The National Park of Simien Mountains is a great break during the Historical Route. Gorgeous valleys, canyons, rivers and mountains . . . at an average altitude of 3.300m are a delight for photographers and trekkers. In Simien Mountains you will also find three endemic animal species of Ethiopia: Walias, Simien Jakals and the so funny Baboons.
I decided to do the Simien Mountains trek as late as possible. That was because it was the rainy season (August – September) so I thought that if I started the trek later I would have more chances of good weather. That turned to be a wise decision because one week before, in Bahir Dar, I met a couple of Scots that could not do the trek because of heavy rain. However, everyday I had my little shower by 3.00 -4.00 pm but this was not a problem because by that time I had already finished the daily walk, safe in my den.
I did not take a guide, only a ranger with a super gun, which is compulsory for this trek. We left Debark, the starting point, in the morning direction to Buyit Ras. This is a 10km walk which takes four – five hours. The landscape is beautiful with green valleys and some rivers to cross (boots off –boots on). During our way there some small Amharic villages. They live from agriculture and farming in very hard conditions. In the morning you cross many people who go to Debark loaded with wood, animals and other food to sell in the market. This is terrible because each time you have to stop to let them pass and it breaks your walking rhythm. This was the hardest and most tiring day for me but I managed to keep my dignity (glucose tablets helped) and we arrived to the den at the expected time (just before the rain!)
The second day we did the path between Buyit Ras and Geech Camp, via Sankaber (13 km, 7-8 hours). This was more enjoyable day for me, I was already used to the altitude and walking so I felt less tired. Landscapes were also more beautiful than the previous day, with terrific views along the escarpment on the west, between Michibi and Sankaber.
I especially enjoyed the trees full of likens, some unknown exotic flowers (for me) and of course the baboons! I thought that they were very rare to see but there many and they are not afraid of humans, I would better say they like to pose for them !
The third day we had to go back to Debark. That means that we did in one day what we have done before in two days! But by that time I fit so we woke up very early and did not waste too much time eating, taking pictures or admiring the landscape. For sure after that walk a hot shower in Debark was more than deserved!
The Simien Mountains trek was not very easy for me. I was not super fit + I had been ill only one week ago and still feeling weak so I did not start the trek in my best conditions. But landscapes were gorgeous, baboons very funny and the ranger told me many interesting things about local flora, fauna and rocky formations. At the end the Simien Trek, even if hard, turned to be an unforgettable trek!
Useful Information :
- You need to arrange your trek (and pay the entrance fee) in the Park’s Headquarters located in Debark. An armed scout with you is compulsory, the guide (all them speak English) is optional. A mule + mule man for your stuff and food is also optional but very useful (note that the mule man costs the same than the mule and both are less expensive than 2-3 pots to cook). Your route will depend on the number of days that you want to stay in the mountains.
- Trek prices are not negotiable.