Simien Mountains

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Ethiopia

Simien Mountains Reviews

bada-bing bada-bing
3 reviews
simeans - another perspective Aug 30, 2008
I travelled to Ethiopia August 2009 with another female friend of mine. One of our main reasons for visiting was that we had seen a documentary on the simean mountains and thought they looked amazing. We had planned to work our way north and then spend a few days trekking there. However, after spending a few days in Ethiopia we quickly realised that it would not be advisable, nor would be safe, for two girls (and maybe two foreigners regardless of gender) to camp out in this country. You are advised (and we were informed that it is compulsary, though we learned to believe nothing we were told from people during this trip) to rent an armed guide to accompany you if staying out at night. So, disappointed, we decided we would go on a day trip firstly and suss it out. We found a young man with a mini bus who does day trips there, and he informed us that he was taking an italien couple up the next morning and we could share costs. it sounded ideal and after we had agreed a price we arranged a pick up time and place. The next day when he picked us up, there were no italien couple. We had asked that we be picked up after them. There were approx five or six on the bus, all men, none of whom were tourists. He told us that the lady was not feeling well so it would be just us. Foolishly, we agreed to go anyway, as we REALLY wanted to get to the simeans. When we got there (the man had told us that the tour would include a guide to show us to the best place to see the gelada baboons, and a half day hike) he introduced us to out guide and told us how much it would cost. We argued that he told us it was included but he was having none of it. We said ok so we do not want a tour, just tell us the pick up time. They drove off having told us a time and we wondered if they would come back. We started off along a marked trail. However, the guide would not take no for an answer and not only did we have him leading the way (he just went the way he knew we would be going!) but we quickly had a mini entourage, they just appeared out of nowhere. so much for the peaceful serenity! We did not feel safe, nor could we enjoy our hike. We did however see the baboons which was amazing, BUT we were asked for money on numerous occasions as well as being asked constantly if we were single etc etc! WHen we got back to the PUP at the arranged time the man was not there! however he did arrive shortly after, all his buddies still in tow! they demanded that we pay them money to pay the "guide", who in fairness to him was not demanding anything off us. we said we would not give them anything extra but that they should pay his as it was included in the price we had already paid. eventually we paid him ourselves as he was just standing around waiting.

So we got into the van, already quite annoyed. THEN THE FINAL STRAW.. the demanded money for the "park enterance fee".. now this was complete bullshit, we hadnt passed any ranger station or anything remotely like this, and there was no perimeter of any description. We remained adament that we would not pay it. They then refused to bring us back to the town. So I said we would only pay them when we were back at our hotel(i had no intention of paying any more, just didnt want to be stranded). When we got back they demanded the money. I said no, we have no more money (we were actually extremely strapped for cash, as not even the ATMs in addis would give me any!! problems with accepting my card or something) as we attempted to get out of the buss one of the men forcefully passed by me and slammed the door, pushing me out of the way. He shouted something to the driver who began to speed off. it was scary at this point. I began to yell VERY loudly out the window "leba, leba!" which was all I could remember from the Lonely Planet guide to do in the case of an emergency (i think it means thief but I didnt care what it meant once I got some attention) People began to stare, and luckily for us at that point in the day the street was very congested. as the bus slowed down we literally barged our way out (luckily the ethiopian men were neither very large nor very strong) they shouted torrents of abuse at us before driving off. Abuse in english might I add.

Now I dont mean to put people off the Simeans, they are a stunning and beautiful natural resource which could attract many visitors to Ethipiopa... but I would advise people to only travel in a large group.

This was not our only tale of woe from our travels by any means im afraid... ill write more at a later date, or feel free to contact me before you travel for things to watch out for.
Gelada Baboons... at a distance!
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jennjeff1 says:
Sounds like you needed the Italian Mafia to provide security on this trip!
Posted on: Apr 05, 2009
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purk purk
2 reviews
Nothing but silence and baboons Dec 20, 2008
During my stay in Ethiopia for four months I visited the Simien Mountains. It's located in the North of this beautifil country. From the crowded village at the bottom of these mountains I traveled into a silence and beautiness I had never experienced in my life before.

At a height of 3300 metres there is an amazing view all around you. Just in peace with mother nature... It's possible to explore this area partially by 4WD but most people choose to go hiking. There are campsites where you can spend the (cold) nights. So take the right clothes with you so you can dress warm. You definately will see the gelada baboons. These animals live in just a few places of the world. But here they are!

I spend the night in a beautiful lodge with a view as far as your eyes can see. In the restaurant they serve excellent dinner and breakfast. When you are cold it's possible to spend your evening at the fireplace with a bottle of beer.

Enjoy! Just like I did. Don't forget to explore the rest of this tremendous African country!
Gelada baboons in the Simien Mount…
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