Semien Mountains National Park: Paradise in Ethiopia

Comprising 220 square kilometers, Semien mountains national park plateau is one of the most stunning landscapes in the world. It’s rugged mountain tops, deep valleys and its sheer cliffs make for a great photo!

The view in Simien Mountains National Park

The terrain and the exotic setting are just absolutely perfect for those of you who are into trekking. For those interested, you can find detailed info about trekking routes here

If the statements you read above haven’t convinced you to give this place a visit, then keep on reading to find out about the wonders this special place houses! And consequently, finding a reason to visit 🙂

Reason # 1 The Stunning Viewpoints in Semien Mountains National Park are Peerless

I touched upon this earlier, but the view here is really amazing. Furthermore, the entire Semien range has exceptional scenery. And as you advance further into the park, the altitude increases and the viewpoints become even increasingly spectacular.

The first major viewpoint you’ll encounter is the mighty Imet Gogo, sitting at 3,926m above sea level! Additionally, as you continue your journey, you’ll find Mount Bwahit at 4,430m, and for the adventurous, Ras Dashen towers just east of Mount Bwahit at a staggering 4,550m, making it Ethiopia’s highest peak and the tenth highest peak in Africa. Bragging about scaling Ras Dashen and literally viewing Ethiopia from its “rooftop”, makes for a great conversational topic, doesn’t it?

Reason #2 The Flora and Fauna

The Semien Mountains National Park supports a fascinating range of natural habitats. Moreover, the park is home to an impressive number of endemic species and plant life.  The major endemics found in the park are the Walia Ibex, Gelada Monkeys, and the Ethiopian Wolf.

The Semien Mountain National Park is the only place in the world where you can see a live Walia Ibex. Sadly, there are only 500 surviving.

Semien Mountains National Park: Paradise in Ethiopia
The Walia Ibex

Gelada monkeys roam in large troops in the Semien Mountains, and these monkeys are quite used to humans so you can sit amongst them as they shout and play in the fields. Beware though, these animals might seem docile, but when they feel threatened, they are a different beast.

da baboon
Gelada Baboon

The Ethiopian Wolf, the rarest canid on the planet is seldom spotted in the Semiens, so you have to be quite lucky to spot one here. If spotting an Ethiopian Wolf is high on your adventure bucket list, head to the Bale Mountains where they are found in larger numbers.

The park is also a home for over 200 species of birds and 20 large mammals

mountain goats in Semien mountains national park
There are even mountain goats here!

When to Visit Semien Mountains National Park?

So by now, you gotta be wondering when you are going to visit this wonderful place. Well before you do that, you gotta be aware of the following.

The highlands of northern Ethiopia experience heavy rain from June to August that sometimes extends to mid-September. Trekking routes become blocked during this time, and muddy tracks make driving through the park difficult. It is still possible to explore the Simien Mountains National Park during the rainy season, but you should expect intermittent heavy showers in the afternoons and cloudier skies throughout the day. Campsites are not open during the rainy season so you’ll be exploring the mountains from one of the two lodges in the region. 

Simien mountain national park lodge
A Lodge

Geography and Geology of the Semien Mountains National Park

Interestingly the area currently called “The Semien Mountains National Park” was the epicenter of much volcanic activity resulting in an outpouring of lava that reached a thickness of 3,000 meters in the area before it stopped. Subsequent erosion of this volcanic core has produced the dramatic highs and lows of the landscape. Despite their ruggedness and altitude, the mountains are dotted with villages linked by tracks.

The region includes many summits above 1,000 meters. It culminates in the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dashen, at 4,513 meters. It is also Africa’s fourth highest mountain. A mountain not too difficult to climb and can be reached by traveling through the Simiens

There you have it! A brief overview of the Semien Mountains National Park. If you found this article to your liking, be sure to check the article on Bale mountains national park.

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