trip
Off the Beaten Path in PeruAlpamayo Circuit TrekView Trip Details

15 Days$3990USD

Activities
  • 8 day trek
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotel
  • 7 nights camping
Meals
  • 14 Dinners
  • 13 Lunches
  • 14 Breakfasts
6
Moderate to Challenging

Traveller Rating

 

 
 

Trip highlights


  • Trek the spectacular Simien Mountain escarpments
  • Spot unique wildlife such as the Walia Ibex and Gelada Baboon
  • Soak up the views from the summit of Ras Dashen (4533m)
  • Discover the medieval castles in the Royal Enclosure in Gondar
  • Marvel at the monolithic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
  • Cruise to the island monastery Ura Kidane Mehret on Lake Tana and Blue Nile Falls
  • Explore the capital, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia has a fascinating history and is home to many unknown treasures and dramatic landscapes. The Simien Mountains of Ethiopia offer superb wilderness trekking with stunning scenery, enormous cliffs and escarpments and the chance to spot unique wildlife such as the Walia Ibex and Gelada Baboon. On our specially designed itinerary we steadily ascend the escarpment trails to the upper flanks of the Simien Mountains. Establishing our campsites on the volcanic plateau our sense of isolation is complete. The thin cool air is punctuated with the calls of rare wildlife, while below the forested gorges merge with the undulating farming lands that stretch across the vast catchment of the Blue Nile. We combine this exceptional trek with a journey across a land dotted with rock-hewn churches, medieval castles and ancient obelisks reflecting a culture dating back more than 3000 years.

Trip Code: HOE

On arrival in Addis Ababa please make your own way to the group hotel. Depending on your arrival time, the remainder of the day is free to explore the city's many wide tree-lined streets. Throughout the city there are shops that sell typical artisan wares, materials and antiques. Addis Ababa is one of Africa's fastest growing cities and the fifth highest capital in the world; the altitude may fatigue you easily... so take it easy today. Another point to note is that, being relatively close to the equator, there are almost twelve hours of constant daylight no matter what time of year you visit. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  D

After breakfast, there will be an arrival briefing with your guide (around 8.00am - 8.30am). Then we have a full-day city tour, which departs at 9:00am from the hotel. We take time to explore the city and lunch out is included. We will visit the National Museum (home of the remains of the famous hominid fossil, "Lucy") and the Ethnological Museum at the Addis Ababa University (housed in the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie). There should also be time to visit a viewpoint over the city and the Holy Trinity Cathedral where Selassie is buried. You can also see the grave of Sylvia Pankhurst. A traditional lunch in a local restaurant may be your first experience of Ethiopian food. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we take a flight to Lalibela, located at an altitude of 2,600m above sea level. (Please note: flight at own expense - schedule is subject to change and availability). The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of the local pink basaltic scoriae rock. These structures have been classified on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Each church has a unique architectural style and all are superbly carved. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. We arrive in Lalibela in the early afternoon and the rest of the day is dedicated to visiting some of these churches. Dinner is normally at the modern ‘Benn Ababa (Mount of Flowers) restaurant, which has the most amazing views and sunsets from its terraced walkways. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive to Bahir Dar (approx. 6-7 hours). Along the way we will be making a couple of stops to stretch your legs, including around Nifas Mewcha and at Awra Amba village. Today the Awra Amba community, and its members, is lauded as a model to alleviate poverty and promote gender equality. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we take a boat trip on Lake Tana - Ethiopia's largest lake, covering 3673 square kms and the source of the famous Blue Nile River. Many of the small islands scattered across this lake shelter monastic churches, some founded as early as the 14th Century. The walls of several of these churches are ornately decorated with stunning mural paintings. We will visit the most beautiful of these, the monastery of Ura Kidane Mehret on the Zeghie peninsula. In the afternoon, we will visit the Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tissisat ("Water That Smokes"). One of Africa's most spectacular waterfalls, the river plunges over a sheer chasm more than 45 metres in height and is 400 metres wide when in flood. (Please note, the sequence of events today may be reversed, depending on availability of the boat.) Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Another early start for the 185 km drive (approx 3.5 - 4 hours) to Gondar, the capital of Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Gondar is still one of Ethiopia's most impressive cities, with its walled Royal Palace Enclosure (listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage monument). This enclosure lies at Gondar's centre and contains several well preserved castles and other buildings. We take time this afternoon to tour these castles and churches, including the Royal Palace Enclosure, Emperor Fasilidas' Bath and the beautiful church of Gebre Birhan Selassie, immersing ourselves in the history of this old capital. We will pack our kit bags for the trek. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we drive from Gondar to Debark (approx 2.5 hrs, 100 kms), where the Simien Mountains National Park headquarters are located. We will meet our trek leader this morning. After picking up the rest of our trekking crew, our national park scouts, food supplies and our camping equipment in Debark we will drive on a rough road towards Sankabar Camp. We leave the vehicle a few kilometres before camp to take a short acclimatisation walk (1.5 - 3.0 hrs, approx 3 - 7.5kms depending upon where we commence walking on the escarpment) along the edge of the escarpment for our first views over the dramatic Simien mountain range. The Simien Mountains consist of many high altitude plateau formed by volcanic activity and lava flows, the northern and western flanks of which were subsequently eroded by large rivers forming an incredible landscape of rugged peaks and valleys. Our experienced trek leader and national park scouts are very familiar with this area and will introduce us to some remote areas within these mountains. We walk to Sankabar, our first campsite, stopping along the way for a picnic lunch. If we are lucky we may find some Gelada Baboons playing on the slopes. Overnight camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning our crew will pack up camp and arrange the mules and muleteers who will accompany us on the rest of our trip. Our trek today takes us to Geech. We traverse along the escarpment before dropping down to get views of the spectacular Geech Abyss into which the Djinnbarr Waterfall drops after the rains. From here, we circle around to cross the river and then ascend through terraced farmland passing the site of the former village which was demolished in 2015 to protect the park. Another half an hour brings us towards the campsite from nearby there are glimpses of much of Simien Mountain chain. Overnight camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

From Geech we take a circuit walk with an optional ascent to the summit of Imet Gogo (3926m). This walk is a relatively easy one, geared to help the acclimatisation process while allowing us to enjoy some truly dramatic views. From Imet Gogo, the vast expanse of lowlands is revealed below us, and we gain some perspective of this incredible mountain range. We continue on our circuit walk to Saha viewpoint which makes a perfect lunch spot, before returning to camp for a relaxing afternoon. There should be time to reach the escarpment at another viewpoint at Set Derek for sunset views. Black-backed jackals and Lammergeyers may also be seen in this area. Overnight at Geech camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we continue our trek through open grasslands and giant Lobelias, along the edge of the escarpment to Chenek. This is an interesting day's walk with a few steep ups and downs. We stop for lunch at Inatiye (4070m) where again we have some magnificent views of the lowlands. Chenek itself is one of our most beautiful campsites, with our tents clustered among the giant Lobelias and superb views of the escarpment. This is one of the best areas to see the endemic Walia Ibex, a large mountain goat unique to Ethiopia, with distinctively patterned fore-legs and large, ridged horns. Gelada Baboons are also common around Chenek. Like the Walia, they are seldom found far from cliffs and are well adapted to living on nearly vertical faces. At the first sight of danger they will plunge over the edge where danger cannot follow. The Simien Fox or Abyssinian wolf, though named after this area, is now rarely seen, although a lone Simien wolf has been sighted on some of our previous tours and you may hear its high pitched call at night. These mountains are also noted for cliff-nesting birds of prey, in particular the large and powerful Lammergeyer (Bearded Vulture). These birds have a wing span of almost 3 metres and are frequently seen performing aerial acrobatics above us. Overnight camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we leave for Ambiko at the foot of Ras Dashen (or Ras Dejen). After a steady but steep ascent to Bwahit Pass (4200m), beneath Bwahit Peak (4430m) - the second highest mountain on our route, we rest and take in the incredible outlook of our campsite across the valley below. From here we will also get our first sighting of Ras Dashen (4533m), the highest point in a wall of cliffs and peaks on the skyline at the far side of the valley. We then follow a steep path down to the village of Chiro Leba, stopping for lunch nearby, before crossing the Meshehe River (boots off). There is a final steep climb to the village of Ambiko (300m), where we will camp for the next two nights.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today's optional climb to the highest point in Ethiopia, the summit of Ras Dashen at 4533m, requires a pre-dawn start (3:00am). We climb slowly and steadily through farmland and giant lobelia forests for about 6-7 hours, before a steep scramble for 20 minutes to the summit. On the summit we will take a rest and absorb the spectacular panorama that awaits. In clear weather it is possible to see as far as Eritrea. From the top we do the same short scramble down then continue descending for about 4-5 hours, back to our campsite at Ambiko. Today is a very long day but well worth the effort if you decide to take on the challenge. Alternatively, take the day to relax at camp and observe village life.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today traverses farming country in the High Simiens as we trek through the upper catchments of the Meshehe River (boots off). It is a rewarding day of trekking with the opportunity to meet local people in the fields, on the trails and in the villages. There are some ups and downs today with the highest point being over 3600m. At the village of Arkwasiye, we cross the divide into the catchment area of the Ansiya River. We camp near the village of Sona on the edge of the plateau, looking across the Gorge to the spectacular cliffs of Imet Gogo and other peaks where we walked previously. Overnight camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

After a final camp breakfast we ascend gently up to the village of Arkwasiye where we complete our trek. We will be transferred to Gondar (approx 190km, 3.5 - 4 hrs) with lunch on the way. We arrive in Gondar late in the late afternoon, where a shower offers reward for our recent efforts. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we board our flight from Gondar to Addis Ababa where the trip concludes on arrival. (Please note: flight at own expense - schedule is subject to change and availability). Extra nights in Gondar or Addis Ababa can be arranged at additional cost. Please ask your consultant at time of booking.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.


Inclusions

  • 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners
  • 1 night in 3 star hotel in Addis and 6 nights in best available hotels elsewhere on a twinshare basis
  • 7 nights fully supported camping on a twinshare tent basis
  • group camping equipment including tent, mattress and pillow (sleeping bag not included)
  • local guides for each section
  • western escort to assist local guides
  • cook, camp assistants, mules and muleteers on trek
  • boat trip on Lake Tana
  • site entrance and national park fees
  • private road transport

  • International flights
  • Arrival and departure transfers in Addis Ababa on Days 1 & 15.
  • NOTE - The Addis Ababa group hotel (Jupiter Hotel) offers a free airport to hotel shuttle service upon arrival or departure. This shuttle must be pre-booked prior to your arrival or departure – please refer to your reservations consultant for more details.
  • Internal flights - Addis Ababa to Lalibela, Gondar to Addis Ababa.
  • Bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks (drinking water provided during trek only)
  • Kit bag and sleeping bag
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Tips
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance

Departure dates


Notes

Note:
Flights Addis Ababa/ Lalibela and Gondar/ Addis Ababa not included.
NB:
Trips until September 2024 are suspended and will not operate.

Dates don't fit?
Create a Private Trip

If you have your own group, talk to us about turning this itinerary into your own private adventure.

Priceper person from

$3990USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement (tent only)USD$90
  • Single Supplement (hotels only)USD$230
  • Single Supplement (hotels & tent)USD$320
  • Internal flights for non-ET international (subject to change & availability)USD$580
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Ethiopia Simien Mountains and Beyond trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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