guides for local sites, and took us to good restaurants.

As travelers who have always traveled on our own, we were totally impressed with Tefera’s honesty and his skills as a guide — his knowledge of Ethiopia’s history, geography and cultures, his thoroughness and attention to daily details, and his kindness to our grandsons.

Working with Tefera was Geta, whose skillful driving allowed us to enjoy the beauties of rural Ethiopia and the Simien Mountains. 

At the end of our trip, Tefera and Geta spent a day with us in Addis, taking us to restaurants, shops and city highlights, such as the very moving “Red Terror” Martyrs’ Memorial Museum (

We recommend Tefera and Geta without reservation.

Richmond, CA