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“Great view, Loads of Gelada Baboons”

Simien Mountains National Park
Ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Gonder
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Simien Mountains National Park, in northern Ethiopia is a spectacular landscape, where massive erosion over millions of years has created jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is of global significance for biodiversity conservation because it is home to globally threatened species, including the iconic Walia ibex, a wild mountain goat found nowhere else in the world, the Gelada baboon and the Ethiopian wolf.
Rehovot, Israel
Level Contributor
118 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Great view, Loads of Gelada Baboons”
Reviewed October 4, 2012

The views in the park are wonderful and especially in this season everything is flowering so it's even better.
You will surely see both the local Ibex and the Gelada Baboons which travel in huge packs and can be seen almost everywhere.
For those people who don't trek for several days - two good treks are the waterfall and also Chencha area for the ibexes.
The drive itself is wonderful.
When we visited it was best to get a very early start (the park opens at 6AM) because by noon it got cloudy and rainy.
If you don't have a vehicle from Gonder, it is possible to get a vehicle from Debark Simien Hotel.

Visited September 2012
Thank ornoga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Offenbach, Germany
Level Contributor
54 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“The green Canyon”
Reviewed September 12, 2012


Simien Mountains are certainly one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.
The below mentioned is meant to be as a guidance and not as a deterrence.

We were in Simien Mountains National Park end of August till beginning September for 5D4N.
Probably we should have come here two weeks later since the rainy season has not ended yet.
Luckily there were a couple of sunny periods within the day and we were able to see the beautiful scenery. However it was still quite foggy from time to time.
Definitely it doesn't make sense to come here earlier. Our guide told us he already trekked with groups for 5 days in total fog in the rainy season.
That is the worst case since the view from the cliffs is one of the best I have ever seen.

We hiked from Sandakar via Ge'ech to Chennek. We stayed two nights in Chennek the most beautiful camp site. For a couch potatoe like me the trekking was quite exhausting but doable. But one night in Chennek would have been enough.
The complete trek is going uphill downhill sometimes steep. So be prepared. Its not a Sundays walk.
However any effort is worth it. One is rewarded with a stunning countryside. Sometimes it looks like the Scottish Highlands or Schwarzwald then arround the corner suddenly you are on top of a green 'Grant Canyon' with a mile wide view and the Abyss in front.
Lots of animals and plants are endemic up here.

However I recommend to be well prepared.
There are a couple of inconveniences.
It is quite chilly.
In the night or when there is fog during the day it only was between 4°C in the night and 13°C max during the day. As soon as the sun comes out it is hot and can get 27°C. The change can be quick.
So better bring flexible clothing. We had a thin Goretex trekking jacket for the strong wind on top underneath a hoody and a cotton T-Shirt. That was sufficient. The clothing generally should be breathable but absolutely waterproof and quick drying. A long rain poncho is probably the best. Higher waterproof trekking boots are essential since it can get muddy and wet.
Mostly you arrive campsite in the early afternoon. Meaning there is still a lot of time until dinner. Luckily we brought a card game with us. It often rains in the late afternoon, sometimes heavy.
During that time you can't do much but sitting around. It can get cold and windy in the cooking hut. Thats why I started to put on a warm long sleeve undershirt and long underpants only for this time. You can catch a cold during that less active time very easy.
Nevertheless do not bring too many clothes. Keep your backpack light weight if you want to carry it all the time. We booked Mules to carry our luggage so we just needed the most essential items like water and something to eat in a bag during trekking.

Its high up there
Be aware that you are hiking always between 2800m and 4100m altitude.
Altitude sickness can occur. No matter if you are a sportsman or couch potato like me.
Better do a checkup at a consultant at home first. Our doctor prescribed Dexamethason that should be taken at least 2 days in advance.
We had just a little bit of headaches. However altitude sickness can be deadly.
Take a lot of water with you. 2.5l per day should be minimum. You breath out 4 times more water than in normal altitude. You don't feel thirsty but you get stronger and stronger headaches. Always go up slowly and tell the guide or Scout not to go too fast. They are pretty much used to the altitude and sometimes don't understand your situation. We had to make breaks at the steepest parts even every 50m.
Also the sun is very strong when it is out. So bring sun cream 30-50 a hat and a light scarf for the neck.

hygiene and medicine
Be aware that hygiene and medical standard is not existent. Bring your own.
We recommend to bring following medicine:
Nose spray, Paracetamol for head aches and fever. Dexamethason for altitude sickness and as many Doxicycline (Antibiotics) for bacterial infections as persons.
There are a lot of Mountain Rats around the campsides. No worry they are not connected to people at all and will leave you and your stuff alone but they certainly carry fleas. Actually they are very cute. Also our Mules carried fleas which is pretty normal.
Be aware. Fleas in this area potentially can carry rickettsia bacteria causing Typhus. (remedy is Doxycyclin).
So bring repellent and insect spray and use it every night in the sleeping bag before going to bed. Although the sleeping bags were very clean and warm enough they were carried by Mules during trekking. Unfortunately we did not spray the first night and got flea bites all over the legs next morning. Luckily nothing happened later at home.
We also did not have any problems with mosquitos on the whole trek, by the way. Malaria does not exist above 2500m anyway.
Vaccination for hepatitis A+B and Typhus is highly advisable.
The standard in the camp sites are huts with squat toilets without any paper. Better bring a lot of wet wipes to clean hands and...
A bigger bottle of disinfectant spray without alcohol and a couple of first aid items might be useful. There is no hospital within the next 4-6h and definitely no heli rescue.
A couple of these golden insulation foils might also be helpful in the case of emergency or even during the night when it gets too cold in the sleeping bag. They might even help during heavy rain on the trek. Especially in Chennek where it was the coldest.

Ok, hopefully this might help you on this stunning trekking trip.

Have fun and enjoy

Also we do not recommend to take just a Scout yourself in Debark for Simien Mountains National Park.
They mostly don't speak any English and can't react to current situation changes like sudden floodings etc.
We met a couple of very unprepared groups freezing in t-shirt and shorts.
The scouts don't give any preparation advice in advance. The surprise comes at the camp side.
It's pretty chilly up there in 3500m to 4500m altitude. It can get 2°C (we were there 2nd Sept) in the night.

Visited September 2012
9 Thank Oliver E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
78 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Lovely Mountain views”
Reviewed August 26, 2012

Its worth the trip, the mountain are beautiful a bonus is seeing the baboons they are very attractive. The walking is great.

Visited August 2012
Thank SaudiArabia1002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Simien Mountains Trekking”
Reviewed July 21, 2012

I was trying my best to communicate with the local community in Amharic and it fun. I really like the guide, team and the service in general. What i hate about Simiens is that Network is usually down so you can't access any calls

Visited February 2012
4 Thank christophers740
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
222 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Astounding landscapes and views!”
Reviewed July 18, 2012

You must go there NOT during the rainy season because otherwise the clouds will clutter the view of some amazing landscapes.
One can see endemic baboons here and it looks like a paradise for Rock climbing!

Visited July 2012
1 Thank FranciscoKuri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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