What is Community Trekking?
Community Trekking gives local people living in rural Ethiopia a stake in the growing tourism industry of the country. There are a number of community guesthouses set up along the plateaus of rural Lalibela, Tigray, Wof Washa forest, and in the Simien Mountains.
Community Trekking involves meditative walks through stunning landscapes, passing through local villages as you meander through the trail towards the community guesthouses.
The guesthouses are run by local people, and the majority of money for these treks go straight to these communities.
Community trekking began in Wollo. There are currently 11 community guesthouses set up in the region, and a community trek here typically takes 3-5 days. There are 3 options for community trekking in Wollo:
- West Meket, the origin of community trekking, takes you from the stunning Mequat Mariam guesthouse to Aterow or Yadukulay over gentle terrain.
- East Meket, boasting equally staggering views, the East Meket trail begins from Yadukulay and finished at Geneta Mariam and follows more rugged terrain.
- Abuna Yoseph, just outside Lalibela are a selection of guesthouses that make for great bases to summit Abuna Yosef mountain at 4260m. The trekking here is more challenging.
Wollo Community Guesthouses
The unique and stunning landscape of Tigray makes community trekking here one of the best experiences available in the country. The treks traverse the giant plateaus that jut out of the Tigrayan landscape, taking you down into the valleys before ascending sharply over the top of the ridges.
With 7 community guesthouses currently operational in Tigray, these treks can last anywhere from 3-7 days, and require a moderate level of fitness.
The guesthouses are perched on the plateaus edge, offering stunning views and the absence of any light pollution means the sky is alight with stars.
Tigray Community Guesthouses
Lying just north east of Addis, Wof Washa forest is a lesser-visited community trekking destination. There are only a handful of guesthouses set up here, and the landscapes quite different from that of the Wollo or Tigray trekking.
The forest consists of Afro-alpline vegetation and plays host to a multitude of wildlife, including Colobus monkeys, leopards, hyenas, porcupines, Geladas and more. The trekking is perfect for travellers with a keen interest in flora, as the forest is home to a wealth of plant life due to its varied altitude and and regular rains.
Janamora, a district just outside the Simien Mountains, is the newest addition to the community trekking available in Ethiopia. There are currently just 3 guesthouses, with more under construction.
Community trekking in Janamora makes for a fabulous extension to a Simien trek, and follows naturally from a few nights camping in the park. The landscapes are stunning, and you get to spend more time meeting local people. As always, these treks work to support the local communities, and the Janamora trek also works to support initiatives that protect the Simien range.
Community Trekking is among our favourite thing to do in the country. The trekking is meditative, the landscapes stunning, and the guesthouses charming. Community trekking affords the opportunity to learn more about rural Ethiopian life, connect with your local guides, and help support these communities.