Established in 1969, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has a 60km escarpment along the Simien Mountains Plateau, which dominates the scenery. RasDejen (Dashen) Mountain is the highest point in the country. Elevation ranges from 1,900m to 4,543m above sea level. Average temperatures range from lows of -2.5 to four degrees C to highs of 11 to 18 degrees C. There are often drying winds during the day, and frosts occur at night. Snow sometimes settles on the summits of the highest peaks.
Location: 800km north of Addis Abeba in Amhara Regional State.
Entry: Access to the park is from Debark, where riding and pack animals may be hired, 101km north of Gondar.
Hours: 6:00am to 6:00pm.
When to Go: The best season is from mid September to the end of January. It can also be comfortably visited between February and May.
Things to See and Do: Spectacular mountain scenery, including the 4,543m RasDejen, the walia ibex (endemic to the park), the Ethiopian wolf, and the chelada are the main reasons people visit. Menelik’s bushbucks, klipspringers, and the hamadryas baboons are also easily seen. Thirteen endemic birds, namely the wattled ibis, spot-breasted plover, white-collared pigeon, black-winged lovebird, Abyssinian longclaw, white-backed black tit, black-headed forest oriole, white-billed starling, black-headed siskin, and the Ankoberserin, are found in the park. The awesome chelada monkey, also known as the gelada baboon, which can be seen squatting and eating roots from the surrounding grassland, sometimes has some fun rolling rocks down the hill toward intruders. The park is best visited on foot or on horseback and provides an excellent cultural and natural exposition of Ethiopia.
Getting There: By road or by air as far as Gondar.
Where to Stay and Eat: Simien Lodge, Simien Park Hotel, EmetGogo Hotel, Giant Lobilia Hotel, Unique Landscape Hotel, or Longview Hotel.