28 November 2013

Napier Trail Hard Enduro in October 2014


After almost 2 years we finally decided to put it into our calendar tour in October 2014.

With climate changing all-over the world, despite the rainy season, the trip should be dry and lush green, albeit grey, weather as you can see from the photos. This tour will be available ONLY for very experienced riders on off road.

The route will climb a mountain or go down a steep gorge on a motorbike in a single track where even walking through is difficult... On the other hand some of the roads are really fun to ride, on gravel and windy roads with very fast riding.

The landscape has to be seen: too beautiful for words or for the camera to capture! A world of Mountains and Plateaus waiting to be discovered. The off-the-beaten track Ethiopia; Ethiopians at his friendliest. Many of them have never seen a motorbike before.

We will keep you updated on the dates that this tour will happen!!

For those who are not familiar with the Battle of Magdala and General Napier expedition in Abyssinia, click here for a short extract from 'The Battle of Magdala', By Thomas Keyes Mar. 25, 2005. For more photos click here.

napier trail recee
Wonderfully fun curvy roads on the way to Lalibela

Raod to Magdala
Road to Magdala

Napier trail recee
Single track to Magdala camp

Napier trail recee
Single track to Beshlo camp

28 November 2013 - Skype

We have some problems with Skype at the moment, as soon as we repair it we will let you know

Happy Ridings!!

28 November 2013 - Skill Level Form    
We have introduced in our webpage a new tool which will better help us match the tour with the client: the skill level form.

We rate our tours mostly based on Flavio's experience and client's feedback but as you may guess we don't always get it right. Recently one of the clients who took part in our Historical Route Tour to the North of Ethiopia told us that he didn't think this tour was being correctly rated. We were rating it skill level 2 as most of it is through asphalt with some gravel along the way and some dirt riding in the Simien Mountains. After reading our skill level description our client thought he had the right experience for the tour and booked for it. He enjoyed it. It was the right itinerary for him but in some parts of the itinerary he struggled to accompany the other riders. He thought the tour was low rated for the difficulty level it presented.

Following his comments we have decided to introduce a skill level form which we ask our prospective clients to fill prior to us sending an itinerary or tour suggestion. We're not making it to give them more work and it is not mandatory to fill it but we hope it will help most of you making the right decision regarding the motorbike tour you want to do with us.

We ask clients to be as honest as possible when filling the form otherwise this is a useless tool. We've had 'very experienced bike riders' who could hardly stand on a bike and we've had motorbike riders who were as good or as bad as they claimed they were. The latter are the kind who will have fun. No matter how experienced you are if you are honest with us we will make sure you will have fun! Otherwise, if the itinerary difficulty level is not right for you, you will struggle and get frustrated. Furthermore you will jeopardise the fun of other riders when joining a tour.

We look forward to have you all here independently of your motorcycle riding experience!



Thank you for listening and Happy Ridings!!


25 November 2013 - The Afar or Danakil Depression


Nothing in this planet is quite as spectacular as the Danakil Depression. Very few have made it to this large triangular desert in north-eastern Ethiopia, close to the Red Sea which is renowned for being the place with the hottest average temperature on Earth (Yes, the Death Valley comes second!!). Daily temperatures are never bellow 34oC reaching 55oC during summer and reaching as high as 63oC in the sun. It comprises Lake Asale, the lowest point in Africa and one of the lowest points on Earth not covered with water.

Two of the landmarks that will take your breath away are impossible to describe with words. The first one is “Mount” Dallol dotted with bringh yellow hot sulphur fields among sparkling white salt beds, green crystal pools and sparkling salt beds resembling coral reefs. It is the lowest volcano on land in one of the lowest elevations on Earth about 116 metres below sea level. The other one is Erta Ale volcano with its two pit craters. The larger one is now inactive. The smaller one is 140 meter diameter and 60 to 90m deep and has an active lava lake 60m wide and 100m long. It is the only active fire lake with permanent lava on Earth.

Lake Asale houses a source of salt that has been mined for hundreds of years and traders still trek to it with their camels every year from the Ethiopian highlands. At the heart of the salt harvest, lifters use rough wooden poles to lever up slabs of salt which are then cut into blocks. Like the camel men, the lifters travel up to 150 miles from the Ethiopian Highlands to work in the salt fields.

Those who made to the Afar Depression will be quite quick to classify it as hell on earth but will as quickly describe how they were surrendered by the immense beauty of the harsh barren landscape. The even fewer who've made it there by motorcycle will tell you it is an adventure never to be forgotten! Only to be attempted by very experienced off-road riders the ride is made difficult not only because of the different types of road ridden where different techniques need to be used, but also due to the different altitudes and different temperatures which one goes through: depending on the itinerary chosen and time of the year you come, temperatures can go from bellow zero in the Simien Mountains to sizzling hot in Danakil and you can ride from over 3,000 metres above sea level in the Simiens to minus 80m below sea level in Danakil.

You will need a minimum of 8-9 riding days to do this trip but if you include the Simiens (and we do advise you to do so if you want to have the maximum riding experience), a minimum of 10-12 riding days is required.

We've dedicated a section in our gallery page to Danakil. All the photos (including the ones in this page) were taken during one of our tours. We are sure that if your riding skills are up to the challenge you will one day join us on a tour to the Afar Depression for there is nothing like it on earth. Danakil IS truely the definition of a motorcycle trip of a lifetime!

    salt water ponds
Salt water ponds, Dallol
    Danakil tour
Ride to Ahmed Ila
    Danakil sunset
Camel Caravan
    Volcanic landscape
Volcanic landscape
    Salt Lake
Salt Lake
Happy Ridings!!

2 October 2008 - OMO NATIONAL PARK TOUR/Southwestern Ethiopia

We are planning an amazing 13 to 16 day ride to the most remote areas of the Omo Park, to take place in August 2009. Most trips to the Omo will take you to the most accessible areas such as Turmi, Dimeka, Jinka, Murule, Kangate, etc.,. Not this one... With this trip we want to take our clients to the most remote areas, accross a world that few vehicles have ever travelled and even fewer foreign eyes have ever seen.

The Omo National Park is found near the end of the Rift Valley. Access is very difficult making it one of the most isolated parks in Ethiopia. It borders the Omo River and the Mago National Park in the East; Sudan in the West and Kenya in the South. It is one of the richest in spectacle and game and yet one of the least visited areas in East and Central Africa, far from the beaten track and virtually unexplored. This is one of the few places in which game can be seen in Ethiopia, although poaching by local people is increasingly starting to threaten their habitat. The Omo is also home to a remarkable mix of small ethnic groups such as the Bume and the Karo, the Geleb, the Bodi, The Mursi, the Surma, the Harbore and the Hamer to name but a few.

This is a trip we plan to add to our calendar tours in the future maybe twice a year, during the dry and wet seasons. We have never done it and are still researching it. We still don’t have an itinerary, but plan to put it together in the next couple of weeks. The next step after that will be for us to actually test the proposed itinerary, adjust it and finally do the trip with clients.

We want to invite fellow motorcycle adventurers to be one of the first to do this ride. Although the rainy season only ends in September, in the Omo Valley the weather is still dry at this time of the year with rains falling between March - April and September - October. If you want to come on this trip we should warn you that it will be a very wet ride until we reach the Omo - August is the peak of the rainy season in Ethiopia - and we make no assurances that it will be dry once there. Roads and tracks along the way will be slippery and muddy. For some this can add to the pleasure of the ride but it will also make it for a more dangerous and difficult trip. Therefore participants need to come prepared for a fairly rough ride. For this first trip we will only accept bookings from experienced off-road riders, skill level 3+ (see skill level description).

Now… how much will it cost? The full price for the tour will be €3,445 all-inclusive (see what’s included in one of our calendar tours or in our terms and conditions). As for all our other tours bookings are made through the payment of 30% of the tour price. We are pricing it to the maximum number of days: 15; if the number of days is reduced, price will be adjusted when full tour payment is made. As we will be testing the waters so to speak for any riders who make a booking with us before the end of the year (31st December 2008) we will price it at only €2,500. For those who make a booking with us for this tour between the 1st of January and the 31st of March 2009 we give a discount of 15%. After that full price will apply. Remember there are only 6 places available for riders. If you would like to bring family or friends they are welcome as passengers in the support car(s). However we still do not know how much of the motorcyle route the support car(s) will be able to follow. Therefore any passengers on the support car must be aware that they will probably follow different routes to reach the same destination or may even not be able to do some of the same overnight stops. This is something we will probably know once we test the proposed itinerary. Price for passengers will be €1,470.

We are now starting to accept bookings for this trip. If you would like to take part in it or want more information use our contact us form to get in touch. We will post any updates in this space as we have them. If you make a booking for it you will be the first one to have the updates and we will maintain contact with you directly.

This will truly be a unique personalised ride and your feedback will be very important. Join us and share this amazing ride with us!

Happy Ridings!!

Joe Pichler is a world traveller and an Austrian freelance journalist. He's a regular writer for MOTORRAD, and KTM's news bulletins 'Ready to Race'. He has published two books of his trips on a KTM 950 ADV in Africa - Motorradtraum Afrika, and South America - Motorradtraum South America. He's visited Ethiopia several times and has done two tours with Africa Riding Adventures Tours in 2005 and 2007 to the North and South of the country. You can access articles on his trips in Ethiopia through the links bellow. For more details of his trips including Ethiopia visit his website.


Joe Pichler's Motorrad Articles on Ethiopia (german only):

joe pichler bike
Arno Gorissen is a Dutch freelance journalist that has travelled around the world writing his experiences on a motorcycle. His articles can be read in MOTOR MAGAZINE, the number one motorcycle magazine in Holland. He visited Ethiopia in November 2007, travelling to the north and south of the country with one of Africa Riding Adventures Tours rental bikes, the HONDA XL 600 LM. You can access his articles on Ethiopia through the following links (Dutch only):
  arno gorissen



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P.O. Box 5645 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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