Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
At a Glance
Spot the Gelada Monkey a species endemic to Ethiopia
Fantastic base to trek in the Simien Mountains
The bar at Simien Lodge is the highest place in Africa to get a drink
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The best time to visit Ethiopia is from mid to late October until May. During this time the highlands are ideal for hiking especially after the rainy season has just finished as the landscape bursts into life.
Due to the high altitude of the country in comparison to its location conditions get quite cool at night. Temperatures generally can reach above 30°C in lowland areas, whereas the highland temperature can dip below 20°C. Addis Ababa has a relatively even temperature year-round.
To start planning your holiday to Simien Lodge
Known as the highest hotel in Africa at 3260m it is understandable that from the Simien Mountain Lodge, views across the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage Site are incredible. By night stay in a Tukul, by day explore the culture and wildlife of Ethiopia.
Simien Lodge opened in 2006 as the only permanent accommodation available within the Simien National Park boundary. It is preferable for those who aren't fond of sleeping under canvas Ethiopian style - Simien Lodge is undoubtedly a more comfortable experience.
The lodge's appearance is that of a classic Ethiopian tukul (traditional house) and is practically kitted out with under-floor heating powered by solar energy, emphasising the lodge's sustainable ideals.
The lodge's elevated position means that there are fantastic views on offer and the lodge provides balconies in each room from which to appreciate this. We prefer standard rooms to the VIP option, they have a higher elevation which of course means better views and have an altogether more homely feel.
The nights can be chilly in the African mountains, so ensure you come prepared with some warm clothes. The tukuls are also insulated with fibreglass and the restaurant hosts a cosy log fire that guests and staff can warm themselves around in the evening. Facilities stay open for as long as guests require to get a drink from the highest bar in Africa. You might even be treated to some dancing by the local guides and staff!
There are two different room types at Simien Lodge, a Main Tukul or a Family Room and each is insulated in the walls, ceiling and floor with fibreglass. There is also under-floor heating via solar power.
There is a family room which can accommodate parents and children.
The restaurant at Simien Lodge serves international cuisine with an "A la carte menu" of Ethiopian and European food. Simien Lodge can accommodate vegetarian and other dietry/religious requirements. The bar at Simien Lodge is claimed to be the highest place to get a drink in Africa and remains open into the evening until the last clients have left.
The main activity to do from the Lodge is to trek in the Simien Mountains and see birds, gelada and possibly wolves, hyena and leopard. You will need a guide for trekking long distances, which the Lodge do not provide, but the park entrance does. Simien Lodge hires out mountain bikes and camping equipment, depending on the length of your journey.
For those interested in a cultural excursion one of the most interesting historical places to visits in Deresge Maryam, where King Tewodros II was crowned.
Location & directions
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
The lodge is located 100km north of Gonder in The Simien Mountains.
How to get there
Fly to Bole Airport in Addis Ababa and from there take an internal flight to Gonder airport where there is a hotel shuttle bus which arrives at 10am to take guests to the Lodge which is about 100km/ 3-hour drive north in The Simien Mountains.
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