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The Simien Mountains Without Hiking

Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

The Simien Mountains National Park, a World Heritage Site, belongs to the famous places for trekking in Africa: breathtaking mountain ranges, a large endemic wildlife, amongst which the “Cliffhangers” or Gelada Monkeys, …

But if you really want to enjoy the Simien Mountains, you will need at least 4 days, as the shorter itineraries mostly follow the road inside the park! If you do not have so much time at hand (there is A LOT to do in Ethiopia), or if you want to go trekking in other, more Off The Beaten Track places in Ethiopia, like the Bale Mountains, you can still get a glimpse of this beautiful area…

Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

  1. Get A Glimpse Of The Simien Mountains From Gonder

This option, we chose back in April 2011, as we had only 12 days for the Northern Historical Route. For the 40 kilometer ride from Gonder to Koseye, you can either hop on a public bus and stop at Koseye or charter a cab there. There is no need to take a tour, many local scouts will happily take you from Koseye to the view points (a 2 hour hike), and they are far more knowledgeable than the guides from Gonder.

Kosoye, a Viewpoint on the Simien Mountains, Simian Mountains National Park

Kosoye, a Viewpoint on the Simien Mountains

The view points offer stunning views of the Simien Mountains range, and good opportunity to spot Gelada Monkeys. The chances to see Ibex and other endemic wildlife are very low, though…

Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada)

Rüppell's Vulture or Rüppell's Griffon Vulture (Gyps Rueppellii), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Rüppell’s Vulture or Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture (Gyps Rueppellii)

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus Barbatus), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus Barbatus)

  1. The Luxurious Approach

In November 2015, I took my parents to Ethiopia, so for obvious reasons hiking and camping was not an option. But if you want to get a better insight of the Simien Mountains without the harshness of trekking, you can stay at the Simien Mountain Lodge.

Driving through the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Driving through the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains Lodge, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains Lodge

Of course, this is no budget option! By far… You have to have a 4WD (no saloon car will be allowed in the park), plus a local guide and a local scout. And you have to stay (well, pay) for at least 2 days… Even if you only stay one night!

The lodge is indeed really nice (but grossly overpriced), and offers an opportunity to discover comfortably and without walking too long all the main attractions of the 4 days trekking:

  • Spectacular view points

    Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

    Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

  • Wildlife: we saw many Gelada Monkeys and even spotted a Walia Ibex
    Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

    Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada)

    Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus Barbatus), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

    Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus Barbatus)

    Rüppell's Vulture or Rüppell's Griffon Vulture (Gyps Rueppellii), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

    Rüppell’s Vulture or Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture (Gyps Rueppellii)

    Walia Ibex (Capra Walie), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

    Walia Ibex (Capra Walie)

  • And hike to Jinbar Waterfalls, estimated at 500 meters high…

    Jinbar Waterfalls, estimated at 500 meters high, Simen Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

    Jinbar Waterfalls, estimated at 500 meters high

Of course, hiking will give you a much better approach of the National Park. But once again, the question is: do you have enough time at hand and are you able to hike 4 days? If not, consider one of the solutions above…

Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada)

Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada), Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

Gelada Monkey or Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus Gelada)

 

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