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Ethiopia & Kilimanjaro Trek

Exclusive new itinerary combining stunning mountain panoramas, rare wildlife and Africa's tallest peak, this trekking holiday incorporates two of Africa's biggest hitters; Ethiopia's Simien Mountains & Tanzania's Kilimanjaro. The first week is spent trekking and acclimatising in the rarely visited Simien National Park before flying to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tailor-made Adventure 16 days

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

Flights are typically an additional $1,560 per person economy class from London

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Itinerary

Overview

  • Breath-taking 4 day acclimatisation trek in the Simien Mountains
  • Climb Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest peak
  • All transfers and accommodation included
Ethiopa's Simien Mountains offer some of the most spectacular mountain scenery on the planet and, compared with many trekking destinations, are relatively untouched. As well as offering some rare wildlife sightings such as Gelada Baboons, Walia Ibex and Ethiopian wolves, the Simien Mountains National Park,sitting at 3,500m, is the perfect place to acclimatise for the Kilimanjaro ascent. We recommend the four day Simien Mountain trek, which includes three nights camping at altitudes above 3,000m and maximum day time altitude of over 4,400m. The route follows the course of the plateau edge offering breathtaking view after breathtaking view. Highlights include the terrifying 500m drop of the Genbar Falls, the raised promontory of Imet Gogo with 360 degree views and summiting Buahit at 4,430m.

In contrast to the Simien Mountains, Kilimanjaro rises, in isolation, out of the African plains to the majestic height of 5,895m. There are several routes up Kili and Machame recently overtook Marangu (Coca-Cola route) as the most popular. Starting at Machame Gate, the trek passes through striking rainforest, mountain desert and afro-alpine terrain before tackling the summit via Stella Point. The Machame route offers great scenery, arguably the best altitude acclimatisation of any and is available all year round. There are no huts on the Machame route; evenings are spent at the designated camp sites.

This trip can be tailored to your exact requirements. We can offer a choice of routes up to the Kilimanjaro Summit and we can also arrange a post climb safari or beach break. Please contact us for more information.

Day-by-day

Brief Itinerary (NOTE: this itinerary involves camping in the Simien Mountains and the 6 day Machame Advantage trail on Kilimanjaro. All trips can be tailor-made to change lodge based trekking in the Simien Mountains and a different and longer route on Kilimanjaro. An extension can also be made to include some beach or safari days at the end of your trip.

Day 1: Arrival at Addis Ababa
Day 2: Fly to Gondar. Spend the day exploring the Castles
Day 3: Drive to Simien Mountains. Trek to Sankaber Camp
Day 4: Sankaber Camp to Geech Camp
Day 5: Geech Camp to Chennek
Day 6: Chennek to Gondar.
Day 7: Fly Gondar to Addis Ababa
Day 8: Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro
Day 9: Trek Kilimanjaro: Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Day 10: Trek Kilimanjaro: Machame Camp to Shira Camp
Day 11: Trek Kilimanjaro: Shira Camp to Barranco Camp
Day 12: Trek Kilimanjaro Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp
Day 13: Trek Kilimanjaro: Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Camp
Day 14:Trek Kilimanjaro: Mewka Camp to Mweka Gate
Day 15/16 – Fly Home

DAY 1: Fly to Addis Ababa
Fly into Addis Ababa, where you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Spend the day relaxing at your hotel or alternatively you may prefer to sample some of the best coffee in the world in the Piazza (old town), explore the National Museum and Archaeological Museum (home to the 3.5 million year old remains of Lucy) or explore the largest open air market in Africa.

DAY 2: Fly Addis Ababa to Gondar
Catch an early flight (1hr 5 minutes) to the medieval town of Gondar. Once you have checked into your hotel, your guide will take you to explore the castles of Gondar built during the Gondarian period that began in the 16th century. You will also visit King Fasiladas’ bath, a short way from the castle compound and see Debre Birhan Selassie Church, one of the more famous of Ethiopia’s churches.

DAY 3: Gondar – Debark – Sankaber Camp (3,200m)
3-4hrs driving, 7km 2/3 hours walking
You will be picked up from your hotel in Gondar around 7.30am for the 2 ½ hour drive to Debark in a 4x4. At Debark you will sign in at the park headquarters, meet 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.
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 4: 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 waterfall. Klipspringer (antelope) 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.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 5: Geech (3,600m) – Imet Gogo (3,926m) Innatye (4070m) - Chennek (3,600m)
Walking 8 hrs / 17km
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 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 detour 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 giant 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.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 6: Chennek (3600m) – Gondar (Buahit climb optional)
Driving 6 hours
After breakfast, you will begin the journey back to Gondar by 4WD getting back in the early afternoon. Those feeling brave can opt to tackle Buahit before leaving camp. You'll need to be up early for the 3-4 hour round trip to this spectacular summit at 4430m.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch.

DAY 7: Fly Gondar to Addis Ababa
Fly back to Addis Ababa and if you are tired, relax at your hotel. If you fancy seeing some more of the town, take a half day tour to see some more sights in this busy city or wander around the local restaurants on a food tour.

DAY 8: Fly Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro International
Catch the flight from Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro International Airport. A private transfer will meet you there and take you to your hotel in Arusha. Spend the day relaxing at your hotel ready for the climbing to begin tomorrow.

DAY 9: Hotel – Machame Gate (1828M) – Machame Camp (3020M)
Distance: 10.8km; Ascent: 1200m
Breakfast at your hotel is served from 0700. Please ensure that you have packed your bags before breakfast, have signed over your extra luggage to reception, and have deposited your valuables into the hotel’s safe. Your driver will transfer you some 1 hour 20 minutes to Machame Gate where we complete registration formalities. Climbers should have their passport numbers for their registry entries but are advised to have kept their passports and valuables in the hotel safe (excluding the amount they will budget for tipping their crew). Today can be quite tiring, particularly the final two hours.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 10: Machame Camp (3020M) – Shira Camp (3847M)
Distance: 5.2km; Ascent: 820m
Trek from Machame Camp to Shira Camp (3847m) on southern edge of Shira Plateau. It is normal to experience the effects of altitude on this day and night. .
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 11: Shira Camp (3847M) – Lava Tower (4642M) - Barranco Camp (3984M)
Distance: 10.7km; Ascent/Descent: 800m/700m
Trek from Shira Camp to Lava Tower (4642m). If the weather’s good you can ask your guide to guide you to the summit of the Lava Tower (4688m) where the views are excellent. Lunch is normally taken at the foot of the tower. Descend from Lava to Barranco Camp (3984m).
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 12: Barranco Camp (3984M) – Barafu Camp (4681M)
Distance: 9.4km; Ascent: 700m
Trek from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp (4681m) via the 257m high Breach Wall across the valley from Barranco. You should be aware that there are three rises and falls before reaching Karanga Camp where we have lunch at 4040m. From Karanga the route ascends 640m to Barafu. Aim to get to sleep as soon as possible as you will be woken at around 2300-0000 to begin your assault.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 13: Barafu Camp (4681M) – Stella Point (5725M) - Summit (5895M) – Mweka Camp (3090M)
Distance: 15.3km; Ascent/Descent: 1200m/2800m
Around midnight quit camp for the assault via Stella Point (5752m) to the summit. Tonight is very difficult - particularly the final 500m - and you’ll need to commit to fight for the summit. When resting please ensure you only stand or sit; do not lie down or close your eyes. Please trust your guide; maintain regular dialogue with him and frequently update him on how you are feeling. When you reach Stella Point you will sit and rest. At this point the body often thinks you have finished your uphill fight and will be trying to coerce you into giving up and turning around. Remember that you are only 143 vertical metres short of the summit, the journey from here is much less steep, and you have plenty of time for further pauses. On the summit your guide will advise how much time you can spend there in consideration of your condition, your timings, and the weather. From the summit you will turn around and descend to Stella Point and onto Barafu, where you would usually have time to rest an hour or so before continuing the descent. From Barafu you will usually descend to Mweka Camp (3090m) for overnight. Distances on summit day Barafu to Stella Point: 3.3km Stella Point to Summit: 1.2km Summit to Barafu: 4.5km Barafu to Mweka Camp: 6.3km Total = 15.3km
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camping

DAY 14: Mweka Camp (3090M) – Mweka Gate (1,641M)
Distance: 8.5km; Descent: 1500m
Descend from Mweka Camp (or Millennium) to Mweka Gate (1641m) where we sign the summit register. After signing we descend a further 15 minutes on foot to Mweka Village to meet our transport. Transfer from the gate back to Arusha. You should return back to Arusha sometime between 2 and 5pm, depending on whether you slept at Mweka or Millennium, and on your descent pace.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 15/16: Fly Home

Details

Getting there

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 new fleet of twin props. Ethiopian flies direct to Addis Ababa (ADD) 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 fares.

Price includes

Price Includes:
- Pick up and transfers to and from all airports in Ethiopia and Tanzania
- A night’s accommodation both before and after your Kilimanjaro Climb*
- All climb costs, salaries, food, fees, etc (excluding tips) for Kilimanjaro Climb
- All transfers to Kilimanjaro Mountain and back to your Arusha Hotel
- All Accommodation in Ethiopia
- All climb costs, salaries, food, fees, camping, etc. (excluding tips) in Simien Mountains**
- Breakfast in Addis Ababa and Gondar Hotels
- Return transfers from Gondar to the Simien Mountains

Price Excludes:
- All Flights (including internal flights in Ethiopia)
- Flights or overland transfers to Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha town if approaching from Nairobi
- Visas
- Tips to Mountain Staff (guideline approx $200-250 per person for the whole crew)
- Meals other than breakfast while in Arusha
- Hotel upgrade costs if you decide to request an alternative hotel to the standard in Arusha
- Items considered to be non-essential, such as alcohol, beverages, cigarettes, snacks etc...
- Any food costs not stipulated in the itinerary

- *Accommodation is on B&B basis in our standard range hotels, ie either at the Outpost Lodge, Arusha Naaz Hotel, or Le Jacaranda. If you wish to upgrade to either a mid-range or luxury option a surcharge is payable.
- **if you wish to upgrade to Simien Mountain Lodge instead of camping, there will be a surcharge

When is best?

Simien Mountains:
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, which can cause difficulties occasionally when attempting to trek in the Simien Mountains. 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 not impeded by haze.

Kilimanjaro:
There are no black-out dates on Kilimanjaro and you can pretty much trek any time of the year. Most people do avoid the rainy season (April, May and November) for good reason but these months aren’t without their advantages. The remainder of the year is all fair game:
*****December – March is typically dry, with clear skies (great views) but colder with a higher chance of snow on the mountain. The 2 weeks around Christmas and New Year can be the busiest of the year on Kilimanjaro.
** April – May suffer from the long rains. Expect to encounter rain, cloud and mist as you climb Kilimanjaro. Trails will be muddy and only the Machame and Marangu gates are accessible. The upside though is a mountain devoid of crowds with beautiful snow cover on the peak.
**** June – October is dry but the months of July and August tend to be busy (coinciding with the Western school holidays). June is a great month to trek, whilst October is similarly quiet it can suffer from low lying cloud cover (which effects your views of the scenery around Kilimanjaro).
** November is the short rain season. As with the long rains from April to May, expect to encounter rain, cloud and mist as you climb. Trails will be muddy and only the Machame and Marangu gates are accessible. The upside though is a mountain devoid of crowds with beautiful snow cover on the peak.

Is it for me?

Any Kilimanjaro climber should aim to do some practice trekking before they go. This itinerary gives keen trekkers an opportunity to do some prior walking, in a beautiful yet challenging setting, before they tackle the Kilimanjaro ascent. Although it is quite a demanding trip, due to the amount of trekking that is undertaken, it is a challenge for those looking to push themselves and perhaps be a little more adventurous. As this trip can be tailored, there is the opportunity for less-experienced trekkers to have a more relaxing time in the Simien Mountains.

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 605 reviews

(4.93/5)

  • Everything worked perfectly! We all found our trekking experience to be the best part of our adventures in Morocco. We were particularly pleased with our guide, Hussain; he did a brilliant job. He is thoughtful, knowledgable, and sweet. He represents you well.

    MissingJacob Moffat reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Comfort Treks on 09 March 2017

  • Thanks for organising an excellent holiday for us. It's my first time using Tourdust and I've been really impressed and will certainly be recommending you to friends and family. You provided an excellent level of service all the way through, and the bespoke nature of the trip was fantastic whilst being really good value for money.
    Key highlights:
    - Le Kasbah de Toubkal blew us away - one not to miss!
    - The trek was amazing and my kids loved it. The camping was really fun, the food was excellent, and I'd particularly call out our guide Rashid who was fantastic show especially with my kids.
    - Riad Adore was outstanding - far exceeding my expectations - it was beautiful and we were very well looked after
    - Le Doux Tour was luxurious and a nice relaxing way to end the holiday.
    - Logistics were great and our main driver Mustapha was brilliant

    If there was one build / thing I would change, it's a very small one but some candles / lanterns to use in the evening whilst camping would have made it easier to stay outside for a bit longer.

    MissingMark Dilley reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 07 June 2016

  • Truly another world. The sky was enormous and the summits snow covered. Blue irises, wild herbs and fruit trees flowered on the slopes. Even as I toiled up the dry river bed I gazed in admiration.

    Without exception, everyone was courteous and welcoming. Food was good ( and far too plentiful); accommodation clean. Above all-everything worked! A pick-up was promised for 9.00am. At 8.55 the doorbell rang. Impeccable.

    No praise is too high for the organisation and staff. I am definitely going back.

    MissingTerence Humphreys reviewing Classic Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek on 16 May 2016

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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.

A holiday of two halves; summit the challenging but majestic Kilimanjaro before relaxing on the white Zanzibar beaches at a laid back beach lodge.

Tailor-made Adventure 2 weeks

Adults from $3,669 pp plus flights

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

Flights are typically an additional $1,313 per person economy class from London

Climb Kilimanjaro via the Machame route (6 days) with one of the most experienced teams on the mountain.

Small Group 6 days

Adults from $2,303 pp plus flights

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

Climb Kilimanjaro via the exclusive Rongai route, with fewer crowds and the best summit success chances.

Small Group 1 week

Adults from $2,960 pp plus flights

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

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