Large simien mountains ben 160

Classic Northern Circuit & Simien Mountains Trek

Combine an in-depth tour of the Ethiopia's stunning historical Northern Circuit with a leg-stretching five day trek amidst the mountain panoramas and wildlife of the Simien Mountains National Park.

Tailor-made 15 days

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

Flights are typically an additional $703 per person economy class from London

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  • Fantastic 5 day trek in the Simien Mountains
  • Visit wild and remote monasteries in the Gheralta Region
  • See the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
  • Explore Gondar & the monasteries on Lake Tana

Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit offers a remarkable density of historical and religious attractions coupled with a striking landscape of endless mountains. This tour combines the wonderful trekking and wildlife of the Simien Mountains with the incredible historical sites of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the ancient stelae of Axum and the wild and remote pinnacle-top monasteries of the Gheralta region.

The UNESCO world heritage site of Lalibela is one of the biggest hitters in the collection, with its fascinating churches carved out of the bare rock all concentrated within walking distance of the town. Gondar with its well preserved royal compound was once the Camelot of Africa, whilst the island monasteries and relaxed lake-side charm of Bahir Dar offer a refreshing change of pace. The Gheralta region offers a whole new dimension, with vertigo defying churches built on crags of rocks.

If you like to walk, then it would be criminal to visit Ethiopia and not to trek in the Simien Mountains. Over five days you traverse a highland plateau with striking views over the mountain chain thousands of metres below. The park plays host to rich endemic wildlife, with packs of Gelada Baboons and the graceful Wallia Ibex competing for your attention.

The itinerary includes internal flights with Ethiopian Airlines and local guides / services in each location. This keeps the overall cost down and saves on some long and arduous journeys. If preferred we can quote to include an accompanying tour leader for the whole trip and / or overland travel by 4wd instead of internal flights.

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.


The following sample itinerary is based on using internal flights from Ethiopian Airlines and local guides / services in each location. This keeps the overall cost down and saves on some long and arduous journeys. If preferred we can quote to include an accompanying tour leader for the whole trip and / or overland travel by 4wd instead of internal flights.

Brief Itinerary
DAY 1: Half day Addis Ababa Guided Tour
DAY 2: Fly Addis - Bahir Dar, Visit the Blue Nile Falls
DAY 3: Lake Tana Island Monasteries. Drive to Gondar
DAY 4: Explore Gondar's Castles and Churches
DAY 5: Drive Gondar - Simien Mountains, Trek to Sankaber Camp 3,200m, Approx. 7km, 2/3 hours walking
DAY 6: Trek Sankaber 3,200m – Geech Camp 3,600m Approx. 15km, 7-8hrs
DAY 7: Trek Geech 3,600m – Imet Gogo 3,926m – Geech 3,600m Approx. 13km, 5-6hrs
DAY 8: Trek Geech 3600m – Innatye 4070m - Chenek 3,600m Approx. 15km, 7hrs
DAY 9: Trek Chenek 3600m – Mount Buahit 4430m – Chenek 3600m, Drive to Gondar
DAY 10: Fly Gondar - Lalibela. Explore Central Rock Hewn Churches
DAY 11: Explore Remote Churches of Lalibela
DAY 12: Fly Lalibela - Axum and explore Axum Stellae
DAY 13: Drive Axum - Hawzien
DAY 14: Churches of the Gheralta Cluster
DAY 15: Drive Gheralta - Mekele and fly to Addis.

Full Itinerary
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your central hotel. After a rest and refresh at the hotel, your guide will take you around the highlights of Addis. Depending on time and how you feel after your flight, you can choose 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.
Meals Included: None included
Accommodation: Addis Regency
Transport (where relevant): Airport Transfer

After a morning flight and checking into your accommodation, you will have the afternoon to visit the Blue Nile Falls (40 minutes from Bahir Dar). Although the power of the falls has been subdued by the hydro electric plant, they are still an incredible sight. A lovely circular walk takes you over an ancient bridge built by the Portuguese in the 15th century, passing fantastic viewpoints of the falls, over a rope bridge and then up to top of the falls where you will cross by boat to meet your vehicle.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Kuriftu Spa
Transport (where relevant): Airport Transfers and transport on tour (approx. 45mins each way)

After breakfast you will go for an early morning boat excursion on Lake Tana, the highest and largest lake in Ethiopia and also the source of the Blue Nile. Dotted on its shores and islands are 20 monasteries, most of which were hidden to the outside world until the 1930's. You will visit two examples of monasteries before ending your excursion by passing by the mouth of the Blue Nile. After enjoying a relaxing lunch on the shore, transfer to Gondar.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Fasil Lodge
Transport (where relevant): Drive Lake Tana - Gondar, Approx. 3hrs

Today your guide will take you to explore the fascinating medieval history of Gondar. Your tour will include visiting the Royal Enclosure set in its beautiful gardens, Fasilidas Bath and the fascinating Debre Berhan Selassie Church, renowned for its vivid and striking interior art and arguably one of the finest church interiors in the country.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Fasil Lodge
Transport (where relevant): Transport on tour

At Debark you will sign in at the park headquarters, pick up your guide and scout and head up into the mountains. 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: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included
Accommodation: Camping
Transport (where relevant): Drive Gondar - Simien Mountains (2-3 hrs)

You will 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 lammergeyer bearded vulture soar on the thermals below. From the Genbar falls, the trail passes arable fields, broken by lunch at a somewhat less intimidating and more peaceful waterfall. Klipspringer and bush buck may be seen in the steep rocky and wooded slopes, whilst troops of Gelada Baboons roam the 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 (ask your guide). Geech Camp itself is set on a grassy plateau with stunning sunset views.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included
Accommodation: Camping
Transport (where relevant): n/a

DAY 7: TREK GEECH 3,600M – IMET GOGO 3,926M – GEECH 3,600M APPROX. 13KM, 5-6HRS
You will 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 Chennek 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.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included
Accommodation: Camping
Transport (where relevant): n/a

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 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 and Dinner Included
Accommodation: Camping
Transport (where relevant): n/a

If you are feeling brave you have the option to tackle Buahit before leaving camp, you will need to be up early for the 3-4 hour round trip to this spectacular summit at 4430m. You will then begin the journey back to Gondar getting back in the early afternoon.
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch Included
Accommodation: Fasil Lodge
Transport (where relevant): Drive Simien Mountains - Gondar (4 hrs)

Today is an early start for your morning transfer to Gondar airport. Once you have landed, you will be picked up at Lalibela Airport and transferred to your central hotel. Lalibela is world famous for its monolithic rock hewn churches. Carved by hand out of solid rock in the 12th and 13th Centuries and filled with the evocative sound of chanting of monks, this is a deeply spiritual place and quite rightly a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will visit most of the Central churches that Lalibela is so famous for including the Northern Group (containing the Lalibela Cross), The Western Group (Bete Giyorgis) and the Eastern Group.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Tukul Village
Transport (where relevant): Airport transfers

Today is an opportunity to take it a little slower. you can choose to walk or ride a rented mule (small extra cost for the mule) up to Asheton Maryam Church, situated at about 3100 metres. Here you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Lalibela town and the surrounding valleys.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Tukul Village
Transport (where relevant): n/a

After arriving in Axum and checking into your accommodation, your local guide will show you around the historic and archaeological sites of Axum including the ancient stelae and tombs, some dating to before the birth of Christ, Tsion Maryam Church, the Queen of Sheba’s bath and palace and the museum.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Briana Hotel
Transport (where relevant): Airport Transfers

Today's journey is quite a long one, driving from Axum to Hawzien and the Gheralta Cluster. This Tigray region is home to some of the most remote, hard-to-reach churches, often situated in incredible locations. Some churches involve precipitous climbs and some are unfortunately forbidden to females. Your guide will discuss the options with you and you will stop and explore some en-route.

Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Gheralta Lodge (subject to availability) or Agoro Lodge
Transport (where relevant): Drive Axum to Hawzien (half day journey)

After breakfast you will explore a couple of the interesting churches from the Gheralta cluster recommended to you by your guide. Spend a leisurely evening at Gheralta lodge.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Gheralta Lodge (subject to availability) or Agoro Lodge
Transport (where relevant): Transport on tour

You will have a 3 hour transfer to Mekele Airport for your flight back to Addis. Most international flights are in the late evening, so you will have a long afternoon to spend in Addis. We will provide a driver and vehicle for the afternoon. Suggested activities include stocking up on souvenirs, visiting one of the museums or just heading to the Sheraton or Hilton for day access to their pools (extra cost applicable).
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Departure
Transport (where relevant): Drive Hawzien to Mekele (3 hrs).


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.

Addis Regency

Addis Ababa

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Price guide

Price rating 3

- Lovely rooms
- Solid mid-range option
- Good value

Kuriftu Lodge

Lake Tana

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Price rating 4

- Swimming Pool
- Lake-side Lodge
- Spa treatments included

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Price guide

Price rating 2

- Friendly service
- Nice bar and terrace
- Clean rooms
- Great value

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 2

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

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Price guide

Price rating 3

- Central location
- Comfortable rooms
- Pleasant gardens
- Good service

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 2

- Simple rooms
- Bar area
- Good restaurant

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Breathtaking views
- Traditional buildings
- Mountain range setting


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 brand new fleet of twin props. Ethiopian flies direct from London, Frankfurt, Paris and Rome in Europe. The flight takes around 8 hours. Return flights from London are usually around £500 per person.
Direct outbound flights from London to Addis Ababa: Every Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
Direct return flights from Addis Ababa to London: Every Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun
Return flights from Addis Ababa to London via Rome: Every Mon and Thu

Price includes

All guides and transfers and accommodation as detailed in the itinerary
Entrance fees to museums and national parks and attractions
Meals where stated (e.g. on trek)

International flights, visas, tips and incidental expenses are not included"

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 unimpeded by haze.

Is it for me?

If you are considering Ethiopia in the first place, you are probably aware that the standard of hotels, road and general comfort is not going to match what you might expect at home. Travelling in Ethiopia is always an adventure and it is incredibly important you come with the right mind-set. The challenges are the lack of luxuries (a reliable hot shower in Ethiopia is a rare thing, even in upmarket hotels), the unique cuisine and occasionally hassle from hawkers (no worst than most tourist destinations). 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.

Trekking in the Simien Mountains is classified as moderate. You will need to have a good level of fitness and able to cope with basic amenities. Although walking lengths each day are reasonably long (7-8 hrs a day), it is mostly flat going with several options available to shorten the trekking day if necessary. Altitude can be an issue with nights spent at 3,200m – 3,600m, but being a plateau walk, there is little altitude gain to contend with.


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What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 493 reviews


  • We had an excellent, stretching , fascinating mix of history (sites) , tough trekking , and wonderful views .. From the many treks that I have done to places including Nepal , Italy , Croatia , Crete , Myanmar , Japan I would judge that it would be very difficult to beat the 7 days that we had in the Simien Mountains .. Tigrai was spectacular for those willing to climb to all the churches. ( there’s a challenge for you to suggest the next adventure !).

    Our guide Abebe was really excellent ( fit, engaging, knowledgeable and with a good sense of fun/humour ) and I would not hesitate in recommending him, the quality of the tents was excellent except that there were only 3 two man tents which were much roomier than the singles. We saw very few other people which was perhaps just as well in view of the loo situation at the camp sites. The food was reasonable .. in fact too much pasta and not enough rice. We certainly needed the heavier sleeping bags as it was very cold the first two nights out.

    On the negative side .. the long drop loos at Geech were frankly a disgrace .. you could not stand in there for all the crap around and the smell ( even in the freezing evening ) .. surely they should be cleaned every morning / evening. The result is people are crapping in other places round the site .. not nice ! There was no water for washing at Geech ! At the Chennek camp the long drops were only marginally better but there were two dribbly very cold showers at least ! If the tourist board want to encourage tourism clean loos is the absolute must.

    The trekking times were generally accurate which was a change as in most other treks that I have been on they are 25% overestimated. Our final 11 hour day was tough but perfectly achievable for fit walkers. I am glad we did not break it into two tranches … we had time to stop for a swim/wash in the river/pools and it was fantastic to spend two days at Geralti Lodge before our return. Addis is a bit of a disappointment but it was certainly worth spending a couple of hours walking the Mercato ( although you have to be very careful not to lose the guide !). I thought Axum was disappointing by comparison with Gonder and Lalibela and not really worth going to.

    That’s about it .. I would certainly recommend Tourdust !! Thank you , James

    MissingJames Lawson reviewing Classic Northern Circuit & Simien Mountains Trek on 10 February 2015

  • Everything, from start to finish, was perfect. Minalu, our guide, and Yohannes (Johnny) our driver, were absolutely wonderful. I had never taken a private custom tour before and was not sure what to expect. Minalu and Johnny were fabulous. I think what I appreciated the most was their flexibility and absolute sincere interest in showing us their country. I loved that over dinner Minalu would give us briefings on the history of the country. He was extremely knowledgeable and I truly appreciated learning so much from him. We would often stop in villages that neither of them knew so we could visit typical homes, or visit the markets. We also crashed a wedding near Hawzien as they thought it was something we should see. We were of course received with open arms by the people at the wedding and offered copious amounts of local honey beer. We made several spontaneous stops in villages when we saw a market or special event. There is no way we could have experienced this in a large organized group tour.

    When we were planning this trip you asked us right at the start what our interests were. So, we said we were looking for a trip that included lots of culture and history and a lot of photography. And this trip delivered on all counts. Minalu knew that I was very interested in photography and ensured that this was a big part of the trip. Johnny was great, stopping whenever we wanted to let us take photos. Minalu often intervened for us with the local people to ask them to have their photo taken. I could not have asked for more in terms of photographic opportunities. Well, maybe less haze and bluer skies, which Minalu tried to get for us.

    Our trip started with 2 days in Awash. The area does not have the abundant wildlife you would see in Kenya or South Africa but the huge plains of thorn trees and large herds of Oryx were quite impressive. We did see a few zebras, some austrich, antelope, warthogs, baboons, dikdik and the black backed jackal. My absolute favorite part of this area was our visit with the Afar people. We visited a local village with a local guide and got a quick glimpse into the lives of these nomadic people. My only regret is that this visit was very short. Accommodations in Awash were very good. The Anamalia lodge was a bit expensive for food, but we did get to eat antelope.

    After Awash we went North towards to more historic highlands area of Ethiopia. We stopped at Bati market which we toured with a local guide. We did miss the camel market as we got there too late. Our local guide should have taken us there immediately on arrival in Bati however we only went to that area of the market after lunch and it was over by then. The market itself is spectacular as there are people from all over the area. This was an incredible glimpse into the lives of the Ethiopian people. They come from all over to sell their wares, just amazing, like stepping back in time.

    Our next big stop was Lalibela. Of course the rock-hewn churches are amazing. We had a wonderful day visiting all the churches with our local guide. But for me the next stop, Ghelralta was an absolutely spectacular highlight. I never expected this at all. We climbed to the top of mountains to see incredible rock hewn churches and monasteries from the 6th century. To me, these were the absolute highlights of the trip. Going up Abuna Yamata Goh is something I will never forget, and I really appreciated Minalu taking us up there. When we saw where we were going we thought he was crazy, but he and the guides encouraged us and helped us all the way up. It does sort of require nerves of steel to go up the sheer rock face and then the small ledge along the cliff to the actually church. The Gheralta lodge is probably the best place we stayed. It is quite isolated but so calm and relaxing and the food was delicious. I could have stayed there for a week just to relax and visit the sites.

    A short drive from Hawzien brought us to Axum, the ancient home of the legendary Queen Sheba. We toured all the ancient sites with an excellent local guide, and saw the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. It was a very full day of touring which was great.

    The Simien Mountains was the next stop, three nights of camping. We were not sure what to expect but this whole trek was amazing. We joked about how many people it takes to take two Canadians camping. We had Minalu with us, and a local guide, a scout, a cook, the cook’s assistant, 4 mules and 4 muleteers. The service on the trek was top notch. Our cook was excellent. It is incredible to arrive at the camp after a full day of trekking in the mountains and have hot water waiting for us to clean up, a nice cup of coffee and popcorn. We had a bit of time to relax before dinner, then time for a short trek to see the sunset and wildlife after dinner. Our local guide set the perfect pace for us during the trek. The trek up to Inatye was difficult, but our local guide took his time getting us there. We got lucky and did not get any rain during the entire three days despite some menacing looking clouds.

    The wildlife in the Simiens is fascinating, especially the Gelada baboons. I loved these animals. They allowed us to get quite close to photograph them. They are fascinating animals, plucking the dried grass to eat the fresher roots. While trekking we came to valley in the midst of a Gelada baboon fight. The sound of the screaming baboons echoing through the valley was unbelievable. And of course in the Simiens we encountered the Walia Ibex. There were a few near out camp at Chennek, and then we saw a whole herd of them on a short trek we took on out last morning in the mountains. We must have spent more than an hour watching the whole herd descend from the top of a cliff to the valley. It was nearing rutting season so there was a lot of sniffing and posturing by the males. It was just a wonderful experience to see this. We also saw the Bush Buck, the Klipspringer and many birds like the Lammergeier vulture.

    One thing that surprised us was how populated the trekking area is. There were quite a few villages and lots of kids shepherding their flocks. It was kind of nice to see all the local people throughout the park. We stopped at a local house for a coffee ceremony during the second day of the trek.

    (Just a side note about the trekking - I think it would be important to warn trekkers of the potential dangers in the campgrounds. There are lots of people milling around the campsites with all the muleteers and villagers around. We met a woman who was trekking at the same time as us but spend an extra night in Geech so was in Chennek the day after us. We met up with her again in Gondar and she told us she was robbed in the middle of the night in her tent at Chennek. Someone slashed her tent and made off with her bag. Armed guards and guides cannot prevent this kind of thing at night. So trekkers should be warned to keep all valuables on their person even at night. This woman lost almost everything and as you can imagine she was quite traumatized by the whole thing. We had discussions with our leader about this and from his point of view it would be too scary to the travelers to be told there were certain dangers. Our leader did however leave most of his money and his valuable with the driver, seemingly aware of the potential for thieves. It was never suggested to us that we do the same.)

    After our wonderful trek we headed to Gondar, with a quick stop at a Falasha village. This stop was not very interesting, more of a tourist trap than anything else. Our stay in Gondar was very nice. The hotel Fasil Lodge was very nice, and the restaurant was very good. The history around Gondar is fascinating, a visit to the old castles and churches was our morning activity, and in the afternoon we went to visit a monastery on Lake Tana. The whole area of Lake Tana is so different. It has a more tropical feel to it. The monasteries on Lake Tana near Bahir Dar were interesting. Perhaps after having visited so many churches and monasteries we were starting to feel a bit churched out, but the paintings and history of the area are very fascinating. Some of the monasteries around the lake are very touristy, perhaps this led to our feeling of this being less authentic. Lots and lots of stalls selling jewellery and other local crafts.

    We also saw the Blue Nile falls, the source of the Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Gorge. The falls are not what they were before the installation of a dam but just seeing the falls and the actual source of the Nile was amazing.

    And so to end my little trip resumé, I have reiterate that the whole trip was outstanding. The hotels we stayed at were all excellent, and the restaurants suggested to us by Minalu were as well. While it is difficult to choose my favorite parts of this trip, I would have to say the highlights for me were the visit to the Afar village, the monasteries and churches of the Gheralta plateau and the Simien Mountains Trek. And seeing the churches at Lalibela was a dream come through after having read about them so long ago.

    MissingAnne-Marie Bernier reviewing Classic Northern Circuit & Simien Mountains Trek on 10 August 2012

  • Our trip was excellent. Thank you! We were particularly impressed with the way it all worked seamlessly: someone was at each arrival point to meet us (or Alex was on the end of the phone to tell us what to do) or there was a phone message at Reception for when to expect someone.

    The Jerusalem Hotel in Lalibela is not the same standard as Tukul Villages but it was OK for one night & we had plenty of warning. Lalibela at Christmas is pretty manic: full to bursting!

    I must say that Alex looked after us well. He came to see us in Gondar to make sure everything was in place for the Simiens Trek & that we knew what to expect. When we got back after it, there he was again! Small but highly-valued pieces of customer care, evident again when he spoke to drivers while we were travelling.

    All the staff who worked with us were of high quality, especially drivers and guides. Two who stood out were Younus, our driver both times we were in Addis Ababa, who we felt went beyond the call of duty & made our time there enjoyable - our last evening when waiting for a 2 a.m. flight could have been a drag, was in fact absolutely fine because of his suggestions (the Via Via cafe for dinner & then Mama's Kitchen for some music) and company.

    The Simiens Trek was outstanding. Spectacular scenery, challenging at times, full of interest. Key to making it so was Dereje Gedamu who is a wonderful guide: we felt privileged to have him. he was ably assisted by the other staff & when our first, excellent chef had to leave at short notice to visit his mother in hospital, a replacement was found immediately (at Chenek!) who fed us to the same high standard. It was all a great experience that we will be talking about for a long time.

    We were all pleased to have selected the 8 day option (& were not at all jealous of the peak-baggers heading for Ras Dashen). The second half of the trek was a good contrast to the high altitude section in the National Park's heartland as we descended through more intensively cultivated and populated areas, down steeply to the river and then back up past wonderful rock formations towards Mulit and out to the road at Adi Arkaye. It was full of interest and we were pleased to be pretty much on our own, rather than with the crowds at Geech & Chenek.

    By comparison, the TESFA trek was rather tame, although an interesting comparison to see a more pastoral landscape and less remote villages. We had another good guide & enjoyed the lunch & evening stops, and the "loos with a view".

    Pleased as we were that we had opted to drive from Bahir Dar to Lalibela, we had mixed feelings about driving the rough Gashena-Lalibela road three times - the starting and finishing points for the TESFA trek were just beyond Gashena. In 3 years when the road is complete this point may become academic, but meanwhile - if anyone else wants to do the same thing - it would be better for them to drive from Bahir Dar to Gashena, meet the TESFA crew there, do the trek & then continue to Lalibela. I am sure that TESFA could look after any extra baggage that people did not want on the trek.

    One other point about the TESFA trek: we were not aware that there are several grades offered. I think we did the easiest and might well have preferred something more challenging so perhaps you could clarify the options available.

    Only one other critical comment: we were underwhelmed by the Mayleko Lodge near Gondar airport. It was indeed welcome to have somewhere peaceful to return to after the trek, the rooms are nice & a couple of us enjoyed a "refreshing" swim, but on the other hand the restaurant was pretty mediocre and slow: we might have preferred to be out in the town.

    Apart from that it was all good! A glimpse of Addis and another of Gondar; trekking with some R&R in Bahir Dar with its different scenery and history, ending with the religious fervour at Lalibela. A great holiday.

    MissingGordon Parker reviewing Simien Mountains Trek & Northern Highlights on 09 February 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.

Classic fully supported 3-5 day trek in the Simien Mountain National Park including transfer to and from Gondar. Guide, cook, porters and scout all included.

Private Trek Adventure 5 days

Adults from $769 pp plus flights

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

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 $1,245 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 $1,678 pp plus flights

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


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