Ethiopian Highland Cycling Tours
Ethiopia is not a well-known cycling destination – or not yet. With its open roads, warm sunshine and spectacular mountain scenery we anticipate it soon will be. It has everything an adventurous traveller who enjoys cycling could ask for. And for those who enjoy a more serious challenge, it has the mountain climbs and passes which are the training grounds of Bahrain Merida rider Tsgabu Grmay and countless other aspiring young Ethiopian cyclists. Whether you’re wanting to train hard, or just spend a couple of days seeing Ethiopia differently, speak to us.
If you are interested in booking a place on one of our cycling tours, please complete the Enquiry Form below.
Read more about Cycling in Ethiopia – by Cyclist magazine.
Please note that places are being offered on a first-come, first served basis up to a maximum of 12 places per tour.Enquire now
Our Ethiopian Highland cycling tours are designed so that you can enjoy them no matter how serious you are about your cycling. All three versions of our Ethiopian Highland tour start in Mekele, the capital of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray province, and pass through the ancient city of Axum and the scenic Gheralta Mountains.
The asphalt roads may all be new here, but this area of dramatic scenery is also one of ancient history, with traditions and heritage sites dating back to before the 1st century AD. The town of Axum was the heart of the ancient Abyssinian Empire, and throughout Tigray, the cliffs hide rock-hewn churches which have existed for over fourteen hundred years. You have the option of enjoying all of this on our tours too.
Are our cycling tours for you?
If you love cycling, then join us in the Ethiopian Highlands. We’ve got options for all types of cyclists, whether you like to get out on your bike over the weekend or are an ultra-fit cycling enthusiast looking to push yourself to the limit. Under our itineraries we have a number of tours listed, but we can also design one specifically for you. So, if you want a few days of gentle pedalling through some extraordinary scenery, or a punishing mountain challenge, we can arrange it.
You will be cycling at altitude and in hot sunshine, and the routes take in lots of hills, so although we can accommodate different paces, for you to really enjoy it, you need to be fit and in good health.
What to expect
You set out with the group in the crisp morning after a good breakfast, warming up as the day does. You pass the odd vehicle, but as there are fewer than 700,000 cars in the whole of Ethiopia (a country which is three times the size of Germany), for much of the time we have the superb roads to ourselves. For the most part the route is undulating, interspersed with more testing climbs, and rewards you with scenic descents.
And that is the only thing you have to think about on our cycling tours: your next climb. We take care of everything else: the accommodation, delicious meals and local cycling knowledge that make your tour of one of Ethiopia’s most scenic regions unforgettable.
You are fed well. Breakfasts typically include porridge, toast and honey, omelettes and plenty of coffee. (Ethiopia is the place where coffee originated, after all.) Depending on our day, lunch might happen en route or at our next hotel. In the evening we have dinner either in the hotel restaurant or in another restaurant in town, enjoying spicy Ethiopian stews or more international dishes.
October to June in the Ethiopian Highlands is ideal for road cycling: dry, sunny and warm. Daytime temperatures are between 20°C and 30°C, and because of the altitude it cools down to around 5°C–10°C in the evening, ideal for sleeping.
Ethiopian Highland Cycling Tours
If you’re dreaming of a spectacular cycling holiday in an unusual destination, or a high-altitude cycling training challenge on superb roads, consider one of our cycling tours in the Ethiopian Highlands.
Our scheduled cycling tours
We have three different Ethiopia cycling tour itineraries with dates currently scheduled for 2017 and 2018.
What’s included in all our cycling tours
• All accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels and lodges
• All breakfasts, lunches and dinners
• Airport transfers in Ethiopia
• All ground transport including the option to travel by car for part of the cycle route
• All luggage transfers
• Expert cycling guides (minimum ratio of 1:4 guides:clients)
• Support vehicles
• Tour guides for any sightseeing included in your tour
Flights are not included in the quoted tour prices. However, we do have an excellent relationship with Ethiopian Airlines, and can arrange flights for you and bike carriage.
Transporting your bicycle
You are responsible for arranging transport for your bicycle to Mekele. However, if required we can help you arrange hire of a bike box. Once in Mekele we arrange all transport for you and your bike.
Your guides and support crew
Our tours have been carefully designed by two experienced cyclists who know Tigray well and speak both English and Amharic.
Alemayehu Sitotaw has a 35-year history as a competitive cyclist in Ethiopia. Although he now lives in Norway, he understands the local culture, is well-connected with Ethiopian cycling and can help with any mechanical problems.
Richard Nerurkar is a British runner and cyclist who spent ten years in Ethiopia introducing mass-participation running to the Ethiopian public including Africa’s biggest road race the Great Ethiopian Run.
Alex and Richard ride with you on your tour. We’re also accompanied by two or three local cyclists from the top cycling clubs in Tigray.
There are at least two support vehicles with us throughout the tour. These are used to transport our bags and can be used to transport you and your bike, if you find yourself struggling for any reason.
Tailoring your tour
You can easily make one of our cycling tours a part of your wider experience of Ethiopia. From our start and end point, Mekele, we can arrange transport to any other part of the country, whether you want to trek in the Bale Mountains, or relax on Lake Tana.
Flights to Ethiopia
What happens in an emergency?
Communicating in Ethiopia
Ethiopian time and dates
The weather and what to pack
Mobile phone coverage and Internet access in Ethiopia
Advice from locals
Ethiopia is a paradise for cyclists. The warmth of the climate is matched only by the warmth of the people. A holiday to Ethiopia will introduce you to an extraordinary history, fabulous landscapes, and a lively culture. Cycling is the best way to see the country and meet all kinds of people. You’ll feel safe and welcome as an honoured guest, and return home fitter and full of admiration for this amazing country and its diverse people.
- Owen Barder, who has cycled 100s of kilometres in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is the perfect place to train and prepare for my big races. The new roads are excellent, the people here love cycling and the guys at Tadele Travel really understand the country and its cycling history. - Tsgabu Gebremariam Grmay, Pro Tour rider with Bahrain Merida
Ethiopia is a truly unique and beautiful place to ride a bike, with excellent roads, friendly people and incredible scenery. Richard was the perfect host for our trip, thanks to his intimate knowledge of the country and language, and I can't fault the quality of the ride support. It has to be one of the most memorable rides I've ever done.- Pete Muir, Editor, Cyclist Magazine
Alemayehu Sitotaw grew up on Ethiopian cycling and represented Ethiopia at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Here he reflects on the sport’s history in Ethiopia, and why we can expect to see many more world-class Ethiopian cyclists in the future. For as long as I can remember, and I’m now in ...