For many adventurers, the allure of travel is in the land itself.
- Wildlife & Polar
Wildlife & Polar highlights
- Types of Holiday
Popular Cultural Holiday
Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.
This trip is a great mixture of culture and trekking. Time in Addis at the Ethnographic museum and the experience of the Debtre Birhan Selassie church in Gondor highlights the deep richness of the culture and history of Ethiopia. It is a fascinating country so desperately underestimated by the outside world. The trek itself, particularly along the Enatyie Escarpment is full of great views and unusual rock formations. In some parts there is an overwhelming feeling of isolation and timelessness. The antics of the Gelada Baboons only adds to the enjoyment.
Although an extension, and therefore technically not part of the trek, it has to be our time at the monolithic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and journeying there by donkey to the mountain monastery as worshippers in white robes trekked to the service on the hillside and the chants from the service drifted towards us. It was a surreal and very magical experience. On the trek itself there were many magical moments as the scenery was so outstanding - maybe particularly in the late afternoon when the descending sun would cause the rock formations to glow and the sound of the masinko being played with real talent at our last camp in the mountains. We were also fortunate enough to see two Ethiopian wolves and an Ibex during the trip.
Messi was good - dealt with everything very competently and created a good team spirit.
Its worth spending time exploring the history of Ethiopia before going on the trip. Utube has several interesting documentaries. If you can, extend your stay to include at least Lalibela. See "Lalibela, Wonder of Ethiopia' by Jacques Mercier and Claude Lepage and "Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia" by Maria and Joseph Friedlander. The latter book also has a section on Gondor and useful explanations of the paintings of the Debre Berhan Selassie church
Any spare gear is greatly appreciated. We took a bag of spare gear/clothes with us which we were able to give to Messi at Gondor pre-trip.
There is a large public swimming pool beside the hotel in Addis -you get a permit (free) from the front desk of the hotel which you show at the gate to the pool. You need a swimming cap and a lock for the lockers. Its best to change into a swimsuit at the hotel else it's a case of finding a bush by the pool. Good smallish pool at Gondor with great views of the escarpment.
Wifi at both hotels but no signal on the trip.
The Simien mountains is a world class trek - not too challenging, but challenging enough for most able hillwalkers - the three toughest days are days 5, 6 and 7 - our group was strong and we managed them well within daylight with a couple of hours to spare. Ethiopia is unusual for most African countries, as it has many archeological/ historical sites - Gondor (part of this trip), Lalibela, Axium and Bahir Dar, all worth a visit.
The Simien mountains did not disappoint - each of the ten days were different, and each day was peppered with stunning unforgettable views. The remoter sections away from the highway were the best, with the local people at their most friendly. Summit day on Ethiopia's highest mountain Rasdashen, was a high point in all senses of the words. An unexpected pleasure was how good the coffee was - everywhere.
The 3 day extension to Lalibela was well worth doing (bit pricey though) - the visit to the mountain monastery and the 8 rock churches in the town, each hewn from one piece of rock, all dating back nearly 1000 years are incredible [more stunning than Petra for me].
Messi was first class - and the team he lead was excellent. A lot of effort was put into to ensure our safety and well being - no-one fell ill on the trip. The cook was amazing - the food on the trip was probably the best I have ever had over more than 20 similar Exodus trips.
Pack as light as possible - wear and gift old clothes/equipment at end of trip. Don't overdo the snacks - biscuits/nuts are always on offer. The sun is unrelenting - high factor lip balm a must.
Apart from a few pre-teen children pickpockets outside the hotel in Addis, the country is incredibly safe and in this respect reminded me of walking around Asia rather than Africa.
This trip takes you off the beaten path into the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia. It is a national park with a single road going through it providing a connection to the outside world for the 2,000 families still living in the villages there. The trek takes you through the high-, mid- and low-lands with terrific and varied scenery. You will see plenty of Geladas (up close) and if you're lucky, also the Walia Ibex and Ethiopian Wolf. The trip is long (140+ kms and 10 days) and the hiking is quite tough. I would rate this trip to be more like a "6" rather than a "5" due to the distance traveled and the steep ascents and descents with difficult footing.
Walking through the troop of Geladas on the very first day. There were literally hundreds of them in that group and you can get very close to them before they get nervous and bounce away.
Mesi is an outstanding guide. He is very knowledgeable and makes sure everyone is taken care of.
1. Take money (Birr) into the park with you so that you can buy soft drinks on the trail from the kids who sell them (you'll need the fluids and the sugar), and also so that you can buy drinks (beer and soft drinks) from the camp sites. You can also buy souvenirs from the villagers as you pass through the villages.
2. Bring plenty of high energy snacks, especially snacks with lots of sugar in it.
3. Bring plenty of water purification tablets. You'll need to carry 3L of water per day with you.
4. The sun is VERY bright - prepare accordingly. The temperature fluctuates greatly from day to night and from highlands to lowlands. In the highlands, the temperature will drop below freezing at night. It will get up over 30C during the day in the lowlands.
It is a stunning area but you should be prepared for some long days walking at altitude. The longest day we did was about 10/11 hours but the average is about 7/8. The scenery is amazing, going from low grasslands up on to the escarpment, following valleys lined with tiny villages but without any roads. It can be demanding but well worth it!
Brendan Phelan - Customer Operations
You should be aware that, especially in the more remote areas and outside any cities, that the roads can be pretty rough and ready at times. Some drives can be long and dusty and you should be prepared for this. Saying that, there is always something to watch from the van, so you'll never bored!
Brendan Phelan - Customer Operations
Unfortunately we are not qualified to answer all your questions in regards to travel health, so we strongly recommend you contact your GP or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. There will be limited information in the trip notes but you should always seek further qualified medical advice.
Nomad Travel Clinics are experts in preparing people for travel, providing advice on vaccinations, anti-malarial and staying healthy whilst overseas. We have arranged a special 10% discount for Exodus passengers on any vaccinations that you may require! Take along your Nomad discount card, sent with your confirmation pack, or call Exodus for your special discount code.
Visit www.nomadtravel.co.uk/exodus for further information.
For additional information please visit: www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Charlotte Taylor - Customer Operations
The local currency is the birr, which is closed currency meaning you cannot get it outside of the country. ATMs are limited and can be very unreliable when it comes to UK or foreign bank cards. In this case, you should take your money in cash, and change when you arrive. Sterling can be changed at the airport, but dollars would be best outside the capital, so maybe a mix of both.
Aurelija Selvestraviciute - Customer Operations
All the staff at Exodus share a passion for adventure travel, and are always happy to answer any questions you may have. You can find an expert for the area you are interested in here and can contact them to get further information. If you don't see your specific country listed, please email [email protected] and they will get the answers you need!
To view the Forums, including the Departure Lounge, you do not need to be member of the Exodus Community, simply click on the Community link at the top of every page and read the posts in their respective sections by entering the Departure Lounge, or one of the other options in the list on the page.
To join in a discussion, if already a member, please sign in to your Exodus website account (not related to booking reservations) to contribute to the Forum. If you are not a member of the Exodus Community, you can register by clicking the 'Sign in' at the top of every webpage and select ‘Register’ within the drop down panel.
When viewing the Forum area of the website, as you scroll through the 'Rooms' which are set out by 'travel months' during the current year within the Departure Lounge. You can then select the 'month' of intended travel, then filter the list of trips that have already been created by fellow travellers to see if your trip is listed. If the trip you are travelling on is not in the list, you can start the process by clicking on the 'Post new forum topic' link above the list on the same page. If you do see your trip within the list, select it to view the 'discussion' by your fellow travellers and you can join in by completing the 'Post your comment' section below the discussion thread.
Please note: there might be slight a delay before your post/comment appears as intended because we moderate what is published on the website.
We hope you enjoy using the Departure Lounge to meet your fellow travellers and continue to contribute right up to the start of your journey with Exodus.
To compare trips for consideration, you can add them to your 'Shortlist'.
During your search for your next adventure you can save 'holidays' to your Shortlist and compare trips. For this to work correctly, you must be signed in during your 'user session'; i.e. during your time on the Exodus website. These will then be saved in your account (don't have an Exodus website account? Sign up now!).
The Shortlist menu item (top of every page) only appears when holidays are added. Adding holidays can be done by clicking on the 'Add to shortlist' with the 'Heart' symbol on any 'Holiday' page above the 'At a Glance' section, or in the 'holiday' panels within Search Results pages, or in the 'You might also like...' section at the foot of the trip page viewed. The selected holidays will be saved into your account for consideration and can be removed there, as well as from the 'compare trips' page from the menu link located at the top of every page.
|Date||Trip Status||Price excl. flights (pp) from|
|Mon 02 Oct 17 - Sat 14 Oct 17||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,249||Book now|
|Mon 30 Oct 17 - Sat 11 Nov 17||Available & guaranteed||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,249||Book now|
|Mon 13 Nov 17 - Sat 25 Nov 17||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,249||Book now|
|Mon 27 Nov 17 - Sat 09 Dec 17||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,249||Book now|
|Mon 12 Feb 18 - Sat 24 Feb 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,299||Book now|
|Mon 26 Feb 18 - Sat 10 Mar 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,299||Book now|
|Mon 01 Oct 18 - Sat 13 Oct 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,299||Book now|
|Mon 29 Oct 18 - Sat 10 Nov 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,299||Book now|
|Mon 12 Nov 18 - Sat 24 Nov 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,299||Book now|
|Mon 26 Nov 18 - Sat 08 Dec 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £2,299||Book now|
Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!