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Edited and Photos by Sherlin Lin | 3 August 2015
The Simien mountain range in Northern Ethiopia, with its stunning vistas and rare wildlife, is one of the best places in Africa to go for a leisurely stroll.
Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful countries you can ever visit. Visitors will love to just take in its wide range of flora and fauna, most especially the fauna. The Simien Mountains will give you a perfect up close view of male, female and baby baboons, leopards, wolves, lammergeyers, Walia ibex, and geladas as they harmoniously coexist in the mountain vicinity - a rugged, untamed environment that is a perfect place for a hike. Actually these places get over 24,000 visitors yearly who travel there just to enjoy the beauty nature has to offer. The mountains can be accessed from Gonder town where you can stay at the Simien Lodge.

Got a pair of walking boots? Great, because you will need them in this terrain with the long walking distances in the thickets. They will protect your feet from the heat and rough, dangerous places you will walk through.

The rivers are breathtaking too. The Ginbar River creates an amazing side cliff 500 metres down. The rapids and cataracts are a scene to die for. Well, there is no bridge, so strong men from the neighboring village will ferry you across, for a fee of course. The river originates from a raised plateau nearby, 3,200 metres above sea level. It gets as high as Tibet as some of its sections rise up to 4000 metres above sea level.

The mountains, which were created through massive volcanic eruptions, are believed to have been formed more that 30 million years ago. With time, eons of wind and rain washed away the soft volcanic rocks, which left behind massive, beautiful peaks and numerous enormous rivers as well as cliffs, some of which go up to 1,500 metres down. Simply amazing views.

Due to the very dangerous landscape, the Simien Mountains remain the only place where animals can live in. There are also over 35,000 people, mostly millet and cattle farmers, who live in the area too. However, some of them have left the village to become tour guides since they know the terrain very well. Schooling was difficult for most of them as they had to walk about 40km each day.

However, this is fast changing as there are developments such as roads going on in the area due to a large number of tourists who flock to the place each year. Though this is a good thing, it is also endangering the ecosystem. As you go up the mountain, you will see low lying clouds and even more amazing waterfalls as well as the Imet Gogo peak, which goes 4000 metres way up. It is at this point that you will be able to see the whole Simien area, including the gigantic rocks, the valley floor, the flora and fauna as well as the horizon, which looks breathtaking from a distance.

Besides the landscapes, you will also get to see some of the oldest churches in the world, as it is a well-known ancient religious ground. Some of them are carved four stories underground - an amazing scene really. The most famous of these churches is the Lalibela, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was carved from rock about 900 years ago, four stories underground. They are still in use to date and visiting them will be an experience of a lifetime.

A distance away is the Gonder, a medieval castle, palaces and royal bath places at the location called Ethiopia's Camelot. North of Axum is an old capital city as well as the centre of Christianity in Ethiopia. There are plenty of gargantuan stone Stelae, some which are over 1,300 years old. There is also a nondescript chapel, which the church teachings say used to house the biblical Ark of the Covenant.

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