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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simien Mountain National Park and Lodge


Itinerary Day 06:  Afternoon - Simien Mountains National Park
Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000m (3280 ft) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of up thrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice; you feel you might just be at the edge of the world. The rest of the day, trek to explore the surrounding of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.  Accommodation: Simien Lodge- Buyit Ras.

Journal: Afternoon
The mountain scenery on the drive into the Simien Mountains is every bit as breathtaking as the itinerary suggests. Every turn of the road opened up a new vista more spectacular than the last. We've done a lot of traveling, but I don't believe I've ever seen anything like this while standing on the ground. Maybe in an airplane. Maybe.


We arrive at the Simien Mountain Lodge in time for lunch. It is located in the Simien National Park, is run by the Ethiopian government, and bills itself as the highest lodge in Africa, at 10,700 feet elevation.


I've no reason to doubt them. We felt like we needed to set up a base camp just climbing the path to our bungalow.

After lunch we take a trek along an edge of the Ethiopian escarpment. It feels like we are walking on top of the world. Along the way we have plenty of photo ops - including birds of all sorts, sheep and shepherds, locals, horses, a troop of baboons. and of course - the views.

In addition to our guide Yohanes, while in the park we are assigned a mandatory local guide and a "scout".

For Laurie
For Robyn
Sigrid stalking a wild baboon on the edge of the world


A fantastic day, but after
dinner things got a little dicey.

Hanging in the highest bar in Africa, hoping they keep the electricity working
 A cold rain blew in, making the walk back up the hill to our bungalow a real adventure. It was really cold. The only heat in the bungalow was a small ineffective electric heater in the bathroom. No matter. They could not keep the generator running for much of the night and there was no electricity for the heater anyway. So it was cold and dark all night. We each wore three layers and stayed under under three blankets all night.  Which was fine, as long as you stayed under the blankets. Did I mention there was no effective heat in the bathroom? Morning could not come soon enough.

Editors Note: I intend to pre-load and schedule automated blog posts with the daily itinerary for our Ethiopian adventure. For those interested, this may be an easy way to follow along. Since we will not have internet access for most of the trip, my hope is this will make it easier to add some pics and journal commentary if and when we run across an internet connection. If there are no pics or commentary, you'll just have to wait until we get back. We'll see how it goes. UPDATED

2 comments:

Michael Strickland said...

Be careful, Sigrid. I saw "Sands of The Kalahari" at an impressionable age and know that you've got to be wary around those wild baboons.

Laurie said...

Incredible photos. I especially loved the photo of the horses labeled "for Laurie", Living vicariously through you!!!!