Mountain Biking on Ethiopia's Best Roads and Trails

An authentic bike tour, spiced with a breeze of adventure! This trip to the northern and western highlands of the former Abyssinian Empire combines adventure, challenging bike days and fascinating cultural history.

 UNDERSTAND OUR ICONS

We will first visit Lalibela with its churches carved out of rock and experience the Simien mountains up close on magnificent bike stages. After a relaxing day in Gorgora on Lake Tana we’ll explore the highlands East of the capital Addis Ababa where we’ll cycle on an extinct volcano and on the soft hills and green slopes of the unexplored Gurage area.

Come with us on a unique journey, experience breath-taking landscapes and an exciting everyday culture, shaped by millennia-old traditions. Ethiopia awaits you!

Tour code: CU35

Operator: SimienEcoTours

Gallery

ITINERARY & IN/EXCLUSIONS

Day 1

Addis Ababa - the new flower

Early morning arrival in Addis Ababa. Afterwards departure for an entertaining city tour through the capital of Ethiopia. In the National Museum we visit Lucy, with her 3.2 million years of age probably one of our oldest ancestors. From the Entoto Mountains we have a far-reaching view of the pulsating metropolis.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Sunspot Hotel or similar Addis Abeba

Day 2

Rock churches in Lalibela

Flight time: 1 h

Travel: 45 min

Biking: 10 km (difficulty: easy ↑200m, ↓200m)

Morning flight to Lalibela (2500 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, we will explore the village together by bike, including magnificent panoramas of the surrounding mountain ranges of the Amhara region.


Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Lalibela Lodge or similar, Lalibela

Day 3

Bike tour to Asheten Maryam mountain monastery

Biking: 25 km (difficulty: difficult, altitude difference: ↑650m, ↓650m)

Hiking: 1 km (difficulty: easy, altitude difference: ↑200m, ↓200m)

In the morning a varied bike tour to the rock church Asheten Maryam at 3000m awaits us. A wide track leads through village settlements and fields up to the Asheten table mountain. The last 30 min to the monastery will be done hiking on a narrow path. From here we have a wonderful panoramic view of the Lalibela area. The location of the hidden church with its impressive and rustic atmosphere guarantees a goose bump atmosphere!

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Lalibela Lodge or similar, in Lalibela

Day 4

By bike and plane to Gondar

Flight time: 45 min

Travel: 30 min

Biking: 25 km (difficulty: easy, altitude difference: ↑200m, ↓700m)

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


Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Goha Hotel or similar, in Gondar

Day 5

By bike in the Simien National Park

Travel: 3 h; 120 km

Biking: 25 km (difficulty: difficult, altitude difference: ↑700m, ↓450m)

The high mountains are waiting! After a short transfer to Debark (2900 m) we will go by bike on a well developed track directly into the park. The endemic flora and fauna seems to increase with every step: Erika-vegetation, wide grass mats and beyond the tree line the bizarre beauty of the afro-alpine senecio's and lobelias.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Sankaber Camp (3240 m)

Day 6

Cliffs and blood-breasted baboons

Biking: 25 km (difficulty: difficult, altitude difference: ↑800m, ↓450m)

Optional Bawit Pass: 15 km  (difficulty: challenging, altitude difference: ↑600m, ↓600m)

Hiking: 30 min (difficulty: easy)

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

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Chenek Camp (3620 m)

Day 7

Hiking & Biking in the Simien National Park

Travel: 2-3 h; 150 km

Biking: 30 km (difficulty: medium, altitude difference: ↑400m, ↓400m)

Hiking: 10 km (difficulty: difficult, altitude difference: ↑600m, ↓500m)

In the morning we can hike and climb without bikes the mountain Inataye (4070 Hm) and then return to the roadside. Alternatively we cycle on the rough roads around Cheneck camp. Depending on the fitness and interest we’re flexible to find the best fit for you. Biking, hiking, amazement and enjoyment - this is probably the best way to describe the days in the Simien National Park! In the afternoon we return back to Gondar by car. 

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Goha Hotel or similar, 

Day 8

Enjoying and relaxing in Gorgora on Lake Tana

Biking: 70 km, (difficulty: medium, altitude difference: ↑700m, ↓1000m)

With the bike we follow the tarmac road which crosses the flat plateaus and hills south-east of Gondar until we reach the northern shore of Lake Tana in Gorgora. Although with tarmac surface, the road has very light traffic. After the rough roads of the Simien Mountains we’ll enjoy a smoother surface. Once in Gorgora by lunchtime we still have time to enjoy the rest of the day with some walking around the lodge or kayaking on Lake Tana.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: TIM & Kim Village or similar, in Gorgora

Day 9

Transfer from the North to the green West

Flight time: 1 h

Travel: 4 h; 170 km

In the morning we still have some time to enjoy the peaceful ambient of the lodge. Then we’ll make our way back to Gondar by car to catch a domestic flight which brings us back to Addis Ababa. From here we’ll be transferred about 110km to Wolisso where we take our rooms in a resort with a swimming pool, spa and a big garden full of monkeys.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Negash Resort or similar, in Wolisso

Day 10

Biking day trip on the extinct Wenchi volcano

Travel: 1 h; 40 km

Biking: 45 km (difficulty: difficult, altitude difference: ↑500m, ↓1600m)

The first part of the ride follows the Wenchi crater rim, with smooth trails on volcanic ash and beautiful vistas down into the crater. An exhilarating downhill stretch through Oromo villages and farmlands will bring you to Wolisso for your second overnight stay at the green gardens of Negash Resort.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Negash Resort or similar, in Wolisso

Day 11

Further West into the Gurage Zone

Travel: 1.5 h; 60 km

Biking: 30 km (difficulty: moderate/medium, altitude difference: ↑400m, ↓100m)

After breakfast at the resort we depart by car, leave the Oromia Region and make our way into Gurage Zone, which is one of the greenest places in Ethiopia. Muslims and Christians live together peacefully and follow century old traditions. As our first bike trip in this area we have a moderate one starting from Wolkite University to reach the lodge we’re using for the next 2 days: Desalegn Lodge in Agenna.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Dessalegn Lodge or similar, Agenna

Day 12

Beautiful daytrip in the green Gurage highlands

Biking: 45 km (difficulty: difficult, altitude difference: ↑800m, ↓800m)

A challenging but rewarding and very scenic day trip through the typical Gurage landscape awaits us. The beauty of the scenery is matched by the warmth and hospitality of the local people. This tour gives you the chance to visit the homes of these people whose only complaint when we visited before was “Why didn’t you tell us in advance so that we could prepare a ceremony for you?!”. Gurage is also famous for some of the unique and special Ethiopian food like kitfo or kocho.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Dessalegn Lodge or similar, Agenna

Day 13

From the highlands into the Great African Rift Valley

Travel: 4 h; 170 km

Biking: 30 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑300m, ↓1300m)

After breakfast we check out from the lodge and make our way home to Addis. On partly asphalt roads you will be able to cycle part of the way before the highlight of the day: we say goodbye to Gurage with a fast descent from 3350 to 2050m altitude. This breathtaking downhill ride into the Great African Rift Valley will be one of the last rides of your holiday. After some lunch near Butajira we will drive back to Addis Ababa (3 hrs.) where we checked into a hotel near the airport. 

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Sunspot Hotel or similar, in Addis Ababa

Day 14

Last bike trip and return journey to your home

Travel: 2 h

Biking: 40 km (difficulty: easy, altitude difference: ↑200m, ↓600m)

Today’s last ride of your 2 weeks tour is about 40km, good for both intermediate and advanced cyclists, with the second half of it almost purely downhill. Starting point in Lagodedi is at about 2,500m, and we'll reach Bishoftu at an altitude of 1,900m. With some ups and downs at the beginning we cross the Ethiopian highlands, which in this part is mostly fertile farmland. At halfway, when we'll have our lunch stop, there is a lake, a reservoir which provides water to the farmland below where onions, garlic and other vegetables are cultivated. Finally a steeper descent brings us down to Bishoftu where we will stop on the shores of one of the crater lakes for a well deserved cold drink, a nice finish of a memorable bike holiday. Then we return back to Addis Ababa, pack the bikes, refresh in a dayroom in the hotel and go out for a farewell dinner. In the evening transfer to the airport and return journey to your home country.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Sunspot Hotel or similar, in Addis Ababa (day-use)

Included

Our services include:
  • All domestic flights in Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines in tourist class (extra of 270 USD if the international flight is not performed with Ethiopian Airlines);
  • All accommodations in double rooms with private toilet/shower in hotels or lodges; exception in the Simien Mountains: 2 nights in tents for 2 persons; supplement for single room 300 USD;
  • All transfers and travels in Ethiopia with private car;
  • Full board (1 drink per meal included, alcoholic drinks excluded);
  • All entrance fees and permissions at tourist attractions, churches, museums and national parks;
  • For the camping in the Simien Mountains: entrance and camping fees, guide, scout/ranger, cook, cooking assistant, cooking and camping equipment (it's recommended to bring your own sleeping bag);
  • Bike support vehicle available throughout the tour
  • All (mandatory) local guides in the single destinations
  • Experienced SimienEcoTours tour bike guide (fluently English & Amharic speaking).

Excluded

Our services do not include:
  • International flights;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Visa in Ethiopia;
  • Bike rent (in case you’re not bringing your own bike): 260 USD;
  • Sleeping bag;
  • Alcoholic drinks;
  • Tipping;
  • Photo and video fees (if any);
  • All extras and personal expenditures.