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Ethiopia Simien Mountains Hiking

Trails & Traditions in the Cradle of Humanity

 

On this thrilling Ethiopian adventure, discover "the cradle of humanity" and its spectacular wonders carved by nature, history and time-tested tradition. Marvel at the fossilized remains of early hominids in Addis Ababa and trek the rugged ranges of Simien Mountains National Park, spotting unique wildlife along the way such as the Gelada baboon and Simien fox. Take in the majestic castles of Gondar, the former royal capital of Ethiopian Empire, dive deep into medieval past on a tour of Lalibela's magnificent rock-hewn churches hidden away in grottos, and partake in traditional coffee ceremonies that Ethiopia is famed for.

  • Trek lodge to lodge in astonishing Simien Mountains National Park, spotting endemic wildlife

  • Take in the museum highlights of Addis Ababa, including "Lucy," the world-famous early human

  • Explore the wondrous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Yemrehanna Kristos, hidden in a grotto

Arrive:

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Depart:

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Duration:

10 Days

Activity Level:

3

Departures:

See Dates

Price: from $6,095

  • Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Day 1

    Arrive in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and meet your MT Sobek representative outside the terminal building of Bole International Airport, for transfers to the hotel. This evening, gather for a welcome dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant and enjoy a captivating folklore dance performance.

    Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa

    Centrally located in Meskel Square, the Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa is the perfect upscale spot to unwind after a long flight. Head over to the infinity pool and spa to relax before adventuring into the heart of Ethiopia. Each room offers complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee/tea maker, hair dryer and flat screen TV.

    Meals: Dinner

  • Explore Addis Ababa

    Day 2

    Today embark on an Addis Ababa city tour, taking in the highlights. Admire the nation's art and archeological treasures at the National Museum, including the famous "Lucy" skeleton, partial fossilized remains of an early hominid. See the Trinity Cathedral Church, built to commemorate Ethiopia's liberation from Italian occupation, and the Ethnological Museum, one of Africa's finest museums set within the former palace of Haile Selassie (the last Emperor of Ethiopia), surrounded by beautiful gardens. Wander through Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa, with its colorful stalls laden with coffee.

    The September departure also includes the annual Meskel Festival.

    Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa

    Centrally located in Meskel Square, the Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa is the perfect upscale spot to unwind after a long flight. Head over to the infinity pool and spa to relax before adventuring into the heart of Ethiopia. Each room offers complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee/tea maker, hair dryer and flat screen TV.

    Activity: Cultural touring

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Fly to Gondar & Drive to the Simien Mountains

    Day 3

    Transfer to the airport for your flight to Gondar and then continue overland into the Simien Mountains National Park. Ethiopia's most popular place for trekking, this spectacular landscape has jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and a dramatic escarpment with views over the rugged lowlands. Check in at the Simien Lodge, and head out for a short hike in search of the endemic gelada baboons. Return to the lodge for dinner and drinks.

    Accommodation: Simien Lodge

    This gorgeous mountain lodge sits right on the doorstep of Simien Mountains National Park, with majestic vistas in every direction. Comfortable rooms inside circular huts come with floor heating and traditional Ethiopian decor. The restaurant with a circular fireplace serves international favorites and Ethiopian fare, while the cozy bar claims to be the highest place to get a drink in Africa.

    Activity: Short acclimatizing hike

    Transportation: 2-hour 10-minute flight transfer and 3-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Spot Wildlife on a Scenic Escarpment Trek

    Day 4

    After breakfast, head back out to Simien Mountains National Park for a scenic trek along the escarpment. These mountains are a nature lover's dream, fantastically rich in wildlife, including the iconic red-chested gelada baboon that only exists in Ethiopia. Hiking with these cliff-dwelling monkeys that hang out in large groups is an absolute treat for wildlife lovers. Along the way, explore more of the park's unique flora, fauna and geology. Return to the cozy comforts of Limalimo Lodge for an evening atop the escarpment.

    Accommodation: Simien Lodge

    This gorgeous mountain lodge sits right on the doorstep of Simien Mountains National Park, with majestic vistas in every direction. Comfortable rooms inside circular huts come with floor heating and traditional Ethiopian decor. The restaurant with a circular fireplace serves international favorites and Ethiopian fare, while the cozy bar claims to be the highest place to get a drink in Africa.

    Activity: 3-7 hours/9-10 miles hiking with 1,200' elevation gain and loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Lodge-to-Lodge Trek in Simien Mountains National Park

    Day 5

    Today explore the Simien Mountains on an extraordinary lodge-to-lodge trek. With its altitude, varied terrain and weather, the full-day hiking adventure is challenging but the rewards make it worthwhile. Hike above plummeting gorges and in the shadows of towering pinnacles, following routes as old as time. Look out for lammergeier vultures, tawny eagles and thick-billed ravens; the park features over 180 species of bird. Arrive back at the Simien Lodge to enjoy dinner by a roaring fire.

    Accommodation: Limalimo Lodge

    Perched dramatically on the edge of a cliff in Simien Mountains National Park, this gorgeous boutique lodge features 12 en-suite rooms in wooden buildings strewn around the grounds. The bar and restaurant atop a hill showcase remarkable views of the lowlands. Lounge in one of the hammocks between acacia trees and come evening, curl up around the fire pit.

    Activity: 7-8 hours/9-10 miles hiking with 1,200' elevation gain and loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Blend Hiking & Yoga in an Acacia Forest

    Day 6

    Kick off the day with yoga and a hearty breakfast, then set out to explore more of the Simiens with its myriad ecosystems. Dropping off from the escarpment, witness these ecosystems changing from high mountain desert into acacia forest. Enjoy a 2-hour hike through the forest, a prime habitat for birding. In the afternoon, opt for a 30-minute hike to the local community, to learn traditional beer brewing, cooking and coffee making. Or unwind at the lodge, with more yoga, a massage, or simply soaking in the views.

    Accommodation: Limalimo Lodge

    Perched dramatically on the edge of a cliff in Simien Mountains National Park, this gorgeous boutique lodge features 12 en-suite rooms in wooden buildings strewn around the grounds. The bar and restaurant atop a hill showcase remarkable views of the lowlands. Lounge in one of the hammocks between acacia trees and come evening, curl up around the fire pit.

    Activity: 2-3 hours/2-3 miles hiking with 500' elevation gain and loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore the Castles & Churches of Historic Gondar

    Day 7

    After breakfast at the lodge, drive back from the Simien Mountains to Gondar, the former royal capital of the Ethiopian Empire. Have lunch at the traditional Four Seasons Restaurant and set out on a tour of this historic city first founded in 1636 by Emperor Fasilides. Take in the Fasil Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure), with its magnificent castles, and Fasilides Bath, where on January 19 during Timket (Epiphany) hundreds bath to get christened. Visit the 18th-century Debre Birhan Selassie Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its gorgeous sacral art.

    Accommodation: Gondar Hills Resort

    Activity: Cultural touring

    Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Fly to Lalibela & Visit the Magnificent Yemrehanna Kristos Church

    Day 8

    Today after breakfast, fly from Gondar to the town of Lalibela. Check in to your hotel, enjoy lunch and head out to the rarely visited Yemrehanna Kristos, one of Ethiopia's best-preserved late Axumite churches. Set inside a large cave on a juniper tree-dotted ridge 42km outside Lalibela, this spectacular church predates the nearby rock-hewn churches of Lalibela by nearly a century.

    Accommodation: Mezena Lodge

    This upscale lodge has an unbeatable location for visiting the churches of Lalibela. The well-appointed rooms are housed inside individual huts strewn across a scenic garden with outstanding mountain views. The all-day restaurant and bar, an outdoor swimming pool and a sauna round out the stellar facilities.

    Activity: Cultural touring

    Transportation: 1-hour flight transfer and 30-minute private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Discover the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela

    Day 9

    Spend today marveling at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the crown jewel among Ethiopia's sights. Ringed by courtyards and trenches and connected via a tangled maze of passages, this series of 11 monolithic churches - a World Heritage Site by UNESCO - was built during the 12th and 13th century. Take in this mind-blowing treasure, including the most famous Church of St George, also known as Bete Giyorgis, carved out of solid volcanic tuff. Enjoy a farewell dinner and coffee ceremony at Ben Abeba Restaurant, known for its Scottish-Ethiopian cuisine and marvelous views.

    Accommodation: Mezena Lodge

    This upscale lodge has an unbeatable location for visiting the churches of Lalibela. The well-appointed rooms are housed inside individual huts strewn across a scenic garden with outstanding mountain views. The all-day restaurant and bar, an outdoor swimming pool and a sauna round out the stellar facilities.

    Activity: Cultural touring

    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

  • Fly Back to Addis Ababa & Depart from Ethiopia

    Day 10

    This morning after breakfast, fly back to Addis Ababa and check in to the day room at a hotel near the airport.

    Interested in more opportunities to experience Ethiopia's stunning rock-hewn churches? Call us for a three-day extension options to Gheralta.

    Accommodation:

    Meals: Breakfast

Ethiopia Simien Mountains Hiking

Detailed Itinerary

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What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek's history is deeply rooted in Ethipia. Join us in experiencing the magic of this enigmatic and exciting destination!

Reason #02

We trek further and farther off the beaten path of the Simien Mountains, accessing areas few visitors get to experience.

Reason #03

While Ethiopia remains relatively undeveloped, we've expertly designed the logistics and details of this tour to combine the best hikes, cultural experiences, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Meet your guides

Elias Alemayehu

Elias Alemayehu

Elias has over 15 years of guiding experience and possesses a degree in tourism from the University of Gondar. He is passionate about sustainable tourism, and has a deep level of knowledge for Ethiopian culture, geology, ethnography, and history. Elias is very personable, and takes great pride in attending to the needs and questions of guests while leading a fun and informative travel experience.

Girum Wondim

Girum Wondim

Girum is a knowledgeable guide and also holds a degree in tourism from the University of Gondar. He has excellent communication skills, and has worked locally in the region since 2005. He enjoys sharing perspectives of Ethiopian history and culture with MT Sobek travelers from around the world. Girum is kind and mindful, and looks forward to sharing an immersive travel experience on this Ethiopian adventure.

Activities

Strenuous hiking on diverse terrain and in varied altitudes, guided city tours and visits to rock-hewn churches.

Lodging

An upscale city hotel and boutique lodges in stunning natural surrounds.

Climate

Mild, sunny climate year around with average temperatures from 59°F-80°F. The dry season prevails Oct-May; the wet season is Jun-Sep.

FAQ

Are hikes at high altitude?

We spend most of our adventure at altitudes between 5,000 and 8,000ft. Our excursion into the Simiens will take us to around 10,000ft.

Is malaria present in Ethiopia?

While there is malaria in Ethiopia, it is not present in Addis Ababa or at elevations over 8,200 feet, where we will be traveling for the majority of the tour. Review the CDC recommendations carefully and always consult your travel doctor well before your travel dates.

Do I need a visa to enter Ethiopia?

Yes and you can obtain an e-visa in advance or on arrival.

What are meals like?

Traditionally, you eat food by using your right hand, so you should wash your hands ahead of time. Typically, a jug of water and a bar of soap are brought to you for that purpose. The country's staple is injera, a flat sourdough pancake made of grain, which is served with meat or vegetable sauces and used to scoop up the sauce.

What is the religion in Ethiopia?

The two predominant religions in Ethiopia are Christianity - Ethiopian Orthodox, and Islam. Christianity is more common in the northern and central parts of Ethiopia.

What is Meskel Festival?

Our September departure features the Meskel festival, which is an Ethiopian Orthodox holiday that has been celebrated for over 1600 years and is one of the most important events in the country. It commemorates the discovery of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. The event features feasting, dancing, bonfires, and general celebrating.

  • 2021
  • Go Private
  • Go Custom

2021

Scheduled Dates

  • Mar 09 - 18, 2021
    $6,095 Price per person
    Wait List
  • Sep 25 - Oct 04, 2021
    $6,395 Price per person
    Available
    $300 Meskel Festival Surcharge
  • Nov 21 - 30, 2021
    $6,095 Price per person
    Available
  • Dec 20 - 29, 2021
    $6,095 Price per person
    Available

Additional costs

  • $1,000 Internal Airfare
  • $1,100 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • 1 glass of wine or beer at dinner
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival day and departure day airport transfers

Price does not include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • Lunch on Day 9
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport transfers if arriving or departing outside of Day 1 and Day 10
  • Optional travel protection

Contact An Expert

1.888.831.7526

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Go Private

Go Private

Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private Trip.

Choose from the selection of dates below for your group or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

Private Trip Pricing:

4 to 5 guests from $6,995 per person double occupancy

6 to 7 guests from $6,595 per person double occupancy

8 to 10 guests from $6,195 per person double occupancy

	

Make Your Own Dates In These Months

Additional costs

  • $1,000 Internal Airfare
  • $1,100 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • 1 glass of wine or beer at dinner
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival day and departure day airport transfers

Price does not include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • Lunch on Day 9
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport transfers if arriving or departing outside of Day 1 and Day 10
  • Optional travel protection

Contact An Expert

1.888.831.7526

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure

Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.