Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains

Situated within the world heritage site of the Simien Mountains National Park, the Simien Mountains are located in the northern region of Ethiopia, northeast of Gondar.

The Simien Mountain massif is one of the major highlands of Africa. The mountains consist of plateau separated by valleys and rising to pinnacles. At 4,620 metres, Ras Dejen rises to the highest point in Ethiopia – the fourth highest peak on the African continent. The dramatic landscape of the Simien Mountains is the result of massive seismic activity in the area about 40 million years ago.

Despite their ruggedness and altitude, the mountains are dotted with villages linked by small tracks. The mountains are home to three of Ethiopia’s larger endemic mammals, the walia ibex, the more common gelada baboons and the very rarely seen Ethiopian wolves.

Gelada, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Gelada, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

A little more about the Simien Mountains

The park itself offers spectacular views and a large variety of wildlife, including baboons, ibexes, Ethiopian wolves and birds of prey such as the rare lammergeyer, a huge vulture. The national park has three general botanical regions. The lower slopes have been cultivated and grazed, while the alpine regions are forested.

The higher lands are mountain grasslands with fescue grasses as well as heathers. The park was created primarily to protect the unfamiliar walia ibex, a type of wild goat native to Ethiopia. Also in the park are families of geladas and the rare Simien fox. Over 50 species of birds have been reported in the Simien Mountains.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Limalimo Lodge £££££

  • Ethiopia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Spread across a wide ridge in the Simien Mountains, this modern lodge looks out towards an undulating mishmash of vegetation-strewn valleys. It sits high above the surrounding landscape, affording spectacular views of the verdant lowlands. Designed in an unobtrusive, yet minimalist style, Limalimo makes the most of its unrivalled views. Communal areas are bright and airy, with the 12 rooms employing a similar design. Each one features floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing the spectacular scenery to be appreciated from the bed. These rooms are simple and clean in design, decorated with pale woods.

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Simien Lodge £££££

  • Ethiopia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Simien Lodge is perched high up in the mountains with breath-taking views over the Simien Mountains. Built using local materials to resemble a typical Simien village, the hotel’s 20 Tukel rooms have either twin or double beds, en-suite bathrooms, and underfloor heating powered by solar energy.

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A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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