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simien-mountains-national-park

Simien Mountains National Park

Massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1500m. The park is home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon, the Ethiopian Wolf and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world.

The Simien mountain massif is one of the major highlands of Africa, rising to the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen (4543m), which is the fourth highest peak in the continent. Although in Africa and not too far from the equator, snow and ice appear on the highest points and night temperatures often fall below zero.

The national park has three general botanical regions. The lower slopes have been cultivated and grazed, while the alpine regions (up to 3600m) were forested, although much has now disappeared. The higher lands are mountain grasslands with fescue grasses as well as heathers, splendid Red Hot Pokers and Giant Lobelia.

The park was created primarily to protect the Walia Ibex, a type of wild goat, and over 1000 are said to live in the park. Also in the park are families of the Gelada Baboon and the rare Ethiopian Wolf. The Ethiopian Wolf, although named after the mountains, is rarely seen by the visitor. Over 50 species of birds have been reported in the Simien Mountains.

Access to the park is from Debark, 101 km from Gonder, where riding & pack animals may be hired.