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Ethiopia

Enchanting Ethiopia

Guided Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

15 days

Prices from

$3,895 P.P.
Ethiopia

Enchanting Ethiopia

Guided Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

15 days

Prices from

$3,895 P.P.
BOOK NOW
Ethiopia is an ancient country whose unique cultural heritage, rich history and remarkable biodiversity are reflected in a tally of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Within its borders, you’ll find the world’s 4th holiest Islamic city along with the oldest continuously occupied town south of the Sahara.
Compelling antiquities include the medieval rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Axum, ruined palaces and temples dating back 3,000 years, the magnificent 17th century castles of Gondar, and the oldest human fossils unearthed anywhere on the planet. Add to this the beautiful Simien Mountains with its awe inspiring views, incredible wildlife such as Gelada Baboons, Walia Ibex and the majestic Bearded Vultures and it is little wonder that Ethiopia is a must see destination for adventurous cyclists and hikers.
Following arrival into the country’s bustling capital Addis Ababa we fly up to Bahir Dar where after a visit to Ura Kidane Monastery we start our cycling with a ride to the Blue Nile Waterfall. Next stop is the former capital of Gondar, with its magnificent castle, before we head to the majestic Simien Mountains for a couple of days of simply stunning hiking.
Back on the bikes we leave the lofty heights of the Simien and wind our way through the Tekeze Mountains to Zarima before reaching Axum. There’s lots to see here and so with this in mind we spend a day exploring its numerous cultural highlights.
Our next spot of cycling sees us exploring the region of Tigra and the Gheralta Mountains. It’s here in this spaghetti-western landscape of flat dry plains and towering rock outcrops, that rust-red pinnacles soar like sandcastles above the plateaus and is where we have an incredible barefoot climb to the famous church of Abuna Yemata in Gar’Alta Hawzen.
We end the tour in style with two lovely days of cycling in Mekele and Gashena before time at the UNESCO world heritage site of Lalibela where we spend a day visiting the magnificent rock-hewn churches.
Back in Addis there just time for a final delicious spot of Ethiopian food and a cold celebratory Dashen beer at one of its most famous restaurants before connections home.
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Highlights

  • The spellbinding Simien Mountains & its Gelada Baboons
  • Beautiful biking through Ethiopia’s agricultural heartland
  • Delicious food and Ethiopian coffee stops
  • Lake Tana and The Blue Nile waterfall
  • Historic Lalibela, Axum & tales of the Queen of Sheeba
  • The climb to Abuna Yemana Guh Rock Church

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Itinerary

Day 1
Departure for Ethiopia

You leave home from your chosen departure airport arriving into Ethiopia’s Bole International Airport (ADD) the following day.

Day 2
Arrival in Addis Ababa - Ethiopia
Altitude 2355 Metres
  • Meals: Lunch, dinner

You will be welcomed by your cycling tour leader before being transferred to your hotel in central Addis. Depending on arrival times we’ll take lunch at a traditional restaurant before heading out to see the National Museum where we will see ‘Lucy’ the world’s oldest human skeleton. This is followed by an acclimatisation walk around the hills of Addis. Hotel accommodation Addis.

Day 3
Lake Tana - Blue Nile Waterfall
20 Miles / 32 Kms - Altitude 1788 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After taking the early morning flight to Bahir Dar, the source of Blue Nile River we have coffee (done the traditional way!) and enjoy breakfast prior to taking a boat journey across Lake Tana to the Ura Kidane Mihret monastery. This will take us via the outlet of the Blue Nile and is a great place to spot Hippos, so keep your eyes peeled! Once here it’s a short walk via the coffee forest to the church. Its round interior is decorated with beautiful brightly coloured murals whose special significance are explained to us by our guide.

Back on dry-land our first ride takes us to the Blue Nile waterfall with the route running mainly downhill. Leaving the city we are soon on a beautiful agricultural area and pass through small villages where we are welcomed by enthusiastic school children. The dirt road ends at the entrance to the Blue Nile Valley Waterfalls and it is here that with switch our footwear and head to the waterfalls. During our walk (1.5hrs – total) we will cross over the oldest stone bridge in Ethiopia as well as a long suspension bridge that takes us to a beautiful viewpoint of the falls. Afterwards, we cross by boat over the river to our support vehicle for the drive back to our hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 4
Bahi Ddar to Gondar
31 Miles / 50 Kms - Altitude 2133 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

A longer day on the bike today as we head towards the city of Gondar. After a nice morning ride through an area renowned for its agriculture and produce we transfer the final 120Kms/75Miles to Gondar. Situated in a beautiful and strategic mountain setting this former capital is steeped in history and cultural delights.

The 17th century capital was once the crossroads of several major caravan routes and was also occupied by the Italians during WW2 with the Art Deco buildings surroundings the Royal enclosure (with its medieval castles and churches) a reminder of this heritage. Once checked in to the hotel we pay a visit to the castle and the Fasiledes Bath and round the day off with a sunset beer from a suitable vantage point. Hotel accommodation Gondar.

Day 5
Gondar & the Simien Mountains
37 Miles / 60 Kms - Altitude 3250 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After an early breakfast we take the support vehicle to avoid some busy roads and transfer (62Kms/38Miles) to our start point where we unload the bikes for our day ahead in the saddle. It’s an undulating road this morning (24Kms/15Miles), but the surface is great and we’ve amazing scenery to accompany us as we cycle through villages and small towns during our journey.

On reaching the bustling town of Debark we sign all the necessary paperwork at the National Parks HQ and then it’s back on the bikes once again for the final part of the day. We’ll now be at around 2800 metres / 9,000 feet with our destination a further 36Kms/22Miles away on a combination of asphalt and unsurfaced roads. During the first kms there are some nice descents but then it is mostly uphill with some steep climbs. As always there is the assistance of the support vehicle.

Tonight is our first night under canvas but you’ll be well looked after with tents set up in advance and our chefs busily preparing your tasty evening meal. Accommodation Sankaber Camp (3250metres/10,500feet).

Day 6
Sankaber - Geech
8 Miles / 13 Kms - Hiking - Altitude 3600 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

We start our day hike in the morning coolness led by our local guide. Our total walking distance is 13Kms/8Miles and should take 5-6 hours as we follow the northern escarpment eastwards then descends a little into the Kaba Valley. After this we climb up before we reach Geech Abyss and continue over a narrow ridge to a cliff where we have a spectacular view of the abyss towards the Simien foothills.

After around two hours we have lunch before walking through fields of barley to arrive at the idyllic village of Geech. From here it is a short walk to our campsite which is a good place to spot Lammergeyer (Bearded Vultures) and Thick-Billed Ravens.

Following a relaxing afternoon at camp we take a short hike up to Kedadit to enjoy sunset and the gorgeous shaded landscapes down to the cliffside. It’s here we’ve the chance to see Gelada Baboons as they forage in the vegetation of the surrounding mountain side. The baboons are amazingly friendly and this is a great opportunity to see them at close quarters. Accommodation Geech Camp(3600 metres / 11,800 feet)

Day 7
Jinbair Rift Valley
8 Miles / 13 Kms - Hiking - Altitude 2850 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Walking from Geech camp we hike through fields of Giant Lobelia before we reach the towering cliffs of Imet-Gogo (3,926m/12,800ft). Here we will spend some time to absorb the superb views over the mountain valleys below and strange shaped domes in the distance. After this we descend into the Jinbair Rift Valley in order to gain a different perspective of Imet Gogo and the volcanic landscape. If we are lucky we may see the elusive Ethiopian Ibex here.

Our trail then follows the edge of the escarpment, which is completely vertical here for several hundred metres. The climb to Inatye rewards us with stunning views, with Intaye roughly translating as “Mamma Mia” – the terrifying vertical drop justly warranting such a name! After a picnic lunch we will continue to Ambaras where we meet our support vehicle for the drive back to Debark. Hotel accommodation Debark.

Day 8
Tekeze Mountains - Axum
24 Miles / 38kms - Altitude 2131 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

With the chain of the Simien mountains to our right we start from Debark with our first treat the zig-zag descent of Lemalimo.

The road then continues to the north through spectacular scenery (with our final section on a paved road) as it winds through the beautiful mountains of Tekeze, again the views here are spectacular and uniquely Ethiopian.

Our picnic lunch is taken at the mid-point mark (or a little later depending on our progress) and we finish today’s ride at the town of Zarima. From here it’s a vehicle transfer of around 200Kms/125Miles to Axum. Hotel accommodation Axum.

Day 9
City Tour of Axum
Non Cycling Day - Altitude 2131 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Axum is a must-see destination when visiting Ethiopia and there’s much here to see. With this in mind we’ll be off our bikes for the day and led by a local guide embark on a city walking tour and visit some of its many cultural highlights.

It’s set to be a busy day and starts with a visit to the Axum Steles (ancient obelisks) that have been standing for over 2000 years. This is followed by the Church of Zion (the final resting place of the original Ark of Covenant), the stone inscription of Ezana, the Tomb of Kaleb and Gebre Meskel and the Swimming Pool and Palace of the Queen of Sheeba.

During our tour lunch is taken at a great restaurant in the old town and following a sunset beer overlooking the city we take our evening meal at one of Axum’s finest restaurants. Overnight hotel Axum.

Day 10
Axum - Gheralta Mountains
24 Miles / 38 Kms - Altitude 2105 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Following breakfast we leave our hotel and transfer through the Adwa Mountains. It’s here where numerous Ethiopians lost their lives in 1896, after a courageous battle (which they won!) against the Italians. We soon turn onto a gravel road towards the pre-Axumite Yeha Temple where we visit the ruins of the temple and nearby church.

In Adigrat, we stop for a delicious restaurant lunch and whilst we are eating the bikes are loaded-up for a post-lunch transfer of around 25Kms/16Miles. At Edaga Hamus at an altitude of 2,750 metres / 9,000 feet, we start riding once again with a wonderful descent that leads us to a beautiful paved road. Our route now (after a cheeky climb!) sees us pretty much on the flat and on a very quiet road between the numerous small farms of the area.

You’ll now be in the Tigra region with its building characterised by houses with pitched roofs bordered by large stones and with sand and grass in between. Our ride ends at the lovely town of Hawzen after 38Kms/24Miles of superb cycling. Lodge accommodation Hawzen.

Day 11
Gheralta Mountains - Abuna Yemata Church
25 Miles / 40 Kms - Altitude 2254 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Our next stint of cycling sees us exploring the region of Tigra and the Gheralta Mountains.

It’s here in this spaghetti-western landscape of flat dry plains and towering rock outcrops, that rust-red pinnacles soar like sandcastles above the plateaus and is where we have an incredible optional barefoot climb to the church of Abuna Yemata in Gar’Alta Hawzen.

Spectacularly sited at a height of 2,580 metres / 8,400 feet, within a cliff face, halfway up a sheer rock pinnacle there’s nowhere on earth quite like Abuna Yemata Guh and this climb (especially the last few hundred metres) is certainly not for those scared of heights and purely optional!!

Back down at ground-level we continue cycling by the side of the mountains ending the day at the village of Gelebeka. Once here we load the bikes and resume the remainder of the journey to Mekele by vehicle. Hotel accommodation in Mekele.

Day 12
Mekele - Weldiya
25 Miles / 40 Kms - Altitude 2112 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After another delicious Ethiopian breakfast, we continue the day with a transfer (180Kms/110Miles), yet again accompanied by stunning scenery.

Bikes unloaded we start by descending on a truly beautiful road that affords us with amazing views right down to the lowlands of the Alamata Kobo region.

From here it remains pretty flat as we pass through several villages and also stop off for a look at some local markets. At the end of our ride there is a short transfer (30kms) to the town of Weldiya. Hotel accommodation Weldiya.

Day 13
Weldiya - Gashena - Lalibela
37 Miles / 60 Kms - Altitude 2600 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Our cycling starts today from the top of the Weldiya Pass which is situated at a height of 3600 metres / 11,800 feet. As you would expect the views from here are superb and it serves as the perfect starting point for our final biking day.

The landscape here changes from the previous days and is stark yet dramatically beautiful. Close to the settlement of Gashena we stop for a picnic lunch before loading up the bikes for the transfer (65Kms/40Miles) to Lalibela and our hotel.

Day 14
Lalibela
Non Cycling Day - Altitude 2600 Metres
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Lalibela is a living, breathing religious site and we have set aside a day to explore this incredible place. Known as the second Jerusalem due to its magnificent rock-hewn churches, Lalibela is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and the cultural highlight of any visit to Ethiopia.

This ancient group of eleven monolithic and semi-monolithic structures were carved directly into the stone of the mountain by King Lalibela. They are truly magnificent with the complex boasting the largest monolithic church in the world, a maze of passageways and tunnels, intricately carved reliefs, and fabulous examples of icon paintings. We end the day with sunset views over Bet Giorgis (House of St. George), a church that was carved in the shape of a cross into the rock. Hotel accommodation Lalibela.

Day 15
Departure
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Transfer to Lalibela Airport for our flight to Addis. Once here we have a farewell dinner at a famous Addis restaurant where you will have the opportunity to see dancers perform the traditional shoulder dance. Suitably fed and full of Ethiopian fayre we transfer to the airport for late evening / early morning flights.

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The Cycling

Terrain

We will cycling through several different areas during this trip with the terrain differing each day. This consists of sealed roads, compacted gravel tracks and some unsurfaced sections. Traffic is light on the majority of the days. We‘re going to face some steep but short climbs at times and some fast descents, both on paved and gravel terrain. Whilst designing this trip we have carefully considered that much of Ethiopia sits at over 1,500 metres (5,000 feet) and rises to over 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) during our hiking in the Simien Mountains with the cycling and hiking distances reflecting this.

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Cycling Adventures Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs

Possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Dates & Prices

*

Late Availability

We want you to know which tours are coming up soon, so you don’t miss out! If a trip has this symbol beside it, it means you don’t have long to snap up your place.

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
* 27/02/2021
Guaranteed
Return Date
13/03/2021
Duration
15 days
Price
$3,895.00
Start Date
10/04/2021
Return Date
24/04/2021
Duration
15 days
Price
$3,895.00
Start Date
11/09/2021
Guaranteed
Return Date
25/09/2021
Duration
15 days
Price
$3,895.00
Start Date
02/10/2021
Contact Us
Return Date
16/10/2021
Duration
15 days
Price
$3,895.00
Start Date
23/10/2021
Contact Us
Return Date
06/11/2021
Duration
15 days
Price
$3,895.00
Start Date
27/11/2021
Contact Us
Return Date
11/12/2021
Duration
15 days
Price
$3,895.00
Start Date
22/01/2022
Guaranteed
Return Date
05/02/2022
Duration
15 days
Price
$4,025.00
Start Date
26/02/2022
Return Date
12/03/2022
Duration
15 days
Price
$4,025.00
Start Date
10/09/2022
Return Date
24/09/2022
Duration
15 days
Price
$4,025.00
Start Date
01/10/2022
Return Date
15/10/2022
Duration
15 days
Price
$4,025.00

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Whats Included Tick

A) Hotel accommodation – Shared twin rooms

B) Tents and camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags)

C) Meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

D) All water and snacks whilst cycling and hiking

E) Full tour service inc. guides, support staff, vehicle(s) etc.

F) Airport transfers on scheduled arrival and departure days from Bole International Airport (ADD)

G) Entry to all historical sites and museums as per itinerary

H) Entry to all National Parks as per the itinerary

What's not Included Cross

A) Personal clothing and equipment (including sleeping bags)

B) Travel insurance

C) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.

D) Bike hire (available if required).

E) Flights (both international and internal) and charges for travelling with your own bike.

F) Single room option (available if required)

G) Meals not stated in the itinerary

H) Tips for guides, porters/scouts, drivers etc.

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival /

departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Our tour starts in Ethiopia following arrival at Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa.

You will also be required to book domestic flights from Addis to Bahar Dar (BJR) on Day 3 and from Lalibela (LLI) to Addis on Day 15.

Many of the best flight options are with Emirates flying via Dubai, or via London with Ethiopian Airlines

Accommodation

For this trip 2 nights are spent camping. We provide tents for all passengers with sleeping arrangements a tent per couple or otherwise a tent per person. We also provide one foam sleeping mat for each participant. Should you want to bring your own mat you’re most welcome.

On all other nights you will be staying in modern hotels with twin-share facilities and private en-suite bathrooms. The exception is on Day 10 when we stay at the Gheralta Lodge – www.gheraltalodgetigrai.com whose rooms are en suite.

Should you choose the Single Room option you will be in a single room when not camping and in your own tent on all camping nights.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available for hire.

For this trip they are mountain bikes with 26 or 27.5 wheels and specifications usually as follows: Hardtail (front suspension) models, wide-range gears and usually disc brakes.

If you decide to hire you will need to provide your own helmet for this particular Skedaddle trip. Should you prefer to bring along your own saddle and pedals this is fine, just let us know when booking.

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News, Reviews & Stories

Meet the guides: Chewy

Meet Chewy, our incredible guide in Ethiopia who can’t wait for you to come and discover his home!

Enchanting Ethiopia

Discover the story behind our extraordinary tour exploring the best of Ethiopia!

Reviews

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