Ethiopia Simien Mountains is trekkers Paradise: It is the best Trekking experience in Africa. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Simien Mountains National Park; see the endemic animals and birds of Ethiopia. After the trek visit the historicl city of Axum and the rock churches in Lalibela.
TOUR CODE: AAT 1121
DURATION: 18 DAYS/ 17 NIGHTS
SITE: SIMIEN MOUNTAINS, BAHIR DAR, GONDAR, LALIBELA AND AXUM
TRANSPORT: BY AIR & SURFACE
- Climb Mount Ras Dashen, Africa’s fourth highest peak
- Enjoy dramatic landscapes, high peaks, gigantic drops, wide valleys and endemic wildlife in the Simien Mountains, known as ‘The roof of Africa’
- Visit the Castles of Gondar, which are also known as Africa’s Camelot.
- Boat trip to visit Lake Tana’s ancient monasteries Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam
- Visit the splendid vestiges of the fabled Queen of Sheba in Axum
- Explore the dramatic nature of the Blue Nile & Tiss Isat Falls
- Shop the stalls of Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa
- Walk the path of pilgrims to the stunning rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Traditional Ethiopian farewell dinner with “coffee ceremony”
Departure Day: Daily Guaranteed Departure with 2 participants minimum
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN ADDIS ABABA
WELCOME TO ETHIOPIA. On arrival in Addis Ababa our representative will meet you at the airport. After transfer to your hotel an overview of the program will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where the 3,6 million year old skeletal remains of “Lucy” rest, which were discovered in 1974. Proceed Unity ParK,, the Holy Trinity Cathedral and Mount Entoto, which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight in 4-star hotel
DAY 2: DRIVE BAHIR DAR, ca. 8 h
After breakfast drive to Bahir Dar via Debre Markos and Dejen, the famous teff growing region in the country. En route visit the 13th century monastery of Debre Libanos. Further down, you will enjoy the fabulous Blue Nile Gorge, similar to the Grand Canyon of the USA.
DAY 3: IN BAHIR DAR
After breakfast take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit two of the most accessible and representative monasteries, Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam, which still serve their original function. In the afternoon, take the short walk to the best viewing point of the impressive Blue Nile Falls,
locally known as Tiss Isat or 'Smoke of Fire’.
DAY 4: DRIVE GONDAR
On the 180 km long drive to Gondar you experience a typical Ethiopian-African landscape - wide grazing land, hilly mountains and numerous farmlands. Visit the castles and churches built by emperor Fassiledes and his descendants, also known as Africa’s Camelot. Later precede to the Debre Birhan Selassie Church - one of the World’s heritage sights. Its walls and ceilings are decorated with scenes of biblical lore and medieval history.
DAY 5: DRIVE DANKABER:
Early departure for Debark town (100 Kms from Gondar), where the head quarter of Semien Mountains National Park is found. Here we pay the entrance fees and a scout and a local guide will accompany us. Then we continue driving to Sankaber (31 Kms) the first campsite of the National Park. On this drive you will gain your first impression of the scale and beauty of this highland region, the extraordinary scenery, enjoying the endemic Gelada Baboons and the bone breaker giant bird Lammergeyer roaring around. O/n Camping at Sankaber. - (3200 m)
Day 6: TREK SANKABER TO GEECH
This day is the day that we arrange all the trekking staff including mules and Muleteers for packing and transport of camping gears and all foodstuffs for the trek. It is this day that we start to walk in the national park. We walk from Sankaber to Geech, which will take between 5 - 6 hours. After about 1 and half hours walk we see the Jinnbar River and falls, we will cross the river later in the day. After crossing the river, we ascend for about two hour to Geech, which is full of Giant Lobelias. The scenery is wonderful, and heard of the endemic Gelada Baboon can be seen on our way. O/n Camping at Geech Campsite (3600m).
DAY 7: TREK GEECH –IMETGOGO – GEECH
This day we will be waking to the best viewpoints in the National park. First we walk to Imetegogo, the view here enables one to look 3600 to all directions this one of the best view in the national park. After a short stay here continue walk to Seha, the other terrific viewpoint in the National park. We will have our picnic lunch and we continue to the last viewpoint, Quedadit. After some stay we walk back to Geech camp site. The walk this day is not hard; it takes about 4 - 5 hours. It is the day that we will be walking in the best part of the national park. If we are lucky we might have the chance to see mammals like the Simien wolf, Walia Ibex and Klipspringers. O/n Camping at Geech Campsite - (3600m).
DAY 8: TREK GEECH _ CHENEK
We trek 6-7 h to Chenek through giant Lobelia trees, where a lot of wildlife can be seen. After picnic lunch walk on the edge of the Enatye escarpment (4000m), which offers another breathtaking view. Finally we descend to Chenek, the best place to see the endemic Walia Ibex and more Gelada Baboons. Overnight camping at Chenek (3600m)
DAY 9: TREK CHENEK AMBIKO
We walk 7-8 h to Ambiquo climbing the Buhit (4430m) peak, the 2nd highest next to Ras Dashen. After refresment at the summit we descend towards Chero Laba and cross the Mesheha River. We spend the night in Ambiquo, before the big day on Ras Dashen. Overnight camping at Ambiquo (3200m).
DAY 10: AMBIQUO- RAS DASHEN- MAJE
Pre dawn start towards mount Ras Dashen (4543m), the most challenging day of the trek. We head up the valley to the small village of Mizma, from where we climb steeply upwards, eventually
reaching an impressive amphitheatre made up of three major buttresses of expanded rock. One of them is our goal, Ras Dashen. It is then an easy scramble to the summit of Ras Dashen, which is
Africa’s fourth highest peak. After taking in the impressive view descend to Maje (3200m) for
camping. The whole round trek takes about 8-10 hours.
DAY 11:MAJE ARQUAZEYE
Walk from Ambiquo to Arquazeye through magnificent landscape. The path leads us back down to the Mesheha River (2800m). Our destination tonight is Arquazeye (3600m). It is another great day to take in some more incredible views of mount Wali Kend and mount Silky in a distance. The whole round trek takes about 6-7 hours. Overnight camping in Arquazeye
DAY 12: ARQUAZEYE —MEKAREBIA
From Arquazeye we descend for about 2 hours and cross a river, where we stop for a swim and for washing some clothes. Overnight camping in Mekarebia
DAY13: MEKAREBIA- MULIT
On the way to Mulit we stop again for a swim in a river. In the afternoon we ascend for 2 hours
before reaching Mulit. Camping in Mulit
DAY14: WALK TO ADI ARKAI AND DRIVE AXUM, ca. 7h
Trek ca. 2 hours from Mulit to Adi Arkai, meet the vehicles and drive to Axum, which is probably the most spectacular drive in Ethiopia. The road descends from 3100 meters through hairpin bends down the Simien Mountains to 1400 meters in just 40kms! The drive down to Adi Arkay showcases not only the immense beauty of Simien Mountains but also the people who eke out an existence in this unforgiving countryside.
DAY 15: IN AXUM
The ancient city marks the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the kingdom of Axum was the most powerful state between the eastern Roman empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: the archaeological museum, the magnificent monolithic steles and obelisks, the tombs of king Kaleb and king Gebre Meskal, the legendary bath of Queen Sheba, and the ruins of her palace. The 16th century cathedral St. Mary of Zion, the holiest church in Ethiopia is said to host the original Ark of the Covenant. The churches and monasteries of Axum are richly endowed with icons, and some of the historical crowns of ancient emperors.
DAY 16: FLY LALIBELA
After breakfast transfer to the airport and flight to Lalibela. The town of Lalibela, lies among the Lasta Mountains at 2630 m above sea level and remains until today a place of pilgrim and devotion for Ethiopian Christians. The construction of the eleven rock-hewn churches is attributed to king Lalibela of the Zagwe Dynasty. Some of the 12th century churches are monolithic, carved from a sloping mass of red volcanic scoria underlaid by dark grey basalt and interconnected by a maze of tunnels and passages with openings to hermit caves and catacombs. The Lalibela churches are included in the World Heritage List since 1978. Afternoon visit of the first group of six churches which lie in rock cradles one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mika'el, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem, the largest one, is built like a Greek temple and its stone floor is so polished by the countless numbers of visitors that it reflects shafts of light. In a corner are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
DAY 17: IN LALIBELA
After breakfast drive to Nakuto Le’Abe Monastery. King Nakuto Le’Abe abdicated his throne in
1270 AD and went to this cave to lead a hermit’s life. The cave, sitting on the edge of a steep cliff, has ever since become a monastery. It houses one of the most interesting collections of ancient crosses, illuminated manuscripts and other icons some of which are attributed to its founder Nakuto Le’Abe. Afternoon visit of the other group of rock churches in Lalibela. Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the south-west part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa'el.
DAY 18: FLY TO ADDIS ABABA THEN DEPARTURE
After breakfast fly to Addis Ababa. Rest of the day use for last souvenir shopping and in the evening fare well dinner party, with dances from the different ethnic groups, in a traditional Ethiopian
restaurant. Afterwards transfer to the airport for flight home.
We respect your personal preference on what is to be included and not included on the tour cost.
But as a standard included in our given prices are meet and greet at airport, All accommodation, Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis, Meals out of Addis, on full board basis, All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages, All ground transportation according to the itinerary and Guide service.
International flights, Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa , Any drinks including local non-alcoholic beverage and alcoholic drinks, Video filming and photography fees, Incidental meals, snacks and drinks and Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
Visa and Immigration Requirements
Most nationals require a visa for entry into Ethiopia. The easiest way to get Ethiopian Visa is to get it on line thttps://www.evisa.gov.et/ . Again visa can be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.. The last option is to get visa on arrival at Bole International Airport; nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and United States.
How to get in to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a major hub for international airlines. Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline of Ethiopia, provides excellent links with East, West and South Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with connections to America and the Far East. The national airline also offers domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia, as well as most regional centers. All international services arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Other airlines serving Ethiopia include: Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egyptian, Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Saudi, Aeroflot, Yemeni, and Turkish Airways.
Luggage on tour
your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. Soft rolling bag (we usually use a 22 inch roll aboard) are recommended.
Weather and Climate
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September.
Generally except for June, July and August, most part of Ethiopia will be sunny and pleasant temperature to travel around.
When you travel to the north you are staying in higher altitude towns (Example Addis Ababa, Gondar, and Lalibela) the daily average Temperature is from 20 – 25 degrees and the temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Evenings are fairly cold and you are advised to bring something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or warm Jacket.
Those travelling to the Southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia, the weather of this region will be sunny, hot and dry; the average temperatures is about 30 degrees. During the day the sun is strong. Shorts, Hats, sun glasses, sun creams, light cotton summer clothes and layers of clothes are recommended. Although the daytime temperatures are not very high, the sun is strong and people coming pale and pasty from a European winter should be careful of sunburn -long sleeved shirts may be advisable.
Travelers are advised to travel with American Dollar or Euro. Australian dollar cannot be exchanged in Ethiopia. There is ATM machine In Most of the Regions and one can withdraw money Visa or Master Card. Banks are places to exchange money.
Hotel rooms are basic but generally clean with en suite toilet and bath facilities (usually shower only). In many places hotel accommodation is limited; we utilize the best tourist class properties available. Hotel in Addis is 3-star international standard.
We will be using 4WD Land Cruisers, 4WD mini buses or Coaster buses depending on the conditions of the roads and the size of the group. All our vehicles are Air- conditioned.
For internal flights, we use the national airline Ethiopian Air lines, which offer excellent domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia.
Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or families who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek. (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.) Usually a handshake greeting is accompanied by a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or in front of priests. Shoes are often taken off on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.
Despite years of the civil wars in the previous regime, in terms of crime and robbers, Ethiopia is still a very safe country to visit, and Addis Ababa is still one of the safest capitals in Africa. Visitors should of course take the usual precautions, not carry large amounts of money with them and leave particularly valuable items with hotel reception. Both men and women visitors should be careful about hand and money bags, keeping them close at hand in crowded places. Like everywhere else, pick pockets and snatch thieves like to create some kind of diversion before making their move, so visitors should walk purposefully and be cautious about sudden introductions in the street.
- Special qualified guide as well as mandatory local guide and scout fees in parks and villages
- All accommodation based on twin room occupancy
- All camping gear, trekking staff and packing animals
- Meals out of Addis, on full board basis
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and music
- All entrance fees at parks and villages
- Airport transfer in Gondar and Lalibela
- All ground transportation including insurance, fuel and all costs of the driver
- Government taxes
Price doesn’t include
- International flights
- Lunch and dinner in Addis Ababa
- Any kind of drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, incidental meals and snacks
- Video filming and photographing fees
- Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc .
- All what is not included in the list above