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TRAVEL TIPS

When to Go (For Simien Mountains Only)

Ethiopia is generally pleasant and warm, but weather conditions vary with altitude. The long rains usually last from mid-June to early September and the short rains from mid-February to April - although this pattern has been completely unpredictable in recent times. After the rains, the highlands of northern Ethiopia are usually green and thus particularly scenic.

The temperature all year round rarely falls below 17°C. Night-time temperatures in the mountains can be cold and can drop below 0°C at higher altitude. There is a strong risk of sunburn at high altitude in Ethiopia. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable.
The best time for trekking in Ethiopia is from October to March.

What to Bring (For Simien Mountains Only)

Bringing the following listed items is recommended but is not mandatory (for guide line only).

The basics

  • Valid passport
  • Insurance Certificate
  • Proof of Vaccination Certificate

Mountain treks

  • Waterproof nylon or goretex jacket and over trousers
  • Waterproof hat
  • Fleeces (a thick warm one and 1 or 2 thinner ones)
  • Down or fibre pile jacket
  • Gloves
  • Socks (avoid nylon socks)
  • Shirts (longer, loose fitting ones cotton)
  • Water bottles
  • Walking boots and spare laces
  • Trekking poles
  • Sleeping bag
  • Lip balm
  • Sun block
  • Sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • Throat pastilles
  • Warm hat/balaclava
  • Trek kit bag
  • Plastic bags
  • Torch
  • Small first aid kit

Equipment

  • Sleeping bag
  • Cotton sleeping sheet
  • Air mattress (with puncture kit) closed cell foam mattress (Karrimat/Thermarest)
  • Small inflatable cushion/pillow
  • Water bottle

Individual kit

  • Universal bath plug
  • Wash kit/towel
  • Battery shaver
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Small travel alarm/reliable watch
  • Earplugs
  • Sun cream/lip salve
  • Moisturizing cream/cleansing pads
  • Tissues/toilet paper/tampons
  • Dark sunglasses
  • Spare spectacles (or lens prescription)
  • Detergent
  • Polythene bags
  • Sewing kit/String (clothes line/repairs etc.)
  • Individual medical kit
  • Water purification tablets
  • Malaria tablets
  • Personal medication

Travel tips and practical Information

Visa

Visas are required for any foreign visitor to Ethiopia except Kenyans. This can be secured from Ethiopian Diplomatic and consular missions abroad. In addition visitors from many countries Australia, the U.S, U.K and many European Union nations can obtain a visa on arrival at Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa) for a varying cost.
All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant local Ethiopian Embassy prior to departure.

Health Requirements

Prior to entry, visitors should be in possession of a valid health certificate for yellow fever.(It is no longer mandatory but you will need to hold the certificate for proof if you’ve travelled to a country where yellow fever still exists.) Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited a cholera-infected area within six days prior to his/her arrival in Ethiopia. In addition to these, several other vaccinations are recommended. These includes: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Diphtheria and Meningococcal.
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations.  Please make sure that you’ve got all your vaccination at least 8 weeks prior to your arrival in Ethiopia.

Malaria:

There's a high risk of catching malaria in many parts of Ethiopia especially in areas that are below 2000 meters. So we urge you to take an appropriate precaution earlier before you start planning to trek with us.
Please do make sure that your doctor is well informed that you are traveling to Ethiopia so s/he can prescribe you the right anti-malarial medication.

High Altitude:

Since the Simien Mountains are at high elevations and high altitude can affect healthy individuals in a number of ways including: dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches, we recommend you to bring pills that would enable you resist or prevent such unpredictable illnesses.

Walking Grades and Fitness :

To enjoy any trek such as the exciting Simien Mountains Trek it is essential to be in shape before you arrive. It is not wise to regard a trek as a means of getting into shape or losing excess weight. Start a program of conditioning well before departure – in fact as soon as you book – and be aware that short walks on the flat do little to prepare you for the gradients involved on this trek. Running, hill walking and other more active sports are suitable.
We've given each walking & trekking holiday a trek grade to help you decide which one is appropriate for you. This holiday is rated 'Strenuous'.


Strenuous: Long and sometimes challenging walks, normally around 6 to 8 hours per day. You should expect some difficult terrain and sometimes high altitude trekking. Ascents and descents are demanding, up to about 1000 meters per day. High levels of fitness and stamina are important. Some previous trekking experience is recommended.

Medium= Short and a little bit challenging for older people but suitable for young, novice and experienced ones. Usually takes 3-4 hours of hiking. You just need to be physically good and mentally stable.

Foreign Exchange

Local Currency: Ethiopia: Ethiopian Birr. There are 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Birr notes. The Birr is very stable and there is no significant difference between the official rate and black market rate.

Recommended Currency for Exchange: It is advisable to take your spending money in Sterling, Euros or US Dollars cash (high denomination notes usually get better exchange rates). Please note that any pre- 1999 or torn US Dollar bills will not accepted in Ethiopia. Please keep any receipts as you may be able to change back any unused local currency.

Where to Exchange:   At banks and foreign exchange bureaus (we will help you with this).

ATM Availability: Limited.

Credit Card Acceptance: Limited.

Travelers Cheques: Very difficult to exchange and not recommended.

 

 
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