Your holiday summary
Make your own way
|Price range||From £1890|
|Travel partner||Wild Frontiers|
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Ethiopia: Wild walk in the Simien mountains
Aside from scenery, the park is home to an array of wildlife and because most of the walk is along the escarpment, the trek - though thoroughly impressive - is not overly technical. Add to this the cultural sites of Gonder and Lalibela (which together with the Simien mountains makes three UNESCO World Heritage sites in a week) and this trip is perfect for anyone with a passion for walking and culture, looking for a short holiday.
- A trek through the Simien mountains
- The castles of Gonder
- The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
- Enjoying the hospitality of the Ethiopian people
- Sampling injera and tej
- Full services of a Wild Frontiers tour leader with local guides and drivers.
- Meal plan as detailed in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) with mineral water as required.
- All transport as outlined in the itinerary.
- All accommodation
- All entrance fees, as per itinerary
- A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through WF office)
- Visas (if applicable)
- Local airport taxes
- Tips (always optional, but some guidance will be given in the predeparture information pack you’ll receive after booking)
- Beverages and any costs of a personal nature.
- International flights
- Airport transfers (unless booking suggested flights through WF office)
We will start this tour by meeting at our hotel late morning. We then head out for lunch in town before taking a city tour, visiting the National museum where Lucy (the three and a half 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 two: 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 Saint George, carved in the shape of a cross from red basalt rock. Hotel (B, L, D)
Day three: Lalibela:
This morning we will take an acclimatisation trek up to the mountain monastery of Acheton Mariam. This four to five hour trek is a real highlight and should not be missed as the views from the ridge are superb. After a late lunch we will visit the second cluster of churches, surprisingly different from those visited previously. Our visit to Lalibela will be rounded off with an evening visit to a tej house to sample the local honey liquor. Hotel (B, L, D)
Day four: 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 murals, and King Fasilidas’ bath. Hotel (B, L, D)
Day five: 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, witnessing the 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. Approximately two to three hours walking. Camp (B, L, D)
Day six: 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 see 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. Approximately six to seven hours walking. Camp (B, L, D)
Day seven: Simien national park - Gonder:
Today we trek from Geech camp along the escarpment, via the 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. Approximately seven hours walking. Hotel (B, L, D)
Day eight: 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.
Arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts. Explore the country after your tour on a bespoke Wild Extension or just allow a few days to relax afterwards. Maybe choose all of the above and get cheaper flights mid-week?
For a completely different side of Ethiopia, why not visit the walled city of Harar – Islam’s fourth holiest city. This city is famous for its qat market, ornately decorated traditional houses, vibrant mix of local people (including Afars and Somalis), historical links with Richard Burton, and the “hyena man” who feeds wild hyenas outside the city walls each night - this extension is the perfect complement to a trip to the predominantly Christian northern highlands. A three to four night extension would be possible.
The Great African Rift Valley:
For nature lovers, this extension to one of Africa’s predominant geological features gives you the opportunity for some great bird watching and relaxing on the shores of Lake Langano. Three to four days.
Visit one of the most culturally diverse regions in Ethiopia, home to several unique tribes. 12-15 days.
TESFA village trek:
Still want some more trekking? Why not undertake a three to four day village trek through the highlands, easily accessible pre-tour from Lalibela or posttour from Gonder.
Axum and Tigray:
Travel north from Gonder along a road or by air to Axum, the capital of the once might Axumite Empire and then continue to the Tigray region for some off-beat exploration or a TESFA village trek.
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