Simien Mountain National Park

The intrepid 1920s traveler Rosita Forbes declared it to be "the most marvellous of all Abyssinian landscapes "waxing Iyrical about its "stupendous crags" and "gorges of clouded amethyst"upon inscribing it is as a natural world heritage sites in 1979, UNESCO went one further by lauding it as "one of the world's spectacular landscapes ,with jagged mountain peak deep valleys and Sharpe precipices  dropping some 1.500m".

Ethiopians know it is as the roof if Africa ,an awesome afro -Alpine Plateau of grassy Meadows and ericaceous moorlands that rise to 4,533M at Ras Dejen. to biologists, it is the most important biodiversity hotspot in northern Ethiopia ,populated by an alluring wealthy of endemic plants and animals, including the imperious Walia ibex ,golden -maned gelada baboon and endearing Ethiopian wolf.Birders know it as the most best place in the world to see the mighty lammergeyer, which is regularly observed  soaring overhead ,displaying its 2-meter

wingspan.The 412km2    Simien Mountains National Park is also

,unsurprisingly ,Ethiopia's premier trekking and walking destination.

 

Hiking and trekking

The best way to see the simien mountains is in foot for these with limited time ,it is possible to drive along to he all -weather road running east from Buyit Ras to Chennek and exit the car for short walks ,or to do the 3-4hour round hike from Ayna meda to Imet Gogo.several overnight hikes are available.the 3-day hike connecting Sankaber ,Gich ,Imet Gogo and Ayna meda is recommended to those whose main interest is endemic wildlife such as geladas and Walia ibex. For peak -baggers, the more easterly hike to summit Ras Dejen, the country's highest point ,could be undertaken as a 5days hike but a longer hike starting at Sankaber is recommended to acclimatise to the high altitudes it is possible to cover all hiking routes on mule back (no prior riding experience required ).A pack mule is strongly recommended to carry camping and other gear.

Did you know ?

The Walia ibex was held sacred by pre-Aksumite culture of the northern Ethiopia and is depicted on several 2,500-plus year old artefacts unearthed at Yeah and other sites of similar vintage.

The gelada is something of a living fossil :the only surviving member of a once wide -ranging Africa genus of grazing monkeys ancestral both to baboons and to the drills of the Western rainforest.

The lammergeyer is the only bird specialized in feeding on bone marrow,which comprise up to 90 percent of it's diet, and is often obtained by dropping bones from great heights to break them open.

The Jewish kingdom of Beta Israel thrived in the simien area for several centuries prior to it's conquest by Emperor Susenyos in 1627.

 

Geology and vegetation

The basaltic bedrock of the Simien Mountains comprise a vast done was uplifted as a result of tectonic activity, 75million years ago, to form a sheer escarpment rising above the plains to its north and east.Glacial activity and rain have since moulded the escarpment into a series of jagged pinnacles and buttresses overlooking countless massive canyons carved by rivers.most of the 412km2

area stands above 2000m and it includes more than a dozen peaks topping the 4000m mark.the afromontane vegetation includes more than

1200 plant species, of which three are endemic to the park. Above 3,700m, the dominant vegetation type is open grassland punctuated by spectacular giant lobelias that stand up to 10m high. Giant Heather trees and other ericaceous plants are the main vegetation type between the 3,000m and 3,700m contour.afromontane forest and juniper woodland naturally occur at lower altitude ,but this vegetation type has greatly reduced.

Endemic life

The Simien Mountains from the last remaining stronghold of the endemic Walia ibex, the only goat indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. Associated with narrow cliff ledges, the ibex is absolutely unmistakable due to it's massive decurved horns.it came seriously close to extinction in the 1960s, when the population dropped below 200,but a ban on hunting has seen it climb back to 1,200 in recent years.the park supports 20 percent of the global population of 250,000 gelada baboons, an Ethiopia endemic rendered unmistakable by the male's flowing lion -lile mane and heart -shaped red chest patch.unique among living primates in that it needs predominantly on grass, the gelada has a complex harem-based social structure ,and groups if several hundred commonly seen by hikers. The Ethiopian wolf is less common here than it is a bale, but a population of around 50 individuals still makes the Simien Mountains the second-most important sanctuary for this endangered endemic.The wolf is occasionally seen east of Gich camp,but is rare further west. Other large mammal species includes Anubis baboon ,Hamadryas baboon, grivet monkey, Menelik's bushbuck ,Klipspringer ,common jackal,spotted hyena and leopard.

Bird life

Simien Mountains National Park is one of northern Ethiopia's key birding sites, with a checklist of 180 species that includes five Ethiopian endemics and an other 12 shared only with Eritrea. Many of these endemics are woodland grassland -associated endemics such as Ankober serin ,black -headed siskin and thick-billed raven ,as well as the cliff -loving Ruppell's black chat and white-winged cliff chat.

However ,the simien's true avian star is not an orange throat and crest.

The Simien Mountains are thought to support the world's largest population of this year -threatened species,which is also known as the bearded vulture,and there is no better place in the world for close -up sightings -whether it is soaring effortlessly above the cliffs or raiding tourist camps.

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Email: info@trekkingsimienmountain.com
Email: mickeymitiku@gmail.com 
Phone: (+251)-918-099039 
Phone: (+251)-946-460146

Gondar, Ethiopia P. O. Box 1021

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