Simien Mountains

The Simien Mountains a World Heritage site by UNESCO 1978. And the mountains Massif is one of the major highlands of Africa, rising to the highest point in Ethiopia and the fourth in the continent called Ras Dejen (4,543m). Although in Africa, and not too far from the equator, ice appear on many of highest points and night temperatures often fall below zero. The Simien Mountains, north of Gondar, provide an excellent trekking area with a good infrastructure of equipment provision and guide facilities in place. The SMNP is located, in the Amhara regional Government state, North Gondar Zonal, 886-km distance from the capital, Addis Ababa and 123 km from Gondar 13°Nl,38° E lies between the altitudinal range of 1900 masl to 4430 masl at Bwahit in northern west of Ethiopia. More importantly, it is also located on the northern edge of the Great Rift Valley, which passes through Ethiopia and down to Mozambique, stretching over 6000 km. The mountain nature of the park together with its surrounding high peaks gives rise to the name the “Roof of Africa &rdqo; The SMNP is endowed with unique landscape and endemic animals, plants found only in the Ethiopian Highlands. This park has spectacular views and a large variety of wildlife, including baboons, ibexes, Ethiopian wolves and birds of prey such as the rare lammergeyer, a huge vulture. The park is made up of a rocky massif, which slopes down to grasslands - the massif is cut by streams and gorges. The national park has three general botanical regions. The lower slopes have been cultivated and grazed, while the alpine regions (up to 3600m) are forested. 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 900 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 is rarely seen by the visitor. Over185 species of birds have been reported in the Simien Mountains. Access to the park is from Debark 22km and 101km from Gondar and 850km from the capital city of Ethiopia. Where riding and pack animals may be hired. Simien travel and tours is organizing you trekking, mountain hiking and horse riding tours to the Simien Mountains

Geology and glaciations: Simien Mountains are formed from out pouring of lava in Miocene and Oligocene geological periods. The trap lava covered the previous rock formation. Hawaiian volcano type is found in china. Trap lava from profile with gentle slope layers laid one on top of the other like the pages of the book. During Cenozoic (70 million up to now) time of important shaping the present shape of Simien Mountains national park. Tectonic activities folding and faulting and breaking of massive block are preconditions for erosion during tertiary period. Uplifting and opening entailed trappean lava glaciers covered highest point that occurred 2000 years ago up to 1500meter deep was cut. Tectonic activities in tertiary period glaciations cover majority of original topography of the Oligocene. Lava out pouring were modified and reshaped by 20 million years of waters wind and ice erosion to produce the thin slices, plateau and isolated blocks high above the tekeze.

Spotting Animals
21 large and 13 small mammals have been recorded in the simian mountains national park. The park is the refuge of endemic species in the world: namely, Gelada baboon, Walia ibex, Menelik's bushback and illusive Ethiopian Wolf. These species are mainly found on the escarpment and on the highland of the park. More over the parks is home for other animals such as; bushbucks, klipspringer, leopard, common jackal and Spotted Hyena.

Bird watching
The simian mountain national park is the bird watchers paradise. The park has the rich bird life, including large highland birds of prey and various small lowland species. In facts, about 185 bird species have been recorded in the park. There are six endemic bird species namely; Abyssinian long claw, Abyssinian cat bird, Abyssinian wood pecker, black headed siskin, spot breasted plover and ankober serin. The large birds of prey include Tawny eagles and Lammergeyer.

Exploring flora
The best season for exploring flowers is between october and December. In the park 57 tree species.And variety of hurbacecous plants are recorded. The vegitation in the mountains is futured by four different altititudinal belts; an afroalpine zone/over 3500masl/, a sub alpine zone /2700-3800masl/, a montane zone/200-3000masl/ and savana zone /below 2000masl/.therefore, as you trek you will encounter varity of plants. The lower slopes are grased and cultivated and higher altitudes are mountain grasslands with gaint lobelia, red hot pocker and gaint heathers.