Ethiopia–Why to Go NOW? 8. Reason: Simien Mountains - Where Monkey and Capricorn say good night
For outdoor enthusiasts, Ethiopia is not really on the top of the bucket list, which is – in my opinion – a big mistake: the UNESCO-protected Simien Mountains National Park can boast more than a dozen four-thousand meter high peaks, and in contrast to neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, the mountains here are not (yet) overcrowded.
Spectacular rocks, Lammergeier, Gelada monkeys, the endangered Ethiopian ibex, which only exists in these mountains, as well as the Ethiopian wolf, hyenas and leopards (OK, for those you have to be really lucky …) make hiking here a unique experience.
Click on the first picture to start the photo gallery.
As we were a bit short of time, we asked Molla (see information below) to pick his favourite part of the National Park. He recommended a 3-day trek from Sankaber Camp to Chennek. This is just a brief outline of where we went - you can read the hike in full detail in autumn in the Alpin magazine.
1. Day from Sankaber Camp 3.250m to Gich Camp 3.600, passing the Jimba Waterfall, 14km
I really like Gich Camp, because there are no roads for vehicles – it’s hikers only. For sunset you can walk up to the mountain Kedadit 3.760 and if you are lucky the Gelada monkeys will storm pass you to hide in the cliffs below for the night.
2. Day from Gich Camp via the View Points Emet Gogo 3.925 and Enaty 4.070 to Chennek Camp
From Emet Gogo you have spectacular views of the valley below with its bizarre rock formations. Another climb will lead you to Enaty, which is a great place for lunch, while enjoying the view.
3. From Chennek Camp climb up to Bwahit 4.430 before descending back to Chennek and driving back to Gondar
Chennek is famous for the good chance of spotting the endangered Ethiopian ibex, which - like the monkeys - hides in the cliff below the campsite during the night.
Good to know:
Gondar is the closest town to access the Simien National Park. The 100km drive to Debark takes up to two hours. The entrance gate at Buyit Ras is another 14km east of Debark.
Every hiker (or hiking group) needs to have a local scout, who is organised at the Park Office in Debark, if you didn't book a package in advance.
How to get there:
Ethiopian Airlines flies daily (at least from Frankfurt) directly to Addis Abeba. If you book with them, you get a discount on the inland flights, which you will probably need, as the roads are very bumpy and dusty …
We arranged everything through Lalibela Eco Trekking.
Molla Kassaw - the owner - organized our whole trip and everything worked perfectly. We didn't have a single guide, but always different local guides, who showed us their town/hike. That way we got to know a lot of different people, who knew their local attractions best.
I will write about all our adventures in a separate blogpost - but I am afraid I will need more time for that …
To shorten the waiting time you can watch a short Video here:
I didn't really film - I was too occupied to take pictures of all the beautiful things going on around me, but as I had the drone with me, and as I sometimes pressed the record button on my camera as well, I had a few (very shaky, sorry) clips, that I edited into a short clip. I hope you enjoy watching it …