Ethiopian Airlines (www.ethiopianairlines.com) flies the historic circuit between Addis Ababa, Gonder, Lalibela and Axum daily. The Gonder airport is about 20km from the center of town. From the airport, you can either hire a taxi or make prior arrangements with a Gonder-based tour operator. Taxi prices are not set but at the time of writing 100-150 birr is fair.
Tickets prices purchased inside the country are heavily reduced from the prices marked on their website. There are ticket offices throughout Addis and all other cities where they fly.
Tickets should be confirmed at the office.
Public Transport from Addis To Gonder (1 day)
There are private buses (Selam and Sky Bus) that travel directly from Addis Ababa to Gonder. The drive takes one full day. Sky Bus leaves daily from Meskel Square in front of the tourist information center and drops off at the Gonder Genet café near the Royal Enclosure. Buses are scheduled to leave at 5am. You are advised to arrive around an hour before departure. Buses stop for a brief lunch break at Debre Markos. A one-way ticket is about 375 birr. Tickets can be purchased from the Sky Bus office located in piazza at the Taitu hotel (see the Directory for contact information).
Selam Bus leaves from Addis at the Leghar Train Station and drops of at the Taye Hotel in Gonder. Tickets can be purchased from the Selam bus office located in Meskel Square (see the directory for contact information). Tickets cost 375 birr one-way. Buses leave at 5:30am but you should arrive by 5am.
Alternatively, you can take public buses from the Mercato bus station. However, it can take 2 to 3 days to reach Gonder. There are many options in terms of routes and you will need to find a broker who is knowledgeable about the current state of the roads. Tickets cost between 150 and 200 birr one-way.
By Private Vehicle Direct from Gonder (2 – 3 hours)
The newly paved road from Gonder to Debark is 95km and takes you through scenic highland landscapes. 38km from Debark is the Kossoye viewpoint where you should make sure to stop for sweeping views You will also pass through the small historic town of Amba Giorgis (Hill of St. George) where King Tewodros II defeated the local ruler. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Debark. From there, it is a further 1 hour drive via the Sawri Village to the park boundary. The road from Debark to the park boundary is in good condition but is steep in the last section.
Public Transport from Gondar (2 – 3 hours)
Buses and minibuses leave from the Gonder bus station (‘menharia’ in Amharic), which is located in the center of town in an area called Arada. Tickets can be purchased from the bus or minibus assistant. To locate the specific bus or minibus, listen for people calling for either Debark or Dabat. Minibuses between Gonder and Debark leave throughout the day. They will leave as soon as all the seats are occupied. Once you have reached Debark, the bus driver will stop to let you off. The park headquarters is located on the main road about ten minutes walk from the Simien Park Hotel.
What to Bring:
It is suggested to bring all of your own camping equipment, although equipment (including cooking equipment and cooks) can be rented from the local association in Debark. The weather in the mountains tends to be unpredictable, so pack accordingly – layers and a waterproof jacket are essential. During the dry season a hat, sunscreen and lipsalve are essential to avoid sunburn. Temperatures can drop dramatically in the evenings so warm clothes are essential. Some campsites can only be reached by foot and so it is vital to bring good trekking shoes.