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The ultimate Simien Mountains trek including the popular Sankaber - Geech - Chenek section, ascent of Ethiopia's highest mountain, Ras Dashen and a wonderful walk down into the rarely visited lowlands.
The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia offer superb highland trekking, with far reaching views, rare wildlife and an incredible local culture. This 10 day trek initially follows the main route from Sankaber to Chenek that most shorter treks take. This section follows a dramatic highland ridge and offers some of the best views in the region. After reaching Chenek it is a tough 2 day trek to the summit of Ras Dashen (Ethiopia's highest mountain at 4550m). Very few visitors to the park then continue onto the lowlands, but this final section of the trail is a real treat, very much off the beaten path with some wonderful swimming spots and fantastic birfdlife.
All treks and tailor-made itineraries are organised on demand for groups of two or more people. For single travelers or those who prefer travelling in a group, we offer several scheduled small group tours, see here.
We would only recommend this 10 day trek if you are really keen on summiting Ras Dashen and are fit and determined. We usually prefer to recommend the 8 day trek without Ras Dashen, simply because climbing Ras Dashen is tough, repetitive, not hugely rewarding at the summit and only marginally higher than the more convenient and impressive Mount Buahit (4430m)
Having said that, we offer this trek because we also recognize the allure of peaking high summits. If you would like advice, then get in touch and we would be happy to help you make your mind up
DAY 1: GONDAR – DEBARK – SANKABER CAMP (3,200M)
DAY 2: SANKABER (3,200M) – GEECH CAMP (3,600M)
DAY 3: GEECH (3,600M) – IMET GOGO (3,926M) – SIHA GORGE – KEDAR DIT – GEECH (3,600M)
DAY 4: GEECH (3600M) – INNATYE (4070M) - CHENNEK (3,600M)
DAY 5: CHENNEK (3600M) – AMBIKO (3200M)
DAY 6: AMBIKO (3200M) – RAS DASHEN SUMMIT (4620M) – AMBIKO (3200M)
DAY 7: AMBIKO (3200M) – SONAR (3500M)
DAY 8: SONAR (3500M) TO MEKAREBYA (2150M)
As a group of 8, fifty something women, our trek crew: a guide; 2 armed scouts; a cook with 2 assistants; 8 mule men with 10 mules; treated us with great care and kindness from the outset. Our goal was a moderate 10 day, 9 night, camping circuit including all the main camps in the National Park, the peak of Ras Dashen and then a walk out though the northern lowlands along the river Incya to the town of Adi Arkaye
The scenery was stunning from the outset. Our tents were generous to huge and offered a great vantage point to rest and watch the world go by at the end of a long day. April is late in the dry season with very hot, parched and windy conditions which we found challenging. Daily we coped with deep dust underfoot, dehydrating and abrasive sun and wind, temperatures soaring from the upper 80s down to sub-zero at night on the higher stretches. Our party were experienced trekkers and/ or runners so not fazed by the effort required.
Shetu, Our guide, had a proud demeanour, a wonderfully understated sense of humour, coupled with a deep knowledge of the place, people and wildlife. All this belied his youth. Nagar, our cook, took pleasure in serving up nourishing, simple meals and readily adapted to our broad range of tastes and needs. Ginger and Thyme teas soon became a regular feature alongside the end of day snacks coffee and black tea.
The first stretch through the park was busy with other trek parties and it offered us excellent acclimatisation with stunning escarpment views. Chennek camp gave close up encounters with Gelada baboons and Ibex. Walking out of the park, going East, we dropped down to Ambiko for the overnight camp en-route to Ras Dashen. From that point we left all visitors behind seeing only our support crew and local people for the rest of the trip. The climb to the summit was a long day, starting before dawn, walking ever upwards with local farmers, hawkers and construction workers for company. The summit was a scramble and rewarded us with magnificent views. Returning to camp exhausted our muleteers feted us with posies.
As we journeyed out north we stayed at a variety of village and wild camps, sometimes finishing our evenings with a group sing song. On one occasion our cook and scout joined in. The wild camp at Sonar was in a dramatic, cliff top location with huge views and a special atmosphere. The following day we dropped down a spiralling path to the valley over 1,000m below. As we followed the river we saw a huge array of birds and other wildlife.
Ben at Tourdust was quick to respond to all our queries. He helped to sort out a couple of pre-trip setbacks and we would recommend this service for those working on tight timescales. This was a really memorable trip and a great introduction to Africa for those new to trekking on this amazing continent
HelenRutter reviewing 10 Day Simien Mountain and Ras Dashen Trek