A Travellerspoint blog

Gondar & Simien Trek

sunny 80 °F
View Ethiopia 2016 on madpax's travel map.

We arrived back in Gondar after the trek last night around 6pm. It turned out to be a little tougher than either of us expected - I don't think that the jet lag or the altitude helped much.

Most of the hike was around 10,000 feet with the highest point around 12,000. The total distance was around 33km although I cheated a few times toward the end and rode one of the mules. The scenery was beautiful although seems like we spent most of the time looking at our feet! Were able to see many Gelada monkeys along the way, passing through huge groups grazing along the hillsides. The males have big lion-like manes and some pretty fierce looking fangs they like to bare from time to time. It was amazing how close we were able to come to them. One morning in camp were able see an Ethiopian wolf that came pretty close.

There are a lot of families that still live within the boundaries of the Simien mountains. Too far from any real town, they live in very basic thatch huts and herd sheep. Some supplement their living by assisting trekers like us with pack mules and as camp helpers.

We were glad to be back in Gondar last night and get cleaned up - we were pretty grubby! We have a driver coming to pick us up at 8:30am this morning and will head to Lalibela. Will spend 3 nights there with two full days to explore the rock-hewn churches that are supposed to be one of the highlights to any Ehtiopian trip.

Below are a couple photos from the trek - I had hoped to post more but the wifi is very slow. As it is these thtree took me almost an hour!

Love to you all.


Posted by madpax 19:56 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (1)

Checking in

View Ethiopia 2016 on madpax's travel map.

Just got to Dubai about an hour ago after a 14.5 hour direct flight from Seattle. Have about 3 more hours before we leave on a four hour flight into Addis Ababa.

All good so far. Probably won't be to our hotel tonight until around 10 or 11pm then up and back to the airport early to fly to Gondar which is where we will start our Simien Mountain hike. Likey won't update until after that is over so will be 3 days or so.

Hope all is well at home and you kids are taking good care of each other.

Love you all

Posted by madpax 01:12 Comments (3)

Announcing Ethiopia

The map is a rough outline of the ground we will cover over the course of two weeks in Ethiopia - probably have to zoom in to see the detail. We leave two weeks from today so time to start getting our act together.

We've managed to string together a few excursions with a company based in Addis Ababa with the highlights being:

- 3 Day trek in the Simien Mountains

- 3 Day visit to the churches of Lalibela

- 4 Day visit to Danakil Depression/hike Erta Ale volcano

- 2 Day visit to the holy city of Harar (google the Hyena men of Harar :))

Trust in that we've done our research and Ethiopia is much different now than what most people remember of a country crippled by famine in the early 1980's. Certainly not without its challenges but looking forward to visiting the world's fastest growing economy.

The kids and Judy will be staying home to hold down the fort for which we are eternally grateful. Based on what we've read, we should have fairly easy access to wifi so will keep the blog updated as much as possible. The exception to this being the Simien Mountains and Danakil Depression segments as we will be camping.

Stay tuned.....

Posted by madpax 19:17 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (1)

Oman Bits

Posting a map of where we went while in Oman (click on "Oman Map" below) as well as a few pics of our favorite places. The rest of the pics are under the "photography" link on the right side of the page.

Oman Map

Also a bit of video (warning: might make you car sick!):


Posted by madpax 19:47 Archived in Oman Comments (3)

Du bye bye

sunny 80 °F

Our flight doesn't leave until 2am Sunday morning so we stayed in our hotel room until the last possible minute today and then took the metro train downtown to see the infamous Dubai Mall. We had great intentions of taking in the aquarium and walking around a bit but the reality is that we walked in and became so completey overwhelmed that we found the nearest exit and got the hell out of there. It wasn't just that it was busy, it was just the sheer size of the thing. Perhaps some people's idea of good fun but it seemed really obscene and over the top. But I guess that is the point.

It was kind of fun to walk along the front entrance where some of the higher end cars that had been valet parked were. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls, Bentleys, etc. We walked down the street to a corner cafe that had outdoor seating and just watched traffic for a while. There wasn't a cycle of the stop light that went by that we didn't see some outrageous looking supercar being rodded down the street. With the pristine boulevard, manicured greenery and amazing buildings it felt like a movie set.

We were going to go up in the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) until we found out we would have to go back into the mall to buy the tickets. That was NOT going to happen so we admired it by walking around and looking way, way up. We were at least a block away when I took this picture and still couldn't get the whole thing in the frame.


We are at the airport now and still have two hours before they will even allow us to check in. Then another three hours before our flight leaves. It's going to be a long couple of days getting home but looking forward to seeing the kiddos and thankful for the experiences we have had on this trip.

Posted by madpax 09:07 Archived in Oman Comments (1)

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