Trekking in the Simien mountains is quite an expedition. It shouldn't be, but it is due to the way things have been set up, and was interesting to compare to our experience trekking in Nepal.
There was the two of us, our guide (which you don't really need), a scout (he carries a gun and is there to protect you from jackals and other dangerous animals. This is mandatory, otherwise you cannot enter the national park), a cook, a cook's assistant PLUS two mulemen and their mules (used instead of porters). It sounds crazy over the top, but the difference between trekking in Nepal and Ethiopia is that Ethiopia simply does not have the infrastructure and setup that Nepal does, with its teahouses and facilities (which are combo of accommodation and food in one) dotted along the way. In the Simiens, there are no accommodation options except for a flash lodge at the entrance and definitely no restaurants or shops. So the only option is to camp in a tent and self cater, meaning you need to take in and carry all the food and equipment you will need for the amount of time you spend in the national park. Hence the above set up, that most people use when trekking. You can organise this all yourself in Debark at the park office where you get your permits, or have it pre-organised with a tour company.
Although it seems a bit excessive, our crew were really good and I'll admit it was so nice having our dinner cooked for us once we made it to camp!
We spent our second day trekking further and higher, staying at Gich camp which is near a small village. As we made it past the tree line the landscape drastically changed, becoming more dry and open with the colours shifting from greens to browns. But the views were still incredible, and the shapes that these mountains have created are truly spectacular! I hadn't seen anything like it before, so it felt pretty special to be trekking in such a unique part of the world.
next: one more post from the Simiens and then it's onto our last stop, Lalibela.
|taking in the views|
|frost - the nights were FREEZING cold|