Before leaving for a trip to Ethiopia in December, 2013 we pre-booked a 3 day Simien Mountain trek with a well-known local guide. At the last minute he had to cancel for a family emergency, and it was our good fortune to be assigned Afera as our guide for the trek.
We had a wonderful time with Afera. He was so fun, friendly and informative throughout our trek, sharing all sorts of interesting information about the area and the local culture (including Ethiopian music on his iPod) We went at the perfect pace, pausing to admire stunning views and enjoy the environment along the way. The trek was really well organized, and we always felt safe and well taken care of. The day following the trek we took the public bus from Debark towards Axum. Afera took extra time to make sure we got seats on the bus (no small feat) – we were very grateful for that!
We highly recommend Afera. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
Steve and Judy Rock
If you want a trek in the Simien Mountains to see the endangered species of Ethiopia, I would recommend you hire Afera as your guide. He was cheerful, helpful & professional at all times during our trek.
G. Shive, Laramie, WY USA
In January 2015 I did a four day trek in the incredible Simien Mountains with my great guide Afera and scout Ayenew, and cooks Mefasant & Mequant. It was an amazing experience thanks to Afera who was a fantastic guide in all aspects. I will return soon and hope to have Afera as my guide again, I recommend him very highly to anybody who wishes to see the beautiful Simien Mountains in Ethiopia.
Robert Williams – England
My name is Kasia and I come from Poland. I had a great chance to visit Ethiopia – this amazing country! The trip was organized by a travel agency (Rainbow Tour). I visited this incredible country from the North to the South. And I met many kind people. One of them – the best of the best – was Afera! He was our guide during our visit to the Simien Mountains National Park. He has very good knowledge about the Park and Ethiopia. He is very helpful and patient. And he speaks English very well! If you can – join his group! I am sure you will be satisfied!!! And you will have wonderful memories and photos from this trip. Enjoy!
I had the pleasure of meeting Afera Gabremedhin during a last-minute hiking trip to the Simien Mountains in 2013. With very little notice, he was able to rally a team together to provide me with all of the services that made for an excellent trip: cook, assistants, mule, etc. His knowledge for the land was excellent, and he was extremely motivated to provide a memorable experience, often tailoring the knowledge he shared to my specific interests and encouraging interaction with the communities we passed along the way. The result was a trip not only of scenic beauty, but great cultural engagement as well. I would be happy to use his services again, should I return in the future.
Dr. Chris Richards-Bentley
To most of the world, Ethiopia is practically synonymous to famine and drought.
A series of famine that plagued the country between 1970s and 80s killed over a million people. It was one of the worst disasters in the world and millions of dollars were poured in from other countries and non-profit organisations in the form of aid and relief.
But that was more than 30 years ago and Ethiopia has long recovered from the disaster. Today, Ethiopia still experiences drought in some parts of the country, but it no longer results in food shortages or famine.
The country, especially the capital city of Addis Ababa, has developed tremendously along with the modern world. It has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and it’s welcoming tourists again. There is still dissatisfaction with the government, which has caused rebellions and civil unrest especially in recent years, but it is relatively safe to visit these days.
Why You Should Visit Ethiopia:
One thing is for sure, Ethiopia is truly unique — culturally, historically and scenically. I’ve traveled to 18 countries in Africa and can safely say this country is unlike any other on the continent.
Ethiopia is an extremely mountainous country and boasts highlands rather than the vast savannahs that are often associated with Africa. Ethiopians adorn the white cotton shemma cloth instead of the colourful vitenge that most East Africans wear; and let’s not forget that a large percentage of Ethiopians are Orthodox Christians while most Africans tend to be secular Christians or animists.
Ethiopians like to think they are different from the rest because they’re the only country in Africa to have successfully fought off colonization. It’s true that they have retained a strong sense of identity and traditions, which have made them very proud and patriotic people.
Ethiopia travel guide:
Safety and Ease of Travel in Ethiopia
Safety is often the biggest concern for those thinking of heading to Ethiopia. It’s true that the country has been plagued by civil unrest and unpredictable anti-government protests since November 2015. My friend who came along on this trip with me was even warned by an Ethiopian friend to avoid going there now because of the potential danger. The US travel advisory warns its citizens against traveling there — while that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit Ethiopia, I would recommend exercising caution when visiting.
That said, during my visit (in Jan 2017), I felt completely safe everywhere I went and there was no hint of instability. I did however travel with a local tour operator, Aone Ethiopia Travel, and was accompanied by a guide most of the time. While in towns like Lalibela and Gonder, my friend and I (both females) didn’t feel any sort of danger — we were only hassled by street kids in Lalibela and that was about the only negative experience we had. Nonetheless, I recommend keeping yourself informed and updated on their latest situation before booking your trip.
Ethiopia’s poorly developed infrastructure and remote mountainous attractions make any trip here an adventure. Traveling independently in Ethiopia can be very challenging and only recommended for those who have experience traveling in less-trodden parts of Africa. Roads in Ethiopia are usually in poor conditions and public transport can be unreliable and limited. Most cities and towns are accessible by public bus, but expect to spend hours getting anywhere in this country. Flying domestically is a great way to save time and get around the country comfortably (Read more about ‘Getting Around Ethiopia’.)
When to Travel Ethiopia
Ethiopia can be visited all year round — but the best time to visit is from mid-October to January, when the rains have subsided and the countryside is still lush and green. It’s best to avoid the rainy season, which falls in the summer months (June to August). During this period, roads in the mountains can get flooded and hiking trails may become too slippery.
Many people (including myself) time their trips to coincide with religious festivals. Here are the biggest festivals of the year, in order of importance in Ethiopia:
Genna — The biggest festival of the year is equivalent to the Ethiopian Christmas, which falls on 7th January. It marks the end of a 40-day fast, and is celebrated by feasting with the family. You’ll find the biggest celebrations in Lalibela.
Timkat — The Ethiopian Epiphany is the second biggest festival and it falls on 19th January. The tablot (replica of Ark of Covenant) is removed from every church in town and paraded around by priests dressed in colourful robes. Pilgrims also reenact the