13 days

Simien Mountain Trek

Simien Mountain Trek

Addis Ababa's Art Deco architecture

Ethiopia's old capital Gondar

Trek in the Simien Mountains

Summit Ras Dashen (4,543 metres)

Trip rating
  • A trekking adventure like no other. Few know about the Simien, let alone travel there. Get there quick for a trekking and cultural experience of a lifetime.

    Why we love it

    • This adventurous trek takes you into the very heart of the highlands of Ethiopia. The Simien Mountains dominate and divide the country into distinctly contrasting highland and lowland regions.
    • Over 20 peaks heights above 4000 metres, it can lay claim to be the 'Roof Of Africa', even though at 4543 metres its highest point, Ras Dashen, the fourth highest peak on the African continent.
    • Trekking it is not unusual to walk among troops of gelada baboons, see wyala ibexes on the rocky cliff face and observe the country's many endemic birds. we may even glimpse the highly endangered Ethiopian wolf.
    • Interacting with rural villages and gaining an insight into the daily lives of the villagers, as they struggle to survive in a harsh environment with few natural resources
    • Trekking adventure that leaves us with incredible memories of the outstanding beauty of Ethiopia and warmth of its people.


    Day 1 - Addis Ababa

    • Please make your own way to the joining hotel in Addis Ababa. In the afternoon you will go on a sightseeing tour that takes you to the Ethnographic Museum and the Church of the Trinity where Haile Selassies' remains now lie.

    Day 2 - Gondar

    • You will have a spectacular flight to Gondar. From the air you'll see the extraordinary nature of the Ethiopian plateau, cut again and again by immensely deep gorges. Gondar was once the capital of Ethiopia and in the afternoon you will visit the castles, which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries by several generations of Ethiopia's kings.
    • Nearby is the Debre Birhan Selassie Church with its sensational angelic ceiling, and the bathhouse of Fasil at which thousands of Ethiopians celebrate Timkat festival every January. Your hotel is up on a cliff top with wonderful views overlooking the town. Depending on time you will also visit the centre of The Kindu Trust.
    Goha Hotel or similar

    Day 3 - Debark

    • You will drive to Debark today. From Debark the landscape suddenly opens onto a picturesque valley dotted with mud huts, horses and livestock. We start our walk at Buyit Ras, entrance to the park, and head towards Sankaber where we have our first night’s camp. (4 hours walking)
    • The park is home to a number of fascinating species, including the Ethiopian wolf, walia ibex, gelada baboon and bearded vulture.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Geech

    • Walking near small settlements and villages you will have fine views across the lowlands and the Simien plateau as we continue our trek heading towards Geech. En route you will see a stunning waterfall; cascading through a hole in the rock, it falls 500 metres to the bottom of the gorge and is particularly impressive after the rainy season (by Christmas the waterfall may not be visible). The last two hours of the day involve a steep climb up to your campsite, where you'll stay for two nights.
    Geech Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Geech - Imet Gogo Viewpoint

    • A spectacular day - in the morning you will walk to Imet Gogo. Situated at the end of a long ridge, which disappears on either side to the lowlands below, there are outstanding views of the gorge and mountain range and it is easy to understand why the striking formations have been described as 'the chess pieces of the Gods'.
    • You should get your first glimpse of Ras Dashen from here and you will see your route for the coming days clearly. If you haven't already encountered them, there is a good chance of seeing the indigenous Gelada, also known as the 'bleeding heart' baboon or Lion monkey here. The Gelada is in fact neither baboon nor monkey but the last remaining species of a branch of high altitude, grass eating primates that have all but vanished.
    • You will return to the same camp and enjoy an afternoon at rest.
    Geech Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Chennek

    • Another wonderful walk - heading in the same direction as yesterday you will soon branch off to reach the edge of the escarpment which you will follow to the top, Inaty. The dramatic views continue all the way down to your camp at Chennek.
    Chenek Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 7 - Ambiko

    • You will have a memorable but hard day's trekking of ascents and descents today, as you make your way from Chenek to Ambiko. You should see birds like the Crowned Scraper Thrush, Siskins, Falcons and Kestrel. Today also presents your best chance to see the rare and endangered walia ibex, a species that can only be found in the Simien National Park.
    • From Chenek you will climb to a pass at 4,200m and from here the fit and energetic may like to continue on a further hour up to the summit of Bwuhit at 4,430m. Otherwise from the pass you will have a big drop down to the Meshah River at 2850m, via the village of Chiro Leba, where you may be able to visit the school and small clinic (if open). From the river you will ascend 350m to your camp, where you will spend two nights at Ambiko.
    Ambiko Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Ras Dashen Summit

    • Today is a summit day involving a trek of 16 kilometres (ten to eleven hours). The path winds its way over eight kilometres and ascends up 1400 metres to Ras Dashen. It begins by climbing steeply through barley fields and fallow land before clearing the vegetation zone and reaching mountain steppe, at around 3700 metres.
    • From there it flattens out, as it traverses ridges in the shadow of Ras Dashen. Just below Dashen Pass at around 4250 metres, an impressive moraine can be seen. A moraine is an accumulation of glacial debris (soil and rock) which occurs in formerly glaciated regions. This moraine was formed 20,000 to 14,000 years ago in the last Ice Age, when the Simien Mountain tops had small ice caps.
    • The final stretch to the summit involves an exciting climb and scramble up and over large boulders, before reaching the summit. From the top of Ras Dashen at an altitude of 4543 metres, you will be sure to be mesmerised by the far ranging views that span more than 10,000 square kilometres. To the west the steep faces of peaks in the national park are visible, whilst the Tekeze Valley is visible to the north and the east.
    • Returning from the summit you will retrace your steps along the same path back to your camp at Ambiko. This campsite, situated on the banks of a stream and amidst a small village, is a project of the local church and donations for the facilities are gratefully accepted.
    Ambiko Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Sona

    • Another challenging day, although not as difficult as the previous one! From Ambiko you will trek to the superbly positioned camp at Sona. After plenty of ups and downs you might be able to stop for some local coffee in the small village of Arquaziye before continuing for another hour and half to the camping site at Sona.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10 - Descend to Mekarebya

    • A much easier day today. You will descend into the lowlands. Your day begins with a 1,100m descent into the Ansiya valley, where you'll have a relaxed lunch break. You will then move onto your camp, near the village of Mekarebya. This is an excellent day for seeing birds and there are very good views up to the Simien Mountains. You can look back with pride upon the areas you have recently trekked.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 11 - Mulit Camp

    • From your camp you will drop 350m, to another long idyllic lunch spot. The final two hours of the day involve a hot 400m of ascent, to the final campsite at Mulit. Here you will be completely surrounded by fantastic views.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 12 - Gondar

    • Your final day's walking will take you to Adi Arkay, from where you will drive via Debark to Gondar, for a much deserved wash and rest.
    Goha Hotel or similar

    Day 13 - Gondar - Addis Ababa

    • Depending on flight times there may be time to relax and explore Gondar before you fly back to Addis. On your return to Addis day rooms will be provided.
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • An experienced English-speaking local leader
    • Services of a mule porterage team
    • Cooks and camp staff
    • Arrival transfer
    • Transport
    • Accommodation
    • Meals as stated
    • Entrance fees

    Not Included

    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip. From 1st Jan 2015, gratuities are included for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package
    • Personal items
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

  • From our Blog

    6 African dishes you simply have to try in 2015

    When you think of African cuisine, what comes to mind?

    Influenced by Indian flavours in some areas, Portuguese, Arabic and European in others, the pots and pans of Africa are filled with the kind of diversity, colour and taste that one can never grow tired of. There’s no better way to distil the...

    Read on...

    Highlights of Ethiopia

    Ethiopia is a place of great diversity, from rolling mountain ranges to lakes teeming with wildlife and some of the world's most incredible churches.

    If you're on a short trip, why not check out this list of highlights to help plan your itinerary.

    Tribal Area- Omo Valley...

    Read on...

    Africa - take a closer look

    There's no place on earth quite like Africa. From wildlife to deserts to mountains and beyond, once Africa has touched your heart she never lets go.

    For many, it's a dream they don't ever intend to fulfil. Price, distance and the sheer other-worldiness means many of us think, "...

    Read on...

    Oxfam in East Africa: 6 months on

    In 2011, parts of East Africa were affected by the worst food crisis of the 21st century. People suffered prolonged drought and poverty, and were desperately in need of help.

    Oxfam Australia put out a call to everyday Australians, who in turn made donations that helped provide 2.8 million...

    Read on...

    Oxfam: Changing lives in Southern Ethiopia

    Ethiopia is a country where the smiles are as wide as the vast expanses of land. But it's also a country facing crisis.

    Ethiopia used to experience drought every eight years or so, but now it's almost year to year. The situation makes it harder for people to maintain their livelihood....

    Read on...
From US $3230
*Per Person, Twin Share

Select a trip date below

Trip Start Dates
Trip Duration
Guaranteed Departure Start Date
Trip Selected:
Price: US $
Discount price: US $

*Please note: To receive the discounted price for this departure, please enter the Promo Code at Step 4 of the booking form.

No Code available
View all departures

Trip at a glance

Trip Code PFTS
Group size 6 - 18
Start City: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
End City: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Style: Small Group

Contact an expert

855-832-4859We'll call you

Simply enter your details and we'll call you back within the next business day.