Hiking in Ethiopia

Trip Start Dec 24, 2009
Trip End Apr 25, 2010

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Where I stayed
Simien Mountains National Park

Flag of Ethiopia  , Āmara,
Thursday, February 4, 2010

About 100km North of Gonder are the Simien Mountains, which was our next stop. Had I known the road was so bad, I might not have gone! The poor Cruiser got shook to pieces, and by the time we got to Debark (nearest town to the mountain park) the hand-break (not Petra!!) cable had worked its way loose from the back right hub. To all you guys at work who watched the tools arrive everyday from Amazon while I was building my tool kit, I’m glad to report, I fixed this problem with a screwdriver, a nut and bolt, and 2 number 10 spanners.

To enter the park we needed to take a ‘scout’ with us in the Cruiser. A scout is a local guy with an AK47, who accompanies us for our safety, what a pain; we had to repack the car to fit him in! It cost us about US$60 for 48 hours in the park.

The mountain park ranges from an altitude of about 3500m to 4500m, so definitely the highest point that either of us have ever been outside of a plane. We camped for 2 nights, which were very cold and windy, but nonetheless well worth it. We both agree that this is one of the most spectacular places we have ever been, the views were magnificent and for me a highlight of the trip so far. Of the wildlife we saw the Gelada Baboon (long haired), and the Walia Ibex, a wild goat found nowhere else in the world. There were also many species of birds that I’d never seen before. We didn’t see the rare Ethiopian Wolf though!!

On the second day we went on a hike to a lookout point about 2 hours from our camp. The scout took us on a route, which followed the road on the way up, and a mountain path on the way down. I think he did this, so it would be easier for us?! Petra about half way up became very upset about the route chosen, as we were walking up the road, instead of hiking along the mountains. She didn’t want to walk on the road (which was easier to be fair). She wanted to be on a path rather, for the better views. The scout became very nervous, and thankfully we were almost at the top, as she wasn’t very happy! Lucky we made the top with no major damage done. Once she saw the view, she was a happy bunny once again. We put this one down to altitude sickness!!

We had very little choice where we could camp on the second night, and the camp scout put us just off the road (dusty), and about 50m from a dead grey horse. I was not happy about this, and after 10 mins of trying to explain my problem to the scouts, with lots of hand gestures and charades, the one scout casually picked up a stone, and threw it at the horse. It turned out the horse wasn’t dead and stood up! I couldn’t believe it! It looked pretty dead? It must have been the altitude getting to me too. Ha ha!! The horse did look like it had a broken leg, so I was not that far wrong.

If Gonder got a 5/10, the Simien Mountains get an 8/10, and I could well see myself coming back here one day.

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