Welcome to one of the most fascinating and culturally diverse countries on Earth. Home to authentic indigenous tribes and some of the world's most unique man-made wonders. We will sample as much of it as is possible to pack in 11 days. This may well be the most emotionally thrilling trip of your lifetime.
From deep spirituality of Lalibela to hair-raising encounters with Omo Valley tribes, Ethiopia is one of the most rewarding places for travel portrait photography. The people, the mood, the ambience - I will show you how to bring this all to life in your images.
You need be fit to climb near-vertical rocks (with ropes) to reach Tigray churches - and prepared to rough it out in Omo Valley, with 5am starts to catch best light, many hours of driving on dirt tracks, and camping in tribal villages.
800 years ago, 11 full-sized churches were carved underground out of a whole rock by an Ethiopian king Lalibela. Complete with inside naves and columns. All using only hammer and chisel. These underground places of worship, still actively used for religious ceremonies, are guarded by Orthodox Catholic priests, silently appearing from darkness to greet you as you enter.
Tigray is a huge plateau famous for churches carved high up out of near-vertical rock outcrops - the world's least accessible places of worship. That's physically the closest to God you will ever get - and if you're not religious, you will still gasp in awe, overlooking the magnificent vistas from above, and feeling on top of the world.
In an epic tour of Omo Valley, we will come face-to-face with 5 tribes - including Mursi lip-plate tribe and Hamer, who inspired Mad Max movie costumes. Expect real, raw Africa - limited facilities with shower only every other day, lifetime experience with indigenous people, waking up to the sounds of a village, stunning landscapes, striking poverty - and tonnes of smiles.
Sun 16 Jan - Lalibela
Arrival in Addis Ababa (early morning)
Flight Addis Ababa - Lalibela 8:10-9:10
Lalibela underground churches
Mon 17 Jan - Lalibela
Lalibela underground churches
Tue 18 Jan - Lalibela
2h trip to a church built in a cave
Wed 19 Jan - Lalibela
Timkat (Epiphany) - one of the biggest religious events in Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Thu 20 Jan
Flight Lalibela - Addis 13:10-14:10
Flight Addis - Mekele 16:00-17:25
Drive to Gheralta lodge (2h)
Fri 21 Jan - Tigray
Climb to Korkor rock-hewn churches
Sat 22 Jan
Flight Tigray - Addis 8:50-10:00
Flight Addis - Jinka 11:45-12:55
Drive to Buska Lodge (2h)
Sun 23 Jan - Omo Valley
Overnight camping in Hamer village
Mon 24 Jan - Omo Valley
Overnight camping at Karo village
Tue 25 Jan - Omo Valley
Mursi lip-plate tribe
Overnight in Eco Omo lodge
Wed 26 Jan - Addis Ababa
Flight Jinka - Addis Ababa 13:25-14:35
Visit Mercato - one of Africa's largest markets
Full-time coaching by Pawel Lipski
Creative techniques & tips for travel portraits - both candid & posed
Camera settings for travel portraits
Location-specific briefings & assignments
Daily reviews of best photos
Written feedback on your 15 best shots after the trip
Full-time travel portrait coaching
Accommodation in lodges and 2 nights village camping in Omo valley
All meals (with beverages)
All 6 domestic flights
Ground transportation in private minivan / 4WD
English-speaking local guide
Tips for guides & people we photograph
International flight into Addis Ababa
Personal expenses (e.g. room service, porters, laundry)
20% (CHF 1,000) refundable deposit to reserve your place
Balance 3 months before the trip
CHF 500 (10%) for returning trip customers
CHF 400 if you fly into Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines
Single room occupancy: CHF 450
Based on twin room sharing
This Trip Is For...
This trip has been designed primarily for people who have already completed my training "3 Steps To Stunning Portraits", and are already familiar with natural light and composition techniques for people photography.
During this trip, you will learn how to apply these techniques to travel portraits - both candid and posed.
You need a good camera with a telephoto lens up to at least 200mm (full frame) - plus a wider lens for the churches (inside & outside) & when we can get up close to our subjects.
Personally, I will bring 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8.
Important To Know
Information pack including a packing list and clothing recommendations will be sent 2 months before the trip
Mandatory vaccinations (list available) + malaria prophylactic
Visa: most nationalities are eligible for eVisa, usually issued within 2-4 days. Apply: www.evisa.gov.et
International photography coach, specialising in people photography in natural light - from posed to travel portraits
30+ years of photographic experience
An avid independent traveller with a passion for remote, non-touristy places with authentic cultures
Polish based in Zurich, Switzerland
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before trip start
50% refund if canceled 30-59 days before trip start
No refund if canceled less than 30 days before trip start