There is nothing as breathtaking as watching the Blue Nile plunge into a gorge creating ‘smoking water’. A trek up Simien Mountain affords you to the chance to spot the endangered gelada baboon and the Ethiopian wolf. Our trip takes us to the Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa for insight into Ethiopia’s religious history.
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Upon arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa, we meet a Kibo Slopes representative. After an introduction we proceed on a drive to Bahir Dar. The 500km drive takes us about 7 to 8 hours. On the way we come to the first bridge in Ethiopia-the Portuguese Bridge and stop for lunch in Debre Markos. We arrive in the late afternoon at Bahir Dar for dinner and overnight stay at the Jacaranda Hotel.
In the morning, we take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the Island Monasteries, such as those on the Zege Peninsula and Kibran Gabriel (which do not allow entry for women). In the afternoon, we drive at the Blue Nile Falls for a hike around the area. In the early evening, we complete our tour of Bahir Dar with a drive up to Haile Selassies’ old palace and watch the sunset over the source of the Blue Nile. Dinner and the overnight stay will once again be at the Jacaranda Hotel.
After breakfast, we take a 2hour drive to Gondar. 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 visitors’ imaginations. We will have lunch in one of the restaurants in the town center and visit the Bath of Fasilides in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the Goha Hotel.
After breakfast, we drive via Debark, the village base for hiking in the Simien Mountains. After registering with the park authorities we drive to the Simien Mountain Lodge and with packed lunch we hike to the Sankaber Camp at 3250m. Nearing Sankober, 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 Sankaber.
Todays hike is about 17 km. From Sankaber, we depart into a valley, through which the Wazla (or Koba) River runs. This river is often dry. Coming out of the valley we have spectacular views of the Jinbar River waterfalls falling into the Geech Abyss. Our hike takes us along the riverbanks , crossing the Jinbar River and ascending to the village of Geech. On the way we may see Gelada Baboons and Lammergeir. The trek may take us up to 7 hours. Dinner and Overnight will be at the Geech Camp (3600m) in our tents.
After an early breakfast, we 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 we continue to Chenek, we 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 will be in our usual fly camp camping in Chenek ( 3500m). Total trekking time: 7 – 9 hours.
From Chenek, we continue east up a valley to Mt. Bwahit (4430m), 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 we will be picked up by car and driven via a rather bumpy road to Ambiko at 3325m. Our camp is already set near the village of Ambiko and the villager like to come and greet us. Dinner and Overnight will be at the camp.
Starting early (4.00am), we continue up the valley to the village of Mizma, after which we l 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 (4553m). 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, we descend and a 5 hour hike take us to Menta Ber Camp at 3520m for dinner and overnight. The 20km hike may take us up to 12 hours.
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 our Simien Adventure comes to an end. After breakfast a hour hike take us to the main road just below the Bwahit pass at about 4000m. Here we are picked up by our cars and take to the Simien Mountain Lodge for dinner and overnight. We enjoy the comfort of the lodge and the hot shower after many days of hiking. In the case of Simien lodge, the tukel (house) forms two rooms with two bathrooms. All rooms have traditional Ethiopian decor. There are original oil paintings and traditional weave. Tea and coffee machines, wall safe and full length mirrors come as standard.
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. Dinner and overnight stay will be Sabean international Hotel.
Today is reserved for sightseeing in Axum. The guided tour includes a visit to the spectacular ancient Obelisks which are cut out of a piece of granite and have a length of 40m. 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 Covenant. We visit the church and the museum, though the place where the covenant is kept is closed to the public. We will have our lunch in between the visits in one of towns’ restaurants and return to the Sabean international Hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Addis. We are picked up at the airport and transferred to the Friendship Hotel. We can opt for a lunch before proceeding on a sightseeing tour of Addis which includes a visit to the Orthodox Church and Entoto Mountains which was the original place of the Kings Palace. We also use the opportunity to shop for some souvenirs. In the evening, we attend an Ethiopian traditional dinner with Ethiopian song and dance before we transfer to the airport for late night departure..