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Ethiopia

Simien Mountains National Park

Simien Mountains National Park

Famous for its dramatic highland scenery, the Simien Mountain National Park constitutes a world heritage site, and the mountains’ jagged peaks (or ambas) frequently serve as a backdrop to Ethiopian tourist initiatives. These gigantic pieces of rock are in fact hard cores of volcanic outlets from which the surrounding material has eroded away over the centuries.

Simien Mountains Ethiopia

The variation in shape and size of the ambas is quite stunning, and the region includes many summits over 13,000 feet, culminating in Ras Dashen, which at 14,901 ft is the 3rd highest peak in Africa. Simien Mountains National Park is also known for its endemic walia ibex, a very large mountain goat of which only about 60 survive today. Other specifically Ethiopian animals live in the park, including the Abyssinia wolf and the gelada baboon. The bearded vulture is also a common visitor and nests in the sheer rock faces.

Please note that, as with most of Ethiopia’s parks, Simien Mountains is occupied and farmed by the local community. Due to high population pressure, park resources are strained, which, when combined with the difficulties of administering central conservation policies, has a detrimental effect on the park’s wildlife.

Climate Information

The northern historical circuit constitutes a 3000 km round trip, beginning in Addis Ababa and moving clockwise through Debre Markos, Bahir Dar, Gondar and Axum – its western flank – and peaking in Adigrat, before moving south again, through Mekele, Lalibela, Woldia and Kombolcha, and finishing back in Addis. There are plenty of places in between and off track, including – for example -the Simien Mountains, the Blue Nile Falls, Lake Tana and the Mesket area. While most of these are served by either tarmac or good dirt roads, a few areas of interest are accessed only by dirt tracks and paths, requiring that travellers use 4 x 4 vehicles, mules or – in some cases – foot.

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