Addis Ababa-based tour operator that organizes and operates tours to various historic/cultural/tribal destinations throughout Ethiopia.
We offer historic tours to various destinations in North Ethiopia, cultural/tribal tours to the South’s Omo Valley and Eastern Harar and Dire Dawa, trekking in the Simien Mountains and Bale Mountains, extreme expedition tours to the Danakil Depression of North East Ethiopia. As a specialty, we also organize and operate photography tours to the various tribal regions in the South’s Omo Valley.
Room # 1011 – 10th Floor
ISEMAKO Building, Meskel Square
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- Olaf Scholten reviewed 12 months ago
This guy scammed us for $400 in October 2019. Took our money and ran! A bad example of travel agencies/tour guide in an otherwise friendly country. Stay away!
- Anna-Maria Guth reviewed 12 months ago
Don’t trust Osman! He is cheating on tourists and stole our money! What a pitty for such a nice country! He did not book the flights we payed for and left us alone. No answer at all. Never book with Sora Tours!
When I was in Africa in October 2019 I wrote several posts on Facebook about the fact that after traveling 20 days with a tour guide named Osman Ahmed, of Sora Tours Ethiopia, he abandoned me on the last evening, when I was due to go to a dinner with him and then be taken to the Addis Ababa airport to fly to Entebbe, Uganda.
He had sent a driver (thankfully) who first said he would meet us at the dinner. When he didn’t show up, we could not reach him by phone or text. The driver then took me to the Addis airport. I had paid Osman $300 for the flight from Addis-Entebbe in advance. He booked a series of internal flights on Ethiopian Airlines for my trip, so this was added on to that.
Several days earlier, also in the Addis airport, when we went to check in to fly to Axum, I waited up to 1/2 hour while he went back and forth to various Ethiopian Airlines counters. He finally came back to me, said they wanted more for the flight and asked to borrow $50 USD cash from me, which I gave him. I had no reason at that point to think he would not repay me as promised.
So when I went to check in to Entebbe, I gave the list of flights that Osman had given me. The woman looked and looked and then said “well there is a reservation but no paid ticket.” I had to be in Uganda to start another tour the next day, so needed to be on the flight. First, I was told I’d have to wait until the next day, then the agent said I could get on, but the last minute fare (for the two hour flight) would be $925!
I had little time to think about it, I pulled out a credit card and paid for it. I wrote to Osman from Uganda and told him how much all of this had cost me. After about 24 hours of not responding, he e-mailed back and said his daughter had had an epileptic fit. If true (but it wasn’t it was a total lie), that would still not justify turning off his phone and abandoning a client who had spent three weeks traveling with him and paid him a lot of money for the trip!
He promised to repay me, and (it’s a long story, so I’ll try to shorten it) said he would come pay me when I was in transit at Addis airport when I left Uganda to fly back to the U.S. Closer to me coming there he then said they wouldn’t let him into the airport but a friend from Ethiopian Airlines would bring me the money. Then as I was about to leave Entebbe to fly to Addis I got another text saying they could not bring the money to me, I would have to come out of the airport.
Now that wasn’t possible, since I had a single entry visa. I tried to talk to Ethiopian Airlines and to Ethiopian immigration to see if someone could go out and get it for me. About a dozen international flights had just landed and the immigration area had lines of hundreds of people trying to get in. No one could help me.
So I came home and Osman said he went to his bank to set up a wire and he even sent me documentation on it. Then…nothing. He stopped e-mailing, stopped answering the phone. This was two months ago.
I finally decided to get the word about this out and I posted a negative review on Trip Advisor just a few hours ago. Apparently the word about what I wrote is already out in Ethiopia and I got a message from an American photo tour operator saying he wanted to tell me about Osman and said that Osman is “a professional criminal.”
So we spoke and he told me how he had abandoned an entire tour group in the Omo Valley and he was left to pay about $9,000 in bills that Osman had skipped out on. Another group was ripped off for about $17,000. A hotel in Addis is suing him for non-payment.
The driver we used for most of my Ethiopia trip, named Gedamu, was a very nice guy. I tried getting him to talk to Osman for me. Well turns out that even though Gedamu is a nice guy, he is also in total cahoots with Osman about this. Apparently other drivers will no longer work with him.
Obviously, I have traveled extensively for well over 40 years and I have worked directly with in-country tour operators many, many times and I just have never been ripped off. I guess I can count myself lucky that it cost me under $1k.
I had gotten a recommendation for a guide from another photographer who had been in Ethiopia earlier this year. I communicated with that guide and that guide at some point turned me over to Osman. Don’t know why, but it didn’t send up a red flag.
From what this other photo tour man said, he is able to get away with this because of the extreme corruption in Ethiopia. I don’t say this trying to dissuade anyone from traveling there. It’s an amazing country, and I enjoyed it and made some wonderful photos. I say this as a warning. I want to make sure to keep Americans (and everyone else!) from doing business with Sora Tours Ethiopia and Osman Ahmed.