Trekking in the Simiens is awesome and well worth the effort if you are in Ethiopia. Here I describe my trek in the Simien Mountians Naitonal Park in some detail, provide pictures of the Simien Mountains, and a link to some tips for planning a trek to the Simien Mountians.
We started our trek near Sankaber and hiked at a relaxed pace for 6 hours to Everlasting Lodge or Geech. Aside from the stunning views, the most remarkable things for me were the troops of baboons numbering in the hundreds and the pure humanity we heard and saw.
As we walked baboons littered the landscape turning rocks to get fresh shoots, eating grass, and grooming each other. Children guarded to crops vigilantly with sticks and shouting when the overwhelming troops came to devour the crops. This was quite a sight to see two children run off hundreds of hungry baboons. That video will be posted later once I convert it.
As we continued along we could hear so many people in the valley below and across the other side. Sometimes it sounded like cheering because there was so much sound. When you searched for the source of the sound you could rarely find the bodies producing them.
This hike probably only gained a few hundred meters, was very dusty, but otherwise was a pretty easy 17km. We slept in beds at Everlasting Lodge (um, “lodge” is used loosely here) while some other hikers stayed in tents nearby. I have done a lot of trekking and the situation like this where everybody stays together in a designated area instead of where you want made me decide against tenting though a tent might be more comfortable than these beds. You can buy very basic, salty meals of pasta, rice, or injeera del dia for 50 birr and cold beer for 25 birr. “Hot” showers are available and the man who runs it is very cool and speaks enough English to make your stay pretty easy.
The second day we headed out to Imet Gogo viewpoint (3926m) for some photos and then back tracked a few km to head to Chenek. In this hike you gain 200m, drop 300m, then gain 500m to reach the next high point of 4150m but this point had no name apparently or our “guide” did not know about it. This hike was ~20km and took us 8.5 hours at a very relaxed pace.
That night we stayed at the dank rooms of Chenek. Here there was only injeera or pasta with sugar as an option. The injeera with beans was fabulous. There was no electricity that night so bed time came shortly after sunset. It was considerably warmer here than the night before even though Chenek camp is 20m higher than Everlasting Lodge.
In the morning our guide informed us of a change of plan. We would not hike unless we paid more. Our protests were in vain, however, another guide offered to accompany me hiking Bawhit. The hike is supposed to take 5-6 hours. I needed to do it I less because my crew was in camp waiting and the car was coming to get us at 12pm western time. Accompanied by my scout, we left all the others and charged up the 850m climb as fast as possible. We took few breaks only to sip a bit of water and trudge on. After a while it became somewhat clear that he did not know the trail. I could see the peak but we slowed as he looked on for a route. This is the best part. He yelled in the direction ahead of us and a small man popped up out of nowhere and pointed in the direction we should go. Then there were a few quick blasts of Amharic and we were off. The altitude got me pretty good in the last 200m of climbing. I was determined to get back before noon so we plotted on and reach the top in 2 hours. I held up 2 fingers indicating 2 hours and he did the same. We shook hands, medium fived, shoulder bumped, and hugged. We celebrated 4430m by eating some biscuits and dried fruit. In the distance I heard the theme song for rocky. It was one of the Israeli women celebrating her arrival on Bawhit.
The hike back to Chenek was just over and hour and if you are really pressed for time you can jump on a bus or truck to get you down quicker.
Hope you enjoyed then post or found it useful. If you have questions it might be easiest just to post them here or on my Facebook page and I’ll answer ASAP. For Simien Mountains travel tips click here, to learn more about Simien Mountain guides click here and the Simien Mountains National Park Headquarters click here.
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