Simien Mountains National Park
This fantastic tour gives you the best impressions of the Simien Mountains in Northern Ethiopia. It starts in the capital Addis Ababa from where you will fly to Gondar. The local guides will pick you up and together you drive into the Simien Mountains National Park. Three nights of camping, delicious food and bonfire stories from the local people as well as four days of excellent hiking through one of Ethiopia’s most spectacular landscapes will leave you breathless – literally because you will hike on an altitude of around 4,000 m. On the last day you will have plenty of time to visit Gondar’s castle before flying back to Addis Ababa.
Day 1 – Addis Ababa via Gondar to Simien Mountains
Get an early start into the day and take the 7 AM flight from Bole International Airport to Gondar with Ethiopian Airlines. The flight takes only one hour and the local guide will pick you up at the airport in Gondar. You will drive directly towards the Simien Mountains with a stop in Debark which is the entrance town to the National Park. The ride takes only 1,5 hrs. Organizational issues like entrance fee have to be done here so a short stop over is necessary. After everything is arranged, you will start driving into the park since especially the first part is not so interesting for hiking. You will pass the Simien Lodge which claims to be the “highest” hotel in Africa. At some point the car will drop you off with the local guide so that you can enjoy around 2-3 hrs of hiking until you reach the camp first camp “Sankaber” where you will spend the night camping. Since you will be hiking on an altitude of around 4,000 m during the next days, take it easy on the first day to give your body some time to adjust. The cook will arrange dinner for you and you can keep yourself warm around the camp fire.
Day 2 – Hiking from Sankaber to Geech
After breakfast you will start a 5-7 hrs hiking trip passing Koba river valley, climbing steep up to the area called Michotis. Geech Abyss will be on your way, a very deep gorge where you can also watch a large waterfall where the Jinbar River plunges into the gorge. Have a lunch break in between with the sandwich that has been prepared by your cook in the morning and enjoy the landscape. In between you will always see big herds of Gelada Baboons that are indigenous to Ethiopia. Try to spot the mark on their chests that look like an hour-glass. Gelada Baboons are the only baboons in the world that have such a mark on their chest instead of the butt although it serves of course the same reason of attracting the female Geladas. The reason is that they are sitting all day to graze and eat so a mark on their butt would not be seen. You will spend the night camping in Geech camp. Enjoy the time with your local guides, they have many stories to tell and also enjoy singing around the camp fire. Don’t miss out to watch the stars if there is a clear night, it’s simply spectacular.
Day 3 – Hiking from Geech to Chenek
You will hike today through one of Ethiopia’s most fantastic landscapes between the camps Geech and Chenek. The tour will again take between 5 to 7 hours. Early during that day you will reach Immet Gogo, the most superb view point in the Simien Mountains National Park – we can guarantee you that you will be speechless! Other major peaks you pass on the way are Shayno Sefer (3,962m) and Inatye (4,070m). These peaks are good areas to look for lammergeyer as well. The more you get closer to the next camp Chenek where you will spend the night camping, you should be able to spot another animal that is indigenous to this area: the massive Walia Ibex, a type of goat. Once you reach the camp, your cook will have already started to make a fire and to prepare dinner. There are a few more great view points around Chenek camp, so if you are not too tired, walk around and enjoy the sunset.
Day 4 – Simien Mountains to Gondar
Use the time until lunch to walk around the camp if your muscles are not too sore from the past days of hiking. You might be lucky to spot a Walia Ibex from very close. Ras Dashen, the highest mountain of Ethiopia with 4,533 m can also be admired from here. The car will pick you up just after lunch to take you back through the mountains to Gondar. You will arrive here in the late afternoon and spend the night here as well.
Day 5 – Gondar and flight back to Addis
In Gondar you will visit King Fasil’s Castle and Bath which was build in the 17th century. You will easily understand why Gondar has been called the Camelot of Ethiopia. If there is enough time, a visit to Selassie Church is absolutely recommended. No other church has such beautiful and well preserved wall paintings that tell you a lot about Ethiopian Christianity. Your local guide will drop you off at the airport in the afternoon so that you can check-in in time for your flight back to Addis Ababa where this tour ends.