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Trekking in Ethiopia's nature

The Ethiopian highlands, blessed with a temperate climate and grand mountain scenery, offer superb trekking opportunities. Trekking in the remote isolated splendor of the Semen Mountains, the Bale Mountains, around the rock-hewn churches of St. Lalibela, and the unique Surma is a breathtaking experience. Ethiopia is little known and little visited yet it is an amazing place to see. Ethiopia has a unique culture, complex history and some superb scenery - a wonderful experience for the truly adventurous traveler. It is not a stereotypical East African country: from the fertile highlands in the south through to the Semens of the north, the landscape is extremely mountainous. Arguably, one of the most beautiful ranges in Africa are found here. Our trekking itineraries lead you through landscapes covered by deep gorges, jagged plugs, and striking rock towers. En route you will have the chance to climb some of Africa's highest peaks: Ras Dashen (4620m), Buyit Ras (3250m), Bwahit (4430m), Batu (4203), Konteh peak (4132).

Semen Mountains- “Roof of Africa”

The Semen is arguably the most beautiful mountain range in Africa. Vast and unique, the highland plateau is capped by a dramatic skyline of jagged volcanic plugs and split by deep gorges and gullies. The views across this landscape are breathtaking: the striking towers and formations having been described as 'the chess pieces of the Gods'. Our trek takes us to both the highland and rural lowland areas, with an ascent of Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia at 4620m, and the fourth highest in Africa. A haven to many endemic species of wildlife and flora, including the Gelada Baboon and Walia Ibex, the Semen National Park has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

There are various campsites and tracks to follow and it is best to take the advice of the guides. The photography of this park will remain in the mind forever. Climbing up from Debark on mules, through extensive farmland, the visitor is unaware of the dramatic scenery about to unfold. The land forms various small plateaus, and the edge of these plunge dramatically to the lowlands to the north and east.

Generally the first stop is Snakaber camp, a trek that leads mainly through cultivated areas to the 3,239 meters (10,600 feet) campsite. From this point, visitors can walk to the edge the abyss, where they may get their first glimpse of the spectacular scenery. The easiest mammal to see in this area is the endemic gelada Baboon, which often be seen in family units. Also named after this area, the Semen Fox, also referred to as the Semen jackal or Ethiopian wolf, is now very rare but is more common in Bale Mountain National Park in the south. The animal most visitors wish to see is the Walia Ibex. This member of the wild goat family has magnificent heavily ridged horns sweeping back over the shoulder.

Geech, Chenek, Buait, Emet gog are also other camp sites for travelers exclusively taking trekking tour in the park either to arrive the highest peak of Ras Dashen or just return taking time in the park.


Trekking around the rock-hewn churches of St. Lalibela
Have you ever imagined combining trekking along with discovering ancient rock hewn churches that are less known and less visited? This trek takes you around the beautiful mountain ranges of Lasta, which are home of ancient rock churches and seldom visited by tourists. There are more than 12 ancient rock churches sheltered in these amazing mountains to discover in addition to the famous world heritage rock-hewn churches found in the town


Bale Mountains

In Ethiopia's south-east lies the Bale Mountain range, which dominates the landscape as it rises from the extensive surrounding farmlands. At its epicenter is the spectacular Bale Mountains National Park, a high altitude plateau broken by numerous dramatic volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and mountain streams that rush in too deep, rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands below. The national park is Africa's largest Afro-alpine habitat, with unlimited opportunities for some fantastic mountain walks, horse trekking, scenic driving, and the chance to view many of Ethiopia's endemic mammals and birds.

The park was originally established to protect the Mountain Nyala and the Semen fox (or jackal). Other wildlife in this area includes Menelik's bushbuck, an endemic sub species, Bohor reedbuck, grey duiker, warthog, several cats and baboons. Bale bird species include sixteen endemic species, many of which are easily seen.
Not far from Bale Mountains is one of the world's most spectacular and extensive underground caverns: the Sof Omor cave system. Formed by the Weyb River as it changed its course in the distant past and carved a new channel through limestone foothills, Sof Omar is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty.

 Although birding lists is not necessarily complete in Bale Mountains it is registered that the forest host most of the interesting and endemic bird species including the Abyssinian hill babbler, Abyssinian, Crimson wing, Ayer’s hawk eagle, Silver, Cheeked hornbill, black winged love bird, black-headed forest oriole, yellow cheeked parrot, Narina's trogon, wattle-ibis, blue winged goose, rouget's rail, spot –breasted plover, white – collared pigeon, yellow fronted parrot, black – winged lovebirds, banded barbet, bolden-backed woodpecker, Abyssinian long claw, while – winged cliff-chat, Abyssinian Catbird, while backed black fit, black headed forest oriole, thick-billed raven, Black headed Siskin.

This is an opportunity to explore unspoiled wilderness, with a variety of game and more than 300-bird species. The trek takes us to the less visited remote South - West highlands east and west of the Omo Valley, where strong and colorful cultures compliment the appeal of scenery, flora, and fauna

Dodola and Adaba are the gateways to the Bale Mountains, one of Ethiopia’s main attractions in the southeast of the country.The lush mountain forests, pristine streams, accommodating guides, welcoming hosts and authentic customs of the Bale Mountains create a unique and unmissable side to Ethiopia.

Dodola Destination

The four forest camps are at an altitude between 3,080 and 3,460 metres above sea level. Each camp can be reached from Dodola in half a day. Thus, your trip can start in the afternoon but no later than 2 p.m. setting off early in the morning is preferable, especially during the rains. The distance between camps is 5 to 18km. It takes between a few hours and half a day of walking or riding to travel from one camp to the other. This allows you to spend every night in a different camp. If you do not have time for all four camps, the guide will help select the ones most suited to your personal preferences. Also, tours of just one night with two half days for ascending and descending are possible.

There is also one tented camp (Cangity) situated at the edge of the forest with very beautiful scenery. The camp is only half and hour’s drive from Dodola and then only 20 minutes by foot or horse. A group of more than 16 people and up to 5 families can be accommodated at the camp. Your trip to this site can start any time before 5 p.m. from Dodola town. Last but not least, short, half-day, trips from Dodola town to nearby attractions like the Lensho River or the Shebelle Water Falls are highly recommended.

Adaba destination

The Adaba destination is situated 55km from the Bale Mountain National Park (BMNP) head office, Dinsho. There are 3 tented campsites and one hut at an altitude between 3,000 and 3,600 metres above sea level. Each camp can be reached from Adaba in half a day, but it is better to start in the morning. The distance to the nearest camp from Adaba town is 7km and from each camp to the next is from 11 to 20km. There are different routes depending on the preference of the visitors.

As you travel through the forest you will come to two exciting waterfalls (Kille hada berite and Meribo falls) where there is a high likelihood of spotting wild animals, particularly Ethiopian Wolves (Canis simensis).

One can start trekking from one side (Adaba or Dodola) and can continue to the next destination. To make an entire trip to the mountains (Adaba and Dodola), prior arrangements    from the starting point are required, as the guides must change for each destination. Efforts are underway to link this destination to the BMNP.


Surma Trekking “The Unique Wilderness”

The Surma are found on the west bank of the Omo. Like some of their cousins on the other bank they go in for body painting and (the women) wearing lip plates. This is an opportunity to see unspoiled wilderness, with a variety of game and more than 300-bird species. And of course the Surma people themselves, their rituals, dance and Donga stick fighting.


The Caravan Trail – trekking the Danakil Depression 

Trekking can also be made (with camels carrying the baggage) to explore the interesting geological formations of the Afar Region, with game viewing and bird watching as an added attraction. Camel trekking also can be arranged for 1 day or longer periods.


 Remark: viva Ethiopia tour can provide trekking throughout Ethiopia with combination to historic, cultural expeditions, bird watching or interest of yours! Also the tours can be organized both for group or private touring.  We have here presented some sample trekking programs to give you a hint on trekking in Ethiopia. A new trekking program can be arranged for you that fits your time, budget and interest upon request, Here below are the suggested trekking places in Ethiopia. Contact us to arrange any tour.







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