About the challenge
The Simien Mountains form one of Africa’s largest and most spectacular mountain ranges. With many of the peaks rising above 4000m, they make for awe-inspiring and rewarding trekking. Our trek takes us through the Simien Mountain National Park, an area abundant with flora and fauna, fertile cultivated terraces and vibrant hillside villages.
Our ultimate goal is the summit of Ras Dashen (4620m), Ethiopia’s highest mountain and the fourth-highest in Africa. This is a tough and challenging trek but the beauty of the countryside, the diversity of the wildlife and exotic plants, and the friendliness of the local people will be something you will take away with you for a long time to come.
Part Payment option available with this challenge
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|06 Oct 2017||10||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£4150||Or||£1850||Book now|
Day 1-2: Fly to Gondor via Addis Ababa
Day 3-4: Trek over plateau with breath-taking views of gorges and waterfalls, pass villages and crop terraces
Day 5-6: Ascend through open moorland to rocky canyons, crossing ridges and valleys, gaining height to 4200m
Day 7-8: Summit Ras Dashen (4620m); descend back into green valley
Day 9-10: Back to Gondor and fly to London
What makes it intense?
Tough trekking over mountain passes at altitude
Varied terrain includes steep escarpments and rocky trails
Rich in culture; fascinating village life
Great wildlife-spotting opportunities
Camping whilst trekking
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights, transfers, camping equipment (other than sleeping bag and mat); all meals except two as specified in the itinerary; National Park entry fees and all other sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of porters, guides, cooks and drivers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline taxes if charged by the airline, (capped at £225 by Discover Adventure), two meals as specified, tips for local crew, Ethiopian entry visa or international airport tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites you may wish to visit on your free day. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Ethiopian Airlines, however, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We camp for 6 nights during the trek in two-man tents; you will be sharing with someone else on your trek. Camp facilities include tables, chairs and dining-tents. The hotels at the beginning and end of the trek are comfortable, clean hotel with private facilities, but please do not expect the same standards as you would in a tourist hotel in the UK!
Breakfasts are included when in hotels, and all meals whilst camping. Two dinners and one lunch are not included when you are in towns. The food is good and there is plenty of it.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers, cooks and porters. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters do not always speak much English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. Porters carry all luggage, food, water and camping equipment.
Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
This is a challenging trek mainly because of the altitude at which we are trekking. It is impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude and how it will affect them. Early symptoms include headaches, nausea, suppression of appetite and general lethargy. Where someone is suffering from more serious symptoms it may be necessary to walk them back down the mountain. Terrain is varied with trekking along well- trodden local paths, steep escarpments, rocky trails and light scrambling in places. Most of the walking is rough underfoot. Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. Mules will carry all the luggage, food, water and camping equipment. You will need a good daypack for items required during the day.
Clothing & Equipment
We are trekking on a remote mountains, where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly on the mountain. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
October – December is the best time to visit the Simien Mountains: it is drier but slightly cooler. June – September is rainy season; when it ends the flowers are spectacular. At other times the weather is equatorial and very pleasant, but nights can be chilly. In the mountains the weather can change frequently and you should be prepared. Altitude has a great effect on temperatures and it will get cooler as you climb higher. It will also be cold at night, sometimes below freezing.
This trek is designed to be challenging for those of good health and fitness, and is achievable for most people provided they train well in advance. We will supply you with a thorough training guide when you have registered. Training for the challenge is all part of the preparation and requires commitment! Without it, you will find the trek less enjoyable – and we want you to have the time of your life!
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport with at least one year to run is essential. A visa is required for entry into Ethiopia and is available at the airport in Addis Ababa on arrival.
We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last ten years and highly recommend protection against polio, hepatitis A and typhoid. A yellow fever injection is also required and you may be asked to show your vaccination document on entry. Malaria is not found in Addis Ababa or at the elevations we trek at in the mountains, so we do not recommend protection against malaria unless you are planning to extend your stay in Ethiopia. However you should always contact your GP or travel clinic for the latest information as world health situations do frequently change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.