1. How is the standard of the hotels?
Hotels can be arranged or booked depending on your inquiry. There are different ranges of hotels and price classes, especially in Addis Ababa, but also in other tourist destinations. However, we would like to accommodate our guests in reliable and good hotels because your hotel or lodge stay contributes significantly to your travel experience. As far as we are concerned it is nice if you can stay in a quiet and charming hotel after long and exhausting trips or if there is water in the hotel to enjoy a refreshing shower after a sweaty hike. In many tourist destinations in northern Ethiopia (Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum, or Lalibela) good hotels that meet these criteria range from approximately €40 to €70. There are hardly any good accommodations in remote parts of Ethiopia (e.g. Southern Ethiopia), in places with beautiful settings (Gheralta region), or inside National Parks (Bale National Park, Simien National Park, or Awash National Park). These lodges charge comparably high room rates of €120 to €550 per room. In our first trip proposals, we always like to offer you a mixture of city hotels and more expensive lodges, often beautifully situated in nature, in order to satisfy the wishes of most of our guests.
2. Do you have access to book international and domestic flights?
Yes, we can help you in booking flights, especially your domestic flights (all operated by Ethiopian Airlines), which sometimes are cheaper when booked in Ethiopia.
For international flights, we can assist you as well. But keep in mind that as a local operator don't have access to discounted rates. So, we book your flights directly with the airline. A service fee applies which often makes self-booking cheaper.
3. Is there any flexibility about my travel time schedule?
Our Group Tours are fixed departure trips and travel dates can't be changed. Of course, you can also book group itineraries as private tours and you will be flexible about your travel period. All our other itineraries can be flexible depending upon customers’ interests.
4. Is there any possibility to have a custom-made trip?
Yes, of course. You can let us know your special interests and needs in advance so that we can offer you a customized tour.
5. How big are the group sizes of the tours?
Our tours welcome groups of different sizes, from individual, small, medium to large groups. You find the minimum and maximum group sizes mentioned with every of our group tours.
6. Is there any age restriction?
We do not have age restrictions for older people but we suggest a medical checkup for travelers starting from the age of 65. Family travelers with their children are welcome. We believe that to travel independently one has to be at least 18 years old.
7. Can you arrange a trip for disabled people?
Yes, we do, but we need to have specific information about the special needs of the disabled person ahead of time.
8. What are your means of transportation like?
Depending on road conditions and group sizes we offer different means of transportation.
- Transfers for small and medium-sized groups: modern robust minivans;
- Transfers for large-sized groups: Toyota Coaster buses;
- For city tours: minivans, Toyota Coaster buses and private cars;
- For areas outside of cities: 4WD and special buses.
See our car fleet here.
9. Are we accompanied by a tour guide on the trip?
Yes, throughout your trip with us you are accompanied by one of our qualified SimienEcoTours tour guides. This guarantees you great insights into a country and unique encounters and conversations with its people. Your tour guide will also take care of logistics to ensure that your trip runs smoothly. Don't worry, he/she won't be your watchdog and it is always possible to get free time as well.
10. What's the price on average?
Our customized trips are completely customized to your interests, so we can’t give you an accurate price until we learn more about your travel preferences. Once we understand what will make your trip complete, we’ll send you an itinerary with all the details (for free!) and per-person pricing.
But we can give you an idea. On average, our package tours for two travelers cost between €200 and €300 per day per person or around €3,500 per person for a two-week trip. Fixed costs such as car rental, tour guide fees, taxes, or salaries for local guides and assistants can be reduced if costs are shared between more than two travelers. For example, a comparable trip with four travelers costs only €2,500 per person.
11. What's included in your price?
Our trip packages include a tour guide, a mixture of mid-range and high-range hotels and lodges, all transportation including driver and domestic flights as well as meals, entrance fees and local assistants. You also get our 24/7 support as part of your tour package. However, your international flights are exclusive.
12. How much in advance should the trip be booked?
It is worth booking a trip some months before departure and even more for special festivals and events as hotel beds are short in some destinations and preferable hotels/lodges might be fully booked already. But consider that adaptations and other inquiries are always possible.
13. How high is the advance payment?
Upon confirmation of your tour, 20% of the total trip price applies. The remaining amount should be settled a maximum of 30 days prior to arrival. Payments are usually performed via bank transfers. Payments with a credit card are also possible (in our office in Gondar).
14. How are your cancellation policies?
- Cancellations which are made up to 30 days before departure will be free from the penalty and the advance payment will be fully refunded;
- between 29 and 21 days before departure: 20% of the trip costs apply;
- between 20 and 14 days before departure: 40% of the trip costs apply;
- between 13 and 3 days before departure: 80% of the trip costs apply;
- less than 3 days before departure and/or after the start of the journey: 100% of the trip costs apply.