ITINERARY DETAIL – SIMIEN MOUNTAINS TREK
October 12 – 19, 2013
This itinerary has been designed by Tony van Marken to optimize acclimatization and ensure summit success.
Day 1 : Arrive Addis Ababa (October 12)
Fly Johannesburg (OR Tambo Airport) to Addis Ababa. Check in at the Adot-Tina Hotel.
Day 2: Fly to Gondar, Drive to Simien National Park, short day hike to Sankaber Camp (3240m)
Travel: 1 hour flight, 3 hours driving. Trek: 2 hours. Distance: ~5km.
Morning flight to Gondar at 07H45, Arrive 08H55. It is approximately a 3 hour drive to Debark where we will pick up our Ethiopian support team and then drive approximately 10km and get dropped off inside the Simien National Park. It is a relatively easy day trekking along the escarpment with awesome views into the lowlands for most of the way to Sankaber camp.
Figure 1 : Overview of Route
Day 3: Sankaber Camp (3240m) to Geech Camp (3600m)
Trek: 4-6 hours. Distance: ~13km.
Today’s trek starts off spectacularly with the escarpment next to you from the beginning. The Jinbar Waterfall gushes over the cliff and far down the escarpment. Trek up to the road from here and across a small river while keeping your eyes open for Gelada Baboons, Klipspringer, and a variety of birds. The trail will take you through the small village of Geech where you will be offered coffee ceremonies and the chance to buy chickens and goats or for the less adventurous eggs and bread.
Day 4: Geech Camp (3600m) to Chenek Camp (3620m) via Imet Gogo (3926m)
Trek: 6 – 8 hours. Distance: ~17,1km.
Today is an epic trek – within the first hour or so you’ll be on top of Imet Gogo (3926m). This summit offers some of the best views in the Simien Mountains. It’s a fun scramble to the top of this mountain and a great place to have a morning snack as the thick-billed Ravens land nearby with neck cocked and one eye on your well earned lunch.
You’ll head down into a valley and then up to the Northeastern escarpment where you will summit Inatye (4070m). By late afternoon you’ll descend to Chenek camp.
Look out for Walia Ibex on the cliffs nearby camp and sometimes they’ll come all the way into camp for a drink in the stream. Enjoy a well deserved hot dinner prepared by our chef and enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Simien Mountains.
Day 5: Chenek Camp (3620m) to Ambiko Camp (3200m)
Trek: 6 – 8 hours. Distance: ~18km.
Lowest point: 2800m. Highest point: 4200m.
Today is a challenge with quite a change in altitude along the way. Skip the coffee this morning, the hike up to Bawhit Pass (4200m) will be enough to wake you up. The good news is that this is a great place to see all of the Simien’s big 3: Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboons, and Ethiopian Wolf. Once you reach the pass, it’s a long hike down to the Mesheha valley. You trek through some beautiful fields with farmers usually hard at work. The more you go down, the hotter it gets. It’s interesting to pay attention to the flora/fauna change as you descend into different climate zones. Once you’re at valley bottom, cool off while you cross the river and make a final push up to Ambiko camp. This camp is less developed than others and is very close to the actual village of Ambiko. Get excited and get ready for summit day tomorrow!
Day 6: Ambiko Camp (3200m) to Ras Dashen (4533m) and back to Ambiko Camp
Trek: 8 – 10 hours. Distance: ~26km.
This is a big day!
Wake up and get moving early – around 3:30 am. We start on a tight trail trudging up through the various huts surrounding Ambiko with the tunnel of light produced from our headlamps illuminating the way. The skyline is visible if the moon is full and you can literally feel the mountains towering above you. You’ll make it up to a pass at sunrise and take a short break with the summit still high above you. Follow sheep trails and notice the very remote huts scattered on the mountainsides.
You trek around and up some scree with Ras Dashen’s summit in sight. It is a very easy climb with no exposure to the summit proper. Trek back to Ambiko camp after a great summit.
Ambiko Camp (3200m) to Gondar
Drive: 6-7 hours
Immediately after the summit we will be met by a Land Cruiser, which will be waiting to drive the group back to Debark and then on to Gondar (6-7 hours).
We will be staying at the beautiful Goha Hotel. This is a special place on a hill overlooking the entire city of Gondar. We will have a few drinks and celebrate a great summit !
Day 7: Return to Addis Ababa
Travel: 1 hour flight.
Morning flight departing at 09H25 arriving 10H35 in Addis Ababa and check into Adot-Tina Hotel. The team will visit the National Museum, the Church of the Holy Trinity where Haile Selassies’ remains were reburied in 2000 and the Menelik Mausoleum.
We will have a relaxed afternoon followed by a good dinner in Addis.
Day 8: International Flight
Transportation will be provided to the airport. Depart Addis for Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport.