North Historic And Semein Mountain Trekking 17 days

 
  • Private tour
  • Solo friendly
  • Family friendly
  • Eco Responsible

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 of Gondar and ancient obelisks reflecting a culture dating back more than 3000 years.


Day 1 Addis Ababa

Up on your arrival at Bole International Airport and you will clear immigration and proceed to baggage claim, after collecting your checked bags, clear customs and pass through the arrivals hall where you will be meet by tour guide or representative, who will assist you with your transfer to your hotel.

After a break, you will enjoy an afternoon guided tour of the Ethnological Museum, with its artifacts and displays of the cultures and handicrafts of Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups. At the famous National Museum, with its cultural and archaeological relics, you will visit the famous “Lucy,” a 3.2 million-year-old female hominid who was discovered in Ethiopia’s Awash Valley in 1974. The open-air market of Addis, the Mercato, is the largest on the continent, and you will take a drive through it. Time permitting; you may also visit Ba’ata Church, also known as Menelik’s Mausoleum, one of the oldest churches in Addis, built in 1911. It houses beautiful paintings and the royal tombs of past emperors, including Emperor Haile Selassie.

You will cover approximately 80km and 1-hour drive.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner /It depends on the arrival time/

Transportation: Land Cruiser V8

Accommodation: Monarch Hotel or Similar

Day 2 Bahir Dar (1830m)

We depart around 7:00am on the first flight of the day from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar with Ethiopian Airlines. On arrival we take a boat trip on Lake Tana - Ethiopia's largest lake, covering 3673 square kilometers 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 meters in height and is 400 meters wide when in flood.

You will cover approximately 80km and 1-hour drive.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Land Cruiser V8 and Domestic Flight

Accommodation: Jacaranda International Hotel or Similar

PLEASE NOTE: flight schedule is subject to change and availability.

PLEASE NOTE: the sequence of events today may be reversed, depending on availability of the boat.

Day 3 Gondar (2120m)

Another early start for the 185 km drive (approx. 2.5 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 center 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 Debre-Birhan Selassie, immersing ourselves in the history of this old capital. We will pack our kit bags for the trek.

You will cover approximately 180km and 3-hour drive.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Land Cruiser V8

Accommodation: Goha Hotel or Similar

Day 4 Debark - Sankabar Camp (3200m)

This morning we drive from Gondar to Debark (approx. 2.5 hours, 100 km), 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 kilometers before camp to take a short acclimatization walk (1.5 - 3.0 hours, 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.

You will cover approximately 140km and 2-hour drive and 2-hour trekking.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Land Cruiser V8 and Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 5 To Geech Camp (3640m)

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 Jennbarr 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 where we can see much of Simien Mountain chain.

You will cover approximately 13 km and 6-8-hour trekking (Ascent 928m /Descent 429m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 6 Imet Gogo (3926m)

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 acclimatization 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.

You will cover approximately 10 km and 5-7-hour trekking.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 7 Chenek (3620m)

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 meters and are frequently seen performing aerial acrobatics above us.

You will cover approximately 14.5 km and 6-7-hour trekking (Ascent 849m/Descent 824m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 8 Ambiko (3170m)

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. There is a final steep climb to the village of Ambiko (300m), where we will camp for the next two nights.

You will cover approximately 20 km and 8-10-hour trekking (Ascent 969m/Descent 1466m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 9 Summit Ras Dashen (4533m)

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.

You will cover approximately 26 km and 10-12-hour trekking (Ascent 1355m/Descent 1355m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 10 Sona (3400m)

Today traverses farming country in the High Simiens as we trek through the upper catchments of the Meshehe River. 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.

You will cover approximately 23 km and 8-10-hour trekking (Ascent 1136m/Descent 1158m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 11 Makarabia (2000m)

Our trek today takes us where only the hardiest travelers venture, dropping over the edge of the plateau and descending very steeply for 1800m to the rugged Ansiya Valley and lowlands. We enjoy a break beside the Ansiya River at the bottom of the valley before gentle terrain takes us to Makarabia village where we will camp tonight. Looking back up towards the escarpment we can see exactly where we have been over the last five days.

You will cover approximately 12 km and 5-6-hour trekking (Ascent 326m/Descent 1800m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 12 Mulit (1800m)

This morning we have a short steep descent to the Ansiya River once again. It can be quite hot today as the vegetation is reasonably open around the trail and we have come down significantly in altitude. We follow the river for some distance before a lunch break at the base of the last really steep section of our trek. We take our time ascending to Hawaza village (400m), not forgetting to look back at the massive spires and cliffs from whence we came. It is an easy half hour walk on to Mulit where we will spend our final night camping with a backdrop of rock pinnacles. This evening is a special celebration of our achievements and we will be invited to join our crew in some local singing and dancing.

You will cover approximately 16 km and 4-5-hour trekking (Ascent 690m/Descent 592m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 13 Adi Arkay - Axum

After a final camp breakfast, we descend the rough village trail to the small town of Adi Arkay where we complete our trek. We will need to wait at a café until the mules have arrived with our baggage, before being transferred to Axum (approx. 190km, 3.5 hours), with lunch on the way normally in the town of Sheri. Of interest on the way is the dramatic descent into the valley of the Baobab lined Tekeze River. The bus stops at the girder bridge and we can quickly walk across it with views of the Italian fortress peppered with bullet holes. We can rest our legs and revel in our achievements while our vehicle passes over roads through mountain regions of wild beauty, running alongside the Simien massif. The amethyst-colored peaks and deep gullies evoke our new-found appreciation for the rugged remoteness of this region. We arrive in Axum late in the late afternoon, where a shower offers reward for our recent efforts.

You will cover approximately 250km drive and 10 km and 2-hour trekking (Ascent 78m/Descent 485m).

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Trekking and Land Cruiser V8

Accommodation: Camping in Tent

Day 14 Axum

On this day you will have city tour that includes the Stele Park. These famed granite obelisks are relics of this time and have gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The tallest, the Great Stelae, has fallen and broken into six massive pieces, but when standing was 33 meters (108 feet) tall and weighed about five hundred tons. The tallest obelisk still standing at Axum today is about 23 meters (75 feet) tall, still an impressive sight!

You will continue the city tour, visiting St. Mary's Church and the Sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the Ark of the Covenant; the Coronation Yard; King Ezana's Park; and the "Queen of Sheba" ruins, once a massive palace with finely mortared stonewalls deep foundations, and its own impressive drainage system, believed to be the oldest building in Axum.

The legends narrated in the Kebre Negest "Book of Kings" recount how the city of Axum as early as the 10th Century B.C was the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the song of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there to this day, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. A visit is organized to the stelaes - granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings. There is also a visit to the Church of Santa Maria of Zion, whose museum contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures.

You will cover approximately 60km drive.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Land cruiser V8

Accommodation: Sabean International Hotel or Similar

Day 15 Lalibela - Yimrehane Kiristos

In the morning we prepare our self for the next destination to make a flight. Based on your arrival time we make check in to the hotel and you will get your lunch. After lunch, we visit the church of Yimrehane Kristos - the most popular church outside of Lalibela. This church was constructed almost a century before the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and is one of the most well-preserved late Axumite churches of Ethiopia today. Over the centuries pilgrims have journeyed to the cave to die, and have their mummified remains housed in the back of the cavern. The beautiful Yimrhane Kirstos church consists of a big natural cave with a layered wall of granite and wood as its front, intricately carved inside and out, with colorful murals adorning the interior walls. This evening you will enjoy a special dinner at Ben Ababa open air restaurant.

You will cover approximately 95 km drive.

PLEASE NOTE: flight schedule is subject to change and availability.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Land cruiser V8 and Domestic Flight

Accommodation: Mezena lodge or Similar

Day 16 Lalibela

On this day you will have a visit to the rock hewn churches of Labella. Lalibela is the jewel in the crown of Ethiopia, the most famous churches and the scene of so many major religious ceremonies. The churches are carved below ground level and ringed by trenches and courtyards and are arguably Ethiopian's top most attraction. They are connected to each other by a tangled maze of tunnels and passages. Among the churches you will visit are Bete Emanuel a 36-foot-high monolith considered by art historians to be the finest and most precisely worked church in Lalibela, possibly because it was the private church of the royal family, Bete Markorios a cave church originally used for secular purposes and thought to be around 1,400 years old and Bete Giorgis the most majestic and best preserved of all Lalibela's churches.

You will spend today exploring one of the world's most remarkable historic sites and it's 11 rock-carved churches. Although churches carved in rock are found in other parts of the world, those found in Ethiopia are particularly interesting. Generally, they were excavated on all sides of a rectangle, leaving a large block of stone isolated in the center. This rock was then shaped and formed both inside and out and the carvings show extremely skillful workmanship. Lalibela, the 'New Jerusalem', is thought to have been constructed some 800 years ago by King Lalibela. Once his capital city, this former bustling city is today a small village, virtually cut off from the outside world. You will visit the Northern Group: Bet Medhane Alem, home to the Lalibela Cross and believed to be the largest monolithic church in the world, probably a copy of St Mary of Zion in Axum. It is linked to Bete Maryam (possibly the oldest of the churches), Bete Golgotha (known for its arts and said to contain the tomb of King Lalibela), the Selassie Chapel and the Tomb of Adam. after lunch proceed to visit the second group of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela called Western Group: Bete Giyorgis, said to be the most finely executed and best preserved church &the third group called The Eastern Group: Bete Amanuel (possibly the former royal chapel), Bete Merkorios (which may be a former prison), Bete Abba Libanos and Bete Gabriel-Rufael.

We'll be joined by a guide both this morning and this afternoon to learn about the area's fascinating history. The exploring will include a certain amount of scrambling between rocks and through tunnels. The churches stand in two main groups on either side of a stream, known locally as 'The River Jordan' and between them are considered to be one of the great wonders of the world. Most of the churches now have a permanent roof built over them to preserve them and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You will cover approximately 60km drive.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Land cruiser V8

Accommodation: Mezena lodge or Similar

Day 17 Addis Ababa

After an early breakfast, leave Lalibela and visit en-route the monastery of Nakutolab - a cave church. This is the easiest of all the outlying churches to reach in the monastery of Nakutolab which is named after its constructor, the nephew and successor of King Lalibela. The monastery accredited to Nakuotolab consists of a relatively simple church built around a shallow cave in which several holy pools are fed by natural springs. After visiting you will get domestic flight back to Addis Ababa. We are then transferred to the hotel for day use rooms and get settled before enjoying an optional final dinner at a well-known local Ethiopian restaurant with dances from the different ethnic groups. Transfer back to the airport in the late evening for your international flight back home.

You will cover approximately 60km drive.

PLEASE NOTE: flight schedule is subject to change and availability.

Meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Transportation: Land cruiser V8 and Domestic flight

Accommodation: Monarch Hotel or Similar /Only day use/

* Please check prices for full list of inclusions and exclusions


Inclusions and exclusions

  • 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches and 16 dinners
  • Accommodations 16 nights /Twin or Double Bed Basis/
  • Arrival and departure transfers in Addis Ababa (days 1 & 17).
  • Internal flights (ADD - BJR, AXU - LLI, LLI - ADD)
  • Bottled water (drinking water provided during trek)
  • 9 nights fully supported camping on a twin share 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
  • Kit bag and sleeping bag
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Tips
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance

Available in

English, French, German
(Amharic)


Available for

Infants, Children, Students, Adults, Seniors



Departure & Return

Start city: Addis Abba , Ethiopia

Pick up times available: 08:00

Pick up location: Bole International Airport

Ends at: Bole International Aiport

Nearest airport: Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD)



We are Eco Responsible:

  • Eco-friendly accommodation
    Eco-friendly accommodation
    Most of accommodation is provided in indigenous or local community or eco-lodge
  • Eco-friendly transportation
    Eco-friendly transportation
    The product principal transportation is low noise & low emmission such as walking, trekking, cycling, padle boat etc.
  • Education & exploration
    Education & exploration
    The product is educational rather than entertainment focused - it respects and gives insight into local traditions and/or environment
  • Interaction with locals or nature
    Interaction with locals or nature
    The major part of the tour is spent on interacting with local communities, their representative(s) (other than guides) or observing the nature or animals without disturbing their natural habitat and environment
  • Licensed tour guide
  • Local or indigenous tour guide(s)

Cancellation policy

0% cancellation fee - 7 days or more before the travel date
50% cancellation fee - between 3-6 days before the travel date
100% cancellation fee - between 0-2 days before the travel date

Question and answer

There are no questions about the product. Be the first to ask a question.


from $2985 per person

* Minimum of 1 adults are required on this tour

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* Free cancellation until 7 days before departure


  • Glada Baboon
  • Walia Ibex
  • Gelada Baboon
  • Simien Mountains
  • Blue Nile
  • National Museum
  • Lucy
  • Ethnological Museum
  • Addis Ababa
  • Haile Selassie Palace
  • Holy Trinity Cathedral
  • Entoto Hill
  • Mount Entoto
  • Entoto Mountain
  • Lake Tana
  • Ura Kidane Mehret Monastery
  • Blue Nile Falls
  • Gondar
  • Geech Abyss
  • Geech Camp
  • Jennbarr Waterfall
  • Imet Gogo
  • Chenek
  • Bearded Vulture
  • Ambiko
  • Ethiopian Wolf
  • Ras Dashen
  • Bwahit Pass
  • Ansiya Valley
  • Makarabia
  • Axum
  • Church Of Santa Maria Of Zion
  • Lalibela