Challenge level: 4 out of 5
|17 November - 28 November 2018||On Sale|
Revel in the dizzying heights and the breath-taking views of the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia on this ultimate bucket-list adventure. This tough but oh-so-rewarding seven-day trek will take you along the Simien Mountain Chain to its highest peak at Ras Dashen, which sits at a whopping 4,533 m above sea level. Along the way, you'll be constantly surrounded by stunning vistas of green valleys and dramatic ridges. Don't forget to look out for the elusive and endangered Simien Wolf, the Lammergeyer, a bearded vulture, the Galia Baboon and the Walia Ibex, a large mountain goat.
Home to an ancient culture, Ethiopia is a fascinating country sitting in the horn of Africa. At the beginning of our adventure, you'll have the awesome opportunity to browse the biggest open-air market in Africa and the magnificent Royal Palace Enclosure in Gondar, which looks like a medieval castle!
This challenge is in support of the two invaluable charities, The Urology Foundation and the Wellbeing of Women. This only adds to the overwhelming sense of achievement you'll experience when you reach the summit!
Making amazing new friendships that last a life-time, while experiencing an epic mountain range and proving to yourself that YES, YOU CAN trek a mountain nearly four times the height of Ben Nevis, this is well and truly a dream challenge!
This amazing challenge supports two incredible charities with the mission to improve the urological and reproductive health of men and women.
Wellbeing of Women is the UK charity dedicated to improving the health of women and babies by funding medical research into Gynaecological and Obstetric conditions.
The Urology Foundation is leading the fight against urology disease through funding research, offering education and by providing specialist training.
Funds are divided equally between the two charities and go a long way to help the essential research they support. Together, we can create a healthier, happier UK.
We take an overnight flight from London and arrive at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in central Ethiopia on Day 2, where we’re welcomed by our local ground team and transferred to our hotel in the city. Addis Ababa means ‘new flower’ in Amharic and sits in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain. After a rest at our hotel, you have the afternoon free to explore the city, amble down wide avenues of Jacaranda trees, visit one of the interesting museums and browse the arts and crafts at the “Mercato”, the largest open-air market in Africa. Later, we start acclimatising for our trek by taking a scenic drive up to the highest point in Addis Ababa (3,100 m), where we can enjoy stunning views of the city, before driving back down to our hotel.
This morning, we catch a short flight to Gondar, which was once the capital of Ethiopia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is still one of the country’s most impressive cities, with its walled Royal Palace Enclosure, a UNESCO World Heritage monument. This enclosure lies at Gondar’s centre and contains several well-preserved castles. When we arrive in Gondar, we’re transferred to a local hotel. Then, after a short break, we take time to see the sights of castles and churches together, including the Royal Palace Enclosure, Emperor Fasilidas’ Bath and the beautiful church of Gebre Birhan Selassie, immersing ourselves in the history of this old capital.
This morning, we drive from Gondar to Debark, where the Simien Mountains National Park headquarters are located and where we meet our trek leader. After picking up the rest of our trekking crew, our national park scouts, food supplies and our camping equipment in Debark, we drive to the Simien Mountain Lodge to freshen up. We then start our trek along the escarpment and get our first spectacular views over the dramatic Simien Mountain range. We camp tonight at Sankaber (3,250 m).
Our trek today takes us to Geech. We traverse along the escarpment before a short descent to get views of the spectacular Geech Abyss, into which the Djinnbarr Waterfall cascades after the rains. We cross the river and then ascend through terraced farmland, where we’re rewarded with breath-taking vistas of the whole Simien mountain chain. We camp at Geech campsite (3,600 m) for the next two nights.
Today is one of the most spectacular parts of the trek along the escarpment to Imet Gogo, which stands at 3,925 m. We stop for a picnic lunch, before making our way back to Geech campsite. The views today are ridiculously stunning, over endless mountains, green valleys and dramatic ridges. It also affords us the opportunity to further acclimatise for the days ahead.
We continue our trek along a slightly gentler route (although with a few steep ups and downs) through open grasslands and giant lobelia flowers, along the edge of the escarpment, to Chenek. Along the way, we look out for the elusive and endangered Simien wolf and stop for lunch and a marvel at the magnificent views at Inatiye (4,070 m). Chenek is one of the best areas to see the endemic Walia Ibex, a large mountain goat, unique to Ethiopia, with distinctively patterned fore-legs and large, ridged horns. Gelada Baboons are also common around Chenek. This area is also known for birds, particularly the large and powerful Lammergeyer (Bearded Vulture). We camp tonight at Chenek (3,620 m)
We leave for Ambiko at the foot of Ras Dashen. After a steady but steep ascent to Bwahit Pass (4,200 m), beneath Bwahit Peak (4,430 m) - the second highest mountain on our route, we rest and look over the valley below to our campsite and end point of the day. From here, we also get our first sighting of Ras Dashen (4,533 m), the highest point on a wall of cliffs and peaks, which scrape the skyline at the far side of the valley. We then follow a steep and long descent to the village of Chiro Leba, where we stop for lunch nearby. Refreshed, we cross the Meshehe River and tackle a final steep climb to the village of Ambiko (3,100 m), where we camp for the next two nights.
Today, we set off before dawn on our climb to the highest point in Ethiopia, the summit of Ras Dashen at 4,533 m. We begin our slow and steady climb through farmland and giant lobelia forests for about five to six hours, before a steep scramble for twenty minutes to the summit. Upon reaching the summit we take a rest, though it’s difficult to catch our breath with such incredible panoramas! In clear weather, it’s possible to see as far as Eritrea. From the top, we do the same short scramble down and then continue descending for about four to five hours, right back to our camp at Ambiko (3,100 m).
On our last day of trekking, we take our final steps back across the river to Ambiko village, where our bus awaits us, marking the end of our challenge. After loading up, we transfer back to Gondar for a well-deserved shower and rest at our hotel. Later, we enjoy our celebratory dinner, toast our achievement and reflect on our unforgettable experiences in this stunning part of the world.
This morning, we fly back to Addis Ababa, where we have a rest and freshen up at a local hotel. In the evening, we have a farewell dinner, before catching an overnight flight back home to the UK, arriving in London on the morning of Day 12.
The more money raised by participants on the challenge the higher the percentage of funds that directly support those affected by urological, gynaecological and obstetricals illnesses.
Minimum sponsorship target
This challenge is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part on this challenge will have little or no fitness level when they sign up. This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, lose weight and have an experience of a lifetime and we even send you a free training plan tailored to the challenge. Please do take into account that climbing the Simien Mountains is a high altitude trek and for six consecutive nights, we'll be camping at high altitudes of over 3,000 m. This is perhaps the biggest aspect of the challenge, but we have designed this itinerary to allow for sufficient acclimatisation to the conditions. A UK qualified doctor will be with the group at all times.
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own. Once the challenge is fully booked, we will send you a contact list of everyone registered for the challenge, as often there will be someone in your local area you can meet up to train or fundraise with.
Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. The age range is likely to be from 18 to 75. Please do take into account that this is a high altitude trek and for six consecutive nights, we'll be camping at high altitudes of over 3,000 m. We have designed this itinerary to allow for sufficient acclimatisation to the conditions. A UK qualified doctor will be with the group at all times.
You will of course need a pair of walking boots and you do need to bring your own sleeping bag. We will supply you with a comprehensive list of everything you will need to take on the challenge well before your departure date.
You will spend the nights following trekking days in mountain camps and the remaining nights in comfortable, tourist class hotels.
Yes of course! If you wish to extend your stay, you will need to come out of our group flights (and of course we would deduct the cost from your balance).
In addition to paying your registration fee you will need to budget for your airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, personal travel insurance, visa, gratuities, optional tours and personal expenses.
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Dream Challenges has a recommended policy, which we will send you details of. You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in Ethiopia. You will need to apply for a visa to obtain entry into Ethiopia, for which we will send you all the relevant information and forms in plenty of time.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself. Once you have registered we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the event. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.