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Why Nightjar Tours?


At Nightjar Tours we understand that running a successful tour requires very deep engagement in the planning and execution of every aspect of a trip. In designing your itinerary we will draw upon our knowledge to customize a trip that fulfills your desires, and, offers the chance for you to gain new insights and to create wonderful memories. While there are many famous sites and experiences in Ethiopia that are commonly visited by travelers, we will personalize a journey for you that focuses upon your own special interests and priorities.

Planning Tours

Having up-to-the-minute information is crucial in designing a tour and therefore we always make sure to have comprehensive and current information on destinations, accommodations and road conditions. In the process of planning we want to learn about your interests and preferences. We have a policy of speedy communication and, as much as possible, reply to emails the same day they are received.

Our Guides

Guides play a crucial role in ensuring a good experience for travelers. And we are proud to say that our clients’ feedback consistently praise our guides as “knowledgeable, flexible, balanced, and, fun to spend time with.” We agree with a very well known saying among the travel community that “the guide is the tour.” In addition to their training and experience, all our guides have university educational backgrounds in relevant subjects, such as history, geography and biology. This enables them to impart knowledge-based information to travelers.

Nightjar Tour Guide talking to group of tourists in the Temple of Yeha

One of our guides outlining the history of Ethiopia to a group of tourists in the Temple of Yeha - the right place to start such a topic! Existing for over 2,500 years, the temple is distinguished as the oldest standing building in Ethiopia.


The road conditions in Ethiopia are getting better. In places where the road is good, we use buses and minibuses. But exploring places such as the Omo Valley, the Denakil Depression, the Simen and Bale Mountains requires four-wheel drive vehicles. To assure safety and comfort we have a policy of using 4x4 cars for such places.

White bus waiting for tourists to arrive White minibus with side door open
Tourists with local tribesman and vehicles in the Omo Valley
Omo Valley
Tourists eating lunch at portable table in the Denakil Depression
Denakil Depression



Running Tours

During tours we strive to enable travelers to gain a deeper understanding of Ethiopia. In the Omo Valley we not only take travelers to markets and villages but also to private homes so that they can appreciate the way of life of the people and enjoy person-to-person interactions.

When we take you to Ethiopian decorated churches, we do not merely describe their murals but we outline the evolution of church art in Ethiopia and analyze and interpret their iconography and style.

The talks we give at the beginning and the end of group tours make us different from any other travel company in Ethiopia. These talks are intended to furnish background information to assist clients in appreciating Ethiopia and are grounded in our own research, addressing topics relevant to your particular tour. Some of the topics are listed and described below:

Culture of the Omo Valley

In this survey we discuss the language, economy, housing, costumes and body decorations of the people of the Omo Valley. The people included in the discussion are the Tesemai, Arbore, Bena, Hamer, Kara, Nyangtom, Dassench, Ari and Mursi. Some of the fascinating cultural practices in the region, such as the Hamer cattle jumping ritual, are highlighted as well.

Origins of the Mursi lip-plate

Among the fascinating cultural practices in the world are the Mursi women’s lip-plate. This talk explores the possible origins of this extraordinary body decoration.

Ethiopian church art

Ethiopian churches make up more than 50% of Ethiopia’s most famous tourist attractions. In this talk we analyze the iconography and style of the art works to be found in these extraordinary buildings.

The Lalibela churches and other rock hewn churches in Ethiopia

The Lalibela churches and many other rock hewn churches in Ethiopia still puzzle scholars. In this talk we investigate why and how the rock cut churches came into being.

The Gelada Monkey in the traditions of the people of the Simen Mountains

Gelada Monkeys, one of the fascinating endemic mammals in Ethiopia, inhabit the Simen Mountains. While scientific studies of this animal are increasing, there is very little research on their interaction with the local people. This talk describes the pervasive presence of the Gelada Monkeys in the oral tradition of the people of the Simen Mountains.

Dawit with Hugh Jackman at the end of Ethiopian tour in 2009.

What a humble man!

More testimonials

Hugh Jackman with Dawit from Nightjar Tours