Trekking in Ethiopia
Ethiopia with a temperate climate, grand mountain scenery and a tradition of generous hospitality, all in all the Ethiopia highlands offer suburb trekking opportunities. Horses, Mules, Camels and Donkeys are universal means of transport, so horse, mule and camel trekking has been a natural development. Trekking can be interpreted in many ways, but it is usually walking or riding a Horse, Mule or Camel, or a combination of the two. The animals can be used just for carrying a load or can be ridden part of the time, and the usual group will have pack animals for baggage and some riding animals the group can be used in turn. Trekking in Ethiopia does not involve any necessary skill, although it obviously is best if you are physically fit. The terrain is usually steep for only short period, when walking rather than riding may be necessary. Much of the time it will be walking, although this may be at an altitude as high as 4000 meters (13,120 feet). A slow pace is recommended, which is not difficult as there is so much to see and wonder at. Trips can be tailored to meet and fulfill individuals’ needs or requirements, weather they need day trips around Dinsho, the headquarters of the Bale Mountains National Park or at Sankaber of the Simien Mountains National Park or ten or more days to explore the untouched stunning African land. The principal well established areas for trekking are the Simien and Bale Mountains National Parks. More recent lesser known trekking areas, some only recently reconnoitered including the community based hiking trail around Lalibela, Bale Mountains, trekking from Lake Ashenge to Meqdela and the remote southwest highlands and west of Omo valley, where strong and colorful cultures complement the appeal of scenery, floral and fauna can be spotted. Other suitable and beautiful areas include the mountain trekking through the Tigrain region to visit some ancient rock churches and desert trekking in the Afar lowlands. Treks have been organized on and off in Simien and Bale Mountains for the last three decades. In Simien one can trek through stunning attractions includes spectacular views from the northern escarpment with a chance to spot the Endemic Walia Ibex, Ethiopian Wolf and Gelada Baboon, as well climb Ethiopia’s highest peak Ras Dashen at 4620 meter which is stand adjacent to the Park. In Bale, you can trek all the way through richer mosaic of high altitude plateau, heather moorlands and dense juniper forest with as easily seen population of Mountain Nyala, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Ethiopian Wolf and some fabulous birds many of them endemic to Ethiopia. For keen hiker, Bale has offered Tullu Deemtu the second highest mountain of the country at an elevation of 4,477 meter (14,553 feet) and mount Batu at 4,207 meter (13,799 feet) although there are just the highest “bumps” in already very high Sanetti plateau. The best time to explore and arrange trips varies slightly, depending on where you are going, but in general it is wise to avoid the rains. In Simien Mountains October through April is a reliable dry period and December to February is the best season to trek in Bale, while in the southwest highlands, which are more temperate than the Bale and Simien mountains, anytime between October and March is good.