Exploring Tourism in Ethiopia
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Simien Massif

Debark, Ethiopia


The Simien Mountains present perhaps the most dramatic mountain scenery in Africa - great volcanic plugs formed some 40 million years ago and eroded over the aeons into fantastic crags, pinnacles and flat-topped mountains, “the chess pieces of the Gods” as one writer described them, tower over precipitous gorges, river valleys and plains stretching all the way to Eritrea. There are many peaks over 4,000 metres, and Ras Dashen at 4,620 metres is the highest in the country and the fourth highest in Africa.

Though situated not far from the equator, night temperatures sometimes fall below 0 ° C between October and December. The average daytime temperature is about 15 ° C. Vegetation varies according to altitude following the harsh climate: between 3,000m and 3,600m, heather and hypericum tree spread over the slopes of the mountains, above 3,600m, alpine meadows carpeted with flowers and punctuated by the tall spiky kniphofia or “red hot pokers” and giant lobelia trees create a unique atmosphere. While trekking in the Simiens visitors can see the endemic Gelada or bleeding heart baboon, the Walia Ibex, Simien Wolf and rock hyrax, endemic birds such as the Thick-billed Raven, Black-headed Siskin, White-collared Pigeon, Wattled Ibis, and White-billed Starling. 

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