8-day cycling adventure tour

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Ethio Cycling Holidays 9-day tour
Tour dates:

Please contact us for more details

Tour price: from £1795 per person*

*based on group of 4

The route for this tour takes you through the heartland of Ethiopia’s religious origins. You will ride through the region known for its famous rock-hewn churches dating back more than 1300 years. You will be blown away by the mountain landscapes and awed by the hospitality of local people and the devotion of believers who preserve Ethiopia’s ancient traditions.

Itinerary: 8 days in Ethiopia | 5 days cycling | Total distance 330km

We aim to get you to Mekelle, the starting point for your tour, as quickly and efficiently as possible. To do this, you will have to take a short connecting flight from Addis Ababa to Mekelle; which flight you take will depend on your international flight arrival time. You will be met on arrival at Mekelle airport and taken to your guest house in Mekelle. This will give you time for some food and rest, before you assemble your bike and – tiredness permitting – go out for a short test ride before evening dinner.

Overnight stay at Parrot Guest House in Mekelle

After taking breakfast in your hotel, you start your ride from the plateau above Mekelle and head north towards Eritrea. Following sweeping descents into Agula and Wukro, you make a 8km ascent (7-10%) past the 7th century mosque in Negash. From here the gradients become easier but the road still undulates until you reach Frewenyi. Transfer from here by vehicle to Hawzen for overnight stay.

Ride distance: 72km

Overnight stay at Vision Hotel in Hawzen

Today gives you chance to see one of the region’s spectacular rock-hewn churches – Abune Yemata, sometimes called the world’s most inaccessible church. Reaching the church involves a perpendicular ascent by rope up a cliff face. The ledge that makes up the final approach overlooks a sheer and quite spectacular drop of 200m. After lunch back in Hawzen you drive back to Frewenyi and from there can either drive or ride the final 25 miles into Adigrat.

Ride distance: 40km

Overnight stay at Tsemay Hotel in Adigrat

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. After lunch you continue for a further 25km to the turn-off to Yeha from where you drive the short distance over unmade road to the ancient temple. Transfer from here to Axum by vehicle.

Ride distance: 90km

Overnight stay at Armah Hotel in Axum

You have a rest day today and time to enjoy some of the treasures of Ethiopia’s ancient capital, Axum. The main sights of Axum date from the 4th to the 13th century, the most impressive being the royal tombs and the monolith obelisks, known as stelae. One of our guides accompanies you to visit the stelae park, the Queen of Sheba’s bathing pool, and the Tsion Mariam Church (Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion) where, according to legend, the Ark of the Covenant is kept.

Overnight stay at Armah Hotel

Starting from Adwa, the site of the famous 1896 victory by Ethiopian troops over the Italians, you climb out of the town on the road back to Mekelle. The middle part of the ride to 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 here you transfer by vehicle to Hawzen for an overnight stay at Gheralta Lodge.

Ride distance: 76km

Overnight stay at Gheralta Lodge in Hawzen

Leaving Gheralta Lodge after a leisurely start, you drive on the dirt road to Wukro where you stop for coffee. From here you ride back to Mekelle, retracing your steps from your first ride.

Ride distance: 52km

Overnight stay at Parrot Guest House in Mekelle

Today gives you chance to explore Mekelle, the capital of the northern region. Our support team live here and will be happy to show you around. Mekelle is also the centre of Ethiopia’s cycling culture and if you’re lucky, you might catch a local race in town. In the afternoon you transfer to the airport for your flight back to Addis Ababa.

What’s included:

  • 7 nights’ hotel accommodation sharing twin
  • all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • all ground transport
  • all luggage transfers for the rides
  • support on your ride from driver or cycling guide*
  • maps and profiles of the rides supplied as pocket-sized ride cards
  • tour guide and entrance fees in Wukro, Axum, and Gheralta
  • 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)
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Travel insurance
“I loved the feeling of freedom riding on the roads of Ethiopia.” Nic F