Ethiopie – Simien (3) TIPS ON TREKKING INDEPENDENTLY

Best time to go to Simien Mountains

Simien 13 rivière Ansiya (4)cascadetteDecember-January through March
Days are dry and skies are blue, so anytime during this period is great to trek in the Simiens. The least chance of getting wet when visiting. The chance for rain between December and March in the Simiens is not zero, but it is the driest time of year.
There is no ‘small rainy season’ in the Simiens during February-March. There is, however, a ‘small rainy season’ in Addis around this time.
April-May
People don’t recommend going to the Simiens in April as this is when the true rainy season starts there. The amount of rain the Simiens get in April equates to the same amount that Addis gets during its wettest months.
June through September
The wettest months, peaking in July and August.During July/August the Simiens get as much as five times that amount of rain.
October and November
Often discussed as good times as they follow the rain’s end in late
September/early October
This means the mountains are lush and green during these times.

_Debark Map PlanDebark city

In & Out

Two morning buses run between Debark and Gonder (Birr#15/20, 3½ hours). Otherwise there are some minibus, starting once full.
Catching the local bus back to Gondar may be difficult as it’s usually full. You can easily take a minibus between Gondar and Debark for about 40 Birr one way.

Hotels

Simien Park Hotel (tel 0581 17005; s with/without bathroom Birr 120/50, d with/without bathroom Birr 180/70 in 2012), About 600m north of park headquarters. This place is simple and reasonably clean. The older rooms with common bathrooms are as popular with flies as they are trekkers. Behind these rooms a newer block contains tiled ensuite rooms with occasional hot water and slightly fewer flies. Reservation is advised, particularly in january.

Giant Lobelia Hotel (tel 0581 170566; globeliahotel@yahoo.com ; s/d Birr 110/200 in 2012) The rooms at this sterile, giant pink flower of a hotel vary a little, so ask to see a few first, however, it’s the best place to stay and the manager cannot do enough for you. The downstairs restaurant gets lively at night and produces fair faranji-flavoured food. Don’t ask to see the kitchen.

Imet Gogo Hotel. Situated along the main road, same side but nearer to the cross-road and the mosquee. Same comments.

Red Fox Hotel This should only be an option if Simien Park hotel is full. it has big rooms and a satellite TV in its bar. But it is not the cleanest and the shared bathrooms are rather rough. It is set a block West of the main street.

Unique Landscape Hotel. Along the main street, southward, close to the fuel station.

Shopping-Exchange

daily veggies market (very dirty and unsane). Shops and groceries are set in the paralel street along the market, they don’t have shop front, so ask as they are often not openebd. A good baker is just in front of the « Imet Gogo » Hotel.

At the ground floor of the « Geant Lobelia » and the « Imet Gogo » hotels you’ll find banks for currency exchange.

There are only very limited amounts of firewood available in the Simien. At some villages eucalyptus trees are grown and it is possible to buy this wood for open fires. Erica and other indigenous species should not be cut – what little remains is still being cut illegally by the locals and unless protected will soon disappear. So buy your firewood at Debark in the market.

Park Office in Debark

Debark NP Park Office 1Getting quotes from tour operators, you are off roughly $450-650 for a five day trek, including food and transport to and from Gondar. A solo traveler on a 3 days trek from Sankaber to Chenek could essentially cost just under $100 plus food and tips and it gets cheaper if you find more people to share costs with.

Everything can easily be arranged at the Park Office in Debark and which seems very helpful over the phone or mail. Sounds pretty easy to organize on your own and much cheaper than going through private guide or tour company. They do close for lunch for a couple of hours and they close the office by 5p.m and not sure about weekend.

A lot of scouts, porters and guides are wandering waiting in the area closed around the Headquarter and in the main street, specially in the morning. Just in front you’ll see Africa Hotel (for local people).

Debark Park Headquarters

  • Park Warden
  • Simien Mountains National Park
  • P.O. box 13
  • GONDAR – Ethiopia
  • Tel 0581 113482/0581 170407
  • http://simienpark.org/

Prices have doubled as of January 9th, 2014. They are on a per day basis. Prices for cook, guide, scout etc are also not per person, but they’re good for a group of up to 5 persons.

  • Admission
  • 90 Birr
  • Vehicle Admission
  • 20 Birr
  • Camping Fee
  • 10 Birr / per campsite
  • Guide
  • 300 Birr (for up to 5 people)
  • Guide
  • 350 Birr (over 5)
  • Scout (mandatory)
  • 150 Birr
  • Cook
  • 300 Birr (1-3 people)
  • Cook
  • 450 Birr (4-10 people)
  • Mule handler
  • 120 Birr
  • Mule (40kg max)
  • 120 Birr
  • Porter
  • 120 Birr
  • Cooking Equipment:
  • 90 Birr (2 people)
  • Tents
  • 90 Birr (2 people)
  • Mattress
  • 40 Birr
  • Sleeping Bag
  • 80 Birr
  • Lodge
  • 80 Birr

On a typical 3 days trek most people get a ride back to Debark from Chenek camp. So if you spend 3 days trekking and ride back, the park WILL CHARGE YOU AN ADDITIONAL DAY for Admission, Mules and Handlers, Porters and Scout. Their reasoning being that it would take them an extra day to walk back home, even though the scout gets a ride back with you because he’s required to stay with you till you exit the park.
A guide is not mandatory so not use one to cut costs. Scouts are though and will show you the way but they don’t speak any english, which can be frustrating to try and communicate simple things to. Plan to tip them as they don’t get much pay from the park.

Transportation to the Park

It is a total monopoly as they leave you with no (other) options and charge ridiculous prices to get in and out of the park, This will be the most expensive part of your trek :Simien 0 Entree du Park

  • Vehicle hire from Debark to Buyit Ras: 1,400 Birr (mini bus)
  • Vehicle hire for pickup from Chenek back to Debark: 2,200 Birr (mini bus).
  • Plus the additional 20 Birr vehicle admission for each ride.

So join a group and share the cost of getting in. Ask around in Gondar, check the Info Centre, and in Debark wait around at the HeadQuarter and you might find some people to share a hired transport into the park. To get OUT of the Park, you have to be on the same day basis of the group otherwise you will have to find your own transportation back and hitch a ride.
The park staff really frowns upon this, so told them that you had made previous arrangements to have friends’ TO picking you up on their way out.

  1. The trucks you will see on the road are illegal for foreigners. To catch a ride, money talks and you will be able to hop on one for 200 Birr which cover you and your scout. They’ll put a blanket over you and tell you to stay low so as not to get caught.
  2. The other alternative would be to ask other tour groups for a ride back if they have room.
If you are not in a hurry, make all your arrangements the day prior at the park office and catch a ride on the local bus at 6 am. (100 Birr). The park doesn’t advertise this but this is a good alternative.

Food and Water

Water is available at every campsite but will have to be boiled, filtered or treated. You will need to bring your own food. There will be no problem to eat meals at the lodge if you’re camping but confirm this at the Park Office. Simple meals can be purchased at the lodges. Either, just bring enough food for lunches and snacks and let the lodge take care of breakfast and dinner or have them cook food that you bring in for you for a fee.
This is a much cheaper alternative than purchasing and carrying in your own food which is quite expensive at the supermarkets in Gondar. Not to mention saving money by not renting cooking equipment and the added weight for mules/porters.

In theory the men hired should have their own food and tentage. It is best to check this. In particular they should at least have a plastic sheet, otherwise in the event of rain they will be forced to stay in park huts or villages thus limiting you to campsites. Regarding food, they tend to buy some, or be given some, along the way they usually got fed by the cooks who were catering for bigger groups.

At Geech there is a set up now that sells food and bear and drinks. At Chenek, (?). There is no where at Sankaber to buy food neither drinks.

Lodging

Unless you have your own camping gear, it would be much cheaper to stay in the lodges than rent everything. It will also be more comfortable, warmer and less weight for your mule or porter to carry. eg. Tent, sleeping bag, mattress and camping fee: 220 Birr / Day versus 80 Birr per night at lodge. For lodge availability just ask the park office.

BEWARE OF THE FLEAS. The only thing about the lodges is that you can get fleas, for instance at the Chenek Lodge, that could be horrible. Bring a can of bug spray to desinfect your bed at once over before jumping in or putting your bag on it.

If you have a sleeping sack, bring it with you even for the lodge. It can get very cold at night. It is close to freezing at Geech camp. If you are planning to camp and are renting a sleeping bag, I would recommend getting two. They are not warm enough and the people who had them couldn’t sleep because it was so cold for them.

BUYIT-RAS

Simien Lodge, Ethiopia.Simien Park Lodge tel 0582 310741; www.simiens.com ; dm US$ 31, r from US$ 135 in 2012).

At 3260m Africa’s highest hotel offers service and comfortable rooms in tukul huts that have underfloor heating and solar-powered hot showers. Unfortunately most rooms are perfectly positioned to not quite take advantage of the stupendous views. The dorm consists of bare bones, two bunks per room and common showers.

A portion of its profits (2.5%) go to local projects, which makes it about as close as north Ethiopia gets to an ecolodge (wharrfff ….- better lol).

SANKABER

Sankaber Lodge (dm Birr40 in 2012, maybe 80Birr now). For day trippers. This spartian lodge has a couple of nine-bed dorms. Don’t expect more than a rickety bed, blanket, some old bed linen and (more than) possibly the odd flea.

GEECH

Geech Lodge idem in worse with more flea.

CHENEK no lodge in 2012, now?

Ethiopie Simien gelabasItinary in the Simien Park

The most popular route to take is to get transportation to Sankaber Campsite and start your trek from there. In this case your equipment will be weighed at Sankaber and mules, handlers and porters arranged from there. Unless you have extra days to spare, I don’t recommend trekking from Debark. Not much for scenery, a good portion will be hiked on the dusty, gravel road.

Regular 3-4 daysTrek

  1. From Sankaber trek to the Geech Campsite for the night (4-5hrs). There is a village about 30min before arriving at Geech.
  2. The next day trek to Chenek camp via Imet Gogo along the escarpment which is longer than the alternative of following the dirt road but very worthwhile as this will be the most scenic part of the trek (7-8hrs).
  3. On the third day summit to Ras Bwahit, the best chance of spotting Ibex on this route, 5-6hrs and stay at Chenek for another night or head back to Debark.
  4. The fourth day could be spent trekking back to Sankaber along a dusty gravel road (7-8hrs) or just get a ride back.

 

 

6 réflexions sur “Ethiopie – Simien (3) TIPS ON TREKKING INDEPENDENTLY

  1. gabe1 Jan 16, 2014

    LODGE OR NOT LODGE? THAT IS THE QUESTION


    There is cheap food to buy at all the main camps: Sankobar, Geech, and Chennek.

    Geech is the most official, almost a restaurant, Chennek also has very good food (Shiro for 30, Lamb Tibs for 40), and for Sankobar you just have to ask a lady in the house next to the lodge (shito 25) and they will be surprised but delighted to serve you. At Geech you can find BEER.

    The cooking areas are all near the lodges, which are usually a few minutes away from the huge tent cities of tourists, so people « camping » are not aware of them.

    Staying in lodges and eating the food prepared there is way cheaper, easier, and better for the locals than paying for some ridiculous expedition package that everyone else does. I still took snacks for lunches or to avoid waiting for breakfast on early departures, but in theory you could order injera to take away also.

    In all of these places are nice lodges for 80 bir a night, with blankets.

    There is absolutely no need to rent a tent, mattress, sleeping bag, plus pay an extra camping charge. The lodges are far nicer in my opinion, and a lot simpler. They are very basic, but much better (and warmer) option than the tents. Interestingly, they are half empty if not the high season).

    If you want to go to Ras Dashen or the lowlands, this will probably not work.

    Almost everyone I saw in the Simiens did a package tour, and everyone drove in vehicles at least to Sankobar, if not further. I walked the entire route from Debark to Bahuit peak and back to Debark, and was very happy I did it that way. This is a much richer and more culturally immersive experience if you have time. Everyone in jeeps probably thinks they are so fortunate not to be walking, but they do not know what they have missed. Some of my favorite parts of the entire region were from areas of road walking that everyone said I should skip.

  2. (Infos utiles-à complèter)
    http://www.bradt-travelguides.com/
    http://voyageforum.com/v.f?post=5653541;search_string=simien
    http://voyageforum.com/v.f?post=3845997;search_string=simien
    http://voyageforum.com/v.f?post=3004514;search_string=simien
    http://voyageforum.com/v.f?post=3694371;search_string=simien

    Informations pour trek dans le Simien (Éthiopie)

    Pour réaliser une randonnée intéressante dans le Simien, il faut bien en comprendre la géographie. Le centre du parc, du sud au nord est constitué d’un grand plateau vallonné qui se termine à l’ouest et au nord par un escarpement très impressionnant, profond de quelques 1500 m. Le bord de cette falaise est découpé et parcouru de gorges fort belles. Le paysage s’ouvre vers Mulit et Mekarebia avec des pitons rocheux, restes de vieux volcans ainsi que des vallées très découpées quelques 1000 à 2000 m plus bas.

    La plus belle partie de cette falaise va de au-dessus de Geech jusqu’à Chennek avec les points forts à Saha, Imet Gogo et Inatye. Les « sommets » de 4000m et quelques ne sont pas de francs sommets mais des plateaux en pentes douces qui se terminent par la falaise
    Bwahit est le seul vrai sommet. Il donne en outre une vue vers l’escarpement et une autre vers la vallée où se trouve Ambikwa et le Ras Dashen. Cette vallée est beaucoup moins belle et on n’y retrouve plus ni escarpements ni pitons volcaniques. Dans le Bwahit on a également la possibilité de croiser des Walia Ibex et des babouins gelada. Le Ras Dashen est aussi à peine plus haut que le Bwahit.
    Continuer vers Ambikwa et le Ras Dashen n’est donc pas intéressant; il vaut beaucoup mieux descendre vers Sona après avoir passé le Bwahit et son col.

    Les paysages près de Mekarebia, Mulit et Adiarkay sont beaucoup plus beaux. Près de Mulit il y a une belle promenade à faire autour des trois pitons volcaniques qui se trouvent juste à coté de ce beau village. Les villages d’altitude et ceux de la vallée sont fort différents, la ville d’Adiarkay est un bijou en son genre et ce tour permet d’en découvrir l’ensemble. La route d’Adiarkay à Gondar est impressionnante et plus belle que celle de Debark à Gondar.

    En réalisant ainsi ce tour, on fait une boucle sans aller et retour. Le tour commence sur les hauts plateaux où il fait froid et se termine dans la vallée beaucoup plus chaude avec des rivières en bassin où on peut passer du temps et se baigner. L’escarpement est beau d’en haut mais également très impressionnant d’en bas.
    C’est donc l’escarpement d’Imet Gogo et la vallée de Mekarebia qui valent le détour, le reste est assez banal.

    Idéalement, il faut commencer la randonnée en partant très tôt le matin de Gondar et en demandant aux muletiers d’attendre sur la route entre Debark et Chennek à hauteur de Geech. Laisser les muletiers se rendre à Geech avec vos bagages. Partez directement faire la boucle assez facile de Imet Gogo, Saha, Kadadit Amba pour dormir à Geech le soir. Le trajet à pieds de Debark à Geech est assez banal et est ainsi évité.
    Il faut savoir qu’il y a une route qui se rend de Debark à Geech, Chennek, col de Bwahit, Ambikwa et Ras-Dashen … Ils sont en train de construire une nouvelle route dans la vallée d’Ambikwa (octobre 2012). Il faut passer par les crêtes et la vallée de Mekarebia pour éviter cette catastrophe de route. Dans la vallée, la route s’arrête à Adiarkay et le reste de la vallée est encore exclusivement pédestre. La traversée de la rivière, sans pont, ferme l’accès de la vallée. Mais à quand la route…?

    Donc:

    • J1 Gondar, Imet Gogo, Saha, Kadadit Amba, Geech
    • J2 Inatye, Chennek par la crète
    • J3 Bwahit, Sona
    • J4 Sona, Mekarebia
    • J5 Mekarebia, Mulit
    • J6 Le tour des pitons de Mulit, Adiarkay
    • J7 Adiarkay Gondar, Bahir Dar ou Axum
    1. Arkwaziye est un village et non un camp du parc, donc pas de toilettes et il faut payer un habitant pour que le cuistot puisse s’installer et cuisiner (par temps de pluie)
    2. Sona n’est ni un camp ni un village, c’est juste plat, il n’y a rien
    3. Metarabya est un village, il y a des toilettes mais pas de lieu pour cuisiner
    4. Mulit est un village, il y a des toilettes, et il faut payer un habitant pour planter sa tente (le cuistot ne veut pas la planter ailleurs)

    Si nécessaire, mais c’est dommage, on peut faire Sona –> Adiarkay en un jour sans difficultés, tout est en descente, mais ce n’est plus de la promenade. Il vaut mieux profiter de l’endroit, des villages et des rivières, et réaliser le tour dans ce sens car on va en descendant.

    Il n’est pas forcément évident si vous voulez redescendre de Chennek/sankaber à Debark de trouver en toute saison qqun/qqch pour vous ramener. Par contre, le téléphone passe à pas mal d’endroits, et vous pouvez toujours appeler ou faire appeler un taxi de là-haut …

    A Debark mais le bureau des guides fait office d’agence. Ils sont professionnels, adéquats, réactifs, les moins chers et capables de vous organiser un trek selon vos désirs. Attention le bureau ferme assez tôt (vers 17h30). Tout est très facile pour tout organiser Ils peuvent même louer tente, duvet et matelas si vous n’en avez pas.

    Minibus de Gondar à Debark. Nous avons payé 60 birr/personne soit 3 euros/pers (à l’époque 1 euro = 22 birr) mais l’euro a un peu baissé depuis. Pas de bus dans le parc mais des minibus.
    L’aller Debark –> Sankaber et retour Chennek –> Debark en minibus nous à couté 3200 birr (environ 145euros), plus cher car on est dans le parc (somme pour le minibus entier, à diviser par le nombre de personnes).
    Nous n’avons pas pris de guide, le scout, obligatoire, nous a très bien montré le chemin.

    PRIX 2010

    • Si l’on veut faire le Ras Dashen, à l’entrée du parc tout est compté comme si on y passait 8 jours … même si on le fait en 4 jours 100birr : 4,5 €
    • Entrée : 90b/jour par personne
    • Scout : 40b/j pour le groupe
    • Guide : 120b/j pour le groupe
    • Camping : 10b/j par personne
    • Matos cuisine : 40b/j pour le groupe
    • Entrée voiture : 20b/j
    • Tente : 30b/j
    • Mule : 70b/j
    • Soit environ 160€ sans les pourboires

    PRIX 2011

    • taxes parc: 100 birr/j (90 jour et 9 camping) -> idem
    • guide: 120 birr/j -> 200
    • scout: 40 birr/j -> 75
    • muleman: 35 birr/j -> 60
    • mule: 35birr/j -> 70
    • location tente : 30 birr/j -> 60
    • location sleeping bag: 15/j -> ?
    • cuisinier: 75 birr/j -> 120
    • materiel cuisine: 40/j -> idem
    • + mieux de prevoir une tente et un duvet pour le muletier, le guide et le scout
    • Voiture pour faire Gondar-Sankanber et Chennek-Gondar : 4000b (180€)

    Trek

    • Sankanber-Geech : 600+, 200- 5h30
    • Geech-Imet Gogo : 1h30 Imet Gogo-Chennek : 5h 700+ 600-
    • Chennek-Ambiko :6h30 1000+ 1400-
    • Ambiko-Ras Dashen-Ambiko : 1400+ 1400- Départ 5h, 8h de marche
    • Ambiko-Chennek : 1400+ 1000- : 6h30
    • Malheureusement, maintenant possibilité (comme notre guide !!!!!!!) de faire sur une bonne portion le trajet Ambiko Chennek avec des camions car il y a une route en construction. Bien pour le désenclavement mais moins bien pour le trek…

    Camps

    • Toilettes dans chaque camp + poubelles.
    • Geech :Douche
    • Dans chaque camp : eau de source sauf Ambiko prévoir eau à l’avance ou pastilles de chlore, limite filtre.
    • Huttes pour cuisine dans tous les camps.
    • Possibilité d’acheter des oeufs et même…de la bière !!

    Matos

    • Tente-Duvet-oreiller-Camel Bag-Thermos pour thé-Frontale-couteau suisse-briquet-tongues (important !)
    • chaussures de marche basses
    • krama ou foulard pour le soleil qui tape beaucoup beaucoup, couvrir tout le visage
    • creme solaire
    • strick lèvres
    • élasto pour ampoules biafine sachets plastiques élastiques
    • thé-épices-tisane-sel-poivre-curry
    • tupperware genre boites à glace pour mettre tout ça
    • boisson énergisante pour cacher le goût de chlore
    • gant de toilette-serviette éponge
    • Bonnet-Pcul
    • pâtes-pesto-parmesan-couscous-semoule fine pour faire mélange le matin avec raisin, miel et noix (tip top !!!)
    • huile dans petite bouteille-barres de céréales-fruits secs-bouillon cube- sardines-saucisson-soupes en sachet
    • Eponge-liquide vaisselle dans petite bouteille-torchon
    • Pare-vent pour réchaud
    • A Gondar : tomates-carottes-oignons-fruits-oranges- pain (à ranger dans des boites sinon écrasé par la mule !!!). Le choix en victuailles à Debark est largement satisfaisant, mais plus cher.
    • Prévoir de quoi nourrir le guide, le scout et le muletier bien sur. Possibilité d’acheter de l’injera à Geech et Ambiko
    • Parfois il faut payer le bois pour le feu

    Le soir, largement le temps de faire à manger et c’est très sympa ! Le pare vent important car ça souffle. Leurs réchauds sont très bien et les gamelles bien grandes. Le matin nous faisions chauffer de l’eau pour la semoule, le thé et le thé dans le thermos. Important de bien s’hydrater. Si vous avez des vieilles polaires qui trainent chez vous, emportez les pour les donner au scout ou muletier, ça caille la nuit. Attention au soleil la journée, on crame vraiment même en mettant de la crème! Prévoir de quoi tout recouvrir. Et la nuit : très froid. Nous avions duvet + sac à viande technique.

    Hôtel à Gondar : pas top mais peut organiser le trajet avec d’autres trekeurs : Queen Talu

  3. WALKING ROUTES IN THE PARK AND TO RAS DEJEN

    Ethiopie Simien 09

    1. Debark to Sankaber. A 4WD vehicle track winds from Debark for 30km to Sankaber Camp. It may be possible to hire a vehicle (best in Gondar) to cover this rather dull section of the trip. Walking this stretch is only 18km. First take the road E through the market and out of town for 1km to a turn off L. After 4km the Lamma Wenz stream is reached (poor campsites). This is followed by a long climb back to the main road which is followed for about 2km before another short cut. Possible campsites – poor water. The main road is crossed again to reach meadows and better camping (4h30). From here a gentle climb leads back to the main road; good viewpoint over Wazla Wenz Gorge. The road Is followed to Sankaber Park Post, 3200m (6h from Debark, 5h in reverse). Campsites, fine viewpoints, erica woodland. Limited good water from spring.

    2. Sankaber to Chennek. The road drops to a col at 3100m then climbs eastward mainly across cultivated land to 3700m overlooking the village of Ambaras. It now deteriorates, becoming impassable to vehicles and traverses the upper slopes of the Beleges Wenz stream valley to Chennek Camp, 3700m. Near Ambaras it crosses several good streams (15km from Sankaber, 5h30, 5h in reverse). Ruins of old park post, numerous fine campsites, excellent water – a fine location offering spectacular views.

    3. Sankaber to Gich. From Col 3100m (see 2) follow the road for 1km then traverse into the Jinbar Wenz gorge. Cross this river and follow the path to Gich village and hence Gich Camp, 3600m (9km, 4h from Sankaber, 3h In reverse). This is a manned park post with a commanding view over the well preserved forests of the Jinbar Wenz valley (mainly erica). Water from nearby stream.

    4. Gich to Chennek (mules). Descend to the Jinbar Wenz then climb to the main road overlooking Ambaras (cf. section 2), 4h.

    5. Gich to Chennek (scenic route). ENE of Gich Camp lies Imet Gogo (3926m), the finest viewpoint in the area (1h). The scarp edge can now be followed to lnatye (4070m) and hence Chennek (5h from Gich, same time in reverse, 4h if l met Gogo is omitted). Superb scenic walk.

    6. Chennek to Ambikwa. Take the old road E and leave it where it swings away from the edge of the precipices. Follow the edge to cross the N ridge of Bwahlt at c4200m (2h30). Descend steeply to Chiro Leba clinic and school (1h). Down pleasant stream gorges to the Mesheha Wenz which could be difficult to cross after heavy rain (2800m, 45 min). Now up a side valley to Ambikwa village at 3200m (1h), 13km in total. The village is tiny, has a small church and a little meadow can be used for camping.

    7. Ambikwa to Ras Dejen. Follow up the main valley then take a side valley NE, passing Mizma to reach a ridge crest and open grassy slopes (3700m, 1h30). The path gains height traversing round ridges (fine stands of lobelia and fresh streams) and finally climbs more steeply to a broad col at 4250m. Take an initially indistinct path going round the S side of Ras Dejen till the main summit appears to the NE up gentle grass and scree slopes. The last section involves an easy rock scramble up the L skyline ridge. A fine mountain and viewpoint (4543m). 5h, 3h30 in descent. The first European ascent was probably made by Ferret and Galiner in 1841.

    Other routes. There are numerous other walking routes in the area. An attractive alternative for returning to Debark is to walk out via Arkwasiye to Adi Arkay to the N of the park (allow 3 days from Ambikwa). From here there are early morning buses to Debark along the spectacular road over the Wulfarit Pass.

    Many other paths traverse below the scarp itself. The higher paths pass through some beautiful scenery. The going is slow, so allow at least 3 days to walk from Ambikwa to Adarmaz by the low level way.

  4. sbballer33
    Apr 1, 2013

    Simien Info for indépendant trekkers

    Just got back from doing a trek to Ras Dejen, just me and the scout. Here is a bit of info for those who want to do likewise.

    Tent or no tent

    I brought a tent but in retrospect I think you could get by without one. Gich there is a lodge that chages 80 Bir a night. Don’t know what the one at Sankabar charges. And Chenek I’m relying on others info. Its all basic of course. Though if you have a tent one its probably better to have one.

    Water

    I would say bring capacity for at least 3 liters and a way to treat water. Most of the time 2 is sufficient but it does get hot and on the hike from Gich to Sankabar there is a long climb and no water. At Sankabar and Gich there is spring water at Chenek there is a pump well. At Ambiwa you need to get it from the stream. Going over Bawahit pass there is no water for the climb and only after about an hour of decent (from a stream). There were numerous reasonably clear streams to get water from on the hike to Ras Dejen.

    Ras Dejen or no Ras Dejen

    To tell you the truth I’m not sure if Ras Dejen is worth it. I think the vies from Gich to Chenek and at Chenek are better. It did have a dusting of snow on the peak when I was there so that was kind cool. Its a long boring trek through the valley to get there and even longer if you have to walk back the same way. I paid a truck driver to break the rules and give me and my scout a ride back. More on the transport mafia next.

    Transportation

    Unfortunately it appears park officials and the tourist transport lobby have conspired to make it technically illegal to use public transportation or trucks in the park. So they can charge rates that are higher than a New York City cab with an airport surcharge. People were being quoted like 3000 bir for a drop and pick up totaling no more than 30-40 km. So the only other option is walk or to pay the public transportation or truck drivers to break the law which means you will pay a lot more than the locals. To get back from Ras Dejen I had to pay a truck driver 400 bir and hide under blankets when ever we passed park check points. But it saved 3 days of walking and more importantly dragging my pack back over the 4200 m pass in the baking sun. When I was hiking in the bus offered me a spot for 100 bir to the first camp but I ended up walking it even though its a pretty boring hike. Ideally a good route would be catch a ride to Sankabar hike to Gich. Next day hike to Chenek. Stay two nights in Chenek and hike up to the pass on the free day or the peak behind Chenek. Then get a ride back.
  5. .
    Trek au Simiens
    c’est vraiment un parc où les paysages sont à couper le souffle. Et c’est super facile à gérer. Gonder-Debark en minibus (50 birrs, départ 6h du mat). Arrivée à Debark à 8h du mat. Enregistrement au bureau de l’entrée du parc du Simiens. Entrée: 90 birrs/j, embauche d’un scout (garde armé, obligatoire, 75 birrs/j), d’un muletier+ une mule (optionnel, 130 birrs/j), derniers achats de nourritures (2 fois plus cher qu’à Gonder…), location d’ustensiles de cuisine. 9h45, départ pour le trek. On ne peut pas faire plus simple ni plus rapide… Nuitée en lodge: 80 birrs/nuit.Si tu arrives à trouver un (des) compagnon(s) de voyage, ca te coutera effectivement moins cher.
    Sache qu’à Gonder, tu recevras des propositions d’agences/vendeurs pour t’amener en 4×4 au coeur du parc, avec cuisinier, mule et tutti cuanti, et qu’il t’en coutera pour 200 à 400$. A toi de choisir.
    NB: pas la peine de chercher les vendeurs, ce sont eux qui te trouveront!

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