Jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys, and sharp precipices: welcome to the Simien Mountains. The dramatic landscape is a result of massive volcanic activity some 40 million years ago followed by erosion ever since. The Simien Mountains are one of Africa’s widest and most beautiful mountain ranges made up of several plateaus, separated by broad river valleys. A number of peaks rise above 4,000 meters. Ras Dashen is the highest peak (and the highest point in Ethiopia) at 4,533 meters. The whole range is inscribed as a World Heritage Site, and a part of the range is declared National Park.
For a short visit, it is possible to make a day trip from Gondar, but it’s better to stay overnight in Debark where budget accommodation is available, or inside the park at the beautiful Simien Lodge or Limalimo Lodge. These lodges are a good base to go further afield as well.
A great alternative to experiencing the majestic Simien Mountains is at the Befiker Kossoye Lodge. This eco-lodge is situated 30 km north of Gondar. Not in the National Park but situated at a stunning site with great views and excellent service.
A great place to explore on foot
The Simien Mountains are easily explored by car combined with short walks but serious hiking options are available for up to 17 days which will take you all the way to Lalibela or Mekele. Both are about 175 km from Debark as the crow flies. Check out our suggested itineraries for some great hiking.
Encounter endemic animals
The area is home to three endemic mammals: the most easily found gelada baboon, the more difficult to find walia ibex, and the very rare Ethiopian wolf. There is a very good chance to see the majestic lammergeyer.