Ethiopia is a country where the topography is highly dominated by rugged and chain mountains. In some places rain has eroded the more recent rocks, exposing the original rocks, nowhere is this more prominent and stunning-than in Ethiopia’s northern Simien region.
An overland tour of the classical Historic circuit gives travelers another chance to admire and enjoy these breathtaking sceneries. Some of these drives would cross the trekkers’ Paradise, the Semien mountains National park.
The region includes many summits above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), and culminates in the highest point in Ethiopia, RasDashen, which at 4,543 meters (14,901 feet), is also Africa’s fourth highest mountain. It is not a very difficult mountain to climb and can be reached by traveling through the Simians Mountains national Park.
The base from which to explore the small, 179 square kilometers (111-suqare mile) park is Debark, 830 kilometers (520miles) north-west of Addis Ababa and 90 Kilometers North of Gondar.
There are various campsites and tracks to follow and it is best to take the advice of the guides. The photography of this park will remain in the mind forever. Climbing up from Debark on mules, through extensive farmland, the visitor is unaware of the dramatic scenery about to unfold. The land forms various small plateaus, and the edge of these plunge dramatically to the lowlands to the north and east.
Generally the first stop is Snakaber camp, a trek that leads mainly through cultivated areas to the 3,239 meters (10,600 feet) campsite. From this point, visitors can walk to the edge the abyss, where they may get their first glimpse of the spectacular scenery. The easiest mammal to see in this area is the endemic gelada Baboon, which often be seen in family units.
Also named after this area, the Simien Fox, also referred to as the Simien jackal or Ethiopian wolf, is now very rare but is more common in Bale Mountain National Park in the south.
The animal most visitors wish to see is the Walia Ibex. This member of the wild goat family has magnificent heavily ridged horns sweeping back over the shoulder.
Geech, Chenek, Buait, Emetgog are also other camp sites for travelers exclusively taking trekking tour in the park either to arrive the highest peak of RasDashen or just return taking time in the park.
Tours exclusively involving trekking or either a combination of the Historic route and trekking can be arranged by Off-Road Ethiopia tour.
In Ethiopia's south-east lies the Bale Mountain range, which dominates the landscape as it rises from the extensive surrounding farmlands.
At its epicenter is the spectacular Bale Mountains National Park, a high altitude plateau broken by numerous dramatic volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and mountain streams that rush in too deep, rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands below.
The national park is Africa's largest Afro-alpine habitat, with unlimited opportunities for some fantastic mountain walks, horse trekking, scenic driving, and the chance to view many of Ethiopia's endemic mammals and birds.
The park was originally established to protect the Mountain Nyala and the Simien fox (or jackal). Other wildlife in this area includes Menelik's bushbuck, an endemic sub species, Bohor reedbuck, grey duiker, warthog, several cats and baboons. Bale bird species include sixteen endemic species, many of which are easily seen.
Not far from Bale Mountains is one of the world's most spectacular and extensive underground caverns: the SofOmor cave system. Formed by the Weyb River as it changed its course in the distant past and carved a new channel through limestone foothills, Sof Omar is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty.
Interested in visiting Semien Mountains ? Please check available tour packages