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The focus on this itinerary is on Ethiopia’s superb wildlife, with a nice balance of wildlife viewing, multi-day treks, and key cultural sites. A multi-day trek in the Simien Mountains is a highlight for any visitor with stunning scenery and wonderful walking, but wildlife lovers will be rewarded by fantastic bird-life, large populations of Gelada Baboon and occasional sightings of Wallia Ibex and Ethiopian Wolf. Whilst in the north, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the castles of Gondar and the incredible rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. In the south, the Bale Mountains offer a unique high altitude habitat and the best opportunity to spot the elusive Ethiopian wolf. On the way back, the tour includes a leisurely stay on the shores of the Rift Valley Lake Langano, where Bishangari eco-lodge is a gorgeous base from which to explore the staggering array of birdlife in its private reserve.
Accommodation is in the form of tourist standard hotels, that include a double, single beds, ensuite bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and located in the right places. Single room surcharge for the duration of the tour is 160 USD.
You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your central hotel. After a rest and refresh at the hotel, your guide will take you around the highlights of Addis. Depending on time and how you feel after your flight, you can choose to sample some of the best coffee in the world in the Piazza (old town), explore the National Museum and Archaeological Museum (home to the 3.5 million year old remains of Lucy) or explore the largest open air market in Africa.
You’ll be picked up early from your hotel and transferred to the airport for the internal flight to Gonder. After pick up in Gonder and transfer to your hotel, your guide will show you the highlights of Gonder, a small but relaxed town. You’ll visit the medieval Royal Enclosure set in its beautiful gardens, the nearby Fasilides Bath and the fascinating Debre Berhan Selassie Church.
You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Gonder around 7:30 a.m. for the drive to Debark. At Debark, you will sign in at the park headquarters, pick up your guide and scout and head up into the mountains. The road continues all the way to the first camp at Sankaber, but you’ll be dropped off on the way for a leisurely three-hour acclimatization hike. The stunning views hit you as soon as you get out of the vehicle as you walk along the ridge. There will be time to stop for a picnic lunch and after a short but demanding climb (at this altitude) to Sankaber, you’ll be met as every day on this trek with a tray of fresh coffee, tea, and snacks.
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll set off trekking along the ridge with stunning views over the foothills 800 meters below. For the first two hours, the trail passes through a low bush of Giant Heather, soda apple, Abyssinian rose, St John’s Wort and Globe thistle. The highlight of the trek from Sankaber to Geech is Genbar Falls, an incredible 500-meter sheer drop. From the viewpoint opposite, you can watch the falcons, augur buzzard and lammergeyer bearded vulture soar on the thermals below. From the Genbar falls, the trail passes arable fields, broken by lunch at a somewhat less intimidating and more peaceful waterfall.
Klipspringer and bushbuck may be seen in the steep rocky and wooded slopes, whilst troops of Gelada Baboons roam the fields for roots. Just before you reach the Geech campsite, there is a wonderful opportunity to visit one of the traditional village houses for home roasted coffee and injurra (ask your guide). Geech Camp itself is set on a grassy plateau with stunning sunset views.
After breakfast, you’ll trek for two hours along the grass plateau past countless bizarre outsized Giant Lobelia plants. The destination is Imet Gogo, an incredible rocky promontory that grants 360-degree views over the Simien Range. At an altitude of 3,926 meters, you can see West back along the ridge towards Sankaber and Geech and southeast across a deep gully towards the tomorrow’s ridge walk to Inatye and Chennek Camp. The views there are arguably the best in the Simien Mountains and the drop is terrifying. From Imet Gogo, you’ll return to camp via the Siha Gorge for lunch. Afternoon at leisure before heading out for a short optional sunset trek to Keda Dit (3,760 meters). Overnight at Geech Camp again.
Today is the longest and arguably most spectacular passing close to the ridge most of its length. After breakfast, you will head back on the path towards Imet Gogo before detouring SE towards Inatye. The path drops into a forest of Giant Hazel before following the ridge on open grassland. The climb to Inatye (4,070 meters) rewards with stunning views. Inatye roughly translates as “mamma mia” and the terrifying vertical drop here justly warrants the name! After a picnic lunch, the path follows mostly downhill through open grassland and giant lobelia towards Chenek with a number of stunning viewpoints along the way. Chenek camp is superb for wildlife with both Gelada Baboons and Wallia Ibex common here.
After breakfast, you will begin the journey back to Gonder getting back in the early afternoon. Those feeling brave can opt to tackle Buahit before leaving camp. You'll need to be up early for the 3-4 hour round trip to this spectacular summit at 4,430 meters.
Early morning transfer to Gonder airport. You’ll be picked up at the other end and transferred to your central hotel. Lalibela is world-famous for its monolithic rock-hewn churches. Carved by hand out of solid rock in the 12th and 13th Centuries and awash with the chanting of monks, this is a deeply spiritual place and quite rightly a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll get to visit most of the Central churches that Lalibela is so famous for including the Northern Group (containing the Lalibela Cross), The Western Group (Bete Giyorgis) and the Eastern Group.
Return from Lalibela to Addis on the morning flight. You'll be picked up from the airport and drive the fours down to the Rift Valley Lake Langano. Evening at leisure at the lodge.
Depart early morning to drive from Sabana Lodge to Dinsho Park Headquarters. Visit Gaysay Valley in the evening where there are herds of Bohor reedbuck and smaller groups of Mountain Nyala. Also found here are warthog, grey duiker and the serval cat can often be found hunting here at dusk as you are leaving the valley. An evening meal will be cooked at the lodge.
Early start for a wildlife walk around the Dinsho Park Headquarters to spot the resident wildlife with your guide before heading out for the day for birding in the surrounding park grasslands.
Another early start. Breakfast will be not far down the road in Robe. You will bring a packed lunch ordered from the Robe restaurant, as it will be a full day exploring Sanetti Plateau and Harena forest. Sanetti Plateau is where you will most likely spot the rare endemic Ethiopian wolf. Return to Goba where you will spend the night in Wabe Shebelle Hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Langano arriving early afternoon for a relaxed afternoon at Bishangari Lodge, a lovely eco-lodge with superb birdlife.
Day at leisure at Bishangari. Although there are several national parks in the area, you are recommended to enjoy the peace and wildlife found at the lodge on the shores of the lake. It is recommended to take a half-day wildlife walk in the morning to view the large array of endemic birdlife.
After a morning at leisure, drive back to Addis in time for your departing flight
The guide of the tour will be an English speaker. French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, or Chinese speaking can also be provided on request. The guide is certified by Wildlife Science with more than 10 years of work experienced on the profession and the local areas.
Simien Mountains national park SMNP has spectacular land features, endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna. As a result, it receives international attention and listed as a natural world heritage site in 1978 by UNESCO WHC due to its high, important biodiversity, numerous endemic species (criteria iv) and outstanding physical features and exceptional natural beauty (Criteria iii). SMNP in one of the most attractive tourist sites and is an essential economic base for the tourism industry which supports the livelihood of thousands of Ethiopians engaged in various tourist-related activities.
Simien Mountains National Park is located in the Amhara regional Government state, North Gondar Zonal, 886-kilometer distance from the capital, Addis Ababa and 123 kilometers from Gondar 13Nl,38 E lies between the altitudinal range of 1,900 masl to 4,430 masl at Bwahit in northern west of Ethiopia. More importantly, it is also located on the northern edge of the Great Rift Valley, which passes through Ethiopia and down to Mozambique, stretching over 6,000 kilometers. The mountain nature of the park together with its surrounding high peaks gives rise to the name the roof of Africa. The SMNP is endowed with unique landscape and endemic animals, plants found only in the Ethiopian Highlands.
The climate of Simien Mountains National Park is dependent on great altitudinal variation and mountains landscape categorized by wet, cool, and cold seasons. These climatic conditions are traditionally classified in four major climate zones as Woina Dega (1,900-2,400 masl sub tropical climate), Dega (2,400-3,400 masl temperate climate), High Dega (3,400-3,700 masl cool climate), and Wurch zone (>3,700 masl alpine).
There are 22 large mammals, 13 small mammals and 182 bird species currently living in the mountains, of which three large mammals, eight small mammals, and six bird species are endemic to Ethiopia.
The Bale Mountain National Park is located in southeast Ethiopia and covers about 2,200 square kilometers. It is a gateway for thrilling wildlife and stunning scenery. The park has areas that are covered with St. John's Wort, heathland, virgin woodlands, and breath-taking mountain streams. Mount Tullu Deemtu, the highest peak in the Bale Mountains stands at 4, 377 meters.
The establishment of the 2,400-square-kilometer Bale Mountains National Park helped ensure the survival of the Mountain Nyala, Menelik's bushbuck, and the endangered Ethiopian wolf. This wolf is one of the most colorful members of the dog family and more abundant here than anywhere else in Ethiopia. All three endemic animals thrive in this environment, the Nyala in particular often being seen in large numbers. The Bale Mountains offer some fine high-altitude horse and foot trekking, and the streams of the park - which become important rivers further downstream - are well-stocked with rainbow and brown trout.
Full board meals will be served during the tour. Water will also be provided. It is recommended that you drink 2 to 3 liters of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages.
Bole International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Bole International Airport (ADD). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Trek Ethiopia Travel and Tours will pick you up from the airport. Once you have cleared Customs and collected your luggage, a representative will be waiting with a sign with your name on it. Details will be on your final itinerary.
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