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Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

Ann Arbor...
1 post
Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

Hi all,

I am a doctorate student at the University of Michigan, and I just spent two months in Ethiopia doing research on gelada monkeys in the Simien Mountains and Guassa Plateau. I just wanted to say that I recommend Yama Tours Ethiopia to everyone reading this. This was a fair, nice, reliable, great english-speaking agency to work with: http://www.yamatoursethiopia.com/.

I mostly dealt with Mr. Tariku W/aregay at the Tour agency and he helped me book my plane to Gondar and back to Addis, as well as hired a car to take me to the Guassa Plateau and back. From what I've heard from other researchers who have worked in Ethiopia for a year or more, his prices were right where they should be. Also, he can arrange transportation with English-speaking drivers if that is what you want. Plus, he was fast at responding to emails. I was also a female traveling alone and I never for one moment felt uncomfortable with any of Yama Tours employees.

The Yama Tours Agency deal with everyday travelers like myself, in addition to well-respected diplomats. Whether you need help finding a hotel, traveling safely to key destinations in Addis, or trekking to some of the historic spots in Ethiopia - I recommend Yama Tours hands down. I go back to Ethiopia for a 4-month period soon and I have no doubt that I will work with this company again.

Happy travels!!


Ann Arbor, Michigan
1 post
1. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

I am the faculty director of the project mentioned above, and I'd like to confirm that Yama Ethiopia Tours is perhaps the best tour agency in Ethiopia. We have been working with the owner, Tariku W/Aregay, for more than a decade now and much of our research would not be possible without his expert skills as arranging and organizing. He really understands the needs of foreign travelers to Ethiopia - whether you are conducting research or just visiting for tourism. He has had prestigious clients such as writers for the New York Times (…nytimes.com/2007/…) and the BBC, as well as numerous researchers across the globe. I recommend his services to anyone traveling to Ethiopia. He can do everything from arranging your flight, your airport pickup, your hotel, your itinerary, and even your shopping!

Miami Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
20 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

I am the tour director for Epic Photo Tours and we use the services of Sora Tous. They are currently leadinga Belgian film crew in the Omo Valley .

They have experience leading groups from Europe as well as the U.S.

They provide all services for groups and individuals.

Top of the line!


tel aviv
2 posts
1 review
3. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

Yama Tours made our vacation an unforgettable experience! We travelled with our shy 13yr old daughter and she was totally at ease with all the guides who accompanied us. At first we were hesitant to be accompanied 24/7 but after the first few hours of travelling with Tarik (one of the tour operators) we felt we were with a friend. We had the good fortune to have him by our side for 1 week and it wouldn't have been as fun without him! The subsequent guides and drivers he assigned us were very friendly, professional and accomodating. Tarik planned our trip (including booking internal flights) and responded very promptly to all questions and requests. The prices were very fair and all advice invaluable. He understood our needs and arranged for us to stay in the best hotels available. I believe that without Yama Tours and Tarik's patience and understanding of what tourists want and need we wouldn't have had such a fascinating and amazing vacation. We will definitely be using them again for our next jaunt to Ethiopia!!

They can be contacted at www.yamatoursethiopia.com or yamatours@yahoo.com

Have a fantastic trip!

Edited: 11:46 am, October 12, 2012
Kent UK
Level Contributor
641 posts
34 reviews
4. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

OK Yama Tours are great! I shall be going to ET mid Nov.

I was wondering if you could post a trip report - with your travel experiences.

There must be 000's of people like me who want real time travel info - hotels, dining, hassle, costs etc I will be interested in travel to the south


tel aviv
2 posts
1 review
5. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

We travelled in August which is the low tourist season so we had no trouble with accomodations or crowding at the sights. We were in the south,Gondar, Lalibela, Simien Mountains, Harar and Addis (but only for 1 day).

The first week of our vacation was spent in the south Omo Valley. It is impossible to do this area without a guide and a vehicle. The guide arranges for local guides when visiting each of the tribes. Beyond the occasional few words of english there is no common language. We stayed at the best hotels but don't expect them to at the standard of best hotels in the west - very far from it. Adjust your expectations accordingly and expect that water and electricity can be spotty. Some places have their own generators but they will turn them off at night so remember to charge any electronics as soon as you return to the room. The staff always try to be very accomodating and when they can't be it's always regretfully and with a smile. These are small inconveniences that we easily overlooked.

In Arba Minch we stayed at the Paradise Lodge - comfy beds, terrible showers, and extremely overpriced buffet dinners. Ask for a room overlooking the lakes. In Jinka we were at the Jinka Lodge - terrible everything, we had water only once - so no showers- but reasonable food. In Turmi we stayed at the Buska Lodge and here everything was great except that the room was hot at night, they have a generator that is turned off at 10pm. Most places have wifi in the dining areas and sometimes a tv. I don't remember what the prices were (contact Tarik from Yama and he can tell you).

As far as tips go it's accepted to leave 5-10 Birr per meal and to the porters. In restaurants we ate well (vegetarian) for 120 Birr for 3 of us but just keep in mind that they add hot pepper to everything including the salads. Make sure that you have a lot of little bills (1,5,10 Birr notes, they are the most useful but bring a small freezer bag to put them in as they smell terrible and are moldy and falling apart). Expect to pay for pictures of the tribespeople - 2 to 5 Birr per person.

The only hassle we experienced was of people trying to get us to give them money,sponsorships, etc... both in the markets and in the towns but they are not aggressive only persistent. You can also expect to find yourselves holding hands with small children in the markets. We haggled whenever we bought anything in the markets. It is acceptable that there are prices for tourists and different ones for locals.

At no time did we ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable. We brought some canned food with us, granola bars, dried fruit and nuts which all came in very useful as there is nowhere to stop and grab a snack. Bring a headlamp as the light in the hotels is so dim that it is impossible to read and do other things that may require more light.

You MUST bring baby wipes and alcohol gel and meds for diahrea and vomiting!!!!!

Easy travels to all!

Kent UK
Level Contributor
641 posts
34 reviews
6. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!


Excellent - informative and useful for my trip in November!



4 posts
7. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

In November 2012 we made the best trip ever!

15 day trip Ethiopia!

recommended for a fantastic trip to Ethiopia, yama tours.

For years we were planning to return to Ethiopia. but where do you start? We, the children, all born in wonji, Ethiopia. ( sugar cane, metahara)

So it was not only for the sights, although we of course wanted to see those aswell..:) Following proposals from yama tours and our own desires, we have the best trip planned out.

Even when we were there, we asked for a little change, we wanted to go even more south, Yama tours was immediately on the phone to look if he can change hotels etc. and so we changed our plans again..:) :) this is what makes yama tours extra special, nothing is too much and they really go all the way to your liking.

We have been to the south, visiting several tribes; Mursi, Konso, Dorze,afar etc. yama tours doesnt go to the tribes were all the toerist busses go, he goes to special places, not visited by all the tourist! Of course depending where you want to go and see!

yama tours arranged permits for the sugarcane plantation we lived on, the factory and wonji hospital!! My mother remembered all the houses and bar etc. We went to the north; lalibela, Gondar, Axum, bahri dar, etc.

I can write a lot, how many times we had a laugh, how much we saw, how safe it was, how beautiful, all the culture and history, but probably you want to go! And do! People of Ethiopia are the friendliest of the world, the fantastic and amazing culture and history, all the tribes etc. etc.... If you are planning to go and want a fanatic time, feel home, just sent tariku an email, he will help you out planning the whole trip! Don't go with the big tour companies, go with tariku, Yama tours.

Tariku, thanks again for the best trip ever!!!! And we will come back!!!

Level Contributor
2 posts
17 reviews
8. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

My wife and I went to Ethiopia for 18 days and loved the Yama Ethiopia Tours company. Tariku organized a fantastic trip. We had flexibility to see things not on the itinerary. The driver even picked us up late at night from church for Christmas Mass. Tariku was very efficient and prompt in his responses. I contacted many companies but am glad I chose Yama Ethiopia. The price was fair ($3,900 per person including breakfast, hotels, entry fees, guide, driver, and van).

The guide Getnett, was a fountain of information and the driver, Genaye, was an expert driver.

Kevin & Jane O'Brien from Savannah, Georgia

1 post
9. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

we spent 12 days in northern Ethiopia organized by Yama Tours.

Very satisfied about hotels, drivers and guides. Always on time and friendly.

Bert Piers

Eva Thone

Santa Monica...
1 post
10. Re: Yama Ethiopia Tours agency was great!

I took a group of high school students from the US to Ethiopia. Our trip was a major success because of our tour with Tariku and Yama tours. Tariku is professional, reliable, dependable, accommodating and knowledgeable.The tribal people know him and trust him. He helped each of us negotiate as we shopped at the different markets. He shared fascinating information with us about the different tribes. It was definitely a trip to remember. To make the most of your trip to Ethiopia, book a tour with Tariku and Yama Tours. You won't regret it!