Simien Mountains: My biggest mistake during this trip was to organize a 4 days trekking in Simien Mountains in Gondar. I paid a lot more than people that organized everything in Debark. The National Park Office in Debark has fix prices so you could know exactly the cost of everything and save the money of hiring a transport from Gondar. I had to deal also with the extra hassle I found during my stay in Gondar: a place where wasn’t easy to walk around without somebody trying to sell me some “service” -or more exactly to cheat me.- About the trekking, it’s very worthwhile. I really recommend to carry a good sleeping bag -or to rent two not so good in Debark- because at night it’s very cold -and some camp sites, like Gich, are very exposed to wind-. It also important to have -or rent- a good tent, because wind and rain -during the rainy season- can be quite disturbing, especially at night if you don’t want to wake up and find all your things wet-. I had a hail storm in mid-September and it was a hard time for some hikers there. Kadadit (30′ from Gich) is a great lookout with many gelada baboons around and some klipspringers. Lammergeier are found almost everywhere, with some of them very used to visit the hikers in Gich camp. Walya ibex is restricted to Chennek and around. The views from Imet Gogo are gorgeous -if it isn’t misty-. Saha (45′ from Imet Gogo) has very good views aswell. If you need to save money, hiring a scout, mule and mule driver is enough to do the trekking in a very easy way -anyway I took a guide aswell, they usually speak better English than the scouts, so you can improve your experience there… but all the paths and animals are also well known by the scouts, so you can go without the guide if money is the key-. Remember that mules can carry around 40 kgs and hiring them it’s a good way to give more incomes to the villagers of this places. About the food, you can find the usual things you need in some small shops in Debark, but it’s much cheaper if you do your shopping in the supermarkets in Gondar. Last but not least: Simien was my favourite place during my three weeks backpacking trip in the Northern Circuit: breathtaking landscapes and amazing wildlife, all in one. Do enjoy!
Antonio Perez (Spain)