Active Adventure

The Ethiopian highlands, blessed with a temperate climate and grand mountain scenery, offer superb trekking opportunities. The Semen is arguably the most beautiful mountain range in Africa. Vast and unique, the highland plateau is capped by a dramatic skyline of jagged volcanic plugs and split by deep gorges and gullies. The views across this landscape are breathtaking: the striking towers and formations having been described as 'the chess pieces of the Gods'. Our trek takes us to both the highland and rural lowland areas, with an ascent of Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia at 4620m, and the fourth highest in Africa. A haven to many endemic species of wildlife and flora, including the Gelada Baboon and Walia Ibex, the Semen National Park has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The photography of this park will remain in the mind forever. Climbing up from Debark on mules, through extensive farmland, the visitor is unaware of the dramatic scenery about to unfold. The landforms various small plateaus, and the edge of these plunge dramatically to the lowlands to the north and east. There are various campsites and tracks to follow and it is best to take the advice of the guides.

Tour Highlights: Historical and cultural immersions, gorgeous gorges, national parks, bird life, crater lakes, villages, traditions and customs, boat safari, museum and village visit, local market visit, archaeological site visit...

Typical Day

Day-to-day program

DAY 01: Addis Ababa GONDAR - DEBARK
Transfer to the Air port for a flight to Gondar. After settling in the hotel, we will explore the castles of king Fasilidas, which is said to be the wall of the castles bathed in blood and painted in the pomp of royalty. Often called the Camelot of Africa, this description does the royal city a disservice: Camelot is legend where as Gondar is reality. Drifting through the old palaces, banqueting halls and former gardens it’s not difficult to imagine the courtly pageantry, ceremony and intrigue that went on here. The entire compound contains numerous castles and the place has been completely preserved with the aid of UNESCO and was made one of world heritage site in 1979. By far Fasilada’s palace is the most impressive and also the oldest building. Continue our visit to one of the most famous and stunning churches of the nation “ Debre Birhan Selassie church”. The church would have probably been destroyed like most of the Gondar churches by the marauding armies of the dervishes in 1880s if it weren’t for a swarm of bees. When the dervish showed up at the gate of the church, a giant swarm of bees surged out of the compound and chased the invaders away. In the afternoon we will drive to debark enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Overnight stay Hotel


Drive to Sankaber where you will pick up mules and start Trekking for about 4 to 5 hours following the narrow path that keeps cloth to the escarpment with a very scenic view. Leaving the camp we descend into the Michotis valley and climb the other side where on our left you will see the Jin Bahir river plummeting into the Geech abyss. A couple of kilometers later we descend to cross the Jin Bah cliff and after a steep climb to the other side we reach Geech camp where we will stay overnight.
Camping at Geech

With an early start the mules will be packed and depart for Chenek whilst we will head with daypacks to the escarpment edge at Saha and Imetgogo (3,926m high) for staggering views over the lowlands characterized by its rocky spires. Clinging to the escarpment edge we then trek via undulating terrain towards our camp at Chenek. On the way we will see many examples of the impressive giant lobelia and stand a good chance of seeing some Gelada baboons. At the end of today’s trek we descend to the road that leads to camp with it inspiring sunset view of the lowlands. The trek will take about 7 to 8 hours.
Camping at Chenek

The mules will head directly to camp and we have the choice of walking with them or of trekking to the summit of the Simien's second highest peak, Bwahit (4,430m) that lies to the south east of Chenekcamp. Around 20 minutes from the camp towards Mt Bwahit, there’s a spot that affords one of the best opportunities for glimpsing, at long range (around 300m to 400m), the walia ibex. This animal, a member of the wild goat family, lives on the crags of the steep escarpment above 300m. The best time to see them is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. After refreshments at the summit we will descend steeply towards the village of Chiro Leba where we will have lunch around the local school. Afterwards we continue the descent to the Mesheha river valley (2850m) and up the other side to Ambikwa camp at 3,200m. The trek takes approximately 8-9 hour including breaks.
Camping at Ambikwa

This is the most challenging day of the trek up to the summit of Ras Dashen. We will trek up to the head of the valley and the village of Mizma where we will get our first view of our imposing goal. To reach it we will contour round a number of steep gullies ascending all the time until we find ourselves on a rocky plateau which is dominated by the tree peaks, the middle one being the tallest. It is then a relatively easy scramble to the top of one of Africa's highest mountains. After refreshments at the top and enjoying the 4540 meters altitude mountain, we return back by the same route to Ambikwa. The trek takes approximately 10-12 hour including breaks.
Camping at Ambikwa

Trek approximately for about 8- to 9 hours following the more remote and interesting villages of the southern semen mountains, then we retrace our steps to Chenek where we will spend our last night under canvas. Time to reset and reflect on our achievement.
Camping at Chenek

Drive back to Gondar enjoying the scenic views of the Semen mountains. The transport will arrive early to take us back to Gondar via Debark for a well earned hot shower and relaxing afternoon which can be spend sightseeing or shopping in the local market or just sleeping!
Overnight Stay Hotel

DAY 08: GONDER Addis Ababa City Tour
Transfer to the airport and fly back to Addis Ababa. We will visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we will view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeletal remains were discovered in 1974. We will also visit the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, Holy Trinity Cathedrals and time permitting Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis.
Complimentary farewell dinner party from VIVA ETHIOPIA will follow in one of the most renowned Cultural restaurant in Addis to test the cultural food and drinks and enjoy dances from the different ethnic groups.
The tour ends at the end of the farewell dinner party on day 8. You may choose to fly out that same evening/night or you have the choice of spending one more night in Addis. The preceding morning can be used for souvenir shopping, taking walks on the main streets of Addis, and discovering Addis’ bustling outdoor markets, exotic dishes, espresso bars and patisseries which are reminiscent of Rome and the Mediterranean
...End of Tour...

Other Information

Please have a look on the price detail section for what is included.
Price includes:
Meet and greet at the airport
Air port /Hotel Transfer in and out
One night and one day use in four Star Hotel Accommodation in Addis Ababa.
Two nights in the best accommodations available outside Addis as per the itinerary.
All camping costs and gears
Cooker and cooking material
Meals on the tour on full board base in reputable restaurants and hotels
Bottled water, soft drink and coffee throughout the trip
Professional Multi Language speaking guide (group leader) accompanying throughout the trip
All Transportation costs with the mentioned fully insured vehicle and Expert 4x4 driver allowance.
Local guide, Scout and all entrance fees and embarkation fees
Addis Ababa city tour
Government tax
Price excludes
International air fair
Domestic air fare
Camera &video fee
Alcohol drinks
Laundry & other personal interests
A final copy of your Trip Details, local cost over view, Joining Instructions, Emergency Contact, What to Take, Checklist, Money Exchange, confirming prices and other practical information available upon inquiry

Starting at:
USD $2225 per trip
Reservations & Information
for Trekking The Roof Of Africa: The Simien Mountains
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