Ethiopia - Simien Mountains and Tigray

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The Roof of Africa

* Remarkable walking journeys through highland Ethiopia * Unique village stays in the Simiens and Tigray * World heritage rock-churches & ancient cities * Breathtaking views, protected wildlife

Lalibela rock churches - Ethiopia

Take in the wonders of highland Ethiopia, contrasting authentic village life in Tigray and the Simien mountains with palaces and the astounding rock-hewn churches. Enjoy a unique and deep insight into highland village life, walking from village to village, hosted and guided by the farming communities. This remarkable journey is bookended by visits to some of the greatest treasures of Ethiopia: the rock-hewn churches in Tigray, the world heritage monuments in Lalibela and the palaces of Gondar.




Dramatic landscapes of Tigray - Ethiopia

Two highland walking journeys

These are landscapes like no other – a land of sandstone mountains, vast escarpments and deep valleys. Two linked walking journeys from village to village in Tigray and the Simien mountains take you through this astounding landscape in a way unique to Village Ways, - guided and hosted by the farming communities. Good leg stretching walks as well.



Monks in Ethiopia

Village guesthouses, unique insights

The highlands of Ethiopia are overflowing with history, culture, wildlife and scenic beauty. What makes this journey really special is the unique opportunity to appreciate the hospitality of the traditional communities at first hand in Tigray and the Simiens. Stay in simple guesthouses owned and managed by the villagers, immerse yourself in village life and get to know the farming communities who retain an almost biblical backdrop to their daily lives.


Khalid Abo guesthouse Simien Mountains

Dramatic Simiens, protected wildlife

With the support of the African Wildlife Foundation we have developed a unique way of journeying through the Simien Mountains, the National Park and its fringe villages. Enjoy fine walks between the villages, staying in their new ‘tukul’ guest-houses, and venture into the core to try and spot the elusive Ethiopian wolf and walia ibex amongst the wealth of wildlife. Relax at a fine lodge after your village stays.


Gondar Castle Ethiopia

Ancient wonders, world heritage sites

The great granite stelae of Axum, the royal enclosure and palaces of Gondar, the mountain rock churches in Tigray and the amazing monolithic rock-hewn churches in Lalibela (World Heritage sites) are the treasures of Ethiopia and will adorn and contrast your journey.




Your holiday Itinerary

Day 1 Welcome at Bole International Airport, Addis Adaba.

Into Tigray

Day 2 Return to the airport for a flight to Mekele, where you are met and transferred to a comfortable lodge. Visit a local rock-church and meet your guide to discuss the days ahead.

Day 3 - Day 7 A short drive and walk takes you to the first of the Tigray villages, where your first walking journey begins. Walk between and stay in four villages, with two nights spent in one village. Enjoy leg-stretching walks against dramatic scenery. Meet local farmers and enjoy delicious traditional food. Stay in simple 'hedamo' style guesthouses, run by the communities.

Day 8  From the final village you are transferred by road to Axum, where you have an afternoon to explore the fascinating obelisks and tombs of this historic town, romoured to house the Ark of the Covenant. Overnight Axum hotel.

Day 9 A full day's journey by road takes you through the rugged landscape towards the dramatic Simien Mountains, and through the Simien National Park to a comfortable lodge on the edge of the National Park.

With the Simien Communities

Day 10 - Day 14 Enjoy an early morning visit to the core of the Simien National Park before continuing your journey to the southern fringe villages. It is a short walk from the road to the village of Taga Mariam, the first of the new partner villages, where you stay in the basic but comfortable tukul guesthouse built by the communities.

For the next five days you are hosted by the hillside communities, as you start your second walking journey. Walk between and stay in the three charming villages - Taga Mariam, Kalid Abo and Timbala, all situated at over 3,000m and with stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Walk in the company of your local guide, on average 4 hours a day, and with two nights in two of the villages choose whether to explore further by foot or immerse yourself in village life. The walking is rewarding, over rugged, mountainous terrain, but you have plenty of time to rest up and enjoy the sweeping panoramas and local way of life.

Day 15 - Day 16 Return by vehicle to the wonderful Limalimo lodge on the edge of the National Park. Two nights here gives you time to explore further into the park and discover the abundant wildlife.

Onwards to Gondar and Lalibela

Day 17 Tranfer by road through to Gondar, where you have an afternoon to visit the sights of this ancient city. Overnight Gondar hotel.

Day 18 A morning flight takes you to extraordinary Lalibela, home to one of the world's most astounding sacred sites. This is a network of 11 subterranean rock-hewn churches, each carved into the red bed rock, with its roof at ground level and linked by passageways through the rock. Overnight Lalibela hotel.

Day 19 A flight from Lalibela takes you back to Addis. You are met at the airport for a transfer to a hotel where you can relax and freshen up before returning to the airport for your night flight home.

All of our suggested itineraries can be extended if you wish to make more of your time in Ethiopia, or shortened if your time is limited. 

You can extend the holiday with additional nights along the way in Addis, Axum, Gondar and Lalibela - or add extra nights in the community guesthouses in Tigray or the Simiens. Add a visit to Bahir Dar to see the Blue Nile Falls. Fashion the holiday to suit you.



In order to get the best rates, guests are asked to book all flights: international flights from your home city to Addis Ababa and internal flights from Addis to Mekele, from Gondar to Lalibela and from Lalibela to Addis. Flights can be booked with Ethiopian Airlines. Multi-city bookings offer the best value way to organise your flights and is a simple process on their website, but if you have any questions about booking flights please do not hesitate to contact us. If you would prefer that we book your internal flights, this can be arranged for a small admin fee.

Click here for travel information in Ethiopia.