Day 1: Journey begins in Addis Ababa
We start our adventure by taking a tour of the city including the Cathedral, National Museum and Merkato. In the evening we will visit a culture house for traditional music and dancing, where we can also sample some of the local drinks before dinner in a restaurant and exploring the nightlife.
Day 2: Fly to Lalibela
After taking a short national flight we join our professional local guide who will take us around the eleven incredible churches in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ethiopia’s 13th Century ‘New Jerusalem’; Lalibela. We will see monks and nuns at prayer with our guide explaining the historical significance of the monuments as we wander through the passageways and rock-hewn monuments cut deep into the mountainside.
Day 3: Drive from Lalibela to Gondar
This stunning seven-hour drive will take us through the very heart of northern Ethiopia, affording breathtaking views of the countryside before we arrive in the castle city. Upon arrival we will visit the impressive castle grounds as well as wander about the markets meeting the local people. In the evening we can take a trip to the Dashen brewery’s excellent outside bar – a hotspot for local people and good conversation.
Day 4: Begin Simien Mountains trek
Driving from Gondar, our tour bus we will drop us off in the park for a short trek to ease us in to the altitude and mountain terrain. Our route passes along the edge of a great chasm that overlooks the incredible vista, where troops of Ghelada baboons like to recline and eat grass while the young ones play rough and tumble. Reaching Sankober camp, we will have our first camp dinner whilst enjoying the highland views in the sunset.
Day 5: Sankober to Gich Camp
Our trek begins in earnest with monumental views of a giant waterfall from a bulwark of stone that stretches out into an immense valley; the ambas of towering rock rolling all the way to the horizon like a huge desert of mountainous windblown sand dunes. We will cross the river that feeds the waterfall and pass through a local village before reaching the remote highland campsite of Gich.
Day 6: Gich to Chennek Camp
There is the opportunity today to walk to the top of a just off from the trail with its summit affording 360° views of the Simien Mountains’ most spectacular mountainscape. A stunning ridgeline decent leads us to our final campsite at Chennek; where we often see the majestic huge-horned Walia Ibex.
Day 7: Chennek to Gondar to Addis
From Chennek we can climb the third highest mountain in the country Mt. Bwahit (4437m), with views across a single valley to Mt. Ras Dashen (4550m), the highest mountain in Ethiopia. The last climb is optional but most certainly recommended as the views are truly fantastic – in the very heart of this glorious mountain range, before driving back to our hotel in Gondar.
Day 8: Fly from Gondar to Addis Ababa
After a well-deserved lie-in at our hotel we will take the national flight back to the capital where we will have our last group dinner out together in the city at the best Italian restaurant in town.
Day 9: Fly out of Addis Ababa