The most rewarding way to explore the park is on foot. Hikes generally start in DEBARK, the site of the park headquarters, which straddles the main road towards Aksum. From Debark, a well-maintained network of trails leads eastward to the main plateau, where there are inexpensive community huts and campsites at Buit Ras (the entrance gate, 15km from the main highway), Sankaber, Gich and Chennek. A number of route options are possible, ranging from a day hike out of Sankaber to a seven- to ten-day trek culminating in an ascent of Ras Dejen. It is also possible to hike all the way through to Lalibela over eighteen days. Hiking in the Simiens is not generally too demanding, with most stages taking around five to eight hours, depending on your fitness. Fresh arrivals to Ethiopia should, however, take into account the affects of trekking at high altitude, which can leave even the fittest of hikers gasping for breath on steep inclines.

For those with limited time, low fitness levels or limited tolerance for camping in near-freezing conditions, the Simiens can be explored in greater comfort, either by basing yourself at the upmarket Simien Lodge, or by renting a 4×4 and tackling the park’s all-weather road as a day-trip. This is a less immediate and fulfilling experience than an overnight trek, but you will still be treated to the same spectacular views, and are almost certain to see the likes of the gelada and lammergeyer, though the Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf are more elusive.

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