Ras Dashen
What people are saying
TMR1004
By TMR1004
Hike to the Summit of Ethiopia!
5.0 of 5 bubblesFeb 2019
1. Introduction At 14,930 ft., Ras Dashen is the highest mountain in Ethiopia and the 10th highest in Africa. It is located in the Amara region of the Simien Mountains, a world heritage site. Hiking in the Simien Mountains and summiting Ras Dashen is a magnificent experience. The landscape is stunningly beautiful and the local people you will see and meet along the trail are incredible. It is both a wondrous hiking and cultural experience. 2. Trailhead There are numerous different routes to the summit of Ras Dashen and your itinerary could take as little as 3 days or as long as 2 weeks. I started at Inameda, which is about half way between Gich Camp and Chenneck Camp. But there are literally dozens of different places that you could start and end your hike. It is about a 1 ½ hour drive from Gondar to Debark and about an additional 2 hours to drive from the park office in Debark to either Inameda or Chenneck Camp. 3. Information Sources 1) Map – Simien Mountains, Ethiopia. Produced by the University of Berne. An excellent topo map showing most of the major trails in the Simien Mountains. 2) Agere Tesfu – my guide for Mt. Bwahit and Ras Dashen. He is a top notch experienced Simien Mtn guide who can answer all of your specific questions and help you plan the trip that is best for you. His contact information is: Email: ageretesfu@gmail.com Phone: (whatsapp): 0920193081 4. Level of difficulty The level of difficulty will largely depend on the route and itinerary that you choose. The route that I chose (after consulting with Agere) allowed me to summit both Mt. Bwahit and Ras Dashen in 4 days, with half days on days 1 and 4 and two full days of climbing (8-10 hours) on days 2 and 3. 5. Best time of year The rainy season is July through mid-September. Most people prefer to hike in late September through December because the weather is good, everything is green and the flowers abundant. January through June also has good weather, but there is less greenery/color, etc. 6. Options Almost unlimited. If you buy the topo map, you will see that Ras Dashen can be climbed by multiple routes and that each route has multiple potential starting points. Your trip can last for 3 days to 2 weeks + and can be as rigorous, or relaxed (relatively speaking) as you wish. My advice is to find a knowledgeable guide, like Agere, and talk with him/her about what you would like to do, your level of experience, fitness, etc. and work with him to come up with the best itinerary for you. 7. Guides/Permits, etc. All hikes must be arranged in the park office in Debark. A guide is optional, but a park scout is mandatory. One will be assigned to you. He will accompany you through your entire trip. I would also highly recommend using a guide. They can help you plan your trip, handle the logistics, hire other staff (cook, muleteer, etc.) and provide a wealth of practical and interesting information about the Simien Mountains, the people who live there, flora and fauna, etc. Agere was a pleasure to hike with and spend time with. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding the right guide for you. We only saw a few other guides on the mountain. Most of the guides seemed fairly good, but one was definitely not. I spoke with his three clients and they were very disappointed with their trip. A bad guide can change what could have been a wonderful experience into a painful regret. 8. Trail distances (for my hike) Day 1 Inameda to Chenneck Camp 4 miles Day 2 Chenneck Camp to Bwahit Summit 13 miles and on to Ambico Camp Day 3 Ambico Camp to Ras Dashen Summit 12 miles and return to Ambico Camp Day 4 Ambico Camp to the Meshina Wenz river 4 miles and climb to the village for pickup Total 33 miles 9. Elevations Inameda 12,300 ft. Chenneck Camp 11,875 ft. Mt. Bwahit Summit 14,555 ft. Village before river 10,720 ft. Meshina Wenz River 9,580 ft. Ambico Camp 10,665 ft. Ras Dashen Summit 14,925 ft. 10. Vertical Elevations There are numerous up and downs on this itinerary. The vertical elevations that you will climb each day are: Day 1 1,160 vt. ft. Day 2 3,690 vt. ft. Day 3 4,430 vt. ft. Day 4 1,140 vt. ft. Total 10, 420 vt. ft. 11. Trail description Magnificent. You will be above tree line almost all of the time and the views are incredible. The trail is generally single track, double track or dirt road. There is not much shade and there is high sun exposure. The trails are rocky and dusty (in February). And although there are some steep climbs, the trails are doable for anyone with reasonable hiking experience and fitness. There is one short section right before the summit of Ras Dashen that requires some rock scrambling and there is some exposure. You do not need to be a rock climber nor do you need mountaineering equipment here, but it might be a bit uncomfortable for some people. 12. Water along trail There is not much water along the trail. It is best to just carry what you need. On the two long days, I carried 2 – 2 ½ liters and that was sufficient for me. 13. What to bring Consult with your guide about your pack list. At night and in the morning, it can be fairly cold. Hiking during the day can be quite warm/hot – especially with the sun. So bring layers that you can easily adjust, as necessary. There is also a lot of sun exposure. Make sure you bring lotion, hat with a brim, sunglasses, etc. I also brought light weight long pants and long sleeve shirt, which worked very well for me hiking during the day. 14. Altitude Do not underestimate the effects of altitude. If you live at sea level like I do, try to spend a few days in Addis or Gondar (7,000 – 8,000 ft.) to start to acclimate. I spent two nights in Addis and one in Gondar. I also spent 2 days hiking from Inameda to Ambico Camp before the final climb of Ras Dashen. I believe that acclimating made the climb much easier and enjoyable for me. 15. Time estimates This is always a difficult thing to say due to differences in fitness, trail and weather conditions, pack weight, how often you stop to take pictures and breaks, and of course, how well you acclimate to the elevation. That being said, the time estimates below are reasonable for most reasonably fit and experienced hikers carrying a 10-20 lb. pack in reasonable trail/weather conditions. Day 1 3-4 hours Day 2 8-11 hours Day 3 8-12 hours Day 4 2-3 hours 16. Conclusion Hiking Mt. Bwahit and Ras Dashen in the Simien Mountains was the highlight of my trip to Ethiopia. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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ziggy y
ziggy y
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2015 • Friends
This trek takes you from the capital Addis Ababa on the imperial city of Gondar to the Simien Mountains, which is under the protection of UNESCO World Heritage.

The Simien Mountains are also known as the "roof of Africa", as most mountains are high over 4,000 m. It is a wild mountain with stunning canyons, cliffs and switchbacks.

The park is a home to rare animals such as the Walia Ibex, the Simien fox, the Gelada baboons and the bearded vulture. The technically simple climbing the highest mountain in Ethiopia, Ras Dashen (4,543 m), represents the culmination of this stunning trek.
Written 11 May 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TMR1004
Valley Forge, PA391 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Solo
1. Introduction
At 14,930 ft., Ras Dashen is the highest mountain in Ethiopia and the 10th highest in Africa. It is located in the Amara region of the Simien Mountains, a world heritage site. Hiking in the Simien Mountains and summiting Ras Dashen is a magnificent experience. The landscape is stunningly beautiful and the local people you will see and meet along the trail are incredible. It is both a wondrous hiking and cultural experience.

2. Trailhead
There are numerous different routes to the summit of Ras Dashen and your itinerary could take as little as 3 days or as long as 2 weeks. I started at Inameda, which is about half way between Gich Camp and Chenneck Camp. But there are literally dozens of different places that you could start and end your hike. It is about a 1 ½ hour drive from Gondar to Debark and about an additional 2 hours to drive from the park office in Debark to either Inameda or Chenneck Camp.

3. Information Sources
1) Map – Simien Mountains, Ethiopia. Produced by the University of Berne. An excellent topo map showing most of the major trails in the Simien Mountains.
2) Agere Tesfu – my guide for Mt. Bwahit and Ras Dashen. He is a top notch experienced Simien Mtn guide who can answer all of your specific questions and help you plan the trip that is best for you. His contact information is:
Email: ageretesfu@gmail.com
Phone: (whatsapp): 0920193081

4. Level of difficulty
The level of difficulty will largely depend on the route and itinerary that you choose. The route that I chose (after consulting with Agere) allowed me to summit both Mt. Bwahit and Ras Dashen in 4 days, with half days on days 1 and 4 and two full days of climbing (8-10 hours) on days 2 and 3.

5. Best time of year
The rainy season is July through mid-September. Most people prefer to hike in late September through December because the weather is good, everything is green and the flowers abundant. January through June also has good weather, but there is less greenery/color, etc.

6. Options
Almost unlimited. If you buy the topo map, you will see that Ras Dashen can be climbed by multiple routes and that each route has multiple potential starting points. Your trip can last for 3 days to 2 weeks + and can be as rigorous, or relaxed (relatively speaking) as you wish. My advice is to find a knowledgeable guide, like Agere, and talk with him/her about what you would like to do, your level of experience, fitness, etc. and work with him to come up with the best itinerary for you.

7. Guides/Permits, etc.
All hikes must be arranged in the park office in Debark. A guide is optional, but a park scout is mandatory. One will be assigned to you. He will accompany you through your entire trip. I would also highly recommend using a guide. They can help you plan your trip, handle the logistics, hire other staff (cook, muleteer, etc.) and provide a wealth of practical and interesting information about the Simien Mountains, the people who live there, flora and fauna, etc. Agere was a pleasure to hike with and spend time with. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding the right guide for you. We only saw a few other guides on the mountain. Most of the guides seemed fairly good, but one was definitely not. I spoke with his three clients and they were very disappointed with their trip. A bad guide can change what could have been a wonderful experience into a painful regret.

8. Trail distances (for my hike)
Day 1 Inameda to Chenneck Camp 4 miles

Day 2 Chenneck Camp to Bwahit Summit 13 miles
and on to Ambico Camp

Day 3 Ambico Camp to Ras Dashen Summit 12 miles
and return to Ambico Camp

Day 4 Ambico Camp to the Meshina Wenz river 4 miles
and climb to the village for pickup

Total 33 miles

9. Elevations
Inameda 12,300 ft.
Chenneck Camp 11,875 ft.
Mt. Bwahit Summit 14,555 ft.
Village before river 10,720 ft.
Meshina Wenz River 9,580 ft.
Ambico Camp 10,665 ft.
Ras Dashen Summit 14,925 ft.

10. Vertical Elevations
There are numerous up and downs on this itinerary. The vertical elevations that you will climb each day are:

Day 1 1,160 vt. ft.
Day 2 3,690 vt. ft.
Day 3 4,430 vt. ft.
Day 4 1,140 vt. ft.

Total 10, 420 vt. ft.

11. Trail description
Magnificent. You will be above tree line almost all of the time and the views are incredible. The trail is generally single track, double track or dirt road. There is not much shade and there is high sun exposure. The trails are rocky and dusty (in February). And although there are some steep climbs, the trails are doable for anyone with reasonable hiking experience and fitness. There is one short section right before the summit of Ras Dashen that requires some rock scrambling and there is some exposure. You do not need to be a rock climber nor do you need mountaineering equipment here, but it might be a bit uncomfortable for some people.

12. Water along trail
There is not much water along the trail. It is best to just carry what you need. On the two long days, I carried 2 – 2 ½ liters and that was sufficient for me.

13. What to bring
Consult with your guide about your pack list. At night and in the morning, it can be fairly cold. Hiking during the day can be quite warm/hot – especially with the sun. So bring layers that you can easily adjust, as necessary. There is also a lot of sun exposure. Make sure you bring lotion, hat with a brim, sunglasses, etc. I also brought light weight long pants and long sleeve shirt, which worked very well for me hiking during the day.

14. Altitude
Do not underestimate the effects of altitude. If you live at sea level like I do, try to spend a few days in Addis or Gondar (7,000 – 8,000 ft.) to start to acclimate. I spent two nights in Addis and one in Gondar. I also spent 2 days hiking from Inameda to Ambico Camp before the final climb of Ras Dashen. I believe that acclimating made the climb much easier and enjoyable for me.

15. Time estimates
This is always a difficult thing to say due to differences in fitness, trail and weather conditions, pack weight, how often you stop to take pictures and breaks, and of course, how well you acclimate to the elevation. That being said, the time estimates below are reasonable for most reasonably fit and experienced hikers carrying a 10-20 lb. pack in reasonable trail/weather conditions.

Day 1 3-4 hours
Day 2 8-11 hours
Day 3 8-12 hours
Day 4 2-3 hours

16. Conclusion
Hiking Mt. Bwahit and Ras Dashen in the Simien Mountains was the highlight of my trip to Ethiopia. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Written 26 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

apacheta
Bordeaux, France956 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017
You start in Debark or Gondar where I found my logistics. Once you are acclimated to the heat, the height, the 6 to 7 walk , you can quite easily hike , on a steady pace, to the 4550 meters of the Ras Dashen, highest peak of the Simien mountains.It could be done with the 5 days journey, with some other peaks before, at 4000 meter height. At night on different camps under a small tent, the temperature can lower to 0°.I found little ice on the path. With a good guide, an escort scout, a cook, enough water, this hike is just a thrill. You overlook, low mountains and an amazing landscape. The bunch of geladas (lion monkeys), Ibex ( in early morning) are cherry on a cake!
Written 20 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Egpos
Kilkenny74 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Couples
Staying overnight in Debark, it is only a short drive to the National Park. A local Guide and security detail brought us into the heart of the park.
Trekking options were vast but a day's trekking was enough for our fitness and endurance ( 2 old pensioners !!!).
The Bleeding Hearts Baboon colonies were so confident close to us humans that we could see them so clearly .
I really enjoyed the array of birds, flora and fauna.
Written 17 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

toshe236
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Solo
It is the most interesting and challenging trekking for me.

I have recommended for guesting visiting Ethiopia to see the challenge of this place.
Written 21 November 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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Ras Dashen - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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