Hiking Trails In The Ethiopian Mountains

Hiking Trails In The Ethiopian Mountains
Debark, Ethiopia | For the most part, Ethiopia, like the continent on which it rests, usually does not rhyme with high snow-capped peaks.However, the plateaus and peaks of the Simien mountains are often covered with a white mantle. 

Beyond this astonishing fact, this massif, located in the north of the country, has several peaks around 4500 meters. The Ras Dashan, the highest in the group, even exceeds this altitude, while the Kidis Yared and Biuat mountains flirt with this height. The escarpments reach up to 2000 meters deep in places.

The volcanic origins of the area, coupled with erosion over millennia, formed these large columns of basalt. This unique geology has made this site one of the first designated by UNESCO as World Heritage of Humanity in 1978.

PHOTO COURTESY A. DAVEY Some 2500 inhabitants inhabit the high plateaux of the mountains of Simien.
PHOTO COURTESY A. DAVEY
Some 2500 inhabitants inhabit the high plateaux of the mountains of Simien.

Out of sight

Long-distance enthusiasts can delight in the national park that encompasses these mountains. Options of up to a dozen days are available on primitive hiking trails.

The types of accommodation encountered along the road also bear this term, with, among others, circular huts called “tukuls”. There are actually nine camps in the park and three community lodges. 15 to 25 kilometers separate each of them and some are accessible by car. It is even possible to buy staple foods from one of the 2500 inhabitants of the sector.

True, the climbs are sometimes abrupt, but they then give way to verdant valleys populated with giant lobelia, these plants with fleshy leaves can grow up to three meters high. Mules may, however, come to lend a hand in order to transport luggage between stages.

The highlight of the circuit? These stunning views, which in clear weather extend over dozens and tens of kilometers, especially from the central observation points of Gidir Got and lmet Gogo.

PHOTO COURTESY A. DAVEY This young shepherd takes a break in front of a bucolic landscape.
PHOTO COURTESY A. DAVEY
This young shepherd takes a break in front of a bucolic landscape.

 

Rare Animals

Besides humans, several rare animals make these mountains their home, such as the ibex and the wolf of Abyssinia, the gelada, a primate resembling the baboon, as well as the more common caracal, also called the lynx of the desert.

Birds of prey are also well represented in this corner of the world with, for example, the bearded vulture, whose wings reach a wingspan of three meters, the Verreaux eagle, the lanier hawk and the augurus hawk.

In short, you are more likely to see animals than tourists in the Simien Monument National Park, with fewer than 25,000 visitors a year.

LANDMARKS

The Simien Park

Access: The Simien Mountains Park is located about 900 kilometers north of the capital Addis Ababa. The base camp is often set up in Debark. After that, an hour and a half’s drive to the starting point of the treks, the Michibiny escarpment, and two to three hours’ walk to the first camp, Sankaber, also reachable by car.

Period: The best time to visit this area is from October to March. However, the first three months can be very cold at night with a mercury sometimes falling to -10 ° C. Avoid at all costs the months of June, July and August, which count not less than 1200 millimeters of rain.

Silver: CA $ 1 = 17 birrs.

Costs: Approximately $ 5 per day to access the park.

Good to know: Access permits are available only from the park offices in Debark, open every day except Sundays. The Association of Walia local guides can also be found in the village.

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