Simien Mountains Trekking

Trekking in Simien mountains is our specialty. Below you can read about the different excursions. They depart from Gondar (or if you prefer from Debark).

 Why do trekking in Simien Mountains

The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia are simply put, one of the best trekking destinations in the world. Jaw dropping views, wall to wall sunshine, generous hospitality and rare wildlife combine to make for an unforgettable trek. The Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting rare populations of wallia ibex, gelada baboon and Ethiopian Wolf, alongside a rich and diverse flora and birdlife.

HIGHLY recommend Taz Wagnew
Simien Mountains
February 26, 2020
    

The hike was a medium difficulty level, for me. The view and experience were truly fascinating. I was able to meet several types of travelers, from all over the world. Each night, we had a bon fire, and everyone would gather around. Everyone traded stories and riddles from Spain, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Germany, to any read more

When to go trekking in Simien Mountains

Tekking in the Simien Mountains is possible at any time of year, however some times are better than others. If you can choose, always opt for September to November. After the summer rains, the landscape is vivid green, the paths are less dusty and the far reaching views undisturbed by haze. December through April is perfectly fine, with loads of sunshine, you are just going to struggle to get picture perfect shots with the hazy views. The rains fall in June, July and August, which tends to stop most visitors, although interestingly enough this time of the year is very popular with the Spanish.

Thanks to the altitude, the temperatures tend to be comfortably warm and sunny in the day with plenty of breeze to keep things cool and cold at night. It is always wise to bring a good three or four season sleeping bag. The locals will always be able to provide something, but you can guarantee it won’t be as warm or clean as your own.

It does tend to get very busy in ethiopia (with hotels booking up and pricing higher rates) during the wonderful religious festivals so if you aren’t interested in these you might want to time your trip to Ethiopia to avoid Jan 19-20 (Timkat), Sep 27-28 (Meskel) and Christmas.

1 day trekking

Early morning we will drive along a good asphalt road from Gondar to
the park headquarters in Debark, the 100 km journey will take around
two hours. At the headquarters we will arrange our permits to the park
and pick up our scout. Then keep driving for another 30-40 minutes
until the Hike starts along mountain trails enjoying the endless
vistas as your guide explains the unique flora of this elevated
region. You will also cross paths with a troop of the Gelada baboon, a
unique species indigenous to Ethiopia and the Simien Mountains. Return
to Gondar for overnight.
Services to be provided
Transportation in and out
Entrance fees for the park
Guiding service
Scout or Park ranger
Lunch pack and water

3 day trekking

Day 1: 
Drive from Gondar to the first campsite (Sankaber) in the
Simien Mountains national park (2:30 hrs drive, 2-3 hrs walk). Camping
at Sankaber (3250 m)
Day 2: 
Walk to the second camp Gich. On the way, sight Jinbahir water
fall (450-500m height). 5-6 hrs walk, camping at 3600m
Day 3: 
Walk to Aynameda through Imet Gogo (3926m) where the car wait
and pick (5-6 hrs walk), drive farther to the third camp to Chenek to
have a look around and finally drive back to Gondar for overnight.

4 day trekking

Day 1: 
Drive from Gondar to the first campsite (Sankaber) in the
Simien Mountains national park (2:30 hrs drive, 2-3 hrs). Camping at
Sankaber (3250 m)
Day 2: 
Walk to the second campsite Gich. On the way, sight Jinbahir
water fall (450-500m). 5-6 hrs walk, camping at 3600m
Day 3
Walk to the third camp Chenek (climb up two spectacular
mountain peaks Imet Gogo (3926 m) and Inatye (4070 m), 7-8 hrs walk
including break. Camping at 3600m
Day 4: 
Climb up 800m to reach one of the highest mountain peaks in the
Simien Mountains, Buwahit (4430m) and back down to chenek. It takes
5-6 hrs for both ways and then drive back to Gondar for overnight.

5 day trekking

Day 1:
Drive from Gondar to the first campsite (Sankaber) in the
Simien Mountains national park (2:30 hrs drive, 2-3 hrs). Camping at
Sankaber (3250 m)
Day 2: 
Walk to the second campsite Gich. On the way, sight Jinbahir
water fall (450-500m). 5-6 hrs walk, camping at 3600m
Day 3: 
Acclimatization day and walking around Gich, mainly to sight
the three most spectacular view points (Imet Gogo, Seha, Kedadit). 4
hrs walk, Camping at Gich again
Day 4: 
Walk from Gich to Chenek, through a mountain peak Inatye
(4070m). (6-7 hrs walk including break). Camping at 3600m
Day 5: 
Climb up 800m to reach one of the highest mountain peaks in the
Simien Mountains, Buwahit (4430m) and back down to Chenek. It takes
5-6 hrs for both ways and then drive back to Gondar for overnight.

6 day trekking

Day 1: 
Drive from Gondar to the first campsite (Sankaber) in the
Simien Mountains national park (2:30 hrs drive, 2-3 hrs). Camping at
Sankaber (3250 m)
Day 2: 
Walk to the second campsite Gich. On the way, sight Jinbahir
water fall (450-500m). 5-6 hrs walk, camping at 3600m
Day 3: 
Acclimatization day and walking around Gich, mainly to sight
the three most spectacular view points (Imet Gogo, Seha, Kedadit). 4
hrs walk, Camping at Gich again
Day 4: 
Walk from Gich to Chenek, through a mountain peak Inatye
(4070m). (6-7 hrs walk including break). Camping at 3600m
Day 5: 
Climb up 800m to reach one of the highest mountain peaks in the
Simien Mountains, Buwahit (4430m) and back down to Chenek. It takes
5-6 hrs for both ways and then drive back to Gondar for overnight.
Day 6:
Make an exercising walk for 3 hours through the scenic views
and after drive back to Gondar for 4 hrs.

7 day trekking

Day 1

Depart early in the morning from Gondar, driving to Sankaber, stopping
in Debark to handle National Park fees, etc. You will start your trek
around Buyit Ras for a 3-4 hour hike to Sankaber, which passes close
to the escarpment edge. Nearing Sankaber, you will have beautiful
views on both sides of the escarpment ridge and where you will likely
see the endemic Gelada baboons. In Sankaber, you will be met with
your supplies. Overnight camping in Sankober.
Day 2
From Sankaber, depart into a valley, through which the Wazla (or Koba)
River runs. Coming out of the valley you will have views of the Jinbar
River waterfalls falling into the Geech Abyss. Continuing along, you
will cross the Jinbar River and ascend into the village of Geech.
Total trekking time: 5-6 hours
Day 3
After an early breakfast, depart from Geech to the peak of Imet Gogo
at 3926m. Here you’ll have spectacular views over the lowlands – one
of the highlights of the trip. As you continue to Chenek, you will
pass Korbete Metia, a solid rock wall which opens up exposing
beautiful views over the lowlands and the escarpment. This is also a
good place for spotting lammergeiers. Overnight camping in Chenek.
Total trekking time: 7 – 9 hours
Day 4
From Chenek, continue east up a valley to Mt. Bwahit, overlooking the
camp from where you just came. After crossing the Bwahit Pass, you
come to a viewpoint offering wonderful views of the Mesheha River
Valley as well your first glimpse of Ras Dashen. From here, the path
descends, passes through the village of Chiro Leba, and finally leads
to the Mesheha River. Across the river, you climb back up the valley
to the village of Ambikwa. Overnight camping in Ambikwa. Total
trekking time: 8-9 hours
Day 5
Starting early, you will continue up the valley to the village of
Mizma, after which you will have a steep ascent to a ridge crest
overlooking a large valley. The path then follows along the side of
the valley, straight at Ras Dashen. You will eventually reach a point
where you will see three distinct buttresses. The buttress on the left
is the summit of Ras Dashen. A pile of rocks at the top of the
buttress marks the summit. After your successful arrival at the
highest point in Ethiopia, you return to Ambikwa for overnight. Total
trekking time: 8-10 hours
Day 6
Today you return back to Chenek for overnight camping. Total trekking
time: 6-8 hours
Day 7
Today you will be transported out of the park,returning to Gondar.

10 day trekking


Day 1:
Drive from Gondar to the first camping site (Sankaber) in the
Simien Mountains national park (2:30 hrs drive, 2-3 hrs). Camping at
Sankaber (3250 m)
Day 2: 
Walk to the second camping site Gich. On the way, sight
Jinbahir water fall (450-500m). 5-6 hrs walk, camping at 3600m
Day 3: 
Acclimatization day and walking around Gich, mainly to sight
the three most spectacular view points (Imet Gogo, Seha, Kedadit). 4
hrs walk, Camping at Gich again
Day 4: 
Walk from Gich to Chenek, through a mountain peak Inatye
(4070m). (6-7 hrs walk including breaks). Camping at 3600m
Day 5: 
Walk from Chenek to Ambiko (7-8 hrs walk including breaks). The
highest point passing through this walk is 4200m. Camping at 3240m at
the foot hill of Ras Dejen
Day 6: 
walk to the next camping site Mentaber through the highest
mountain peak in the country Ras Dejen (4543m). 10-11 hrs walk
including breaks, camping at 3500m
Day 7: 
Walk from Mentaber to Sona. Today there is no mountain peaks to
climb and it is through nearly the same altitudinal level. 6-7 hrs
walk, camping at 3100m
Day 8: 
A descent walk from Sona to Mekarebia. On today’s walk, there
is a chance to swim in a natural swimming pool. 6-7 hrs walk including
break, camping at 2200m
Day 9: 
Walk from Mekarebia to the last camping site Mulit. Today’s
trail is through quite a warm weather, but there a bigger swimming
pool than the previous day and possible to swim there and a long
break. 7-8 hrs including break, camping at 1900m
Day 10: 
The last day short walk from Mulit to a small town Adi Arkay
where the car is waiting and drive back to Gondar for 5 hrs.

What You should know in advance:

Altitude and its side effect

Trekking in the Simien Mountains could be challenging as most people come to trek from around the sea level. Besides, if not sufficiently acclimatized, travellers may suffer from altitude sickness due to a low oxygen level. However, there is always a possibility to choose shorter trekking days and hours and enjoy your holidays to the full.
I always remind my clients that altitude sickness is more likely to affect you when you are trek over 3000 meters above sea level; typical symptoms of altitude sickness are headaches, loss of appetite, breathlessness due to thin air, vomiting, dizziness, and sleeplessness.
Travellers with permanent health problems such as blood pressure, asthma, diabetes etc. should seek some advice from their doctor. Ethiopia’s health service system may not be as good as in your native country to help you to alleviate the problem you might face. So, I strongly recommend you to consult your doctor before your departure.
I personally recommend to bring some medical kits with some useful medicine such as Diamox, aspirin and Paracetamol that help people to mitigate altitude sickness, to stop headache and related sickness problems respectively.
Trekking in the Simian Mountains includes long walking hours every single day as camping sites are far away from each other. Therefore you need to be in a good situation for the trek; it is advisable to get some training before starting the trek.

some more info about simien

The Simien Mountains are one of the prominent highlands of Africa rising to the highest point of Ethiopia – Ras Dashen (4543m), which is believed to be the fourth highest peak in Africa. Though the Simien Mountains are not far from the equator, snow and ice might appear on the highest point and temperatures sometimes drop to zero or below.
The national park has three main botanical regions: the higher lands are mountain grass lands with fescue grass as well as heather trees, splendid red hot pokers (only seen from August to the end of September) and Giant Lobelia.
The park was primarily established to rescue the Walia Ibex, a species of wild goat. Some 1000 of them are said to be still living in the park and their population size is growing thanks to appropriate conservation. They are the only ones in the world and Simien Mountains NP is the only place where you could find them. Also in the park you could see a number of unique Gelada Baboons with a “bleeding heart” on the chest; and the rare simian fox can also be seen there. Over 50 species of birds have been found in the Simien Mountains.
People settled many years ago in the park and they still live there doing many different activities such as farming, animal breading and mixed farming. It is believed that they settled there in the 16th century and their origin is in the South Arabia.The traditional and cultural way of living of the local people is one of the attractions of the national park. Both Christians and Muslims live peacefully in the park and they share everything they have during public holidays as well as wedding and funeral ceremonies. This is the way they express their mutual understanding and co-existence.
As confirmed by most of our clients, the park is a wonderful place for those committed to do real trek. Apart from the wildlife experience, the Simien Mountains provide some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. That is probably the reason UNESCO considers it a world heritage site. It is easily accessible from the historic towns of Gondar and Axum. You can also see a number of bird species, even though it is not as rich as in the south of the country.

Simien Ethiopia Trekking by TAZ could be the right choice for you if you like:

taz
  • to be treated well
  • to travel with somebody who call the Simien Mountains and Ethiopia his home
  • no international travel agency but a local business
  • support and advice from Switzerland/Germany if you like
  • that Taz personally cares about your happiness and wellbeing during the trip
  • personalized tours instead of one-fits-all