The “roof of africa” Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2,000 and 3,000 meters. In the north and in the center of the country, there are some 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4000 meters. With such high elevations and the breathtaking scenery, Ethiopia is said to be the ‘Roof of Africa’. The Semien Mountains region contains many summits above 4000 meters and culminates in the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dashen, at 4630 meters the fourth highest mountain in Africa. Walking amongst these peaks can feel like flying above the beautiful landscape. The Semiens dramatic topography is the result of the erosion of basalt lavas, which have been calculated to be nearly 3000 meters thick. Rare species of animals such as the Walia, the Semien fox and the Gelada Baboons inhabit the Semien Mountains. There are also lots of endemic birds and plants.

Similarly, Bale Mountains National Park encompasses a high altitude plateau that is broken by numerous spectacular volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams that descend in to deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands below. As you ascend into the mountains, you will experience changes in the vegetation with altitude, from Juniper to heather moorlands and alpine meadows, which at various times of year exhibit an abundance of colorful wildflowers. Bale Mountains National Park is the largest area of Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of the continent. It gives you opportunities for unsurpassed mountain walking, horse trekking, scenic driving and the chance to view many of Ethiopia's endemic mammals, birds and plants.

 

SEMIEN MOUNTAIN TREKKING
Treks have been organized in Simien for the last three decades. In the Simien mountains, the attractions include spectacular views from the northern escarpment, the presence of the endemic Walia ibex, gelada baboon and Simien fox, as well as Ethiopia's highest peak, the 4543-meter (14901 feet) high Ras Dashen (locally known as Ras Dejen), outside the park to the east.

The Simiens are the most rugged mountains on the African continent, their natural beauty concurs the hearts of every visitor to this remote and unique national park
The Simien Mountains Massif is one of the major highlands of Africa, rising to the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen (4,620m), which is the fourth highest peak in the continent. Although in Africa, and not too far from the equator, snow and ice appear on the highest points, and night temperatures often fall below zero.The Simien Mountains, north of Gondar, provide an excellent trekking area with a good infrastructure of equipment provision and guide facilities in place.

This park has 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 park is made up of a rocky massif, which slopes down to grasslands - the massif is cut by streams and gorges. The national park has three general botanical regions. The lower slopes have been cultivated and grazed, while the alpine regions (up to 3600m) are forested. The higher lands are mountain grasslands with fescue grasses as well as heathers, splendid Red Hot Pokers and Giant Lobelia. The park was created primarily to protect the Walia Ibex, a type of wild goat, and over 1000 are said to live in the park. Also in the park are families of the Gelada Baboon and the rare Simien fox. The Simien fox, although named after the mountains, is rarely seen by the visitor. Over 50 species of birds have been reported in the Simien mountains.



BALE MOUNTAIN TREKKING
Bale has a less inhabited, richer mosaic of high-altitude plateau, heather moorlands, and dense juniper forest, with an easily seen population of mountain nyala and simien fox, and some fabulous birds, many of them endemic. For dedicated climbers, Bale offers Tullu Deemtu at 4377 meter (14553 feet) and Mount Batu at 4207 meters (13799 feet), although these are just the highest "bumps" in the already very high Sanetti Plateau.
The other option to trek in Bale is outside of the park on the massive chain ecological mountain by starting from the town of Dodolla or Adaba. SEE BOTH IN DEETAIL BELOW.


The Bale Mountains offer guided wilderness trekking amidst juniper woodlands, across Afroalpine moorlands, over rugged and breath-taking mountains, and through thick tropical forest. The diversity of habitats, scenery, and wildlife is awe inspiring. It is one of those special places in Ethiopia where visitors can see rare and endemic wildlife, appreciate the tranquillity of their natural surroundings, and find themselves far from the densely populated cities and towns.

Trekking in the Bale Mountains can be adapted to meet the requirements and physical abilities of almost any person – from fairly gentle and undemanding trips to more extreme and physically challenging ones. Visitors are free to horseback ride or hike between campsites. Most trekkers make the journey with a mixture of walking and riding as this provides a varied experience in the mountains – plus climbing to an altitude of over 4000 m above sea level can be tiring. All levels of horseback riding experience can be catered for – the local mountain horses come in a variety of personalities from gentle to high-spirited; thus no prior riding experience is required.
Treks can range from a day trip to a two week expedition, from traveling 5 or 10 km per day to 25 km per day. Every night can be spent in a different campsite, or one can choose to explore a particular area for more than a day. Local guides, all members of the newly-formed Nyala Guides Association, will help you select the best route depending on the time you have available, your sightseeing interests, and the amount of physical energy you would like to exert

Dodola Destination
The 4 forest camps are at an altitude between 3,080 and 3,460 metres above sea level. Each camp can be reached from Dodola in half a day. Thus, your trip can start in the afternoon but no later than 2 p.m. Setting off early in the morning is preferable, especially during the rains. The distance between camps is 5 to 18km. It takes between a few hours and half a day of walking or riding to travel from one camp to the other. This allows you to spend every night in a different camp. If you do not have time for all 4 camps, the guide will help select the ones most suited to your personal preferences. Also, tours of just one night with two half days for ascending and descending are possible.

There is also one tented camp (Cangity) situated at the edge of the forest with very beautiful scenery. The camp is only half and hour’s drive from Dodola and then only 20 minutes by foot or horse. A group of more than 16 people and up to 5 families can be accommodated at the camp. Your trip to this site can start any time before 5 p.m. from Dodola town. . Adaba destination
The Adaba destination is situated 55km from the Bale Mountain National Park (BMNP) head office, Dinsho. There are 3 tented campsites and one hut at an altitude between 3,000 and 3,600 metres above sea level. Each camp can be reached from Adaba in half a day, but it is better to start in the morning. The distance to the nearest camp from Adaba town is 7km and from each camp to the next is from 11 to 20km. There are different routes depending on the preference of the visitors.

 

SURMA TREKKING
The enigmatic Surma peoples live as half nomads in the south west along the omo river.due to their geographical isolation they were able to maintain their unique culture. Surma women wear when they reach age of maturity, lip plates and ear plates as a sign of beauty.

The unmarried man plays stick fighting known as donga and being a winner will be considered as hero and by girls valued highly during their mate selection besides having many herds of cattle.
The surma villages along the hills will a glance of astonishing customs and ceremonies to experience for trekkers while they walk on the hot temperate surma chain hill.

BEST TIME FOR TREKKING
The best time to go trekking varies, depends on where one is going, but in general it is wise to avoid the rainy seasons. As far as the Simien Mountains are concerned the period between November and March is reliably dry. December to February is the best season to trek in Bale, while in the south-west highlands, which are more temperate than the Bale or Simien mountains, any time between October and March