Explore the most important places along the classic historical northern route, like Gondar and Lalibela. You'll trek through Ethiopia's Simien mountains, accompanied by a guide, park rangers, cook, assistants and several mules and muleteer. In the Lasta Mountains above Lalibela, you'll stay in a beautiful eco-lodge. Finally, don't miss the opportunity to pass local Amhara villages and get in touch with its people and local farmers.

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Addis Ababa, arrival and city tour Addis Ababa
Day 2 Flight Addis Ababa – Gondar, visit palace and church Gondar
Day 3 Gondar – Debark – Sankaber Sankaber camp
Day 4 Sankaber – Gich Gich camp
Day 5 Gich – Ambaras – Gondar Gondar
Day 6 Flight Gondar – Lalibela, visit rock-hewn churches Lalibela
Day 7 Trek to Asheten Maryam Monastery and Hudad Lodge Hudad Lodge
Day 8 Walk on the plateau around the lodge, trek back to Lalibela Lalibela
Day 9 Flight Lalibela – Addis Ababa, market and departure  -

 

Map of Simien Mountain Trek
Map of 9 day trek in the Simien Mountains

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, arrival and city tour

Arrival in Addis Ababa and completion of the entry formalities. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation in the rooms. Then a city tour takes place. If interested, we can visit a project, which is supported by our local tour operator. In the evening we have dinner together.

Day 2: Flight Addis Ababa – Gondar, visit palace and church

Domestic flight to Gondar, the capital of Ethiopia until 1855, where the ancient emperor’s palace with churches and baths is situated. The castle from the 17th century, called Fasil Ghebbi, is located in the palace district which has been declared to be a UNESCO cultural world heritage site. We also visit the Church of Debre Birhan Selassie with its iconic ceiling of painted angels.

Day 3: Gondar – Debark – Sankaber

5-9 km, 2-3 hours trek. The private vehicle takes us 100 km north on the Ethiopian highland to Debark, a small city of about 30,000 inhabitants at the border to the famous Simien National Park. After a quick stop for some formalities at the head quarter offices and for collecting the cook and scouts we drive out on a rough road to the 3,000+ m high mountain plateau. From here we take a short walk of 2-3 hours (depending on your interest) on which we get a first impressive view over the dramatic mountains range. After tasting a delicious dinner prepared by our cook, first night in the tents at the Sankaber camp.

Day 4: Sankaber – Gich

13 km, 6 hours trek. At Sankaber we meet our mulemen and mules in charge of transporting our heavy material, before commencing the trek to Gich. We traverse along the escarpment before dropping down to get impressive views, for example of the beautiful Jinbar Waterfall. From here we ascend through terraced

From here we ascend through terraced farmland to the former village of Gich and walk through it to our camp at 3,600m. In the evening we have the possibility to walk up to the mountain Kedadit and to assist to an unforgettable sunset. Second and last overnight in the tent.

Day 5: Gich – Ambaras – Gondar

10 km, 4-5 hours trek. Today we walk for 2-3 hours to the summit of Imet Gogo (3,926m), which is one of the most beautiful and spectacular viewpoints. Then we trek along the whole escarpment and through a fresh forest until the road near to Inatye (Ambaras) where you are picked up and brought back first to Debark and then to Gondar (totally 4 hours of drive).

Day 6: Flight Gondar – Lalibela, visit rock-hewn churches

Flight to the other UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela - the Jerusalem of Ethiopia, the pilgrimage site and holy town for Ethiopian-orthodox Christians. Picked up at the Airport you are taken directly to start the tour in Lalibela visiting the North-Eastern group of 11 monolithic churches carved into the rock

Having finished visiting this part of the churches, we make our way to the hotel for check-in and lunch. The tour starts again in the afternoon with the Southern groups of the churches and your guide leads you through the network of crevices and tunnels linking the single churches. The visit of today ends with the last built and supposed to be the best of the 11 churches: Saint George (Bete Giorgis).

Day 7: Trek to Asheten Maryam Monastery and Hudad Lodge

Today we visit a rock church too, but a special one: we trek first to the Asheten Maryam (Amharic for St. Mary's perfume), a still active mountain monastery with a cave church. This track also offers the great opportunity to have an authentic insight in the surrounding farmers’ life.

There are two options to accomplish this walk, either to start the walk from the beginning which takes 4-5 hours or drive up some parts and shorten the walk to only 2.5 hours. In the afternoon our trek ends on a beautiful mountain plateau located 11 km North-East of Lalibela and where our lodge is situated.

Day 8: Walk on the plateau around the lodge, trek back to Lalibela

In the morning, and depending upon the physical fitness and interests of the clients, a walk around the lodge or on the large plateau can be done to enjoy the scenic views of the area. There are Gelada baboons and other animals that can be observed. Here it’s possible to spend some time enjoying their activities. Having eaten lunch at the lodge, an afternoon 3 hours descending walk takes you back to Lalibela.

Day 9: Flight Lalibela – Addis Ababa, market, and departure

Transfer to the Lalibela airport in the morning and flight to Addis Ababa. If there is enough time before your departure, we visit a market or shops in Addis Ababa to buy souvenirs. Finally, there is a joint traditional Ethiopian dinner with music and dance performance. End of the trip and departure depending on flight times.

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Aa-bahir dar-gondar-simien trek-lalibela-trek-aa, Ethiopia - May 5 - May 15, 2017

Traveler: Jeff D. - Local specialist: Marco Degasper

The trip allowed us to visit many exceptional sites accompanied by professionals, exploring and learning as we went. We especially appreciated the attention to our interests and the design of a trip that met our needs. Highlights were too many to mention but included - great visits to the Blue Nile, the Simien Mountains with opportunities to visit with the Gelada, Lalibela, and Addis. The guides were consistently pleasant, knowledgeable, and helpful.

Marco has a great understanding of the... read more

The trip allowed us to visit many exceptional sites accompanied by professionals, exploring and learning as we went. We especially appreciated the attention to our interests and the design of a trip that met our needs. Highlights were too many to mention but included - great visits to the Blue Nile, the Simien Mountains with opportunities to visit with the Gelada, Lalibela, and Addis. The guides were consistently pleasant, knowledgeable, and helpful.

Marco has a great understanding of the country and opportunities to both see and experience it and an excellent ability to recruit team members across Ethiopia to support the trip.

Aa-bahir dar-gondar-simien trek-lalibela-trek-aa, Ethiopia - May 5 - May 15, 2017

Traveler: Janet S. - Local specialist: Marco Degasper

Really enjoyed our trip and our experience with the guides was fantastic. The whole experience went smoothly and SimienEcoTours and their guides are a large reason for our ability to immerse ourselves into the Ethiopian natural and cultural environment.

Marco was very responsive before the trip, kept track of our experience to make sure all was well along the way, and served as a local guide in Addis as well.