Simien Mountains

The Simien mountain massif is one of the major highlands of Africa, rising to the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen 4543m, which is the fourth highest peak in the continent. Snow occasionally falls on the highest points and night temperatures often fall below zero and you may find ice on the ground in the early morning.

Steep river valleys divide the plateaus and there are splendid views looking north to the Eritrean plains.

Over thousands of years the lower part of the massive have been eroded into incredible pinnacles, crags and buttresses and as the day progresses so does the light on these extraordinary shapes.

The higher lands are mountain grasslands with fescue grasses as well as heathers, pretty red-hot pokers and giant lobelia.

The park was created primarily to protect the Walia ibex, a type of wild goat which has been heavily poached over the years. Protection has meant that the Walia numbers are now increasing but now there is concern for the leopard, hyena and jackal, which are hunted by the local population. Twenty five thousand people live in these mountains,  and, consequently there are continuous conflicts between the human inhabitants who try to protect their livestock from the predators. 

The best way to get to know this extraordinary corner of Ethiopia is to spend a few days trekking up and along the plateau, using horses and donkeys for pack animals to carry tents, cooking kit and food.

The fun part of this trek up in the Simiens is to see the families of the gelada monkeys. There are about 3000 geladas in the Siemen’ and they are often found in groups of up to 600 grazing on the edge of precipitous cliffs. If you are very lucky you may see the rare Ethiopian wolf.

It is 100 km north of Gondar so it makes sense to spend the morning exploring Gondar and then head to the {Simien Lodge}



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