The Simien Mountains

 simienThe Simien Mountain massif is a broad plateau, cut off to the north and west by an enormous single crag over 60 kilometers long. To the south, the tableland slopes gently down to 2,200 meters, divided by gorges 1,000 meters deep that can take more than two days to cross. Not enough geological time has elapsed to smooth the contours of the crags and buttresses of hardened basalt.

 Simien Mountain National Park is located at the northern edge of the central plateau of Ethiopia, overlooking the Tekeze Gorges. It is part of the Simien Mountain Massif in Northern Ethiopia, which lies at elevations between about 2,000m and 4,620m, taking in Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia, which stands adjacent to the park and the fourth highest in Africa.

The National Park itself, with a core area of around 140km2 and one of the smallest in Ethiopia, is located in the North Gondar zone of the Amhara National Regional State. It is about 121 km from Gondar, the capital of North Gondar zone of Amhara region and about 725km from Addis Ababa. It covers the highlands, ranging up to an altitude of 3,000 m ( with the peak of Bwahit Mountain at 4,430 m), and the lowlands, which lie at an average altitude of below 2,000 m. The steep escarpments separating these two significant landscapes were formed by volcanic activities and subsequent erosion millions of years ago. They give the mountain's scenery its characteristic appearance, which is so spectacular for visitors today. Located at the Gondar- Axsum axis, which are both cultural world Heritage Sites on the so-called “Historic Route, you can reach the National Park by passing Debark, a market town on the road to Axsum and an important base for organizing trips to the National Park.

While trekking in the Simien, visitors can see the endemic Gelada or bleeding heart baboon, the Walia Ibex, the Simien wolf and the rock hyrax; endemic birds such as the thick billed raven, black headed siskin, white collared pigeon, wattled ibis, white billed starling, spot breasted plover and white backed black tit, cruising Lammergeyers with their 3 meter wingspan and Afro-Alpine meadows carpeted with flowers and punctuated by giant lobelia and the tall spiky Kniphophia or “red hot pokers”

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