The Simien Mountains offer treks of various durations, basically from 2 to 6 days. I decided to do the 4-day trek that would take me up to Bwahit Pass, Ethiopia’s second highest peak. It is very easy to find guides in Gondar, the closest town to the Simien Mountains. A guide is not required, but an armed escort is necessary; I arranged with Nati, which relies on ETT, at a hostel in Bahar Dar on Lake Tana.
We left Gondar around 8:30 am. Arriving in Debarq (a smaller town) we quickly took care of the necessary formalities. After having breakfast and having had yet another Ethiopian coffee, we left for the park. After a short lunch, we started our trek in the Simien Mountains.. Immense valleys immediately opened up before my eyes, but of this very short day (about 6km) I will remember my first encounter with geladas, the local monkeys: at one point me and the other guys in the group were almost surrounded by so many friendly monkeys!
This day has been .full of ups and downs. The Jinbar Waterfall was the first spectacular moment of the day. We continued walking between 3,000 and 3,500 meters, among distinctly green valleys. Arriving at the camp, we were greeted once again by geladas and also by an Ethiopian fox. In the late afternoon we went up to Kedadit, a fantastic viewpoint famous for being where the geladas go to spend the night, descending quickly into the escarpment.
During the third day of the walk the Ethiopian landscape surprised us with its beauty. The first vantage point is Imet Gogo: a breathtaking valley opens up here. To get to the Chennek camp (where I celebrated my 34th birthday) we encountered several viewpoints that offered decidedly interesting escarpments and fields. The Chennek sunset was the most beautiful of this trek!
Of the 10 boys in the group, only two of us climbed up to the 4450 meters of Buwahit.. In addition to the vantage point, where it seemed as if we were kings of the Simien Mountains, we saw some Walia Ibex, an animal that is very important in Ethiopia (as well as very beautiful!) Back at the camp, we waited for the bus (for quite a while-you always have to be patient!) and set off again toward Debarq, where we spent the night.
- The treks in the Simien Mountains do not require any reservations well in advance: just show up in Gondar or Bahar Dar and you can easily find groups leaving, even for the next day.
- Altitude is always important: you are always between 3200 meters and 4400 meters.
- The best time to do this trek is from October to May, which is in the driest season. I chose to go with a guide so that I would not worry about either the route or the tents.
- The temperature is more or less the same all year round: 15 degrees (even more) during the day, while at night it can easily drop below zero ( -5 / -10 is a normal temperature). It is therefore necessary to bring technical high mountain clothing.
- In four days I walked 47 km, with an elevation gain of 2600 meters: technically not a difficult trek.
- The cost is about $250 for four days.
- Here you can see a video featuring Ethiopian beauties
USEFUL INFORMATION FOR A TREK IN THE SIMIEN MOUNTAINS: BACKPACKING AND ORGANIZATION
- What should one bring to the Simien Mountains? Two backpacks need to be brought: one is left for the porters and the other smaller one is used to carry the necessities for the day’s walk (water, cookies, lunch, a sweatshirt/jacket useful in cold weather) I brought 2 underwear, 2 merino socks, 2 technical shirts (‘marathon’ style), 2 long-sleeved jerseys (preferably merino wool, it keeps the heat better), high-mountain boots, a short shorts, a high-mountain pants, a sweatshirt, a fleece, a windbreaker, a windbreaker jacket, gloves, sunglasses, hat and neck warmer. The guides take care of everything related to food and water.
- Even if the agency tells you that it is possible to reach Axum at the end of the fourth day, don’t believe it: from Debarq to Axum is about a 6-hour drive through the beautiful Limo Limo, so it is virtually impossible to reach Axum (and that is foolish, because the road is worth it!).
- There is the Internet! Until day 3, not in Chennek.
- An armed guard is required, just as in Dancalia. On the other hand, a guide is not required, so it is possible to go on this trek with your own tent
- This trek is part of a wonderful trip to Ethiopia