A spectacularly scenic area with interesting endemic mammals, including Gelada baboons, as well as many species of birds.
Ethiopia is sometimes called the ‘Roof of Africa’, and the spectacular Simien Mountains hold its highest point, Ras Dashen, at 4620m the fourth highest mountain on the continent. The Simiens are a dramatic landscape of green carpeted gorges and chasms which are home to some of the country’s rare and endemic species. It is relatively easy to see large troops of gelada baboons, shaggy maned primates with bright red patches of flesh on their chests, grazing on the vegetation; they are found only in Ethiopia’s mountains. You are less likely to see two of its other rare creatures, the Walia Ibex and the Simien wolf, the rarest of the world’s canine species. Walking in these mountains, watching lammergeier vultures swoop into deep ravines, offers one of the scenic highlights of travel in Africa.
We spend today walking through the mountains to visit striking viewpoints and spot some of the wildlife.
We stopped about from gondar at Fallasha a former village for Ethiopian Jews who were not allowed to integrate or hold down jobs. They therefore created ceramic items and did weaving to earn a living. Today it's a place for single mothers to learn these skills. There are many widows from the recent conflict and also HIV positive women.
We were besieged by local children selling their wares but most of us bought the more expensive items in order to support the women's project.
In arrival at the lodge in the mountains we went for a walk around in order to acclimatise to 3200mts. We met immediately the famous gelada baboons, my reason for coming to Ethiopia. Here I have to admit that I failed to take my tablet on both days here so cannot show you any of the thousand I took between the two days of walking. I'll have to connect you to Dropbox if you are interested.
At the lodge we watched a 30 minute video shot by a wildlife biologist who is studying the geladas.
12 January Walking in the Simien mountains
Today we set off on a pretty leisurely day of walking. The mountains are stupendous with tremendous sheer drops. We found the geladas climbing back up the precipitous cliffs where they take shelter overnight. We had a really knowledgeable guide who showed us a huge variety wildlife with his super sharp eyesight. I cannot describe the beauty of the mountains and vistas. This was a real highlight of the trip and exceeded everything I had expected.