The Simien Mountains National Park is one of Ethiopia's many UNESCO World Heritage Site and presents some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa.
Great volcanic plugs, formed 40 million years ago, have been eroded into fantastic crags, pinnacles and flat topped mountains. These 'chess pieces of the gods' tower over precipitous gorges, river valleys and vast plains.
There are many peaks over 4000 metres. Ras Dashen, at 4620m, is the highest and the fourth highest in Africa.
The Simiens are home to the endemic Gelada or bleeding- heart monkey, Klipspringer, Rock hyrax, the endangered and range restricted Wahlia ibex and endemic birds like Thick-billed Raven, Black-headed Siskin, White-collared Pigeon, Wattled Ibis, White-billed Starling, Spot-breasted lapwing and White-backed Black tit. Lammergeyers, Ruppell's griffons and Egyptian vultures are seen soaring overhead. There is also a population of the gravely endangered Ethiopian wolf (approx 100 in May 2016) in these mountains but they are difficult to see. Pack a pair of binoculars - these will enhance chances of seeing wildlife.
This park is praised for its Afro-Alpine flora, with meadows and grasslands punctuated by Giant Lobelia and flowering Red-hot Pokers. (Best time to visit is from September onwards, after the rainy season).
Mules, muleteers, park permits, guides and provisions for expeditions are arranged in the access town of Debrak, about 100 km from Gondar.