The Ultimate Adventure - Simien and Danakil Depression


This motorcycle tour is not for the faint of heart! If you want to test your stamina and riding skills, there is no better place on earth than Ethiopia and no better destination than Danakil. Ride through stunning scenery, different altitudes, extreme temperatures, and challenging road surfaces whilst discovering the magnificent landscape, culture, and history of Ethiopia. Visit the birthplace of the Queen of Sheba, the 'Jerusalem of Africa' and 'Africa's Camelot'. MotorHike to the beautiful Simien National Park, along the Blue Nile, and to the top of the only lava lake volcano in the world. Be one of the few to ride in the hottest place on Earth. We cannot promise you an easy ride - but we can promise you the ride of a lifetime!

Day 1:
Arrival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The tour will start with a cultural evening in one of the best restaurants of Addis. The perfect environment to meet your fellow motorcycle riders and enjoy delicious Ethiopian cuisine seasoned with very energetic Ethiopian dancing.
Overnight in Addis Ababa

2 - 8:

The first part of the tour will take yo to some of the most recognizable places in Ethiopia: Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum and the Simien Mountains.

Bahir Dar, which is located by the shores of the fabled Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile is one of Ethiopia’s most attractive towns and the perfect base from which to explore the area’s main site: the island monasteries of Lake Tana.

The visit to Lake Tana’s monasteries will start with a boat trip during which you can admire the hand-made papyrus canoes, which still navigate Lake Tana.

During the 13th and 14th century this region received monks seeking the isolation and peace ideal for lives devoted to prayer, fasting and study. The result was the construction of small monasteries alongside churches.

As you ride North to Gondar the landscape becomes more and more spectacular. Gondar with its numerous castles and churches is also known as the Camelot of Africa and one of the major attractions of the historical route. Visit the castle-palace of King Fasilidas and the church of Debre Birhan Sellassie (Mount of Light of the Holy Trinity) famous for its beautiful winged angel decorated ceilings and many other frescos.

Visit Axum slabs and monolithic obelisks, churches and historical sites. Axum was the centre of power of the Axumite Empire, one of the oldest civilizations in Africa.

Registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO The Simien Mountains National Park will signal the start of your off-road experience in Ethiopia. Made up of several plateaus separated by broad river valleys it makes up one of the most marvellous landscapes of Ethiopia; a perfect contrast with the upcoming trip to the Dalol. The park is interesting because of the uniqueness of its endemic animals, the beauty of its flora and the majesty of its impressive landscape. If you would like to rest from the bike and do some trekking this is the right place.

Overnights in Hotels

9 - 15:

Mekele and day 9 will be the start of the trip to Danakil. An enjoyable ride through wonderful landscape and villages. Site seeing of Mekele.

The ride to Dalol will be tough! Do no expect anything but. The ride is made worst by the very high temperatures reached during day time and riding will be done only at defined hours of the day.

The Afar Depression is one of the most inhospitable and spectacular regions of the world, full of eye-catching colours. The desert has several points lying more than 120m below sea level and temperatures can rise above 50°C. Visit the Asale Salt Lake, where salt is still extracted using ancestral techniques.

Amongst the all the attractions the Dalol has to offer, the active Volcano of “Erta Ale” is possibly the most well known. Expect an hardous ride through sand and sharp stones. There are no tracks and GPS will be our only guide. It will take us approximately 4/5 hours to make the 82 km until the first post. Two hours and 25 km later we will be at the base of the volcano where we will set up camping.

The 2 to 3 hour hike into the summit of the volcano will start very early. The Danakil Depression has several Volcanoes but “Erta Ale” is the most accessible and spectacular. You will have the chance to admire the volcano during all hours of the day, the most spectacular being dusk, night and dawn. This is also the chance for a much deserved rest!

The trek back to the base of the volcano ends the Danakil visit. Relaxing after the Danakil trip will come naturally, but those who still have some energy left may visit the market of Mekele.

Overnights Camping, very basic, no facilities

16 - 18:

Before the return to Addis you will visit Lalibela, riding through a high altitude curvy road which offers an extraordinary scenery. This is an exceptional, enjoyable ride through great landscape on one of the less travelled routes in the country.

Lalibela which is also known as the Kingdom of the living rock or African Jerusalem is famous for its churches carved out from red volcanic rock dating back to the 12th & 13th Centuries. Ethiopia is home to more World Heritage sites than most countries in Africa. The churches at Lalibela are perhaps the most prominent of all and Ethiopia’s top attraction.

Overnights in Hotels

Day 19:

Departure to Addis. The road to Addis is made up of new and bad bumpy asphalt with lot of changes in altitude and temperatures, but as usual the landscape is fantastic. In the evening of the last riding day the group will have a farewell dinner in one of the best restaurants of Addis. There are many good Restaurants, Bars, Discos, Jazz Live Music and Cultural Dance venues to offer if you want to extend your stay.
Overnight in Addis

Day 20: Flight Home

More Photos:
•  Our Danakil Gallery
•  Danakil Tour 2010/2011

Papyrus Canoe in Lake Tana
Papyrus Canoe, Lake Tana

Castle-palace of King Fasilidas, Gondar
Castle-Palace of King Fasilidas, Gondar

Simien Mountains
Simien Mountains

Simien Ride
Simien Ride

Axum Obelisks
Axum monolithic obelisks

Danakil exhausted riders
Exhausted riders, Dalol

Danakil salt hornitos
Danakil Geysers

Erta Ale volcano
Erta Ale Volcano, view from the top

Refreshing in Danakil
Rock hewn Lalibela church

Winding Road from Lalibela to Addis
Winding road from Lalibela to Addis


   Tour: The Ultimate Riding Adventure Tour - Danakil Depression and Simien Mountains1

   Dates of the tour:

21 January - 09 February 2014

   Duration of the tour:

20 days

   Riding days:

18 days

   Total distance:

Approx. 3,244 Km/ 1,752 miles

   Skill level:


   Lodging type:

Hotels and Camping

   Maximum nr. of riders: 6  
   (based on a minimum    group of 4 riders):

Own bike:
Passenger in support car2:
Single room surcharge3:

€ 6,810
€ 4,935
€ 3,799
€ 399

   What is included: •  Airport collection and drop-off
•  Motorbike (KTM 690 Enduro & 500 EXC - no fuel), bike insurance     against third parties and theft
•  Support car for luggage and passengers
•  Expert multi-lingual tour leader and mechanical support
•  Double occupancy accommodation (note: single occupancy incurs     an extra-charge)
•  Camping fees, camping equipment, preparation of campsite, cook
•  Restoration (dinner on the arrival day and lunch on the departure     day; every other day breakfast, lunch and dinner). Beverages and     snacks not included (except water in the car throughout the trip)
•  Entry fees to parks, monuments and other sites (except in Addis)
•  Local guides and local fees/taxes for all riding days
•  Luggage storage
•  CD with photos of the trip

   What is not included: •  Bike fuel
•  Beverages and snacks
•  Personal items
•  Passport and visa fees
•  Laundry
•  Telephone calls
•  Room service
•  Travel insurance
•  Personal and Accident insurance and medical expenses
•  Emergency evacuation/Hospitalization
•  Flight tickets
•  Protective riding gear: helmet, riding suit, gloves, kidney belt and     boots are mandatory; back protector and/or armour, earplugs     and sunglasses strongly advised.
•  Tips, souvenirs, photo and video fees and spending money


•  There are no discounts available for this tour.


•  At request Africa Riding Adventures will refund the full amount of deposit paid if there isn't a minimum number of 4 riders attending the tour. Pls read our terms and conditions for the full text of our policy.
    •  Africa Riding Adventures reserves the right to cancel this calendar tour if no bookings are made 45 days before the tour commencement.
  2 Prices for passengers on support car may change if an additional car is needed to transport all passengers.
  3  The single room surcharge will apply to the last rider booking for the tour when double occupancy is not possible.

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  If you've booked this trip with us bellow is some general information on Ethiopia and on your motorcycle trip. There also some some forms you will need to sign before the start of the trip. Save time by bringing them signed when you arrive.

               Client information form | Declaration of responsibility | Tips for safe riding | General Information on your trip


Phone: +251 92 212 2921, Fax: +251 11 551 6366,
P.O. Box 5645 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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