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Simien Mountains National Park

The Simien Mountains National Park is on the west side of the Simien Mountain range, and was created in 1969. The mountain range is one of Africa’s biggest and contain the country’s highest peak Ras Dashen.

The range is separated into several plateaux by large river valleys, with a huge escarpment on the north and east of the western plateau forming the boundary of this region. From the top of this escarpment, which is over 1000m high in places, you can look north to Eritrea. The mountain Ras Dashen is about 10 km east of the National Park, and the two are separated by a huge gorge that was formed by the Masheha River.

The national park is the country’s best for wildlife and resident within its boundaries are three endemic large mammals; the gelada baboon, the indigenous wolf and Walia ibex. The baboons are the most common of the three, and the other two are both extremely rare. The Walia ibex is found only in this area of the world. Other mammals that are around include klipspringer and bushbuck, as well as spotted hyena and common jackal.

For birds the park is relatively poor; Bale National Park is a much better place to go if this is your interest. There are, however, about 180 species found in the park and these are notably cliff-nesting birds of prey such as the lammergeyer, which are regularly seen floating high above the escarpment in the search for prey.

The best reason for coming to this national park is to see the spectacular views; with viewpoints allowing a panoramic look at the surrounding country, and some incredible geography. They are also notable for being the only mountain range in Africa which regularly has snow-topped caps; one must venture further than the foothills to observe it, however.


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