The first Ethiopia road cycling holidays have been launched by a Brighton-based tour operator. Tadele Travel, owned by former GB Olympic marathon runner and ex Ethiopian tour guide Girma Tadele, have launched three different levels of cycling holidays in the African country, with the first departures starting in June this year.
The holidays are set in the country’s northernmost province of Tigray, passing through the ancient city of Axum and the scenic Gheralta Mountains. Thanks to warm sunshine and undulating, almost car-free roads, the area has long been established as the country’s cycling hub and is the birthplace of current UCI World Tour rider Tsgabu Grmay of the Bahrain-Merida team.
Home to some of the Ethiopia’s iconic sights such as the rock-hewn churches of Tigray that date back to the 4th century, it also has excellent tourism infrastructure and a network of international-standard hotels.
The three eight-day itineraries are:
- Ethiopian Highland Explorer Tour – this tour features four days of cycling over a total distance of some 200km starting and finishing at Gheralta Lodge, with cultural excursions to rock-hewn churches and the ancient capital of Departures: Friday 29 September, 2017 and Monday 27 November, 2018. Prices start from £2,175 per person.
- Ethiopian Highland Challenge Tour – with five days of cycling over 395 km, this tour is aimed at more serious cyclists covering a similar route but with longer rides and one less rest day. As a highlight, there is a 130km ride into Axum itself. Departures Saturday 17 June, 2017 and Monday 15 January, 2018. Prices start from £1,975 for the June tour, which includes a £100 launch discount off the official £2,075 price.
- Ethiopian Highland Endurance Tour – for those looking for a more extreme challenge, there are 587km of cycling over six days on this journey that covers a loop to both the north and south of Mekele. Departures: Saturday 21 October, 2017 and Monday 29 January, 2018. Prices start from £1,975 per person.
Pete Muir, Editor of Cyclist magazine, was one of the first to experience a cycling holiday with Tadele Travel. He said: “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.”
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