Trek Ethiopia's dramatic Simien Mountains exploring wild nature and visiting remote mountain communities
The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia are filled with dramatic peaks and jagged volcanic plugs. They are, arguably, Africa’s most magnificent skyline.
Join a small group of people and spend 15 days trekking through this remote mountain range. You’ll visit small hamlets, see how villagers manage to put together an income with limited arable land, and encounter large troops of Gelada baboon as they forage for food.
- Explore the castles of Gondar
- Get to know the native fauna and flora
- Visit remote mountain communities
You’ll spend a number of days above 4000 metres – so this is considered a strenuous trek. There is also an optional ascent of Ras Dashen which stands at 4543 metres. The journey includes a great deal of up and down over some fairly exposed and rough trails. The total ascent amount is 6500m while the total descent is 7650m.
There is full porterage throughout and the trails are well marked – despite being quite remote. Along the route you’ll stop at Jinbar Waterfall, Imetgogo, the Enatyie Escarpment, Debre Birhan Selassie Church, and Ras Dashen – Ethiopia highest point.
This is a definite box ticker for many and we couldn’t agree more. Enquire today to save your place on this epic Simien Mountains trek.
Why We Love This Adventure
- Explore the Castles of Gondar
- Rare and challenging trekking through dramatic volcanic scenery
- Learn about endemic flora & fauna along the way
Please make an enquiry and we'll send you the full itinerary for each day including meals, activities, travel and accommodation.
The group flight arrives in the morning. Please note that if you are being picked up at the airport (either on the group transfer or private transfer) you will have to exit the terminal to find our representative with the operator board. You may see people with signs inside the terminal but they are generally people with special permission such as the UN, Government or hotels with desks inside the terminal. In the afternoon we go on a sightseeing tour that takes us to the Ethnographic Museum and the Church of the Trinity where Haile Selassies' remains now lie. *Ghion Hotel or similar*.
We have a spectacular flight to Gondar. From the air we see the extraordinary nature of the Ethiopian plateau, cut again and again by immensely deep gorges. Gondar was once the capital of Ethiopia and in the afternoon we visit the castles, which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries by several generations of Ethiopia's kings. Nearby is the Debre Birhan Selassie church with its sensational angelic ceiling, and the bathhouse of Fasil at which thousands of Ethiopians celebrate Timkat festival every January. Our hotel is up on a cliff top with wonderful views overlooking the town. Depending on time we will also visit the centre of The Kindu Trust, a local charity which the operator supports.(On the Timkat Festival departure in January we spend a full extra day in Gondar to experience the festival. We join the Ethiopian crowds at Fasilides’ Baths whose water has been blessed by priests. Young men dive into the water to symbolise the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan. The festival has been described as one of the greatest shows on Earth.). *Goha Hotel or similar*.
We travel by road the 105 kilometres to the small town of Debark, the nearest town to the Simien National Park. There is a little time to explore the area while the guides prepare the equipment and mules for the trek. From Debark the landscape suddenly opens onto a picturesque valley dotted with mud huts, horses and livestock. We start our walk at Buyit Ras, entrance to the park, and head towards Sankaber where we have our first night’s camp. There are spectacular views across the range from here. 3 hours walking, 9kms. *Sankaber Camp or similar*.
Walking near small settlements and villages we have fine views across the lowlands and the Simien plateau as we continue our trek heading towards Geech (3,600m). En route we see a stunning waterfall; cascading through a hole in the rock, it falls 500 metres to the bottom of the gorge and is particularly impressive after the rainy season (by Christmas the waterfall may not be visible). The last 2 hours of the day involve a steep climb up to our campsite, where we stay for two nights. 7 hours walking, 12 kms. *Geech Camp or similar*.
A spectacular day - in the morning we walk to Imetgogo (3,926m). Situated at the end of a long ridge, which disappears on either side to the lowlands below, there are outstanding views of the gorge and mountain range and it is easy to understand why the striking formations have been described as 'the chess pieces of the Gods'. We should get our first glimpse of Ras Dashen from here and we can see clearly our route for the coming days. If we haven't already encountered them, there is a good chance of seeing the indigenous Gelada, also known as the 'bleeding heart' baboon or Lion monkey. The Gelada is in fact neither baboon nor monkey but the last remaining species of a branch of high altitude, grass eating primates that have all but vanished. We return to the same camp and enjoy an afternoon at rest. 4 hours walking, 10kms, ascent 325m, descent 325m. *Geech Camp or similar*.
Another wonderful walk - heading in the same direction as yesterday we soon branch off to reach the edge of the escarpment which we follow to the top, Inatye (4070m). The dramatic views continue all the way down to our camp at Chennek. 7 hours walking, 13kms, ascent 650m, descent 570m. *Chenneck camp or similar*.
A memorable but hard day's trekking of ascents and descents as we make our way from Chennek to Ambiko. We should see birds like the Ground Scraper Thrush, Siskins, Falcons and Kestrel. Today is also our best chance of seeing the rare and endangered Walia Ibex, a species that can only be found in the Simien National Park. From Chennek we climb to a pass at 4,200m and from here the fit and energetic may like to continue on a further hour up to the summit of Bwuhit at 4,430m. Otherwise from the pass we have a big drop down to the Meshah River at 2850m, via the village of Chiro Leba, where we may be able to visit the school and small clinic (if open). From the river we ascend 350m to our camp, where we spend 2 nights at Ambiko. 10 hours walking, 17km, ascent 1105m, descent 1570m. *Ambiko Camp or similar*.
We ascend Ras Dashen before returning to Ambiko. This day is the longest day of the trek. It may take up to twelve hours climbing 1350m to the summit. Ras Dashen has 3 peaks and we climb to the middle highest peak - the roof of Ethiopia. Our efforts are rewarded with incredible views from the summit. 12 hours walking, 21km, ascent 1345m, descent 1345m. *Ambiko Camp or similar*.
Another challenging day, although not as difficult as the previous one! From Ambiko we trek to the superbly positioned camp at Sona. After plenty of ups and downs we might be able to stop for some local coffee in the small village of Arquaziye before continuing for another hour and half to our camping site at Sona. 10 hours walking, 21kms, ascent 965m, descent 1055. *Sona Camp or similar*.
A much easier day! We descend into the lowlands. Our day begins with a 1,100m descent into the Ansiya valley, where we have a relaxed lunch break. We then move onto our camp, near the village of Mekarebya. This is an excellent day for seeing birds and there are very good views up to the Simien Mountains. We can look back with pride upon the areas we have recently trekked. 5 hours walking time, 10kms, ascent 65m, descent 1120m. *Mekarebya Camp or similar*.
From our camp we drop 350m, to where we have another long idyllic lunch spot. The final 2 hours of the day involve a hot 400m of ascent, to our final campsite at Mulit. Here we are completely surrounded by fantastic views all around us. 5 hours walking, 17kms, ascent 515m, descent 425m. *Mulit Camp or similar*.
Our final day's walking takes us to Adi Arkay from where we drive, via Debark to Gondar (approx 6 hours driving), for a much deserved wash and rest! 2.5 hours walking, 7kms, ascent 50m, descent 440m. *Goha Hotel or similar*.
Depending on flight times there may be time to relax and explore Gondar before we fly back to Addis. On our return to Addis day rooms will be provided for clients on the late flight, departing after midnight on day 14 (day 15 ex London). The trip ends in the evening in Addis(please note the January Timkat Festival departure is one day longer as we spend 2 nights in Gondar before the trek).**
Price£2,399 GBP Land Only (UK return flight inclusive option available on request)
- All breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
- All accommodation (see below)
- All transport and listed activities
- Tour leader throughout
- Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Trip Duration13 days
Start LocationAddis Ababa
End LocationAddis Ababa
Average Group Sizemin 5, max 16
All breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners.
This adventure can also be booked with UK return flights by the operator – to get prices, dates and availability for the flight option please complete an enquiry form today and mention your flight interest in the message section. Thanks!
Dates & Availability
- 26 Nov 2018 – 08 Dec 2018
- 25 Feb 2019 – 09 Mar 2019
- 07 Oct 2019 – 19 Oct 2019
- 28 Oct 2019 – 09 Nov 2019
- 11 Nov 2019 – 23 Nov 2019
- 25 Nov 2019 – 07 Dec 2019
If you’re looking for a company with experience you can’t beat these guys. This operator started life in February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.
For the company, and people who work for them “it’s all about adventure” which is what they were founded on and what they are still about today. Their trips take place all around the world where they help travelers to delve into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to a country’ unique identity.
We love that their groups and guides travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise the impact, to ensure that every holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.
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