By Sarah Kingdom |
Our trip to Ethiopia was very spur of the moment. Three days after deciding to go, we found ourselves trekking in the Simien Mountains in the north of the country, which is one of the most stunning places that I have ever hiked. To many people Ethiopia may be synonymous with civil war, coups, drought and famine, but Ethiopia is becoming a country to which more and more people are starting to venture. It is a beautiful, dynamic and fascinating place, and the people we met on our trip were some of the friendliest, most welcoming and professional that I have come across in all of my African travels.
We had decided to combine a five-day, approximately 60km trek with a few days spent checking out some of the country’s amazing cultural sites. Our Simien hike would conclude with a climb up Bwahit – Ethiopia’s second highest mountain. At an altitude of 4,437 meters, Bwahit was a five-hour hike, and a one-kilometer vertical ascent above our final campsite, taking us up into the clouds and giving us a stunning view back over where we had hiked the previous days. Once we left the mountains, we then planned to head off to see some of the oldest and most incredible historical sites on the African continent.
In the Earth’s long history of dramatic geographical changes, the most recent volcanic upheavals took place in this part of Africa. Torrential rains in the region created gushing rivers and waterfalls, which in turn eroded much of the newly formed volcanic mountain massifs; leaving behind a broad plateau split by gorges that are thousands of meters deep. As far as the horizon in every direction are steep mountains and deep valleys carved from the hardened basalt – a seemingly timeless landscape. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the Simien Mountains are breathtaking.
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