Simien trekking report

We travelled to the Simien mountains in May this year and it was an amazing experience. After a lot of internet research we settled on a 6 night trek organised by Yalew Tafete (www.guide-ethiopia.com). We cannot recommend him enough. The trek we chose was a highland to lowland trek but Yalew can arrange treks to suit your needs. He is from Debark so is also a local person. While it is possible to just show up at the park office in Debark and arrange a guide, scout, cook, and mule handlers (or in fact to simply take a scout) if you are time constrained we highly recommend using Yalew. We were really impressed with Yalewโ€™s organisation and, if you can afford it, think that it enhances the experience to have a full compliment of local people to join you on the trek. Yalew met us at the airport in Gondar and from there everything went seamlessly. He checked on our dietary requirements and made sure we had enough clothing and bedding. He had also pre-arranged a driver to get to the start of the trek and the trekking crew. For two of us we considered it good value for money and the cost would reduce further the more people were part of the group. While we did not require any additional arrangement, Yalew can help organise internal travel and any other activities you require.

As for the trek itself it was one of the best things we have done. May is a low season as it is the dry season and the highlands do not have the lush greenness that is present from October to January. Although we would like to go back at that time of year to experience the scenery it did not diminish our experience and as an advantage there are not as many trekkers, with just a handful of groups in the camps each night. The trek has great variety from wildlife (the gelada monkeys, walia ibex, ethiopian wolves (if you are lucky) and great variety of birds; the astounding canyons and scenery as you walk along the escarpment; and the opportunity to meet and interact with the locals. Highlights were out stays in the grounds of local schools and the coffee ceremony we had with our scout Noorโ€™s relatives. We also had a wonderful trekking crew. Eyosi Worede was an exceptional guide who has impressive knowledge of almost everything to do with the region and is wonderfully friendly and good company. Kadir and Moorat achieved culinary feats with just a single gas cooker (even baking a birthday cake!) and Noor proved himself very adept at wrangling to many local children that you meet along the way. We would recommend, however, taking a good supply of pens and other things of use for the children as they are incredibly appreciative of anything you can offer. We also took some old clothing that we were able to distribute at the end of the trek.

We would say it is a once in a lifetime experience, but we are already planning a return trip.

Gareth and Alice

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Simien trekking report

  1. lyla says:

    Hi Gareth and Alice, sounds like you had an amazing time! I’m considering doing some trekking in the simien mountains next month – do you mind me asking how much it worked out per person for the 6 nights?

    • Chuck says:

      “We would recommend, however, taking a good supply of pens and other things of use for the children as they are incredibly appreciative of anything you can offer. We also took some old clothing that we were able to distribute at the end of the trek.”

      And visitors to Ethiopia wonder why begging is pesky and persistent! Look, I’ve lived in Ethiopia for the past year and a half, working in local primary schools and teacher’s colleges, and have talked at length with locals about this issue of children and adults demanding birr and pens. The Ministry of Education gets hundreds of millions dollars of aid money, some of which is earmarked for “stationary,” meaning pens, paper, and other school supplies. But local officials, seeing that local children can just as easily score pens from passing tourists, will just pocket that money.

      You do Ethiopians a disservice by handing out free things willy-nilly on your two-week vacation, and you do donor countries a disservice by undermining their efforts.

      All the Ethiopian children want is your attention, not your money or pens.

      • philipbriggs says:

        I have to agree with Chuck here – the arbitrary doling out of goodies of any sort to children tends to create more problems than it solves!

  2. Martin says:

    Hi Gareth and Alice,

    Seems you had a great time in Simien. We are thinking of similar trekking for late October. Would be great if you can advise me on the cost of the package as we are considering whether to go through Park Headquarters or to arrange everything ahead. Thanks.

    Martin

  3. Maria says:

    I would like to comment a bit ggod things on the simen Mountains trek Ethiopia, I have been there on field reserch for three months with seven swis students, it was really great experiance in our life for long term what to do, what to think and where you want to travel, the best thing is our team and guide Jemal Hussien, who has been arrange every thing like the 4WD Car, food, Tent, spongy Matress, cook Asfaw the best ever, all cooking gear and Mass Tent with Generater electric light to charge our Camera Battries and for our cellphone too! In any ways ethiopia is so a mazing, while simien Mountains we travel to the north with Jemal to Denakil where you could see the active Volcanos so fabulous. If you are plan to travel Ethiopia please contact Jemal Hussien to get all the history of ethiopia and full of knoweldge of nature, Birding, trekking so on. Here is his contact: http://www.explore-adventure-ethiopia.com/ http://www.simienpark.com e-mail: jemshussien@yahoo.com and cellphone: +251 913 000 629. Have a great jorney to Ethiopia. Maria and all her students.

  4. Shimrit says:

    Ethiopia is the most amazing country with rich culture, amazing food, friendly and special people, breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary music and traditional dance. In our journey we met Mulalem who owns Mulu Ethiopia tours and he is a unique person with a very good heart who always willing to help. With his company we went to the Simien Mountains and it was absolutely perfect. All the staffs were patient, honest, with a kind heart, professional and made this experience a very special one. The guide, avti, is a beautiful person, the scout was an old brave person, the cook was awesome ( Alex) and the simien is breathtaking. We strongly recommend Mulu tours. A reliable and generous person like Mulalem, you donโ€™t meet everyday!

    Roy and Shimrit

  5. Marisa & Hendrik says:

    we can only confirm what Alice and Garett are writing about guide Yalew Tafete. We are just back from Ethiopia and the trek in the Simien mountains was very very well arranged. A really good and nice guide where you feel comfortable with. We are planning to go back to Ethiopia and visit the Southern part with him. He does not only arrange Simien Mountains but you can go with him everywhere! Just visit his site to get to know more: http://www.guide-ethiopia.com

  6. Drea says:

    Hi everyone,
    Please beware of the Simien Trek guide Tesh (this is his site http://www.treksimien.com/about-me.html). He overpriced our trek and underdelivered on the experience – we paid for additional days that weren’t needed as we finished the entire trek a day in advance. He had great reviews so we went with him but were thoroughly disappointed in the end.

  7. Simon Davis says:

    I would thoroughly recommend anyone to do a trekking to the Simien Mountains with Simien Summit Tours (http://www.simiensummittours.com/)because from what I have experienced, they have a very good crew with amazing skills and very friendly manner. Muller was excellent in answering all my inquiries, including which trek to go for and for how long. He was a really valuable source of information. We then took the liberty of choosing 7nights 8 days trekking!
    The trip itself was fantastic. Our local guide was friendly, informative, support and overall just excellent. He was able to provide a very rich experience in terms of explaining the local culture as he had grown up in one of the villages in the mountains. His wider knowledge on everything from geology to fauna, flora and politics was also very helpful. The trek itself in beautiful and the landscape plus the wildlife makes this a really unique experience. The camps were also comfortable and our food was excellent.

    Overall, an amazing trek, experience and a thoroughly supportive Local tour company. I’ll certainly recommend any one to book a trekking to the Simien Mountains and other attractions all over Ethiopia!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s