Hiking the Simiem Mountains

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altIn the Amharic language of Ethiopia, Imet Gogo means ”place of great beauty”. It is an understatement.  From the summit of the most famous vantage point in the Simien Mountains, the cliffs drop away almost a kilometre into a vast mosaic of green fields, yellow wildflowers and rust-red peaks shaped like chess pieces.

It’s a view that has been likened to the Grand Canyon, with elements also reminiscent of Monument Valley. The scene might be described as breathtaking, except that the altitude here has already sucked away most of my breath. Far away on the horizon, swimming in cloud, is Ras Dashen, Ethiopia’s highest mountain and one of the highest in Africa.

 

On course this is not Africa's thighest kilimandjaro or Kili as fans would call it. But the drama and stunning views are quite similar.  At 4550 metres above sea level –  hiking through one of the most abstract mountain-scapes on earth with cliffs cut into unnaturally straight – almost architecturally straight – lines, escarpment-edge track overlooking landscapes so enormous you half wonder whether the whole continent can be seen from this range dubbed the ”roof of Africa”. The Simiens mountains hiking should be on every person  wanting a lifetime acheivement. 

 

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