Axum to Gondar/Debark via Shire Inda Selassie

Roland writes:

I am travelling through Ethiopia individually and am very happy with the Bradt guide. My trip would have been impossible without it. So, thank you and well done!

There is a small update I would like to inform you about. I chose to go from Axum to Debark (or Gondar) via Shire (Inda Selassie) by minibus. Just as suggested in the guide,
I stayed the night in Shire and took a minibus early in the morning to Debark. I arrived at the bus stop a bit before 5:30am, the minibus left around 6am. But instead of taking 7-10 hours, the ride took me only 4.5 hours, arriving in Debark at around 10:30am.

“Expect it to take up to 7–10 hours in a private vehicle.”

This was made possible thanks to a recently asphalted road. I was told that it was about a year old. Only a fraction of the drive (maybe 1 hour) was not asphalted. Therefore, the drive was spectacular in the sense of the nice view but not of the bumpy road.

I think that a 4-6 hour drive on a smooth road makes a big difference compared to a bumpy 7-10 hour ride and that this insight might influence the decision of some travellers.

Note, however, that people told me that I have to stay at Shire over night to catch the only bus, which leaves at at 5:30am.

Also, we arrived in Axum after midday when there was no minibus to Shire anymore (maybe after 3pm?). Thus, we arranged a “contract” minubus at the Axum bus station to drive us at 7pm for 500 Birr.
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2 thoughts on “Axum to Gondar/Debark via Shire Inda Selassie

  1. Uke says:

    Hello, we have very limited time to Simien. May I please have your opinion our 2 scenarios, which one is doable?
    —————-
    Scenario A:
    —————-
    D28: Gondar Airport 15h35
    Debark 18h00 for accommodation
    D29: Trekking for 8 hrs
    Gondar 18h00
    D30: Gondar Airport, 10h00 flight to Lalibela
    Lalibela Airport 10h30. Visit Lalibela
    D31: Lalibela Airport, 11h00 flight to Axum
    11h40 Axum Airport to Hawzen via Tigray area and Abuna Yemata
    —————
    Scenario B:
    —————
    D28: Gondar Airport 15h35
    Debark 18h00 for accommodation
    D29: Trekking for 4-6 hours
    Driving to Axum
    D30: Axum Airport, 12h10 flight to Lalibela
    Lalibela Airport, 12h50. Visit Lalibela
    D31: Lalibela Airport 11h00
    11h40 Axum Airport to Hawzen via Tigray area and Abuna Yemata

    Thank you in advance

    • philipbriggs says:

      Both look very tight to me. Overall though I think scenario 1 would be more realistic. Might be worth noting that I think there are now direct flights Lalibela to Mekele (for Tigray Area) though you’d need to check on the Ethiopian Airlines website.

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