THE SIMIEN MOUNTAINS
The Simien Mountains are located North West of Addis Ababa and easily reachable from either Gondar or Axum (Historic Route); it is one of the major highlands of Africa with the fourth highest peak on the continent, Mount Ras Dashen (4620 m). The spectacular scenery that they offer is one of the most breathtaking in Africa. Their unique appearance and their special gold, emerald, quartz and sapphire colors are the result of pre-historic volcanic activity and the subsequent erosion that shaped the chain with peaks, gorges and steep crags. The Simien Mountains, dubbed “The Chessboard of the Gods” by Rosita Forbes, a famous traveler visiting Ethiopia in 1925, provide splendid trekking territory. In the National Park, trekkers can walk through three general botanical environments, each of them very rich in flora and fauna; while walking it is easy to see the Walia Ibex (a type of wild goat for which the Park was initially created to protect), the Gelada Baboons, and over 50 species of birds. Occasionally tourist are fortunate enough to see the rare Ethiopian Wolf. The area has something to offer all levels of expertise: there are well-worn goat-herder paths suitable for nice and easy walking and, for the more vigorous hiker, there are long-duration trekking paths and even cliff climbing.