Mountain Bike Cycling Trip in Ethiopia’s North | 13 Days

  • Tour Overview

    Tour Highlights:

    • Guided city tour through Ethiopia’s lively capital Addis Ababa
    • UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site: on foot and by bike to the fascinating rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
    • The palaces and churches of the fascinating imperial city of Gondar
    • Hiking and cycling in the breathtaking Simien Mountains, up to 4000 m high, with unique flora and fauna
    • Spectacular descent by bike from the Simien mountain range into the lowlands
    • Another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage: The Axum Obelisk
    • On foot and by bike to the breathtaking rock-hewn churches high above the biblical landscape of Hawzen
    • Walk around Wenchi Crater Lake
    • Cultural encounters with the Gurage tribe
    • Boat trip on the Wenchi crater lake
    • Bathing in the Wollisso hot springs
  • Itinerary

    Group Size: 8-14 participants

    km = kilometer & am = altitude meter

     

    Day 1              Arrival in Addis Ababa

    Welcome to Bole International Airport in the capital of Ethiopia where your tour guide greets you. After loading the bicycles, the transport vehicle starts the long journey to Lalibela in the north of Ethiopia. After check in at the hotel and refreshment, you do a city tour of Addis Ababa including the national museum, where you can see the Lucy fossil skeleton, and a walk in the fresh mountain air through Entoto hills park. (B,L,D)

    Vamos Hotel Addis Abeba

    Driving time by bus 1-2 h

     

    Day 2¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Flight Addis Ababa ‚Äď Lalibela

    A domestic 1-hour flight takes you to the holy town of Lalibela beautifully located against the backdrop of the Lasta Mountains. At the hotel you find your bikes ready to be mounted together with your fellow cyclists. After lunch you explore the town on a small trip from the bike ideal for getting acclimatized to the 2600 m altitude. You visit the world-famous rock churches in the heart of Lalibela, which are carved out of living volcanic tuff with extraordinary architectural skills which are worldwide unique and registered by UNESCO as world heritage. Among the churches of this group Bete Medahine Alem (house of the redeemer) is the largest church with 5 aisles, 72 pillars, vaulted dome and molding decoration. Bete Mariam (house of St. Mary) is the most decorated among the rock hewn churches. (B,L,D)

    Cliff Edge Hotel Lalibela 

    Distance by bike 5-10 km, 100 am, dirt road/cobblestone

    Driving time by bus 1-2 h

     

    Day 3              By bike to the village of Genete Mariam

    The surrounding area of Lalibela is no less impressive than the town itself. Today you go on your first real bike tour. The tarmac road out of Lalibela is leading into the solitude of the majestic Lasta mountains until you reach the village of Genete Mariam. Here you park the bikes and hike to one of the most beautiful and undiscovered rock churches in Ethiopia. The cave church Makina Medane Alem can only be reached by a steep 3-hour climb. If you are not into hiking, you can continue by bike and explore the surrounding valleys. In the late afternoon, the group meets again in Genete Mariam, from where you take a transfer back to Lalibela. (B,L,D)

    Cliff Edge Hotel Lalibela 

    Distance by bike 22-50 km, 200-500 am, 40% tar / 60% dirt road

    Driving time by bus 1 h

     

    Day 4¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Flight Lalibela ‚Äď Gondar

    Today your flight to Gondar only leaves later in the morning so that there is enough time to cycle on a scenic route down to the airport. The bikes are loaded again onto our back up vehicle taking them to Gondar. You take a 1-hour flight to the ‚ÄúCamelot of Africa‚ÄĚ, the city of castles and palaces, as Gondar is referred to. After checking into your hotel, the afternoon is dedicated to the fascinating history of Gondar. The Fasil Ghebbi is a park with a total of five castles from the 17th century, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Royal Enclosure is surrounded by high stone walls containing the ruins of 17th century palaces of king Fasiladas, king Iyasu and queen Mentewab and other buildings. The castles are a mixture of Ethiopian, European and probably also Indian styles. According to descriptions of 17th century travelers, the interior of the castle of king Fasiladas was extremely luxurious, decorated with gold, ivory and precious stones.¬†(B,L,D)

    Herfazy Resort Gondar 

    Distance by bike 20 km, 100 am, 50% tar / 50% dirt road

    Driving time by bus 0.5 h

     

    Day 5¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Gondar ‚Äď Kossoye

    In the morning you visit the Debre Berhan Selassie Church, meaning Trinity at the Mount of Light. It has a rectangular structure and ceilings are decorated with beautiful winged angels and its walls with impressive scenes depicting biblical events, including the life of Christ, Mary and the saints and martyrs. There is also a painting of the church’s founder, Emperor Iyasu . After a light lunch you leave Gondar for a slightly mountainous route to the nearby village of Kossoye often along the ridge with great views into the Simien mountains. In the afternoon you reach todays destination, the Kossoye Eco-Lodge. From your bungalow you can enjoy the great views or go on one of the walking trails around the lodge. (B,L,D)

    Befikir Eco Lodge Kossoye 

    Distance by bike 30 km, 300 am, tar

     

    Day 6¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Kossoye ‚Äď Simien National Park

    After breakfast you transfer into the Simien National Park. You start cycling on a good dirt road along the jagged panorama of the Simien Mountains, famed for its exclusive landscape, afro-alpine vegetation and unique wildlife, where you may spot the endemic Wallia Ibex and the friendly Gelada Baboon troops at very close range. Birdlife is prolific with species such as Chestnut-napped Francolin, Mountain Thrush, Thick-billed Raven, Lammergeyer, White-collared Pigeon and Ankober Serin to name just a few. During a stop you take a walk to a breath-taking viewpoint at Jinbar Waterfall where you can see the water plunge almost 400 meters down the cliff. The length of the route is flexible and can be adjusted to everybody’s needs and abilities. In the early evening you check in at the comfortable Simien Lodge, the highest lodge in Africa. (B,L,D)

    Simien Lodge

    Distance by bike 20-50 km, 300-600 am, dirt road

    Driving time by bus 2 h

     

    Day 7¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Simien National Park ‚Äď Axum

    Today one of the most spectacular descents in the country takes you on the historic dirt road, built by the Italians, with more than 40 kilometers of serpentines into the valleys, almost 2000 meters below. You cycle through centuries-old forests and villages, an unforgettable experience! You continue the journey in the back up vehicle to Axum, where you arrive in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)

    Atranos Hotel Axum 

    Distance by bike 40 km, 300 am, 30% tar / 70% dirt road

    Driving time by bus 4-5 h

     

    Day 8¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Axum ‚Äď Gheralta

    At the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Axum you can study the story of the Axumite Empire, which ruled large parts of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The stele graves of former rulers, the Archaeological Museum and also the grounds of the 16th-century Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion, home of the original Ark of the Covenant, tell the story of this mighty empire. After lunch you start cycling through the beautiful mountains of the Adua, training grounds of the Ethiopian national cycling team. Nearby is the historic spot where in 1896 the Ethiopians under King Menelik II. defeated the Italians. In the evening you check into a beautiful lodge for the next 3 nights. (B ,L,D)

    Gheralta Lodge / Agoro Lodge

    Distance by bike 20 km, 100 am, tar

    Driving time by bus 3-4 h

     

    Day 9              Gheralta

    Today your bike takes you through the beautiful Gheralta region featuring certainly one of the most fascinating landscapes in Ethiopia. The picturesque villages and the red sandstone mountains of the Tigray province present an almost biblical landscape. After having changed accommodation frequently in the past days it is very relaxing to return back to the same place for dinner! (B,L,D)

    Gheralta Lodge / Agoro Lodge

    Distance by bike 60 km, 400-800 am, dirt road

     

    Day 10            Gheralta

    After breakfast you can relax in the beautiful lodge or take a half day trip on your bike on secluded slopes through undulating valleys to one of the rock churches. In the afternoon you do a hike to one of the rock churches high up on the sandstone cliffs with breath-taking views. In the evening you are back for dinner at the lodge. (B,L,D)

    Gheralta Lodge / Agoro Lodge

    Distance by bike 30-40 km, 100-200 am, 30% tar / 70% dirt road

    Driving time by bus 1-2 h

     

    Day 11¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Gheralta ‚Äď Wolisso

    As it‚Äôs a long way back to Addis Ababa, your bike is already loaded for being taken back to the capital and you can get to know Ethiopia from another perspective. After a transfer to the airport in Mekelle a 1.5 hours flight takes you back to Addis Ababa, from where you continue to the Gurage region. For the last 2 nights of your trip you are accommodated at the comfortable Negash Lodge located in the green town of Wolisso. The park like setting with a swimming pool offers a great ambience for finishing off your journey. Ethiopia’s diversity again is once more evident as you visit the Gurage people and experience an Ethiopia very different from the North.¬†(B,L,D)

    Negash Resort Wolisso 

    Driving time by bus 6-7h

     

    Day 12            Day trip to Wenchi Crater Lake

    The beautiful Wenchi Crater Lake located not too far from the lode is a great area for hiking. On today’s hike around the lake you experience the rural Gurage culture up close by visiting farming families. Activities include swimming in hot springs and taking a boat cruise across the lake. In the evening you enjoy a dinner at the lodge. (B,L,D)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

    Negash Resort Wolisso 

    Hiking distance 12 km (4-5 h)

    Driving time by bus 2-3 h

     

    Day 13¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Wolisso ‚Äď Addis Ababa

    After breakfast, the morning is spent at the lodge and you only leave for Addis Ababa after lunch. Once back in the capital you still have the chance to stroll around and buy some souvenirs in the afternoon. An optional day room (at own expense) offers comfort and refreshment before the late flight. A farewell dinner rounds off your trip before you are shuttled to the airport. (B,L,D)

    Driving time by bus 3-4 h

     

    Accommodation subject to availability

  • Rates & Dates

    Dates Price Status Available Spots
    14.02.2021 - 26.02.2021$3,290.00bookable14 spotsselect
    03.10.2021 - 15.10.2021$3,290.00bookable14 spotsselect
    17.10.2021 - 29.10.2021$3,290.00bookable14 spotsselect

     

    Additional Services:

    Single Room Surcharge $420.00 

    Extra night per person  in a double / twin room in Addis Ababa for guests with early arrival including airport shuttle $35.00

    Extra night in a single room in Addis Ababa for guests with early arrival including airport shuttle $60.00

    Day room per person  as a double / twin room at the end of the trip in Addis Ababa $35.00

    Day room as a single room at the end of the trip in Addis Ababa $60.00

     

    * Date with German-speaking Tour Guide

    ^ Date with English-speaking Tour Guide

     

    This tour is also available from 2 participants on any preferred date. More information here.

     
  • Services


    Included:

    • Experienced fluent English and Amharic speaking tour guide on bike
    • all (3) domestic flights in Ethiopia (Addis Ababa-Lalibela, Lalibela-Gondar, Mekelle-Addis Ababa) with Ethiopian Airlines in the tourist class (surcharge of $250.00 if the international flight is not with Ethiopian Airlines)
    • all accommodations in double / twin rooms with toilet / shower in hotels or lodges (4x comfort class, 8x upper middle class)
    • all transfers and trips in Ethiopia by private vehicle (minibus or coaster bus)
    • constant support vehicle for bicycle transport
    • Full board (1 drink included per meal, excluding alcoholic beverages)
    • all entrance fees to attractions, churches, museums and national parks
    • for the Simien National Park: entrance fees, local guides, scouts and rangers
    • Police and military protection if required
    • all tips for meals
    • local (compulsory) guides in each destination


    Not Included:

    • International flights
    • Travel Insurance
    • Visa for Ethiopia ( currently est. $55.00)
    • Alcoholic drinks
    • Tips
    • Photo and video fees (if any)
    • All extras and personal expenses
  • Rental Bikes



    MTB Hardtail 27/30 Speed
    Price: $290.00


    Bottle holder included
  • Travel Hints

    A medium level of fitness and team spirit are required for this trip. The bike routes include some difference in elevation. The stage in the Simien mountains takes place at an altitude of more than 3000 m. But due to the distances of not more than 50 km, the routes are easy to master. An accompanying vehicle also allows to individually shorten the cycling distances.

    The temperatures on this trip are quite variable, but because of the general altitude of the areas visited between 2000 and 3500 m, the climate is pleasant, without high humidity and never really hot. At night it can get very cold, especially in the Simien mountains with temperatures below freezing point. The daily maximum temperatures during the whole trip will rarely exceed 25-27¬†¬įC.

    Vaccinations are not mandatory in Ethiopia. Due to the altitude there is no danger of malaria in the areas visited.


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