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Gondar (also spelled Gonder) is a city in Ethiopia.

Get in

By air

There is a mid-sized airport in Gondar. Ethiopian airlines has daily flights to the city - usually leaving Addis around 0700. Flights are also available to/from Axum, Lalibela, and Bahir Dar.

By bus

  • There is a bus sevice to/from Addis Ababa, a trip that takes two days. Minibuses are available that make the trip in one day. These are more expensive and are usually booked through your hotel.
  • Several buses a day run to/from Bahir Dar. Minibuses also run on this route.
  • To get to Axum, take the dawn bus to Shire and change there. You can usually get through in a day. To get from Axum, you must take an afternoon bus to Shire, spend the night there, and take the dawn bus to Gondar.
  • It also takes two days to get to/from Lalibela by bus. Coming from Lalibela, you take one of the dawn buses to Gashena and change there to the Bahir Dar bus going west. You can either get off the bus at Nefas Mewcha and take the dawn bus to Gondar the next day, or you can ride it all the way to Bahir Dar and head north to Gondar the next morning. To travel to Lalibela, the bus to Gashena from Gondar usually stops for the night in Nefas Mewcha. There are two afternoon buses from Gashena to Lalibela.
  • There are two buses a day to/from Debark for people heading to the Simien Mountains. These leave somewhere around 6am and 9am in both directions.

Get around

  • The blue and white minibuses run through the city effeciently. There are also some horse drawn taxis called garis. Both are inexpensive.
  • You also can contract a small blue colored taxi for a day or several days during your visit.


  • Gondar Castle a tiny version of Camelot. It costs a steep 50 Birr - price includes a guide but he will also expect a tip.
  • Debre Birhan Selassie Church a short way out of town, is worth a visit to see its amazing

ceiling. It is priced at 25 Birr but a student reduction is possible.




  • Roman Hotel, not too expensive and excellent value, try their tibbs wate. They serve meat even during lent.



A number of options are available. Prices start at 20 Birr for very basic rooms.

  • Meat house is a bar, brothel, butcher, restaurant and hotel with a charming atmosphere for only 20 Birr a night.
  • Roman Hotel, from Birr 60 (single self-contained), no water, excellent food, meat during lent
  • Circle Hotel, birr 92, right in the centre of the town, check your room carefully for working bathroom fixtures and cleanliness before agreeing to take it.

Get out

The walled city of Fasil Ghebbi near Gondar is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Many travellers go to Gondar to visit the Simien Mountains, about a 3 hour bus ride north of the city. Treks in the mountains can be arranged in Gondar, and you will be approached by many touts offering a wide variety of treks. The advantage of using their services is they may be able to put you in a group of other travellers, which will cut costs, and they can arrange for private transportation to and from the park. But it is also straightforward to arrange everything yourself, and definitely cheaper if you aren't splitting the costs with anyone. Debark is the staging point for all treks in the Simien Mountains and can be reached by bus from Gondar. On arrival in Debark, go to the park office in the south end of town (which you will pass on your way in). They will arrange the mandatory scout, and can find official guides, mules, and mulemen, and they have gear for rent. There is food suitable for trekking available in Debark, but it is cheaper to buy it in advance in Gondar where there is a much better selection. The scout, guide, and muleman will likely expect you to feed them, so bring along extra.

Daytrips to the Simien Mountains from Gondar can also be arranged

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