Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

The Simien Mountains are a beautiful mountain range in northeastern Ethiopia. Over time, the mountain range has acquired a unique geology and has a rich fauna and flora. The Simien Mountains are best visited by hiking for several days from Debark or Gander. The Simien Mountains are located in Ethiopia northeast of the city of Gonder. The mountain range has a national park and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The highest point is Ras Dashen and at 4550 meters the mountain is also the highest mountain in Ethiopia. The mountain range consists of several plateaus separated by deep valleys. This gives the park a unique view that you will hardly find anywhere else in the world.
The mountains got their unique structure through countless volcanic eruptions. The lava from these eruptions piled up layer after layer until a mountain range was the result. 40 million years of erosion have subsequently created the many spectacular landscapes that can be found in the mountains.
Source: Giustino, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)Source: Belgianchocolate, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)Source: Giustino, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)

Fauna and Flora

The Simien Mountains have unique fauna and flora. Gelada monkeys are common in the mountains, and are therefore definitely on the program when trekking through the mountains. This monkey closely resembles a baboon, and is therefore usually called Gelada baboon. The monkeys can be found in larger groups everywhere in the mountains. These monkeys are not aggressive, although they can look dangerous up close. Any visitors can therefore admire these groups up close without any problem.
The Ethiopian wolf is a very rare sight in the Simi Mountains, it is estimated that there are only about 100 of these fox-like wolves left in this area. It is not without reason that they are the most endangered carnivores in Africa. Besides the fact that wolves are quite rare, they are also shy of people. However, at night these wolves can often be heard in the mountains.
Source: A.Davey, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)Bird lovers can also indulge themselves in the Simien Mountains, there are several interesting species to spot in the mountains. The thick-billed raven with its crazy crow sounds is found everywhere in the mountains. More spectacular is the bearded vulture with its wingspan of more than 2 meters. According to the locals, this vulture dares to catch lambs, which he then crashes on the rocks. This way the vultures can eat the marrow from the broken bones. The bearded vulture is quite common in the mountains, so when you visit the mountains you will probably see this vulture.
The flora of the Simien Mountains consists of three parts. Forests are mainly found at an altitude of 2000m to 3000m. Between 3000m and 3700m the flora consists of shrubs and various trees. Above 3700m there are extensive grass plains.

Visiting the mountains

To visit the Simien Mountains National Park, some things need to be arranged. This can be arranged yourself or a tour operator can be hired to arrange everything down to the last detail. A good guide/tour operator is Sammy. Other guides can be found online using, for example, TripAdvisor.
Adventurers who want to arrange everything themselves should go to Debark. It may be useful to make some arrangements in advance in Gonder, as some guides and tour operators have their base here. The park’s head office is located in Debark, where the entrance fee and the mandatory scout (the man who ensures that the visit proceeds correctly) must be paid. Getting to the park from Debark also requires a taxi.
Hikers who plan to tour the park also need a guide, a cook and a donkey and driver. Most treks in the park last 4-5 days and are certainly feasible for novice trekkers in terms of difficulty. Some groups sometimes save on the often more expensive” guide. However

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