Why Go? Mountain Bike Expedition Ethiopia


If I told you that my next trip is to an ecologically diverse country, lush and fertile with jungles, rivers, deafening waterfalls, tropical forests and mountain ranges that resemble a mix the Alps and the Grand Canyon, the last place you would probabaly think of is Ethiopia.

Anyone who was old enough in the 80s to appreciate Cheers, will never forget the news breaks, which beamed footage of a famine of biblical proportions straight into our living rooms –  hundreds of thousands of people displaced by war were starving to death in makeshift shelters on barren plains.

And who could forget Live Aid? the record-breaking mammoth fund-raising event, where Bob Geldof sledge-hammered his way into the collective social consciousness of an international community by screaming into the camera. “Give me your f#!%!#g money.”

Ethiopia recovered from that devastating decade, but it seems the images are still with us thirty years later  – images of a place torn apart by conflict with an inhospitable and hellish desert plagued by swarms of flies. The outdated imagery of Ethiopia has raised some questions about my upcoming trip…Why are you going? What’s there? and aren’t you scared?

The short answer is that Ethiopia is very different now. The long answer is I’m joining a team of seven other people on a two-week mountain bike expedition across the Simien Mountains. We’ll ride a web of natural trails, worn by millennia of foot travel, between remote mountain settlements where we’ll camp. But riding the trails is only part of the attraction. Our mountain bikes will take us deep into Ethiopia’s rich mountain culture among its rare wildlife and Gelada Baboons.

Expedition organisers, Secret Compass, a company who explore the world’s wildest places, make sure that local guides, families, businesses and communities benefit from their expeditions. This in turn encourages local communities to protect their environment. Everyone wins – Mother Nature included.

I realise the extreme nature of this trip isn’t for everyone, however there are mind-blowing reasons why you might want to consider Ethiopia sans mountain bike. I’ll write about that on my return, but for now consider this wow factoid:

Some of the oldest evidence of modern humans was found in Ethiopia, which is widely considered the region from which Homo sapiens first wandered and why the country is known as the cradle of humanity.

And if that’s not enough to get you all tingly over Ethiopia, remember that the nation is ultimately responsible for Band Aid; possibly the finest lineup of musos and mullets known to man.

As for the scare factor, I admit my travels have involved a few bum-twitching moments, but what scares me more, is looking back on life and thinking I should’ve done that.

Mullets come a close second.




Journalist. Travel writer. Roughty-toughty adventurer. Also known as "The Trail Tart" Addicted to two-wheeled escapades and exploring on my mountain bike.

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9 Responses to Why Go? Mountain Bike Expedition Ethiopia

  1. Johanna October 12, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Another fabulous adventure Tracey! I love your reasons to go, and I love that I can live vicariously through your ‘bum twitching’ moments without having to experience them myself 😉 I think you are very courageous and wish you a fabulous trip – can’t wait to read more about it. There’s a really active Facebook Group called Boomer Travel Bloggers – you might like to join? They are a really supportive bloggie community.
    Johanna recently posted..5 Tips I learnt from Advanced Style the MovieMy Profile

    • Tracey November 19, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      Thanks Jo, That’s great. I’ll check it out.

  2. Freya December 11, 2014 at 4:37 am #

    WoW Tracey that looks like an amazing adventure. I do remember the footage of starving children from Ethiopia but I also heard from several people that Ethiopia is such a beautiful country. I’m not sure whether I could do the mountain biking myself but I would love to do some hikes in Ethiopia one day. Looking forward to read more about your adventure soon.
    Freya recently posted..Exquisite Luxury in Kapari ResortMy Profile

    • Tracey December 12, 2014 at 12:23 am #

      Hiking is quite popular in the Simien Mountains. I think you would really love it Freya.

  3. Jess March 20, 2015 at 2:08 am #

    Wow, that is an awesome image surprised with these monkeys.
    You need to know that they can become in an instant pretty dangerous and they can outrun a mountain bike with ease even on smooth terrain.

  4. Rod Gaither June 8, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    The way you tell your adventures, it makes me feel like I’m there with you. And now I’m envious. When the NBA season is over, I promise I’m flying to Ethiopia and experience that expedition myself. Now who I’m going with… Hmmm. Let me get back to you on that. LOL
    Rod Gaither recently posted..Can the draft pick and free agency help Phil Jackson in the Knicks rebuilding?My Profile

  5. Leon Tong July 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

    It’s really awesome collection. Thanks for sharing this list.

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