Ethiopia – The Old Road to Lalibela

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The old road to Lalibela

Ethiopia Wild Bike connects Ethiopia’s political capital, Addis Ababa, with its spiritual capital, Lalibela, through the old road that crosses Ethiopia from its centre to the north.

During the 9 stages and 600 kilometres of riding on this journey, we will cross largest plateau of Africa, from the Red Sea to the great valley of the Nile, while viewing the lowlands that surround it, from up to ten thousand feet.  Ethiopa is a perfect place to discover by mountain bike.

In the classic style of the “traveler” we will camp on the banks of rivers or near small villages, and will cross canyons of immense size.

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. It was a monarchy for most of its history, and the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots back to the 2nd century BC.

Ethiopia is also one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists today, having yielded some of humanity’s oldest traces.

During the scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was one of only two countries that retained its independence.  Ethopia is very large in size and in it you will find an incredible variety of ethnic groups – 83 languages  are spoken with the official language being Amharic.

Ethiopia is a country of stone in every sense. The Amhara people who live on the plateaus are Christian, and are very strict and conservative. . Our final destination is Lalibela, the Jerusalem of Africa, its churches, carved into the mountains, have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and need to be seen

Riding here is truly a mystical experience in a surreal atmosphere – definitely stepping into the ‘unknown’.  This beauty of this country and its people, considered one of the five poorest nations in the world, will leave an indelible mark in our hearts.

12 days 11.500 mt
600 km Medium
€ 2.290
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Good to know

Massimo Alfero

Your Head Tour Guide

Massimo Alfero

We have over 15 Years
of experience

excellent care
and service

Guides & helpers speak

Travel Stages

Day 1
Arrival at the Addis Abeba International Airport in the morning. Transfer to the hotel and preparation of the bikes. Free afternoon to visit of the city. Overnight in hotel with lunch and dinner included.

Day 2: Muketuri  – Jemma River
1st Stage – Kilometers 73 – Elevation 500 metres
The day begins with a transfer of 80 kilometres. We start our bike adventure just after the little village of Muketuri, among the astonished looks of the people who are reaching the town market. The stage goes on with some easy ups and downs. Around kilometre 35 we begin to observe the amazing views beyond the edge of the cliff. We start the downhill around kilometre 50 and after lunch we continue until we reach our camp situated on the bank of the Jemma River. From here we will enjoy a prime view of the cliffs we just arrived from.

Day 3: Jemma River – Wenchit River
2nd Stage – Kilometers 52 – Elevation 1,200 metres
We start the day with a long climb of about 20 kilometres which takes us to the village of Fetra. The first part crosses very poor villages in an area that is very remote. After a break in Fetra we ride on the plateau until we reach the main village of this area, Alem Katama, where we will have lunch and enjoy the coffee ritual. After lunch we leave the village to ride a fast descent that leads us to our camp located on the bends of the River Wenchit.

Day 4: Wenchit River – Midda
3rd Stage – Kilometers 32 – Elevation 1,500 metres
The first part is characterized by various ups and downs as we are led to a climb along the river. After about 10 kilometres we will see a huge tree near a bridge. For the first time we will observe some wild fields. From here we begin the most difficult part, with a climb of about 12 kilometers with some really steep gradients. We ride up to the plateau with continuous switchbacks until we reach the village of Tegera, where lunch awaits us. The scenario that we leave behind us is majestic, a sort of Ethiopian Monument Valley with amazing mountains. We can stop to visit a mill for grinding Tef (typical Ethiopean cereal), whose engine dates back to the Italian occupation in 1930. The second part of the day, despite being short, still requires an big effort to overcome the last 450 metres of elevation that separates us from Midda.

Day 5: Midda – Wereliu
4th Stage – Kilometers 71 – Elevation 600 metres
Today’s stage runs entirely on the plateau between 2,600 and 2,700 metres above sea level. The area is characterized by the strong presence of cultivated fields, mainly in tef. In the first part we can still see the spectacle of the cliffs, then after the village of Togolo the scenery changes. The boundaries of the plateau are no longer visible and instead on the horizon appear the towering mountains above 3,000 meters, which we will cross over the next few days. The arrival in Wereliu is marked by an encounter with the mass of people coming back from work in the fields or markets.

Day 6: Wereliu – Ginchiro
5th Stage – Kilometers 80 – Elevation 1,600 metres
We leave the village of Wereliu and begin to ride with ups and downs that bring us closer to the high mountains that we have to overcome today. After 30 kilometres, we reach the village of Kabe at the end of a broad and beautiful valley where the most challenging section begins – a steady climb that brings us over a pass situated at 3,450 metres above sea level. We continue in a beautiful valley that runs in the high mountains. Once we reach the main road we encounter a small village where we will stop for lunch before tackling the last 250 metres in altitude. Once at the pass, at an altitude of 3,700 metres, we enjoy a spectacular view of the valleys below. The track from here is very fast but the ups and downs make this second part of stage far from easy so we need a last effort to reach the cozy guesthouse in the small village of Chiro, where an imposing mosque stands.

Day 7: Ghinciro – Bechelo River
6th Stage – Kilometers 77 – Elevation 800 metres
The downhill profile of the stage should not deceive us. The altitude and continuous ups and downs make this day far from easy. In the first part we will cross several villages whose houses are built in succession at the side of the road. Also interesting is the crossing of some small forests of eucalyptus and pine trees. After arriving in Tenta, the capital of this area, we will stop for lunch. We have been feeling for several kilometres the end of the vast plateau that we are crossing. The Church of St. Michael, situated on the last hill is the prelude to the long descent that opens in front of us and offers incredible scenery . We can see the other plateau at 3000 metres above sea level and below us the huge valley carved by the river over thousands of years. The descent is long and spectacular. It will be impossible to resist the temptation to stop and capture this magnificent panorama. The last 5 kms to reach camp on the river are very fast and should be approached with caution.

Day 8: Bechelo River – Scità River 
7th Stage – Kilometers 72 – Elevation 1,650 metres
We leave the river that we cross through a long newly built bridge and go up to the new plateau. We reach the first village after about 12 kilometres. After the village we began a spectacular climb of over 1000 metres with continuous turns in the track that give us constant changes of perspective. When we reach the end of the climb we can already begin to see groups of gelada monkeys, a species of baboons that live only in Ethiopia and are characterized by the presence of a double red triangle on the chest. After reaching the plateau at 3,000 metres, we now have just a few more kilometres to Wegel Tena, the village where we will eat. The next part on the plateau is often quite windy. After about 25 kilometres, we come out on yet another grandiose scene, one of the most beautiful in Africa. We see the river, which opened this valley, 1200 metres below us, and the plateau where we are headed in front of us at 3000 metres. All of this  is accompanied by beautiful villages of huts that in this area are on average larger and better maintained than elsewhere. We finish with a long descent to arrive at our camp on the banks of the river.

Day 9: Scità River – Tekezze River
9th Stage – Kilometers 76 – Elevation 1,900 metres
We enjoy the cooler hours of the day during the initial climb – over 15 kilometres with 1000 metres of climbing to reach the plateau on a rideable but rocky road. In the last part of the climb we will see the gelada monkeys again, who find shelter in the caves of the cliff.Once on the top we will ride a long mostly tree-lined road with a slight slope that leads us to Gashena, where after 9 days, we will encounter again a paved road.

Day 10: Tekezze River – Lalibela
10th Stage – Kilometers 26 – Elevation 1,000 metres
Today’s stage finally brings us to Lalibela. After summiting the easy first pass we will ride on asphalt for the final 17 km. With the city in site, there are still some strenuous ups and downs before we reach the new cobbled road that crosses Lalibela downtown. Following this road we arrive at St. George church, for the traditional group photo and then continue to our hotel. After lunch we will spend the afternoon visiting the Western churches.

Day 11: Lalibela 
8:30 a.m. Walk to visit the Eastern Churches (about 2 hours).
2:00 p.m. Visit St. George Church and packing of the bikes.

Day 12
Transfer to Lalibela Airport and flight to Addis Abeba.
Free day in Addis Abeba. Dinner in a typical Ethiopian restaurant.
10:30 p.m. transfer to the airport and fly back home. End of Services.


Ethiopia -The Old Road to Lalibela
Ethiopia -The Old Road to Lalibela
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Massimo Alfero

About your guide

Massimo Alfero, bike lover in all of its forms, he’s riding a bike since when he was born.
From 1975 until the end of the 90s, he raced with road bike, cyclocross and mountain bike.
In the early ’90s he discovered the mountain bike stage races and ultramarathon participating in the Iron Bike, Transalp, Rally du Kenya, Tunisia Marathon and the first Randonees like the Paris Brest Paris.
Then was the cyclotourism time, with solo travel in Europe, South America, Central Amerca and Africa.
In 2005 he joined with Willy Mulonia and has collaborated actively in the creation of the travel agency Progetto Avventura, which has now become Projecting Adventure Cyclism.
He is our “African heart.” From his desire to show Africa to our client we create the Ethiopia Wild Bike.

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