Day 1: Domestic flight to Gondar and then drive to Sankaber
Upon arrival in Addis, you will be directly connected to your domestic flight to Gondar. At Gondar, we will meet you, and drive to Sankaber via Debark, where the National Park’s entrance fee is paid, and obligatory staff are met. You will be dropped off at Buyit Ras for a 3-4 hours hike to Sankaber during which you will pass close to the escarpment edge. Nearing Sankaber, you will have beautiful views on both sides of the escarpment ridge and where you will probably see the endemic gelada baboons. Here, the driver will leave you until he returns on the last day to take you back to Gondar.
Day 2: Trek from Sankaber (3,250m) to Gich (3,600m): 5 – 6 hours
The trek starts with a gentle stroll through Erica heather with white lichen and mosses hanging from them, resembling an old man’s white beard. Along the route keep an eye open to spot the elusive and elegant klipspringer. After 2-3 hours, you will reach a viewpoint where you encounter the impressive Jinbar waterfall. From there, you descend fairly steeply for an hour to reach the Jinbar valley and head down to the Jinbar River at 3,190m. Have a picnic lunch in these majestic surroundings. On the way, keep an eye open for the rare and graceful lammergeyer, soaring in search of food. After a brief rest at the river, ascend gradually on an undulating trail for 2-3 hours to the village of Gich – notable for its traditional round thatched huts and home to a Muslim community. After the village, the trail then winds its way into moorland where visitors will experience highland flora, including giant lobelia, as you arrive at Gich Camp.
Day 3: Imet Gogo and the two peaks circuit: 4 – 5 hours
One of the most scenic and spectacular trails in the Park, this route takes you to a viewpoint that rewards you with views of the remarkable shape of the landscape and canyon which are the result of geological upheaval 60 – 70 million years ago. The first part of the hike is a gentle uphill walk of around 2 hours from Gich to the Imet Gogo viewpoint (3,926m). With good luck, you may spot the iconic Ethiopian wolf. While sitting amongst the rocks at Imet Gogo, you can see Ethiopia’s highest mountain, Ras Dejen (4,550m) in the distance.
Another hour’s walk through the Afro-alpine meadow takes you to the Lobelia Valley, which is home to thousands of these giant plants. The trail then brings you to the second viewpoint: Saha (3,785m) with stunning views of the dramatic gorge and rock towers. This is an ideal spot for lunch. After lunch and before the final ascent towards the camp, another 1 hour trek brings you to the final viewpoint of the day called Kedadit (3,760m). After that, a 45-minute downhill stroll leads to the Gich campsite.
Day 4: Trek from Gich to Chennek (3,600m): 7- 8 hours
The trek begins by ascending gradually for about 2 hours through the Afro-alpine meadows. Next, you descend to where you’ll have impressive views of the gorge below Imet Gogo. The trail then winds its way to the lowest point and begins ascending to the peak called Inateye (which means beloved mother in Amharic). You ascend fairly steeply at first for an hour and then more gradually for another hour to the highest point of the day at Inateye (4,070m). This area is an outstanding place to view birds, particularly raptors. Many interesting species can be seen here, among which are the tawny eagle, lammergeyer and augur buzzard. Here you have a rewarding view of the Imet Gogo summit, Bwhait Pass and the surrounding escarpment and mountains. After a brief rest and lunch in this majestic spot, begin your 2-3 hour descent to the camp. About 10-20 minutes before reaching camp, stop at Kurbetemetaya to get a final and excellent view of the day’s trek and look for a first sighting of the cliff specialist walia ibex. Also keep your eyes peeled for gelada baboons. Animals at this campsite have become accustomed to humans – please keep your distance from them and do not feed any of the animals.
Day 5: Return Drive to Gondar and fly back to Addis Ababa
By taking the afternoon flight to Addis Ababa from Gondar, you will have time to shop in Addis Ababa before you head to the airport for departure.