Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Trek deep into the Simien Mountains with our friendly and knowledgeable local guides.
- Sleep beneath some of the brightest stars in the world with provided camping gear that can be portered each day between camps by mules.
- Spend time spotting, or in the case of the Gelada monkeys, just sitting amongst some of the rarest animals in the world.
- Summit Ras Dashen, Africa’s tenth highest peak and Ethiopia’s highest point.
- When it’s time to relax, take a swim in the rivers of the lowlands and enjoy the local coffees in the camps or enjoy delicious food cooked for you around the campfire.
Landmarks visited on Explore the Roof of Africa
Day 1: Pickup from Gondar, Bahir Dar or Debark.
A car will pick you up and take you to the Simien Mountains National Park. Here, you’ll meet with your trek leader, who’ll talk you through all aspects of your upcoming adventure through the mountains. Your first destination is Sankaber camp. After driving into the park, the last 2-3 hours or so will be an acclimatization hike, but you’re more than welcome to hike the entire distance if you want to get stuck in. You’ll ascend over 3000 metres above sea level, surrounded by jagged peaks and Gelada Baboons. Once you arrive at Sankaber, you’ll be welcomed with drinks and a delicious dinner at the campsite.
Route: Debark to Sankaber (3,200m)
Length of hike: 2-3 hours, 7km
Day 2 - Introducing, the Simien Mountains National Park.
The first day of hiking starts with a nourishing breakfast before you head out to the trail along the ridge. There’s a wonderful vantage point which offers some incredible views over the foothills some 800 metres below. The mountains are known worldwide for their biodiversity and your guide will point out all point out flora and fauna of note. Along the trail, Gelada Baboons, Klipspringer and Walia Ibex make regular appearances and birds soar on the thermals below.
A highlight of today’s trek is Genbar Falls, a waterfall over a sobering 500m sheer drop, which you’ll see from the opposite side of the ridge. After a break for lunch, you’ll carry on towards Geech, a remote traditional village with thatched roofs. Geech camp is a great spot to watch the sun go down over the range and you’ll often see troops of Gelada baboons climbing down the precipitous slopes to their sleeping quarters in caves in cliffs below.
Route: Sankaber (3,200 m) – Geech (3,600m)
Length of hike: 5-6 hours/15km
Day 3 - Trek to Imet Gogo (3,925m)
Today you’ll head to Imet Gogo, a headland at the edge of a ridge that stands close to 4000 metres with unbelievable 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. You can see west, back towards Sankaber and Geech, and south east along a large Gorge towards tomorrow’s destination, Inyate.
Next take the trail through Giant Erica woodlands before before emerging on the moorland at Inatye, the second highest peak in the western part of the park. Tonight you’ll spend the evening at Chenek camp which is often the best spot to see both Ethiopian wolves and Walia Ibex.
Length of hike: 7-8 hours/18km
Day 4 - Mount Buahit (4,430m)
Mount Buahit is Ethiopia’s third highest peak, standing at an impressive 4430 metre. Your route to Mount Buahit follows footpaths off the road alongside a stream that trickles down the hill. This is quite a steep walk, but you can take regular breaks at great view points en route. This is your best chance to see Walia Ibex.
At the summit, you’re rewarded with phenomenal views across the entire Simiens range. Head back down the trail from Buahit which drops down out of the park and into farmland. Pass through the new settlement of Tiru Leba and stop here for a (well deserved) soft drink or beer. The trail continues down to a small stream at the bottom (which can become unsurpassable in the height of the rainy season), before heading up the rail on the eastern side of the village of Ambiko where a simple campsite awaits. (psst, the local committee sell beers for around $2 a pop, well worth a little splurge…)
Route: Chenek to Ambiko
Length of hike: 5-6 hours
Day 5 - Ras Dashen (4533m)
Today is undoubtedly a highlight of the tour as you summit Ethiopia’s tallest mountain: Ras Dashen. Start early and take it slow, admiring the views along the way. By late morning, you’ll arrive at the moorland top where the dirt road disappears and gives way to remote villages as your trail turns north east and snakes up the final peak. In true explorer fashion, reaching the summit requires a couple of hand holds and maneuvers (nothing too challenging) as you scramble to the top. Now relax and enjoy the unbelievable view from 4533 meters up…
When you can finally tear yourself away from the view, head north east and make for the village of Menteber, where a camp awaits.
Route: Ambiko to Menteber
Length of hike: 11 hours/23km
Day 6 - Kiddus Yared (4453 metres)
Rise with the sun over some warming porridge before starting your ascent up Kiddus Yared, the second highest peak in the Simien range. Afterwards, the trail follows the ridge westward - for those who haven’t had quite enough mountain-conquering, you can trek up Abba Yared at 4409 metres before joining the livestock paths that head towards your campsite at Arkwassie. From here, it’s pretty much all downhill as you press on to our campsite.
Route: Menteber to Arkwassie
Length of hike: 12 hours/25km
After a relaxing breakfast, head over the ridge and down into the lowlands. The path clings to the highlands and leads to a pretty location called Sona, before winding down off the mountains and into the river systems below. The scenery here is fantastic, especially if you’re coming just after the rainy season and the flowers are in full bloom. At the bottom, swim in the rivers at an altitude of around 2000 metres.
Continue on to your campsite at Mekerabiya, a pretty village underneath Imet Gogo. With temperatures warmer than previous days, this is a great spot to relax and enjoy the views of the mountain tops in the distance.
Arkwassie to Mekerabiya
Length of hike: 7-8 hours/21km
Set off along the river valley and back over onto the ridge. This is the easiest walk of the trip and is a real treat, with attractive villages and farmland peppering the trail and the omnipresent peaks of the Simein range in background. Enjoy another swim and have a coffee in one of the villages before arriving at the picturesque village of Mullit.
Route: Mekerabiya to Mullit
Length of hike: 5-6 hours/17km
From Mullitm it’s a short 2 hour walk to the nearby roadside town of Adigrat Arkay. Here you can have a coffee or beer while you gear is loaded on transport for your onward joinery - perhaps a return to Debark. We recommend adding a night at the incredible Limalimo Lodge to relax after your adventure.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices are per person based on 2 people travelling together. Prices guideline only, actual price swill depend on final itinerary, accommodation choices, and time of year.
- Transfer into the park and pick up from Adi-Arkay to Limalimo lodge. Next day transfer to Gondar from Limalimo lodge.
- Entry fee, English speaking guide, scout, cook.
- Food and bottled water (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
- Tent, camping and cooking gear.
- Mule and mule handlers for transporting camping gear and your luggage.
- One night at Limalimo lodge.
- Sleeping bags
- Any personal expenses and tips