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Trek the Simien Mountains

Ethiopia Trek INTENSE
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About the Challenge

The Simien Mountains form one of Africa’s largest and most spectacular mountain ranges. 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 goal is the summit of Ras Dashen (4620m), Ethiopia’s highest mountain and the fourth-highest in Africa, but the spectacular landscapes will awe us long before we get there!

This combination of diverse wildlife, friendly local people and tough but incredibly rewarding trekking will stay with you for a long time to come.

Trek the Simien Mountains

  • We arrive in Ethiopia and, after completing formalities, take a short internal flight to Gonder (2133m), gateway to the Simien Mountain National Park. After time to freshen up and relax we meet for dinner and an evening briefing before preparing for the start of our trek. Night hotel.

  • After an early breakfast, we drive to the bustling town of Debark, and enter the Simien Mountain National Park. Now on foot, we set off around the cliff face high on the plateau and glimpse the spectacular backdrop of the Simien Mountains for the first time. We are likely to encounter gelada baboons, endemic to Ethiopia, and the noisy wattled ibis. Night camp (3200m).

    Drive approx. 3 hours; trek approx. 5 hours

  • A hearty breakfast sets us on our way as we head towards Geech abyss and the stunning Jin Bahir Falls. Dropping down to the viewpoint perched on a rocky spur opposite the falls, we enjoy a great view as the Jin Bahir river plunges over the cliff into the 1000m drop below. Leaving the falls, we have a sharp climb to rejoin the road before veering off into the valley and crossing the Jin Bahir River further upstream. The final stage of the day follows well-walked paths through cultivated terraces towards Geech village and our campsite nestled high above the village. Night camp (3600m).

    Trek approx. 6 – 7 hours

  • Leaving camp, we set off on a steady climb across open moorland towards Imet Gogo, a rocky outcrop perched high above the canyons. The cliffs drop away 1500m below us, but the 360-degree views of the surrounding area are fabulous! Retracing our steps, we head east and drop down until we are just above the source of the river. We then commence the steady climb to Inatye crest (4090m), following the path over the top and down around the mountain, descending nearly 500m to our campsite. We should be there in time to watch the usually-spectacular sunset over the cliffs around Chenek. Night camp (3600m)

    Trek approx. 9 hours

  • The cliffs around Chenek are the only known habitat for the walia ibex in the world, and the need to protect their environment was the main justification for making this area a protected National Park. Keep your eyes peeled for them as we ascend through the valley from Chenek, skirting around the side of Mount Bwahit. We climb to around 4200m before leaving the confines of the Park and dropping down into the next valley, heading east towards Ambikwa. We drop over 1000m in elevation to the valley bottom before crossing the river and climbing back uphill towards our campsite. Night camp (3400m).

    Trek approx. 8 hours

  • A hearty breakfast sets us on our way to the summit of Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in Ethiopia. A steep climb out of the valley takes us over the ridge and into easier flatter terrain as we traverse the ridges around the mountain and pass under spectacular rocky cliff faces. Another steep push finally brings us to the flatter side of Ras Dashen, and round to the bottom of the rocky outcrop just below the summit. A final scramble brings us to the top (4620m), where the awe-inspiring views stretching in every direction will take your breath away, if the altitude hasn’t already! We return to Ambikwa the way we came, with a rigorous descent in the last two hours back to our campsite at Ambikwa. Night camp (3400m).

    Trek approx. 10 – 12 hours  

  • Retracing our steps, we climb back towards Chenek, dropping down into the valley to camp, where we can indulge in a few freshly-delivered beers to celebrate our achievement. Tired but elated, we enjoy our final night under canvas. Night camp (3600m).

    Trek approx. 9 hours

  • We transfer by bus back to Gonder and our hotel. After checking in there will be an opportunity for a bit of last minute shopping before meeting up in the evening for a well-earned celebration meal. Night hotel.

    (Dinner not included)


    Drive 5 – 6 hours

  • We take the morning flight back to the capital in time for our international flight home. NB: Depending on flight schedules we may sometimes arrive on Day 11.

    (Lunch not included)

Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £4,000 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target £3,000 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £399 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,775 Airline Taxes £225.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 weeks prior to trip departure


    • All transport from London to Gonder return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation & camping equipment
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, cooks, mules & muleteers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Entry to National Park and any other sites visited as part of the itinerary


    • Two meals as specified in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for the local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax supplied at the time of writing)
    • Entry visa
    • Sleeping bag & sleeping mat
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes; we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • 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 do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier please call for details. 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.

  • Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels or camp. Occasionally we may use hostel-style accommodation. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller.

  • We camp in two-man tents; these are usually expedition-style (ie sleeping room only). Camps are usually simple, in remote locations with great views! We have communal dining areas (usually with tables and chairs/stools) and toilet tents, and the local crew look after us very well. We stay in hotels (of a 2-3* standard or equivalent) at the start and end of the trip; standards may vary between different hotels, but they are generally clean and comfortable with good facilities.

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    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 may be in very rural or remote 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 we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • 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. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • An expedition doctor or medic accompanies the group (dependent on group size.) Their role is 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 total 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: participant ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, 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, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. 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 many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft 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 communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They 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 medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. 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.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is up-to-date and any visas are obtained in good time. For further information please see our Factsheet and Visa information page.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does 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 participants 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!



It was still a brilliant experience, in spite of all of the challenges we faced.


I had a good experience with DA and would recommend them.

Trek Training Weekend


£160 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Trek Training Weekends take place in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. This training weekend is designed to put you through your paces to enable you to gauge fitness levels and gain advice from our experienced leaders.


GRADE | intense (4)

Trip grades range from Challenging (1) to Extreme (5).

INTENSE trips involve particularly challenging terrain and tough conditions, usually at altitude. As well as good fitness and stamina, they demand a determined approach and total commitment.

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