Simien Mountains National Park – Self Drive: Car Rental Ethiopia
The Simien Mountains National Park in Northern Ethiopia is an exotic setting with unique wildlife and breath-taking views on a landscape shaped by nature and traditional agriculture. The natural beauties of this region have always filled visitors from Ethiopia and abroad with awe. Gentle highland ridges at altitudes above 3600 meters above sea level, covered with grasses, isolated trees (Erica &bored) and the bizarre Giant Lobelia (Lobelia rhynchopetalum) are found on the high plateau that ends abruptly at 1000- to 2000-m deep escarpments.
Characterized by deep gorgeous verdant meadows and high mountains, this National Park which is among the world heritage sites is most popular for its amazing hiking opportunities and dramatic scenery. This is one of the top Ethiopia tour destinations. With the highest point standing at a height of 14,901 feet, the Simien Mountains are a large mountain range and ranked among the highest mountain-ranges in Africa. The mountain hike will reward you with spectacular views, good sights of water streams and gorges, as well as an opportunity to see some endangered wildlife such as the walia ibex and the unique gelada baboon. This mountain range can best be hiked from mid – September to November when it is green but also dry. The wild flowers on the mountain slopes fully bloom in the month of October so visiting during this time of the year will surely reward you with amazing sights.
Attractions in Simien Mountains National Park
Wildlife watching in Simiens national Park
The Simiens National Park has a lot of wild life that can be viewed and most of them are endemic to the park. When most people hear about the Simien Mountain National Park, they all think about mountain ranges but you will find that it is a home to a variety of life and some of it includes:
- The Gelada monkey
The Gelada monkey looks like a baboon and most people mistake it for a baboon. Some people refer to it as the bleeding monkey and they are the only ones that feed on grass. These can easily be spotted in herds and the park has over 2500 geladas.
- The Ethiopian wolf
The park has a number of Ethiopian wolves and these are the only remaining wolf family on the African continent. These mostly feed on the monkeys but they are also facing a problem of poaching which has greatly reduced their number.
The above are some of the unique animals that can be seen in the Park and others also include the waliaibex, Menelik bush buck, golden jackal, antelopes, the hamadrya’s baboon and many more others. The best time for one to view the animals is during the dry season because during the rainy season many animals stay in the different habitats and cannot easily be spotted but during the dry season, these can be seen moving around the Park in search of food and water.
Due to its closeness to the Simien Mountain, you can go for mountain climbing especially adrenaline addicts. You will need a permit to go mountain climbing and a tour guide.
Birding in Simien National Park
Ethiopia is known to have many unique bird species and some of them can be seen in the Simien National park. The Simien National park has a recorded number of birds that amount to over 130 bird species. Some of the bird species include the thick billed raven, bearded vulture, the Tawny eagle, the Verreaux’s eagle, lanner falcon and many more others.
Birding in Simiens National Park is normally done in the morning and during the rainy season. This is the only time that most birds come out of hibernation and they can be seen at the different water sources in the park and others can be seen in their different habitats.
Flora & Fauna
The Simiens National park is filled with different unique vegetation that grows in variations depending on which part of the National Park you are in. altitude is a huge factor that determines the growth of the vegetation.
The lower altitude has the afro-montane vegetation and this covers the lower part of the National park and the types of trees that are majorly in this area are the Ethiopian Tid and scerophyllous trees.
Best time to visit the Simiens National park
The months of June and August receive rainfall at least every day and this might deter you from going in for hiking. The rainy season makes it hard because it makes the trek routes impassable which are always slippery during the rains although during this period you will be able to watch the birds that are in their habitats and enjoy the beautiful view of the green vegetation that flourishes during this time.
The best time to go for hiking at the Simien National Park is during the dry season which runs from the months of October to March. although it gets cold especially in the mornings and in the night, it is still the best time to view the animals in the Park, hike and visit the nearby villages to get to know more about the locals and their cultures.
How to get to Simiens National Park
The park is located in Gondar and there is an airport that is found in the area. From the airport it is just a six hours drive to the park’s entrance where you will be required to get a ticket when you get there. If you get in late the town where you can make a perfect stop over is at the Debark town where you can get a hotel to stay.
Accommodation in Simien Mountains National Park
There are several places where you can sleep when you go to Simiens national park and most of these are camps. The different camps where you can stay include the chenek camp, the Sankaber camp, the ginch camp and these are located within the Park. The camps have some where you can prepare meals from and well maintained toilet facilities.
There are also several other places that you can stay in like the Limalimo lodge and the Simien lodge although these fall under the luxury category and you will need to have a heavy budget to afford them.
If by any chance you fail to get anything within the vicinity of the park, you can still get accommodation facilities in the neighboring towns. And to get the best accommodation facilities you will need to book earlier on to avoid inconveniences.