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What to expect from Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains

Fresh from her recent Ethiopian adventure, Jayne from the KE office, shares her thoughts on what you can expect from our Ethiopian Simien Mountain... Read more
What to expect from Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains

Fresh from her recent Ethiopian adventure, Jayne from the KE office, shares her thoughts on what you can expect from our Ethiopian Simien Mountains Trek & Lalibela holiday. The Simien Mountains National Park might be one of the smallest national parks Ethiopia has to offer (it has approximately 20 in total!) but it definitely has a lot to offer.

 

Dramatic landscapes

The scenery of the Simien Mountains is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The escarpment is rugged and beautiful. I never tired of waking up to such beautiful mountain views; no matter how grumpy I was before my first sip of Ethiopian coffee! Lush, green land stretches as far as the eye can see throughout this trek. Splashes of colour in the form of red hot pokers are often spotted along the trail and the unique giant lobelias are not to be missed.

 

 

Tasty coffee 

 

As one of the biggest exporters of coffee, Ethiopia’s joe must be tried. In Chiro Leba, we were lucky enough to witness a traditional coffee ceremony. Coffee is always made by the female of the household. After carefully roasting and grinding the beans, incense is wafted around the room to enhance the senses. Fresh coffee is then carefully poured into traditional handle less cups to enjoy.

 

 

Fantastic walking

I openly love a point to point journey and this trek was no exception. In my opinion, there’s nothing quite like walking from A to B, working towards a common goal each day. You can expect to follow good trails within the Simien Mountains National Park although at times, I found it hard to tear my eyes away from the views around me to actually concentrate on my feet – which is often the case with me.

 

 

Reaching new heights

At 4543m, Ras Dashen is a relatively demanding peak and the 4th highest in Africa. Given the altitude, we follow a carefully prepared route which involves camping at altitudes of various increments to ensure safe acclimatisation process. It was a long day of walking but reaching the summit was well worth the early start. Despite not being the highest point of the trek, the view from Imetgogo, our highest point of Day 5, was just as good. It was great to spot Ras Dashen, our ultimate goal, on this day. It spurred the group on nicely.

 

 

Wildlife

Be prepared to spot all kinds of wildlife in Ethiopia. Gelada baboons, lammageier, bearded vultures, ibex and the Ethiopian fox were all spotted in the 2 weeks I spent there. A personal highlight for me was trekking to the viewpoint of Kadadit near Geech camp at sunset. The gelada baboons made their way up here, to the edge of the escarpment, as they sleep in caves of the cliff overhang. A perfect spot to avoid their predators. It was quite a sight to see almost 200 baboons heading to their beds for the night.

 

History

When visiting Ethiopia, including a visit to Lalibela is must-do. Famous for its 12th century, rock-hewn churches, it is definitely worth a couple of days of exploration. We can only imagine the hard work that went into these structures and the tools they might have used to painstakingly carve out the rock. The designs and attention to detail is astounding. We visit all 11 churches during our time in Lalibela; all of which are still in use and hold daily services. Lalibela is popular pilgrimage for those of Christian faith, particularly over Christmas and Easter.

 

 

Beautiful weather

During my time in Ethiopia, we experienced some lovely winter sun; particularly when in Addis Ababa, Gonder and Lalibela. You can expect temperatures in the mid 20s, which was a welcome change from the rainy Cumbria I’m used to.

 

 

Welcoming people

Our guide, Tesfa, made my visit to Ethiopia a memorable one. He was incredibly welcoming and accommodating. Nothing was too much for him. His positivity and infectious smile was just the ticket when we were pushing for the final 200m to the summit of Ethiopia’s highest peak.

 


Do you want to know more about KE's Ethiopian Simien Mountains Explorer? Just give Jayne or another member of our team a call on +017687 29620 or USA/Canada toll-free 1888 630 4415.

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