Camping in the Simien Mountains

The perfect compliment for a longer visit. A few nights camping under the stars in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia is an absolute must for anyone planning a trip to Ethiopia. Enquire about this trip to include it as part of a larger itinerary.

4 Days

$978

Camping in the Simien Mountains - 4 - $978

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Introduction: 

The classic camping/trekking route in the Simiens. This short camping trip through the Simien Mountains can work great as a standalone adventure, but is more commonly included as part of a wider itinerary.  The itinerary illustrates some of what is possible in the Simiens, but it is possible to arrange trips from 1 night up to 10 nights in the Simien Mountains, using a combination of camping and lodge stays. Enquire for details. 

What's the best way to explore the Simien Mountains?

There are 3 main campsites in the Simiens: Sankaber, Geech, and Chennek. The classic trail starts by the park entrance and heads to Sankaber for the first night. You then trek on to Geech for a second night, and a final night at Chennek (the best of the 3 campsites with exceptional views, and the best place to spot Walia Ibex!). If you don't have time for the full 3 night trek, you can skip one of the campsites to make it 2 nights - or even one!

If you wanted to combine the trekking/camping experience with a night at a lodge in the mountains, there are two main lodges to choose from. The Simien Lodge sits inside the park and is a great base for self-walks. Gelada Monkeys play on the terrace and the views are fantastic. Sitting just outside the park entrance is the Limalimo Lodge, the finest lodge in Ethiopia. It's a stunning property and closest to luxury lodging available in Ethiopia. It has full board service and exceptional views.

If you wanted to remove the camping element all together, it is possible to spend 1/2/3 nights at one of the two lodges and simply drive into the park (a road along the main trail). This means you can take day trips into the park, stopping at the best viewpoints/trekking routes, and returning to the lodge for sundowners, four walls and comfortable bed!

Check out our Simien Mountain trekking page for more information on how to explore the Simien Mountains. 

Start from Addis Ababa and end at Addis Ababa

Landmarks visited on Camping in the Simien Mountains

Itinerary

Day 1: Simien Mountains National Park – Gondar – Debark to Sankaber (3,200m) 2-3 hours / 7km.

A car will pick you up from your hotel in Gondar take you to Debark, the headquarters of the Simien Mountains National Park. Here you’ll meet with your trek leader and scout. You’ll take a 4×4 some of the way to your first camp at Sankaber, but you will walk the final stretch (approximately 3 hours) in order to acclimatise to the altitude.

Ascending to over 3,000m above sea level and with a jagged landscape, you’ll be stunned by the views from the offset. You’ll be met with drinks, a tasty and hearty dinner, and a campsite in Sankaber where you can sit around the fire and swap stories with guides and other trekkers. 

Brilliant says: if booking this trip as a standalone adventure, it is common to start arrangements with us from Gondar. If you are including this trip as part of a wider itinerary, then arrangements will start from Addis Ababa. 


Accommodation: Camping at Sankaber

Accommodation Upgrade Options: Possible to replace camping in the Simiens with lodge stays, enquire for details. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 2: Simien Mountains National Park – Sankaber (3,200 m) – Geech (3,600m). 7-8 hours / 15km.

The first full day of hiking starts with breakfast, and then a trail along the ridge. This gives you a vantage point and incredible views over the foothills some 800m below. The mountains are known worldwide for their biodiversity: Ethiopia’s placement on the equator makes this mountain range a particularly temperate one. Your guides will point out flora and fauna of note, but regular sightings on this trail are of Gelada Baboons, Kilpspringer and Ibex. From these heights, you’ll be able to watch birds of prey soar on the thermals below.

A highlight of today’s path is Genbar Falls, a waterfall over a sobering 500m sheer drop which you’ll see from the opposite side of the ridge. After a break for lunch, you’ll carry on towards Geech, a remote traditional village with thatched roofs. This is the perfect opportunity for a booster: some coffee and injera. Then onwards to the camp which is a great spot for watching the sunset. 


Accommodation: Camping at Geech

Accommodation Upgrade Options: Possible to replace camping in the Simiens with lodge stays, enquire for details. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 3: Simien Mountains National Park – Geech (3,600m) – Inayte (4,070m) – Chennek (3,600m) - 7 hours, 15km. 

Today is a 7-8 hour trek from Geech to Chennek via the incredible Imet Gogo and Inataye. Imet Gogo, standing at nearly 4000m, affords unbelievable panoramic views of the entire Simien range. 

Most of today’s path hugs the edge of the ridge. You’ll drop down through a forest of Giant Hazel before rising back to open grassland and continuing on your ascent up to Inyate. The views from the top are monumental. After recovering from the climb and the view, you’ll descend towards Chenek camp. This camp is well known for its visitors: Wallia Ibex and Gelada Baboons.


Accommodation: Camping at Chennek

Accommodation Upgrade Options: Possible to replace camping in the Simiens with lodge stays, enquire for details. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 4: Simien Mountains National Park – Mount Buahit (4,430m) 5-6 hours

Mount Buahit is Ethiopia’s third highest peak, standing at an impressive 4430 metre. Your route to Mount Buahit follows footpaths off the road alongside a stream that trickles down the hill. This is quite a steep walk, but you can take regular breaks at great view points en route. This is your best chance to see Walia Ibex. 

Brilliant says: you can extend your trek in the Simien Mountains beyond these 3 days. From here, you can return to Gondar to connect with your onward journey, return to Addis Ababa, or retreat the Limalimo Lodge for some R&R after the trekking. Enquire for details.

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices are per person based on 2 people travelling together. 

Includes

  • Domestic flights. 
  • Airport transfers and road transport by private minibus.
  • Full board, including mineral water.
  • Full camping equipment including tents, mattresses and sleeping bags for camping and trekking. Recommended to bring own sleeping bag.
  • Fees for entrances, local guides, compulsory scouts/ security personnel for activities mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All government taxes for the services included in the tour price.

Excludes

  • International flights and visa fees.
  • Activities not mentioned or stated as optional in the itinerary.
  • Fees for photos and video.
  • Other personal expenses, souvenirs, tips and gratuities, etc.

Questions about this Trip?