Capture incredible far reaching views of Ethiopian landscape on Ras dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia. The vibrant volcanic landscape of Danakil Depression makes a highlight of this trip as you visit the sulphur springs of the Depression. Get insight into Ethiopia’s history by visiting the 17th Century Gondar castles.
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Upon arrival we are met by a Kibo Slopes representative and start our tour in Addis Ababa with a transfer to our Hotel for a pre-safari briefing. Afterwards we take a city tour with visits to the Ethnographic Museum, National Museum, The Trinity Church and Entoto Maryam. Later, we return to an Ethiopian welcome dinner with traditional food and dance. Overnight stay will be at the Friendship Hotel.
After an early breakfast, we transfer to the airport for a flight to Gondar. We arrive just in time for lunch and later start our guided tour. This area is famous for its exceptionally well preserved 17th century castles, unique in Ethiopia and unlike anything found elsewhere in Africa. We shall visit the Royal Enclosure & Debre Berhane Selassie Church, whose walls host the nation’s most vibrant ecclesiastical artwork. Its ceiling captures most of the visitors’ imaginations. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the Goha Hotel.
After breakfast we drive to Debark, the village base for hiking in the Simien Mountains. After registering with the park authorities, we visit the Jinbar waterfalls before driving as far as Chenek campsite where we will pitch tents for the night. On this drive we will get an incredible first impression of the beautiful highland region; the extraordinary scenery, enjoy watching the endemic Gelada Baboons and the bone breaker giant bird Lammergeyer roaring around. Today we set up camp at 3,600m at Chennek.
After breakfast we take an hour’s drive towards the Bouhawit pass at 4200m if the roads are good. 0n the way, we have the chance to see the magnificent Walia Ibex and possibly the endemic, but rare Simien wolf. There are lovely views along the way as we descend to the Mesha River at 2750m. After we cross the river, we ascend 400m to Ambiko camp. It is a very long day with about 8 to 10 hours of hiking. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the Ambiko camp.
Today is the summit day which involves a 16km trek starting at 4am. The path winds its way ascending up to 1400metres to Ras Dashen. The 5 to 6 hour trek is quite strenuous but a reward is waiting for us at the summit. From the top of Ras Dashen at an altitude of 4543metres, we are mesmerized by the far ranging views which span more than 10,000 square kilometers. To the west the steep faces of peaks in the national park are visible, whilst the Tekeze Valley is visible in the north and the east. While most tour groups return to Ambiko after reaching the top, we continue over the top and descend through a broad valley with countless Giant Lobelia, before reaching another spectacular view point in 2hours where we rest a little while. From this spot it takes another 3-4 hours before we reach Mentaber camp. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the fly camp.
From Mentaber we walk through narrow and steep valleys for a couple of hours. Although the people here do not see many tourists, they are very welcoming and many of them would want to shake hands with us, especially children. Before reaching the broad valley of Arkwazye where the camp situated, we take a steep climb through one of the villages, during which we might feel the strain of the previous day’s long walk. Dinner and overnight will once again be at the fly camp at Arkwasiye at 3700m.
Today we complete our Simien Adventure with a comfortable night at the Simien Hotel. After breakfast we ascend the Bouhawit Pass at 4200m once more. It will take us about 4hours. If the weather is good our vehicles will be waiting to take us to the the Simien Mountain Lodge. Alternatively we have another easy decent to Chennek which may take about 2 hours to get to the vehicle for a 2hour drive to the lodge. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the Lodge.
Today we have an exciting 250km drive through rough road which is partly under construction and winds itself through the Simien Mountains offering spectacular views. The drive can take up to 8hours. On the way, we stop for lunch and arrive at Axum the holiest sanctuary and oldest capital of Ethiopia in the late afternoon. If we arrive in good time we will take a stroll through the towns’ historic places Dinner and overnight stay will be Sabiyan Hotel.
After an early breakfast we undertake a guided tour which includes a visit to the spectacular ancient obelisks. They are cut out of one piece of granite and are up to 40m in length. Axum had its heydays in the 4th century. This is the time when it also embraced Christianity. The Orthodox Church believes that the Church of our Lady Mary of Zion houses the Biblical Ark of Convenant. We visit the church and the museum. After lunch we take a 200km drive to Mekele for dinner and overnight stay at the Axum hotel.
After breakfast, we drive to the Danakil depression. As we descend to Hamed Ela, the landscape changes to a rocky and dessert-like area. The temperature rises. The road is quite good and we arrive at our camp site for a late lunch. In the late afternoon, we can take a short walk to see the salt caravans heading for Mekele. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the campsite.
After breakfast we drive to Erta ale via Kusurawde. The drive through the barren land and hostile climate take us to Dodom, a nearby settlement to Erta ale. Here we take a rest while the camels and our crew prepare to take us to the crater rim of the active volcano after dinner. The hike takes about 3.5 hours. At the top, we peer down at the permanent lava lake and rest for the night.
In the early morning hours we descend back to Dodom for breakfast stop and drive to Hamed Ela for lunch, dinner and overnight stay at a fly camp. In the afternoon we take a rest and opt to arrange a visit to an Afar village with our guide.
After an early breakfast, we take a day trip to Dallol, a volcano hidden beneath a kilometer of thick salt deposit. The volcano marks its presence by the upcoming of the salt and hundreds of fumaroles and hot springs in an array of colors. The area, which is 116m below sea level, is the hottest inhabited place on earth with average temperatures ranging above 35 degree Celsius. The landscape here is spectacular as well as colorful with different shades of red and yellow appearing from acids and minerals spurting out of the ground. After lunch we drive to Mekele for dinner and overnight stay at the Axum hotel.
After breakfast, we transfer to the local airport for a flight to Addis Ababa where our tour ends. If we leave on an international flight in the evening, we can be provided with a day-room and suitable airport transfer in Addis to connect with our onward international flight.