Trekking in the Simien Mountains
Read our low down on trekking in the Simien Mountains, with information on routes, seasons and how to organise a trek.
The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia are simply put, one of the best trekking destinations in the world. Jaw dropping views, wall to wall sunshine, generous hospitality and rare wildlife combine to make for an unforgettable trek. The Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting rare populations of wallia ibex, gelada baboon and Ethiopian Wolf, alongside a rich and diverse flora and birdlife.
Highlights of the Simien Mountains National Park:
- Taking in the 360 degree views at Imet Gogo and marvelling at the precipitous paths that locals have to navigate to make it up onto the ridge
- Spotting the graceful Wallia Ibex framed by the most incredible mountain panorama and trying to inch closer to capture that perfect image before it moves on
- Watching the coffee beans roast over the fire in a primitive mud and straw village hut
- Watching the birds of prey soar on the thermals over terrifying drops of up to 1000m
Virtually all trekkers follow the same route along the ridge of the Simien Mountains National Park that traces a route from Sankaber to Geech to Chenek Camp. This trail can be completed in 3 to 5 days with 4x4s having access to Sankaber and Chenek at either end of the trek. We recommend spending 4 to 5 days on the route as this gives you time to get to Imet Gogo (a standout view) and climb Mount Buahit.
From Chenek, those keen on trekking for longer have a number of options. Many are tempted by the allure of Ras Dashen, Ethiopia’s highest peak, but apart from the altitude this route has little to commend it. Several brave trekkers attempt a multi-week traverse all the way to Lalibella, an incredible walk through rarely visited parts. Alternatively trekkers can head to the lowlands via Sonar, Mekarba and Mullet campsites, a lovely route with several swimming spots in the rivers and rarely visited camps.
Tourdust arranges private treks to the Simien Mountains either from Debark or from Addis Ababa and including other parts of Ethiopia. We usually recommend a 5 day trek in the Simien Mountains which gives an extra day at Geech Camp to explore Imet Gogo and an extra day at Chenek to head up Mount Buahit for a sense of achievement before heading back to Gonder. The four day option follows the same route as the 5 day trek, but with less time to enjoy the viewpoints from Geech Camp. The three day option is more of a compromise and doesn't cover the stretch from Geech to Chenek Camp which arguably offers the best views and undoubtedly offers a better chance of spotting Wallia Ibex. If you have more time then we strongly recommend an extended 8 day Simien trek that adds on 3 days of trekking from Chenek to the lowlands to the standard 5 day route.
Whilst you are there? Fitting the Simien Mountains into your Ethiopia Holidays
Simien Mountains National Park Fees
Images of the Simien Mountains