• cycling tour ethiopia

Bike Adventure at the Horn of Africa

An authentic bike tour, spiced with a breeze of adventure! This trip to the northern highlands of the former Abyssinian Empire combines adventure, challenging bike days and fascinating cultural history. Come on a unique journey, experience breathtaking landscapes and an exciting everyday culture, shaped by millennia-old traditions. Ethiopia awaits you!

UNDERSTAND OUR ICONS

Accompanied by one of our experienced German speaking bike guides you will visit Lalibela with its churches carved out of rock and experience the Simien Mountains up close on magnificent bike days. Winding mountain roads lead to Axum, where you come across the relics of a powerful ancient civilization. Another highlight of this trip is the biking through the rock massifs of the Tigray and Gheralta region. On hidden paths you explore picturesque sacred buildings and experience the open heartiness of the local people. 

Dates:

  • GR14-01: November 6 to 21, 2021
  • GR14-02: November 27 to December 12, 2021
  • GR14-03: April 2 to 17, 2022

Tour code: GR14

Operator: Partner of SimienEcoTours

Gallery

Itinerary & In/Exclusions

Day 1

Flight from Zürich to Addis Ababa

Flight time: 8 h

Flight with Ethiopian Airlines from Zürich to Addis Ababa. Arrival at Bole International Airport. Here you are welcomed by our tour guide and transferred to our hotel in Addis Ababa.

Meals: during flight

Day 2

Addis Ababa - the 'New Flower'

Travel: 1-2 h, 50 km

Early morning arrival in Addis Ababa. Afterwards departure for an entertaining city tour through the capital of Ethiopia. We also visit the Trinity Cathedral with the tomb of the last emperor Haile Selassie. In the National Museum you visit Lucy, with her 3.2 million years of age probably one of the oldest human ancestors. Finally, from the Entoto Mountains you have a far-reaching view of the pulsating metropolis.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: The Swiss Inn Nexus Hotel or similar in Addis Ababa

Day 3

Visit the rock churches of Lalibela

Flight time: 1 h

Travel: 1 h, 25 km

Biking: 1 h, 10 km (difficulty: easy, altitude difference: ↑200m, ↓200m)

Morning flight to Lalibela (2,500 m). The town is world famous for its unique churches carved out of the fields, often called the eighth wonder of the world. After visiting the rock churches, you will explore the village together by bike, including magnificent panoramas of the surrounding mountain ranges of the Amhara region.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Mountain View Hotel or similar, Lalibela

Day 4

Bike trip to Asheton Mariam Monastery

Biking: 2-3 h, 25 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑600m, ↓600m)

In the morning a varied bike tour to the rock church Asheten Maryam (2,990 m) awaits you. A wide track leads through village settlements and fields up to the Asheten table mountain. From here you have a wonderful panoramic view of the Lalibela area. The location of the hidden church with its impressive and rustic atmosphere guarantees goose bump atmosphere!

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Mountain View Hotel or similar, Lalibela

Day 5

By bike and plane to Gondar

Flight time: 0.5 h

Travel: 0.5 h, 15 km

Biking: 1 h, 25 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑200m, ↓700m)

On a contemplative panoramic road you leave Lalibela and wind your way down a long descent into the Tekeze valley. A short domestic flight takes you to the old imperial city of Gondar, where you explore the medieval old town with its magnificently preserved fortress.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Taye Belay Hotel or similar, Gondar

Day 6

By bike in the Simien Mountains National Park

Travel: 3 h, 120 km

Biking: 2-3 h, 25 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑730m, ↓450m)

The high mountains are waiting! After a short transfer to Debark (2,900 m) you will go by bike on a well developed gravel road directly into the park. The endemic flora and fauna seems to increase with every step: Erica-vegetation, wide grass mats and beyond the tree line the bizarre beauty of the afro-alpine landscapes with lobelias.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Sankaber Campsite, Simien Mountains National Park

Day 7

The cliffs of the Simiens and endemic wildlife

Biking: 2-3 h, 25 km (difficulty: moderate/medium, altitude difference: ↑800m, ↓580m)

Hiking: 0.5 h, 2 km (difficulty: easy, altitude difference: ↑50m, ↓50m)

Optional biking to Bwahit Pass: 2 h, 15 km (difficulty: medium, altitude difference: ↑580m, ↓580m)

The animal world is a big hit in the national park. Unlimited stars are the large troops of the blood-breasted baboons (Geladas), from the bike you can watch them eating, frolicking and lousing around. With a bit of luck you may also spot the mighty lammergeier, graceful Ethiopian wolves or majestic walia ibex. In addition to all these unique experiences, the gigantic and steep cliffs offer you fantastic panoramic views. It is not for nothing that the Simien Mountains are also called the "Roof of Africa".

After arrival at your campsite your guide will offer an optional bike trip to the 4,100m high Bwahit Pass.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Chennek Campsite, Simien Mountains National Park

Day 8

Cliff hike and biking back to Debark

Biking: 2-3 h, 25 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑450m, ↓800m)

Hiking: 4 h, 10 km (difficulty: moderate/medium, altitude difference: ↑400m, ↓400m)

In the morning you undertake a cliff walk up to Inataye (4,070 Hm). In the afternoon you enjoy a downhill ride to Debark. Biking, hiking, amazement and enjoyment - this is probably the best way to describe the days in the Simien National Park!

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Tsehay Zeleke Hotel or similar, Debark

Day 9

Axum - legendary royal city

Travel: 3-4 h, 250 km

Biking: 2-3 h, 40 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑300m, ↓1.600m)

With the bike you follow a historical serpentine road down into the lowlands and enjoy further panoramas of the extra class. In the evening you arrive in Axum, the cradle of orthodox Ethiopian Christianity and the place of origin of the Solomonian imperial dynasty.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Yared Zema Hotel or similar, Axum

Day 10

The legendary Ark of the Covenant

Optional travel: 0.5 h, 15 km

Optional biking: 1 h, 15 km (difficulty: easy, altitude difference: ↑100m, ↓100m)

More than 3,000 years ago, the civilizing settlement of today's Ethiopia began here. Next to the famous park of the stelae you visit the tomb of King Kaleb. Axum is still one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites today, as Ethiopian historians say that the legendary Ark of the Covenant is kept here.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Yared Zema Hotel or similar, Axum

Day 11

Spectacular trails to Yeha

Travel: 2.5 h, 100 km

Biking: 3-4 h, 50 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑700m, ↓640m)

You cycle through the spectacular Tigray region. Picturesque rock massifs on the horizon look like oversized silhouettes in the sunlight. Over a varied single trail we reach the village of Yeha, one of the most important temples of the pre-axumite age. You take our shuttle bus for the last few kilometers to Adigrat.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Agoro Lodge or similar, Adigrat

Day 12

Hawzen - the 'Arizona of Ethiopia'

Biking: 3-4 h, 50 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑640m, ↓830m)

An impressive bike ride leads you through a landscape dominated by cacti and terraced fields. On off-road tracks and trails you experience an exciting bike day with views of the gigantic table mountains.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Gheralta Lodge or similar, Hawzen

Day 13

Hiking and biking in Gheralta

Biking: 3 h, 20 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑300m, ↓300m)

Hiking: 4 h, 10 km (difficulty: moderate/medium, altitude difference: ↑400m, ↓400m)

With the bike you reach the foot of the Gheralta Mountain. On foot you explore the extraordinary landscape and hike to the rock church of Mariam Korkor. Like an eagle's nest, the church is enthroned on an exposed rock above the landscape and has retained its original charm to this day due to its hidden location. After its visit you ride your bike along a little frequented road towards your next overnight stay in Wukro.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Wukro Lodge or similar, Wukro

Day 14

Visit the market in Mekelle

Travel: 2 h, 50 km

With our shuttle bus you reach Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region. At the bustling market you meet the caravans from the Danakil depression selling their salt bars.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Axum Hotel or similar, Mekelle

Day 15

Return journey to Europe

Flight time: 1.5 h

Travel: 1 h, 40 km

Short domestic flight back to Addis Ababa. In the evening transfer to the airport and return journey to Europe.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: ---

Day 16

Arrival in Europe

Flight time: 8 h

You catch a night flight back home and arrive early today.

Meals: during flight

Included

Our services include:
  • international flight from/to Zürich, Switzerland
  • all (3) domestic flights in Ethiopia (Addis Ababa-Lalibela, Lalibela-Gondar, Mekelle-Addis) with Ethiopian Airlines in tourist class;
  • airport taxes & fees;
  • all accommodation in double/double rooms with WC/shower in hotels or lodges (10x mid-range, 1x standard-range), (Double rooms with same-sex partner; in case of single occupancy because no same-sex partner is found, half of the single room surcharge applies);
  • all transfers and travels in Ethiopia by private vehicle (minibus or coaster bus);
  • permanent escort vehicle for bicycle transport;
  • full board (1 drink per meal included, alcoholic drinks excluded);
  • Camping equipment (except sleeping bag) and local crew in Simien National Park;
  • all entrance fees and permissions at tourist attractions, churches, museums and national parks;
  • all entrance fees for sights, churches, museums and national parks;
  • for Simien National Park: entrance fees, local guides, scouts and rangers;
  • all persons for safety and security (when prescribed);
  • bike shirt;
  • all taxes and administrative fees;
  • all tips for meals;
  • all (mandatory) local guides in the single destinations;
  • 24/7 emergency assistance;
  • experienced SimienEcoTours BikeGuide (fluent in German and Amharic).

Optional

Our optional services:
  • Rental mountain bikes from SimienEcoTours (Scott Scale 980, model 2018/19, sizes S-XL) (extra charge: CHF 290);
  • MyClimate carbon offsetting fee.

Excluded

Our services do not include:
  • Flight surcharge for Transport of own bike from Europe (approx. CHF 200, payable at the airport)
  • travel insurance;
  • visa for Ethiopia (currently € 46);
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • tips;
  • photo and video fees (if applicable);
  • all extras and personal expenses.