- Trip Outline
The Simien Mountains is without doubt the most popular place for serious trekking in Ethiopia. It is very accessible by car as well which makes it possible to lengthen or shorten your trekking as you want. The itinerary below leads us to the summit of Ras Dashen, the highest point of Ethiopia. We give indications where and how you can adjust the number of days.
The day before the trekking starts we arrive in Debark and make ourselves ready. According to your preferences and available time we might proceed to the Simien Lodge or go out for a first night camping at Sankaber. If time is available we can even start our trekking towards Sankaber or make an short walk around the lodge.
We will be accompanied by a local guide, scout(s), mules and their handlers to carry luggage and supplies and a chef to prepare the meals. If you want you can also use a mule to ride.
Day 1: Sankaber (3250 m) - Gich (3600 m)
The first serious day of trekking starts from the beautiful situated campsite of Sankaber. When we stayed overnight in Debark we first have to drive little over an hour to reach the camp. Today's trek covers a distance of approximately 10 km an takes us around 6 hours straight walking. Right from the beginning the trek follows the spectacular escarpment. We will encounter gelada baboons, foraging in big groups, at the fields. A stunning viewpoint at the Jinbar Falls is reached after clambering a few rocks. This waterfall plunges several hundred meter down the escarpment in the abyss. At the end of the day we pass through the welcoming village of Gich where the local people prepare a well deserved coffee for us. Our camp for the night is not far from the village.
(Gich is a good place to add an extra day, several day walks are available, including to the spectacular Imet Gogo)
Day 2: Gich - Chennek (3620 m)
This is probably the most spectacular stage of the whole trekking, offering stunning views all the way. Today we walk for almost 8 hours to cover 12 km, including a short detour to Imet Gogo (3925 m). This summit offers the most exciting views. The majestically lammergeyer might soar the skies in front of us and the endemic thick billed raven will be present. On our way to Chennek we pass some other major peaks (Inataye reaching 4070 meter) and a deep valley. Chennek is abundant with the giant lobelia and the best place to spot the endemic and endangered walia ibex. Not seldom they walk into the camp.
(From Chennek you can drive out to Debark in about 2 hours)
Day 3: Chennek - Ambiko (3200 m)
Today is for sure the most challenging day. First we hike up the Bwahit Pass (4200 m) and later we will reach the bottom of the valley of the Mesheha River (2800 m) before we reach Ambiko. The 14 km we cover today will take at least 7 hours walking. Weather permitting we will be rewarded with at least the first glimpse of Ras Dashen (4533 m). Around Bwahit is an excellent area to find the Ethiopian wolf. Our chef will prepare another great meal with very limited means and like the other evenings we lit a campfire to keep us warm. But we will sleep early as we start tomorrow well before sunrise.
Day 4: Ambiko
The roof of Ethiopia is the goal for the day. Ras Dashen (4533 m) is roughly a mere 5 hours/ 8 km away, its all the way up to the top. The view from to top might not be as stunning as at other places in Simien (Imet Gogo) but you made it! Yes! Walking back to Ambiko takes about 3,5 hours.
Day 5: Ambiko - Chennek
With the reward you bagged the summit we are heading back into known area. There are several ways to do it. The easiest way is to walk about 4 hours to the village of Chiro Leba where a 4WD vehicle can pick you and drive you out to Debark (or even Gondar the same day). But you came to enjoy the Simien Mountains, right? Then this day we continue to Chennek and pitch our tents again in between the giant lobelia's.
Day 6: Chennek - Sankaber/ Simien Lodge/ Debark
We take a new path to reach our departure camp of Sankaber. It takes around 7 hours to cover the roughly 20 km. At the end of the day you can choose to enjoy another night under de stars at Sankaber or indulge in the luxury of the Simien Lodge. Alternatively we can drive you out to Debark.
This is the end of the hiking program in the Simien Mountains, tomorrow you can continue your journey through fascinating Ethiopia.