Simien Mountains National Park

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Simien Mountains at a Glance

Located just 112 Km from the Historical town of Gondar, The Simien Mountains National Park is one of the major highlights of Africa and Ethiopia. Ras Dejen Peak is the highest point in Ethiopia at 4620 meters.

It is also known as the fourth highest peak in Africa. The dramatic landscape Simien mountains national Park are result of Massive Seismic activities About 40 million years ago.

Simien mountain is a must visit destination if you want to meet Ethiopia’s iconic and endemic animals. There is also a variety of birdlife flora and fauna eg Giant lobelias and red hot pokers.

This national pack is also famous for its big population of gelada monkeys That is estimated to be 7000 They are known for their thick fur and heart – shaped red chest. These beautiful mammals and typically found In families of 20-30 individuals in each group. Sometime it is possible to see them in big groups of about 500 animals.
Since Simien mountains has Some of the most rare animals and species It is not surprise that it was named a world heritage site in 1978. The Park is also home to traditional nomadic tribes that’s survive in the harsh conditions.

With some of the best trekking routes endemic wildlife and fantastic lodge Simien mountains National park has become on of the Ethiopia’s top destination

Top Reasons to Visit Simien Mountains

The Simien mountains National park ofers a natural wonders that you should not miss on your Ethiopian Holiday. They have some of the most breathtaking views that Africa has to offer. Whether you are looking for adventure or just want to take a time off to enjoy dramatic views, Simien mountains must be on your bucket-list.

Below are our reasons why you must visit The Simien Mountains.

1 . Unspoiled Flora and Fauna

Simien mountains support a variety of Flora and fauna. The park is home to impressive endemic species and plant life. Some of the endemic animals you see include Gelada monkeys, Ethiopian wolf, Walia and walia Ibex. You will find troops of gelada monkeys ranging from 20 to 500 individuals. Don’t worry these monkeys look threatening but they are quite used to humans So you can’t be near them without being attacked. You enjoy seeing this monkeys grooming themselves and doing their daily lives.

The Gelada monkey is not an endangered species, but its numbers have rapidly decreased in recent years. It is possible to ensure their numbers remain stable by providing a steady source of income to often very poor local communities through tourism.

Agriculture  is the major cause of habitat  and destroy natural spaces, so tourism can provide the necessary incentive to protect them and sauce of income

Simien Mountains National Park is the best place to find Gelada monkeys in Ethiopia. 

Walia ibex is an endangered specie of ibex. The threats against the species including habitat loss, bush meat hunting etc. Only about 500 Individuals I left and surviving in the Semien mountains of Ethiopia. Your visit to Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains will give you a chance to see these rare animals especially near Chenneck Campsite.

The Ethiopian wolf is rarely seen while on mountain trekking here m, You will need a fair amount of luck To see them in the Simien mountains. However it is possible to see them in Bale mountains Since they are more numbers here.

Unique Eco system of Simien Mountains. Simien Mountains are also known for their unique flora, in addition to their diverse fauna. An afro-alpine steppe belt is found over 3700 meters above sea level. In this grassland zone, Lobelia rhynchopetalum (giant Lobelia) is abundant.

2 . Simien Mountains Landscape

Simien Mountains Landscapes are special and unique and you wont find them anywhere else. Your experience here here will be wilderness and spectacular trekking through cliffs, escapements while camping on Volcanic plateau with no crowds as seen in other mountains in the world.

They are covered in colors of brown and golden like rocks, green vegetation especially after the rainy season, and many flower cones from giant lobelias. These attract bird life and many hummingbirds heaven.

3 . Challange your self on Simien Mountains

The hike today will start at 3am in the morning so as you have more time to avoid the heat as you can. You will be climbing through frost grass and mud at some point and you will be able to see the peak from a distance. The last one hour will involve walking through rocks to the summit

 

4 . Cultural Experience on Simien Mountains

Hiking the Simien Mountains will get you close to the locals tribes that live in the harsh mountains. It is fascinating to observe how locals live their daily lives in such islolated villages in the mountains. You will see locals protecting their barley gardens from gelada monkeys , making local beers and local Ethiopian food. It is possible to go and have a test of the Ethiopian local fermented bread called Enjera.

Life here is very minimalist and its largely unchanged for centuries, along the hike you will meet child that will walk with you as they also enjoy watching people from a different world. Some have a few craft for sell and we advise you to support them since these people have literary nothing in life. It is estimated that at-least 80% of the people here live by growing crops and raring animals for food.

You will be able to enjoy a wonderful Ethiopian hospitality, drinks and music that will leave you appreciating the rural life of the mountains

5. Scenic Routes on Simien Mountains

Be prepared with your boots to hike the most scenic routes with options for every traveler.

Buyit Ras to Chenek Route Simien Mountain Trekking route: This route starts close to the Eastern gate of the park and ends at Chenek camp. This is the most popular route on the Simien Mountains. It takes about 55km and normally takes 4 days depending on one’s speed. On this route, you will camp at Sankaber and Gich campsites as you enjoy your days admiring what Simien mountains have to offer for example the Jinbar waterfall, you also have an option of going up 14534 feet / 4430 meters on the Summit of Mount Buahit to have the best views ever and also probably spot the Ethiopian wolves.

Debark To Chenek route on Simien Mountains: This trek is almost similar to the one above . Although it extends extra 48 kms by starting and ending in Debark. It is necesaary to put a side 7 days and 6 nights to complete this simien mountain route.

Sankaber to Adi Arkay Route : This is one of the most scenic route and covers 85 km which takes about 6 days to complete. This route starts at Sankaber camp on the East side of the park to Adi Arkay town on the far North. It breaks of the populated zones like Buyit Ras but covers the most incredible points on Simien mountains. The route goes to Sona , Mekarebya and Mulit areas that see very few tourists  each year and as you go down, its a chance to see the authentic Amharic villages and farms where you can even sample some local brew and food

Buyit Ras to Adi Arkay Route: This Simien Mountain route is suitable for those with time dont mind about spending much longer time in the mountains. This route takes atleast 11 days. You will also be able to see two summits one on Mount Buahit and another on Ras Dashen which is also Ethiopia’s highest peak  and 11th on the African continent.

Map of Simien Mountains - Simien Mountains National Park Map

Simien-mountain-map

How to get to Simien Mountains National Park

There are different ways to get to Simien mountain National Park. But the most popular way is to use local flights Especially because they are hugely discounted 60% in case you used Ethiopian airlines the country’s national airline to come into the country. Fly to go in to town and then have a 2 hour drive to the national park Through small towns and villages.

Many people choose to stay in Gondar for a night or two Because it is a well known historical town and has some old castles and vibrant culture worthy a visit. 

It is mandatory to stop over in Darbark so as to get your trekking permits and be assigned by an armed ranger/ guide.

They are also direct flights from Lalibela & Axum to Gondar. Should you be traveling from Bahir Dar , It is possible to hire a car and driver and drive to Debark gate.

Travelling from Mekele to Simien Mountains will require you to have a stop over at Labibela airport then to Gondar town where you will have a 2 hours drive Debark gate of Simien Mountains

 

How did the Simien Mountains Form

Approximately 55 to 75 million years ago, volcanic activity created a field of active volcanoes in the Simiens. In the Oligocene period, between 40 and 25 million years ago, a series of eruptions blanketed the Simien range with thick lava thousands of metres deep. The cooled lava below dormant volcanoes became a jagged and cinematic landscape as the volcanic activity calmed.

Simien Mountains are early structures that date back some 50 or more million years back. The mountains are part of the Simien Massif plateau of an old volcano thats the base for a nuber of peaks of which some are more than 4000m above the sea level.

Play Video about Jinbar-waterfalls-simien-mountains

What is the Best time to Visit Simien Mountains?

The Simien Mountains National Park can be visited at any time of the year, and wildlife can be viewed all year round. It is not recommended to hike during July and August (especially for hikers) for its very wet Attractions in the park include the spectacular scenery. The best time to visit is between September and December, when the days are sunny and the landscape is there is no haze in the sky and the vegetation is lush.

Weather in Simien Mountains

Located near the equator, Simien Mountains National Park has constant temperatures throughout the year. However, there is a big difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Temperatures average 18°C/64°F during the day and 6°C/43°F at night.

Dry season (October to April) and Wet season (May to September). In July and August, more than half of the annual precipitation falls

weather-in-simien-mountains
Dry season in Simien Mountains

It rarely rains during the day, and the days are typically bright and sunny. Temperatures during the day are around 18°C/64°F and at night they are around 7°C/45°F something thats ideal time for hiking.

  • The dry season begins in October and November. You should be able to go about your activities even if it rains from time to time. As a result of the recent rain, the scenery is fresh and lush.
  • The air is dusty during December, January, and February. Although the weather is great for hiking, the landscape can look parched during these months.
  • The first rains in March and April bring relief and settle the dust. Rain shouldn’t be a big problem, but you should come with waterproof clothing.
Rainny season in Simien Mountains - May to September

Expect some showers during the rainny season, with heavy showers expected in July and August. Normally the average daytime temperature is 18°C/64°F, but the nighttime temperature is about 12°C/22°F cooler. A water-resistant outfit is a must.

  • The rainy season begins in May and June. There is frequent rain, but it usually doesn’t last long.
  • Wet season is at its peak in July and August. During these months, it rains a lot, so hiking is not recommended. There may be deterioration of the road inside the park, and exploring the higher reaches might be challenging.
  • As September approaches, the rain reduces, everything looks lush, and wildflowers bloom everywhere. Views down the escarpment are spectacular since the sky is free of haze. In spite of some showers, this month is a lovely one.

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