The Simien Mountains

Introduction

The Simien Mountains are a spell bounding piece of natural beauty known as ‘The Roof of Africa,’ home to some of the most spectacular mountains on the planet. It’s a precious habitat home to unique wildlife experiences, where you come face to face with Walia Ibex, encounter troops of Gelada monkeys, cross paths with Wolves & even share lunch with Angur Buzzards! This place is truly incredible & at times unbelievable, so it’s no surprise that UNESCO named this area on their World Heritage List back in 1978. Time to find out what makes this place so unique.


Ethiopia, East Africa
Size: 220 km2
‘Simien’ translates to ‘North’ in Amharic


Map


Getting There

Option 1:
  • Fly > Addis Ababa to Gondar with Ethiopian Airlines (1 hour)
  • Minibus > to Debark (1 hour, 30 minutes)
  • Minibus > to Simien National Park entrance (1 hour)
Option 2:
  • Bus > Addis Ababa to Debark with Sky Bus (1 day)
  • Minibus > to Simien National Park entrance (1 hour)


Travel Tips

  • Buses from Addis Ababa leave at 5 am from Meskel Square
  • Minibusses will leave when they are full
  • Listen & look out for your bus’ destination at stops
  • You will need to register at the park office in Debark before entering the Simiens
  • You must be accompanied by a guide & scout

Highlights

Imet Gogo

Getting here will test your patience as well as your scrambling ability. The route up will wind up, around & at points down as you follow the well-maintained path to the top. It will be all worth it in the end as the reward will be arguably the best one you’ve seen so far in the Simien Mountains.


Gelada Monkeys

These fascinating creatures can be spotted throughout the area & aren’t shy around humans either. Gangs of Geladas will have skirmishes at times as they take over one another’s territory, so it’s not odd to see them scrapping & practising their fighting skills.


The Night Sky

Having an absence of large settlements close by, combined with a high altitude & it’s proximity to the Equator make for an incredible show once it gets dark. During the night, bright constellations, orbiting satellites as well as shooting stars light up the night sky & disguise the fact that the temperature has dropped.





People

The area has been home to people for over 2,000 years who came to settle & cultivate the land. The majority of people are Orthodox Christians with Muslims making up a smaller proportion of the population. Inhabitants of the Simiens are farmers, usually growing grain to feed their families. As visitors to the area have increased in recent years, local people have used their valuable knowledge in the tourism industry as guides or scouts. Be ready for a warm welcome from a curious community willing to share their enchanting area with you.




Many thanks to Mike Leonard for his help with compiling this article. It’s much appreciated!

We hope you enjoyed this article on the Simien Mountains & hope it inspires you to visit them one day.