Ethiopia wildlife & walking holiday

Tour Highlights

The Simien Mountains of northern Ethiopia are quite simply among the most impressive sites the continent has to offer. Formed millions of years ago by river systems cutting through the sandstone rock, they are bounded on the north and east by a massive escarpment, in places over 1000 metres high, from which the views stretch endlessly over the vast plains towards Eritrea.

At their foot are the remnants of ancient hills, now eroded into hundreds of pinnacles and buttresses. Wildlife in the park is impressive, as are the villagers that live here. And because most of the walk is along the relatively flat escarpment, the trek – though thoroughly impressive – is not that hard. Add to this the cultural sites of Addis Ababa, Gonder and Lalibela (which makes 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites in a week) and this trip is perfect for anyone with a passion for walking, culture but are a little short on time.

Day 1: Addis Ababa:

We will start this tour by meeting at the Hilton late morning. We then head out for lunch in town before taking a city tour, visiting the National Museum where Lucy (the 3.5 million year old humanoid) is found along with many other curious artefacts, followed by a visit to the Trinity Cathedral built by the last emperor Haile Selassie. Later we will pass by the bustling Mercado, the biggest open-air market in Africa. We’ll have an early dinner at an excellent local restaurant tasting traditional food and absorbing the city’s atmosphere. Hotel (L, D)

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Lalibela:

An early start sees us flying to Lalibela and checking into our hotel, before taking the morning to relax. In the afternoon we will visit the first cluster of the amazing rock-hewn churches, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will simply stagger you, including the famous church of St. George, carved in the shape of a cross from red basalt rock. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 3: Lalibela:

This morning we will take an acclimatisation trek up to the mountain monastery of Acheton Mariam. This 4-5 hour trek is a real highlight and should not be missed as the views from the ridge are simply breathtaking. After a late lunch we will visit the second cluster of churches, surprisingly different from those visited previously. Our visit to Labibela will be rounded off with an evening visit to a tej house to sample the local honey liquor. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 4: Lalibela - Gonder:

A midday flight takes us to Gonder. After checking into our hotel and a late lunch, we will visit the castle compound (UNESCO WHS), and then move on to the Debre Birhan Selassie church (Light of Trinity) which has wonderful murals, and King Fasilidas’ Bath. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 5: Gonder – Simien National Park:

In the morning we shall drive through Debark to the Simien Mountains. En route we’ll stop for picnic lunch on escarpment, admiring the wonderful views of the highest chain in Africa – hopefully we will get to see Lammergeyer vultures, Gelada Baboons and bushbuck. After lunch, we’ll take a short introductory trek through the high Simiens to Sankaber Camp whilst our bus continues with our luggage to camp. Our handlers will set up our tents and cook for us. Our days in the Simiens will be spent walking between the altitudes of 3500m & 4000m. Approx 2-3hrs walking Camp (B, L, D)

Day 6: Simien National Park:

Today’s trek takes us from Sankaber to Geech Camp along the edge of the escarpment passing through Amhara villages, stopping to admire their way of life. If we are lucky, we may get to spot the rare Walya Ibex and the endemic Gelada Baboons. Today and tomorrow mules will carry our entire luggage and those too tired to walk! Approx 6-7 hrs walking Camp (B, L, D)

Day 7: Simien National Park - Gonder:

Today we trek from Geech Camp along the escarpment, via the breathtaking Imet Gogo viewpoint, where we will meet our transport back at the road. Returning to Gonder we’ll check back into our hotel for a well earned rest! Approx 7 hrs walking Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 8: Gonder – Addis Ababa:

After a free morning, we take a flight back to Addis and check into our Hotel, where we will be holding wash and change rooms. Dinner will be offered by our hosts at a traditional restaurant with folk dancing and singing from the different Ethiopian regions. The tour concludes after our final trip dinner. (B, L, D) – please note no accommodation is booked for this evening. What this trip includes Trips are on full board basis, and include transport as outlined in itinerary, twin-share accommodation, mineral water and entrance fees.

 

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Detailed Tour Itinerary

The Simien Mountains of northern Ethiopia are quite simply among the most impressive sites the continent has to offer. Formed millions of years ago by river systems cutting through the sandstone rock, they are bounded on the north and east by a massive escarpment, in places over 1000 metres high, from which the views stretch endlessly over the vast plains towards Eritrea.

At their foot are the remnants of ancient hills, now eroded into hundreds of pinnacles and buttresses. Wildlife in the park is impressive, as are the villagers that live here. And because most of the walk is along the relatively flat escarpment, the trek – though thoroughly impressive – is not that hard. Add to this the cultural sites of Addis Ababa, Gonder and Lalibela (which makes 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites in a week) and this trip is perfect for anyone with a passion for walking, culture but are a little short on time.

Day 1: Addis Ababa:

We will start this tour by meeting at the Hilton late morning. We then head out for lunch in town before taking a city tour, visiting the National Museum where Lucy (the 3.5 million year old humanoid) is found along with many other curious artefacts, followed by a visit to the Trinity Cathedral built by the last emperor Haile Selassie. Later we will pass by the bustling Mercado, the biggest open-air market in Africa. We’ll have an early dinner at an excellent local restaurant tasting traditional food and absorbing the city’s atmosphere. Hotel (L, D)

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Lalibela:

An early start sees us flying to Lalibela and checking into our hotel, before taking the morning to relax. In the afternoon we will visit the first cluster of the amazing rock-hewn churches, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will simply stagger you, including the famous church of St. George, carved in the shape of a cross from red basalt rock. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 3: Lalibela:

This morning we will take an acclimatisation trek up to the mountain monastery of Acheton Mariam. This 4-5 hour trek is a real highlight and should not be missed as the views from the ridge are simply breathtaking. After a late lunch we will visit the second cluster of churches, surprisingly different from those visited previously. Our visit to Labibela will be rounded off with an evening visit to a tej house to sample the local honey liquor. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 4: Lalibela - Gonder:

A midday flight takes us to Gonder. After checking into our hotel and a late lunch, we will visit the castle compound (UNESCO WHS), and then move on to the Debre Birhan Selassie church (Light of Trinity) which has wonderful murals, and King Fasilidas’ Bath. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 5: Gonder – Simien National Park:

In the morning we shall drive through Debark to the Simien Mountains. En route we’ll stop for picnic lunch on escarpment, admiring the wonderful views of the highest chain in Africa – hopefully we will get to see Lammergeyer vultures, Gelada Baboons and bushbuck. After lunch, we’ll take a short introductory trek through the high Simiens to Sankaber Camp whilst our bus continues with our luggage to camp. Our handlers will set up our tents and cook for us. Our days in the Simiens will be spent walking between the altitudes of 3500m & 4000m. Approx 2-3hrs walking Camp (B, L, D)

Day 6: Simien National Park:

Today’s trek takes us from Sankaber to Geech Camp along the edge of the escarpment passing through Amhara villages, stopping to admire their way of life. If we are lucky, we may get to spot the rare Walya Ibex and the endemic Gelada Baboons. Today and tomorrow mules will carry our entire luggage and those too tired to walk! Approx 6-7 hrs walking Camp (B, L, D)

Day 7: Simien National Park - Gonder:

Today we trek from Geech Camp along the escarpment, via the breathtaking Imet Gogo viewpoint, where we will meet our transport back at the road. Returning to Gonder we’ll check back into our hotel for a well earned rest! Approx 7 hrs walking Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 8: Gonder – Addis Ababa:

After a free morning, we take a flight back to Addis and check into our Hotel, where we will be holding wash and change rooms. Dinner will be offered by our hosts at a traditional restaurant with folk dancing and singing from the different Ethiopian regions. The tour concludes after our final trip dinner. (B, L, D) – please note no accommodation is booked for this evening. What this trip includes Trips are on full board basis, and include transport as outlined in itinerary, twin-share accommodation, mineral water and entrance fees.