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Classic Simien Mountain Trek

The classic three to five day Simien Mountain trek, tracing the dramatic ridge trail and culminating in the ascent of Buahit at 4,430m.

Private Trek Adventure 5 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

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…We were really happy with the service we got from Tourdust which can be best described as friendly, efficient and expert.....

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Itinerary

Overview

Forget Kilimanjaro, the Simien Mountains have greater claim to be the roof of Africa. Whether trekking with rare Gelada Baboons, Walia Ibex and Ethiopian wolves, or getting your thrills from terrifying vertical views, the Simien Mountains have it all up their sleeves. The Simiens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightly so. Set amidst a vast mountain range that resembles a landscape you might expect to see in the Grand Canyon, the Simien National Park sits haughtily above at 3,500m+ offering a dramatic ridge with incredible views every step of the way.

You’d be hard pressed to find another trek with more views per km anywhere in the world. The trail follows the course of the ridge offering breathtaking view after breathtaking view. Highlights include the terrifying 700m drop of the Genbar Falls, the raised promontory of Imet Gogo with 360 degree views and summiting Buahit at 4,430m. Its hard to take your eyes off the drop, but the wildlife makes its best effort to divert you. Large troops of colourful gelada baboon roam the park, whilst the rare Wallia Ibex with its incredibly long curved horns will have you imitating David Attenborough as you creep steadily closer for the perfect shot.

All treks and tailor-made itineraries are organised on demand for groups of two or more people.

Day-by-day

Itinerary is for the 5 day trek. Please see booking box below for 3 and 4 day itineraries

DAY 1: Gondar – Debark – Sankaber Camp (3,200m)
4-5hrs driving, 7km 2/3 hours walking
You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Gonder around 7.30am for the 2 ½ hr drive to Debark in a 4x4. The road is rough and very dusty, but if you haven’t left the built up areas in Ethiopia yet, it is a real eye opener into the life of the rural majority. At Debark you will sign in at the park headquarters, pick up your guide and scout and head up into the mountains (by 4x4). The road continues all the way to the first camp at Sankaber, but you’ll be dropped off on the way for a leisurely three hour acclimatisation hike. The stunning views hit you as soon as you get out of the vehicle as you walk along the ridge. There will be time to stop for a picnic lunch and after a short but demanding climb (at this altitude) to Sankaber you’ll be met as every day on this trek with a tray of fresh coffee, tea and snacks. (L,D)

DAY 2: Sankaber (3,200m) – Geech Camp (3,600m)
Walking 7-8hrs / 15km
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll set off trekking along the ridge with stunning views over the foothills 800m below. For the first two hours the trail passes through low bush of Giant Heather, soda apple, Abyssinian rose, St John’s Wort and Globe thistle. The highlight of the trek from Sankaber to Geech is Genbar Falls, an incredible 500m sheer drop. From the viewpoint opposite, you can watch the falcons, augur buzzard and lammergeier bearded vulture soar on the thermals below. From the Genbar falls, the trail passes drier dustier land, broken by lunch at a somewhat less intimidating and more peaceful waterffall. Klipspringer and bush buck may be seen in the steep rocky and wooded slopes, whilst troops of Gelada Baboons roam the dusty fields for roots. Just before you reach Geech camp site, there is a wonderful opportunity to visit one of the traditional village houses for home roasted coffee and injurra. Geech Camp itself is set on a grassy plateau with stunning sunset views. (B,L,D)

DAY 3: Geech (3,600m) – Imet Gogo (3,926m) – Siha Gorge – Kedar Dit – Geech (3,600m)
Walking 5-6 hrs / 13km
After breakfast you’ll trek for 2 hours along the grass plateau past countless bizarre outsized Giant Lobelia plants. The destination is Imet Gogo, an incredible rocky promontory that grants 360 degree views over the Simien Range. At an altitude of 3,926m you can see West back along the ridge towards Sankaber and Geech and South East across a deep gully towards the tomorrow’s ridge walk to Inatye and Cheneck Camp. The views here are arguably the best in the Simien Mountains and the drop is terrifying. From Imet Gogo, you’ll return to camp via the Siha Gorge for lunch. Afternoon at leisure before heading out for a short optional sunset trek to KedaDit (3760m). Overnight at Geech Camp again. (B,L,D)

DAY 4: Geech (3600m) – Innatye (4070m) - Chenek (3,600m)
Walking 7 hours / 15km
Today is the longest and arguably most spectacular passing close to the ridge most of its length. After breakfast you will head back on the path towards Imet Gogo before detouring SE towards Inatye. The path drops into a forest of Giant Hazel before following the ridge on open grassland. The climb to Inatye (4,070m) rewards with stunning views. Inatye roughly translates as “mamma mia” and the terrifying vertical drop here justly warrants the name! After a picnic lunch the path follows mostly downhill through open grassland and gian lobelia towards Chenek with a number of stunning viewpoints along the way. Chenek camp is superb for wildlife with both Gelada Baboons and Wallia Ibex common here. (B,L,D)

DAY 5: Chenek (3600m) – Mount Buahit (4430m) – Chenek (3600m)
Walking 5 hours / 830m elevation gain and descent / 10km distance covered
After an early breakfast, you will head SE out of Chennek to climb Buahit Peak at 4430m. The path follows a small stream for an hour or two up to Buahit Pass. At the pass the views open up to the North East towards Lori and Sona Villages. This is a fantastic place to spot the Wallia Ibex. From here it is another hour or two’s scramble up a rocky slope to Buahit Peak. It is hard work at the altitude but the views from the top and the wildlife on the way are more than worth it. After a quick lunch in Chenek, you’ll be driven back to Gonder (B,L)

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Stunning views
- Back to nature
- Official camp sites
- Good facilities

Details

Getting there

Getting to Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s national airline, Ethiopian Airlines is arguably one of the best in Africa. International services are reliable with good seat pitch, whilst domestic flights are serviced by a brand new fleat of twin props. Ethiopian flies direct from London, Frankfurt, Paris and Rome in Europe. The flight takes around 8 hours. Great deals can be had if you book your international flight direct with Ethiopian with your domestic Ethiopian flights – you will need to call them to get these fairs.

Getting around Ethiopia
Because of the state of the roads, the distances involved and the quality of the alternative (flying) most short term visitors use internal flights in Ethiopia. There are reliable daily flights between most of the stops on the Northern Circuit (Addis, Gondar, Lalibella, Axum, Bahir Dar).

If you have more time, or delight in the joys of overland travel, there are loads of options on the road. Local bus services are super cheap, regular and exceedingly uncomfortable. They’ll certainly give you a story to tell. Alternatively Skybus offer a reliable upmarket coach service from Addis Abbaba to Gonder, Jimma, Bahir Dar, Awassa, Harrer and Dire Dawa. Schedules and prices are available at http://www.skybusethiopia.com/site/schdule.html

Price includes

- Transport to and from Gondar
- All meals from lunch on first day to breakfast on last
- Camping equipment including tents, and mattresses (excluding sleeping bags)
- Guide, cook and porter.
- Mules to carry your luggage
- Park entrance fees

Excludes: Sleeping bags (you need to bring your own 3 or 4 season sleeping bag), international and domestic flights, drinks, personal expenses and tips.

When is best?

The Ethiopian Tourist Board proudly promotes their slogan “13 months of sunshine” to anyone who will listen, but they are not far off the mark. The rainy season in the North is in July and August, but whilst that might stop you attempting a multi day trek in the Simien Mountains, it won’t really affect you if you are planning on touring the Northern Historical route. The best time to visit the North is in Autumn, after the rains when the mountains are full of lush green and the views are inimpeded by haze.

The rains in the South are in April, May and October which make the roads in the Lower Omo Valley impassable, so you’ll need to avoid these if you’re planning on an adventure down here.

Is it for me?

Travelling in Ethiopia is by no means easy, but it is vastly rewarding. The challenges are the lack of luxuries (a hot shower in Ethiopia is a rare thing, even in upmarket hotels), the unique cuisine and hassle from hawkers. Having said that it also happens to host one of the most unique cultures in the world with a rich cultural heritage and some of the best trekking in the world. You can’t have everything.

As long as you don’t come expecting to be cosseted and you have travelled previously to places like SE Asia, India and Africa then you’ll no what to expect. The trek itself is challenging but by no means technical or unaccessible. The biggest challenge is the altitude. You’ll start the trek at 3,000m and spend the entirety of the trek between 3000m and 4500m. Altitude problems are rare, but some of the climbs particularly on the first few days are a lot tougher than they would be at lower altitudes. You’ll be well looked after by your guide, cook and scout.

In summary, if you’ve travelled a bit and like walking then this trek is suitable for you – as long as you come with the right attitude!

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 606 reviews

(4.93/5)

  • Just wanted to let you know that we had a great time in Ethiopia. Everything went to plan (except the weather in the mountains) and all the guides were excellent.

    MissingAlan Kidd reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek on 25 October 2013

  • I would thoroughly recommend this trip from start to finish with Tourdust. Rebecca was excellent in answering my pre-booking queries, including which trek to go for and for how long. She was a really valuable source of information. I found booking very easy and the pre-departure information excellent.

    The trip itself was fantastic. The local contact, Alex, was a massive help, especially when my bags with all of my trekking gear got mislaid on the flight between Addis and Gonder! Luckily, all of the luggage arrived in time. Our local guide was friendly, informative, support and overall just excellent. He was able to provide a very rich experience in terms of explaining the local culture as he had grown up in one of the villages in the mountains. His wider knowledge on everything from geology to fauna, flora and politics was also very helpful. The trek itself in beautiful and the landscape plus the wildlife make this a really unique experience. The camps were also comfortable and our food (plentiful) excellent.

    I was sadly unwell during the middle of the trip and so returned to Gonder for a day. Both the local team and Ben were brilliant in arranging this and were quick to take action. I can't thank them enough. Alex also arranged for my friend and I to return to the mountains for a day to see the things we had missed on my sick day.

    Overall, an amazing trek, experience and a thoroughly supportive tour company. I'll certainly be booking with Tourdust again ....

    MissingHelen Chorlton reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek on 14 October 2013

  • In short, the trip was great. Alex was a delight to meet and work with. He is very customer oriented and follows through on everything. Everything that was promised in the trip itinerary was delivered. Alex's staff was also exemplary. The trek guide was knowledgeable, friendly, and very accommodating. The cook (or more correctly the chef) was the best I've had on any trek (and I've been on many treks). The driver that took me from Gondar to the mountains was very competent and safe. His actions actually kept us from having an accident when a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction almost hit us.

    The accommodations throughout where great. The Addis Regency had a great staff (very friendly) and the rooms were clean and the restaurant very good. The accommodations in Lalibela were also good. Alex changed me from the Jerusalem Hotel to the Lalibela Lodge. It's a newer lodge with large, clean rooms. The restaurant and service was good. As I told Alex, the rooms don't have televisions, but that was fine for me. Others may prefer a television. The rooms are wired for television and my guess is that they will be added at some point. I viewed the change as positive. The Fasil Lodge in Gondar was also very good.

    Overall it was a great trip. There were no glitches (other than an Ethiopian Airlines problem with a broken engine part that caused a 5 hour delay when leaving Gondar) I would definitely recommend Tourdust to others. You were easy to work with and delivered a great trip.

    MissingKenneth Pollock reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek on 07 June 2013

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Extended 8 day trek in the Simien Mountains following the classic Sankaber - Chenek route then down to the Lowlands.

Private Trek Adventure 8 days

Adults from $1,209 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Combines the popular Sankaber - Geech - Chenek section with a challenging ascent of Ras Dashen & descent to the rarely visited lowlands.

Private Trek Adventure 10 days

Adults from $1,352 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Perfect for those short on time, combines the classic 5 day Simiens trek with the cultural highlights of Gondar & Lalibella

Tailor-made Adventure 10 days

Adults from $2,058 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $690 per person economy class from London

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