12-day cycling and running tour

Ethio Cycling Holidays 10-day tour
Tour dates:

Friday 15 November 2019 – Wednesday 27 November 2019

Tour price: from £1945

Minimum number for this tour: 8

November is a great time to escape the cold and shorter days of European climes. The cycling part of your tour comprises seven days of cycling in warm Ethiopian sunshine.

The 2019 Total Great Ethiopian Run 10km takes place in Addis Ababa on Sunday 17th November 2019.

It is also possible to join this tour on Day 4 after the run.

Itinerary: 12 days in Ethiopia | 7 days cycling | Total 590km | 3 days in Addis Ababa

You will be met on arrival in Addis Ababa and transfer to your hotel. Later in the morning you take a sightseeing tour of the city including a visit to one of the city’s famous weaver workshops. In the evening you join other international participants at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.

Overnight stay at Beer Garden Inn in Addis Ababa

Your race weekend starts with a light training session at the city’s famous Jan Meda park where you will see other local athletes in training. Later in the day you will take lunch at Taitu Hotel, Ethiopia’s oldest hotel, and in the afternoon you take an open-top bus tour of the city. The pre-race pasta party follows in the evening.

Overnight stay at Beer Garden Inn in Addis Ababa

The Great Ethiopian Run 10km, Africa’s biggest road race and Ethiopia’s noisiest street party, gets underway at 9am. After the race you regroup with other international participants for some food, drink and relaxation. In the evening you can enjoy some more local entertainment in town.

Overnight stay at Beer Garden Inn in Addis Ababa

With the running experience behind you, you now get ready for your week of cycling. After a leisurely start you head to the airport for your flight north to Mekelle, arriving there in the early afternoon. You are met at the airport and transfer to your hotel nearby. In the afternoon you have time to assemble and test out your bike before getting your tour briefing and evening dinner.

Overnight stay at Hatse Yohannes Hotel

After taking breakfast in your hotel, you set out on the road leading north towards Eritrea. Following a tough 5km climb as you leave Mekelle you get to enjoy some stunning descents into Agula and Wukro. After a stop in Wukro, you will ride a testing 8km ascent past the 7th century mosque in Negash, and from there retrace your steps back to Wukro where you check in at Wukro Lodge. Later in the afternoon, there is time to visit one of the nearby rock-hewn churches with one of our local guides

Ride distance: 70km

Overnight stay at Wukro Lodge in Wukro

Setting out from Wukro on the road north, you pass through Negash and head to Frewenyi where you turn west on a beautifully peaceful stretch of tarmac hardly used by vehicle transport. Hawzen is your halfway point where you stop for coffee. The next 20km is mainly downhill and takes you through village settlements. Don’t be surprised if you see more animals (including camels) on the road than vehicles. There are some undulations in the last section of the ride as you get nearer to Workamba. You return by vehicle to Gheralta Lodge in time for dinner.

Ride distance: 125km

Overnight stay at Gheralta Lodge in Hawzen

Today you head back to Frewenyi and then turn north on the road to Idaga Hamus and Adigrat, where you stop for lunch. In the afternoon you visit the famous monastery at Debre Damo, returning to your hotel in time for dinner.

Ride distance: 65km

Overnight stay at Canaan International Hotel

You rise early ahead of your longest ride and after breakfast in the hotel set off on the road going west to Adwa. This opening section comprises a challenging 12km climb (5-10% gradient) to the summit at just over 3000m followed by a breath-taking 20km descent into Bizet where you make your first stop. Over the next 20km, as the jagged Adwa Mountains come into view, the road undulates until you reach Enticho where you stop for lunch. There are more climbs ahead on the road to Adwa and on the final stretch into Axum. Before darkness falls – energy levels permitting! – you have chance to see the magnificent Stelae Park and its underground burial chambers.

Ride distance: 130km

Overnight stay at Yared Zema International Hotel

Today you head back down the hill to Adwa and then turn south on the newly-built road back to Mekelle. The middle part of the ride through Maykenitil is largely downhill on snaking roads and through mountain passes. After crossing the river at the foot of the valley you climb for 12km (10-15% gradient) towards Workamba cresting several false summits before a short descent into the town. From there you transfer by vehicle back to Wukro Lodge.

Ride distance: 100km

Overnight stay at Wukro Lodge in Wukro

Today is a rest day and you will have chance to see one of the region’s spectacular rock-hewn churches – Abune Yemata, sometimes called the world’s most inaccessible church. You drive out to the start of the walk which takes you to a near perpendicular ascent up a cliff face. The ledge that makes up the final approach overlooks a sheer and quite spectacular drop of 200m. After viewing the church’s highly decorated interior, you return to the lodge for some food and relaxation.

Overnight stay at Wukro Lodge in Wukro

Today’s ride allows you to retrace your route of the first day’s ride, starting with a climb out of Wukro heading south back to Mekelle. You arrive in Mekelle in the early afternoon, so that those who want to add more to the day’s ride can do this. In the evening you will eat out at one of the town’s traditional restaurants in the evening.

Ride distance: 45km

Overnight stay at Hatse Yohannes Hotel

Your final ride takes you out on a road used by scores of local young cyclists in Mekelle heading out west to the town of Hagere Selam. Turning round after a halfway stop, you enjoy one of the best road descents in Tigray as you sweep back down to Mekelle. You are back in Mekelle by mid-afternoon. In the evening you head to the airport for your flight back to Addis, connecting onto your international flight the following morning.

Ride distances: 110km

Overnight stay at Beer Garden Inn

You transfer to the airport for your international flight home.

What’s included:

  • 12 nights’ hotel accommodation sharing twin (£200 single supp)
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • All ground transport including the option to travel by vehicle for part of the route
  • All luggage and bike transfers for the rides
  • Full support* on your ride from drivers and cycling guides
  • Maps and profiles of the rides supplied as gpx files and pocket-sized ride cards
  • Tour guide and entrance fees in Axum, Gheralta and Addis Ababa
  • Race entry fee
  • Airport transfers

*All rides are fully supported with lead vehicle and tail-end vehicle; motorbike rider; cycling guides; mechanics to assist with assembly of bikes and any mechanical problems; nutrition for rides including water, energy bars, gels, bananas, tea/coffee

Not included:

  • International and domestic flights
  • Visa for Ethiopia ($50)
  • Travel insurance
“I loved the feeling of freedom riding on the roads of Ethiopia.” Nic F