9-day tour for serious cyclists

Ethio Cycling Holidays 9-day tour
Tour dates:

Monday 20 January – Wednesday 29 January 2020

Monday 10 February – Wednesday 19 February 2020

Monday 2 March – Wednesday 11 March 2020

Tour price: from £1495 per person

Minimum number for this tour: 8

Even though the ride distances may not be as long as some of your longer rides at home, this itinerary will test your endurance as you get a taste of the training grounds for Ethiopia’s top cyclists. The ride to Axum as featured in The Cyclist magazine (May 2017) is tough; so too is the second half of the ride to Maychew taking you over the 3,050m peak at Imbalage.

Itinerary: 9 days in Ethiopia | 7 days cycling | Total distance 850km

On arrival in Addis Ababa off your overnight flight, you get a taste of the bustle of life in Ethiopia’s capital as you take breakfast in a nearby hotel. Returning to the airport for your connecting flight to Mekelle, you arrive at your hotel at lunchtime. This gives you time to assemble and test out your bike in the afternoon 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 town you get to enjoy some stunning descents into Agula and Wukro. Between Wukro and Negash there is a 8km ascent taking you past the 7th century mosque at the top end of town. The gradients become easier in the second half of the ride but the road still undulates through Frewenyi and Idaga Hamus before you reach the final 10km descent into Adigrat. Tonight you will eat out at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.

Ride distance: 118km

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, 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 here you ride the final 20km into Abiy Addi.

Ride distance: 125km

Overnight stay at Maylomin Botanical Garden Lodge

Although this is the shortest ride distance, the route includes one of the hardest climbs in Tigray – and one of the favourite sections of tarmac used by Tsgabu Grmay for his European races. You stop in Hagere Selam just beyond the top of the climb, and then can enjoy one of the best road descents anywhere in Ethiopia as you sweep down towards Mekelle.

Ride distances: 95km

Overnight stay at Hatse Yohannes Hotel in Mekelle

A chance to catch your breath, recover and get a well-earned massage. If you’re lucky, there might be some spectating at a soccer match or cycling race in town.

Overnight stay at Hatse Yohannes Hotel in Mekelle

At the start of today’s ride you pass one of the few winds farms in Ethiopia – the headwind is the hard part of the ride’s relatively flat opening section through Adi Gudom and Betmara. You reach Hiwane soon at 60km and pass through a steep-sided gorge marking the start of a tough 20km climb taking you to the summit at just over 3000m. You stay high for the final part of the ride through Imbalage and down into the town of Maychew.

Ride distances: 130km

Overnight stay at Tadele Hotel in Maychew

As you set out today, you feel the early morning chill of the high altitude in Maychew. The scenic route takes you past Lake Ashenge, through Korem, and to Gra Kassu from where you have a stunning view towards the plains of Alamata. You stop in Alalmata for lunch and then turn back north on the new road to Mekelle. You stop in Mekoni and transfer from here by vehicle to Mekelle.

Ride distances: 140km

Overnight stay at Hatse Yohannes Hotel in Mekelle

Your final ride is a great opportunity for bunch riding on the little-used road going west from Mekelle, retracing your steps from a ride earlier on your tour. Returning to your hotel by early afternoon you have time for shower and food before heading to the airport in the early evening for your flight back to Addis Ababa, and onwards home.

Ride distances: 110km

What’s included:

  • 8 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
  • 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
“On each ride we went after more superlatives to describe our experience, and always returned to just one -‘wow!’” Derek M