Ethiopia’s Bale and Simien Mountains in Style
Addis Ababa, Bale Mountain Lodge & Limalimo
Combine Ethiopia's best luxury lodges; Bale Mountain Lodge and Limalimo in the Simien Mountains. By taking a private charter between the lodges, you can spend longer in each location making the most of the views, wildlife and the vibrant local culture.
At a Glance
Stay in the two best luxury lodges in Ethiopia, both with superb sustainable tourism practices
See the amazing wildlife on offer in the Bale and Simien Mountains from Ethiopian wolves, endemic monkeys and fantastic bird life
Spend longer in each destination ensuring you have time to immerse yourself in what is on offer
Take a private charter between the two parks
Also have time to visit local communities and markets, meet local people and try Ethiopian food and coffee
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation.
This itinerary can of course be tailored to include other aspects of Ethiopia, but focuses on these two amazing areas of natural beauty, the Bale Mountains to the south of Addis Ababa and the Simien Mountains to the north. You will stay in two lodges which have simply raised the bar in terms of the creature comforts they offer, yet both are absolutely geared to sustainable eco-tourism and provide the perfect base from which to explore these two dramatically beautiful areas in Ethiopia.
Begin in Addis, the beating heart of Ethiopia and a stay at the Sheraton, the best address in town. Addis is a melting pot of cultures and religions from all over this region of Africa, and the only real city experience you will have on your journey. You will have two days here, so you can get under the skin of Ethiopia's capital city - explore the main sights such as the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the main museums, but we love to go a little deeper than this and show you the Merkato - the main market, maybe stop for an Ethiopian coffee in Tomoca, or head to the Jazzamba Lounge in the evening to uncover the history behind Addis' music scene. For foodies, we suggest spending the evening at Castelli's, said to be Sir Bob Geldof's favorite Italian restaurant (you might be thinking, why not choose something local – but read on and all will become clear!) Needless to say, you will have an amazing private guide and driver to ensure you have a fabulous time in Addis, it’s a great city just waiting to show itself off.
The next day your private driver will be waiting outside the Sheraton to take you on the 8-hour drive to Bale Mountains. You might be thinking that this is really rather long, but the drive is absolutely worth the effort. Maybe stop to see the rock-hewn churches at Adadi Maryam or the ancient stelae at Tiya. Jaws will drop as you drive through the 'Dragons Pass', and the views all the way to Bale are thoroughly rewarding. As you approach the lodge, you might well catch sight of the Ethiopian Wolf, just a taster of the fantastic wildlife experience that is yet to come.
Bale Mountain Lodge was opened in 2014, and is guided by fantastic sustainable tourist practices, showcasing this gorgeous part of the world with almost no footprint. It is set within pristine wilderness in the Bale Mountains at around 2380m and surrounded by wild coffee plantations and cloud forests. Right around the lodge you can find an amazing mix of habitats that support an array of wildlife, such as Bale monkey, wolves, mountain nyala and Menelik's bushbuck to name but a few. Given you have four nights here, you can really explore the area to your heart's content. Wander up to the Sanetti Plateau to see wolves, fantastic bird life and stunning views given its 4000m altitude. If you are feeling adventurous, why not include a day-trip to the Central Rift Valley (en route we promise you will taste the best local coffee combined with honey in the small town of Dolo Mena). It is worth stopping at the local camel market, and also wander through the main market where you will likely be the only tourists. The other option is to head north and see the Sof Omar Caves, and onto the Islamic city of Harar.
After all the fun and excitement of the Bale Mountains, you can hop on your private charter and fly to the town of Gondar. Explore the ancient castles such as the impressive Royal Enclosure, before driving up to the Simien Mountains to spend four nights in Limalimo Lodge. From the lodge you will see the jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and endless views that go on for miles. If you can tear yourself away from the views, there are a range of day walks you can take into the Simiens to see the variety of wildlife on offer, from Gelada monkey, wolves, hyena and superb bird life. We love heading into the local villages, and you can taste traditional Ethiopian cooking and beer making before heading into the local market and meeting the local community. For those who want to find their inner Mo Farah, you can head off on a run with the locals and see why they have won so many long distance gold medals over the years. We rather prefer to sit back at Limalimo with a glass of wine by the fire-pit looking out at the views as the sun sets.
Fly back to Addis and spend your final night in the Sheraton before returning home. This itinerary just focuses on two amazing destinations in Ethiopia, and sometimes spending longer in one place will allow time for all the magic to unfold in front of you. We can of course tailor the itinerary to include other parts of Ethiopia depending on your specific interests.
Location & Directions
Addis Ababa, Bale Mountain Lodge & Limalimo
Bale Mountain Lodge is located in Central Ethiopia to the south of Addis, and takes around 8 hours to reach. You then take a private charter to Gondar followed by a 1.5 hour drive to the Simien Mountains. Drive back to Gondar to take a scheduled flight with Ethiopian Airlines to Addis, or take another private charter.
When to go
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.