The Semien Mountains present perhaps the most dramatic mountain scenery in Africa – great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years and eroded over into fantastic crags, pinnacles and flat topped mountains, “the chess pieces of the Gods” as one writer described them, tower over precipitous gorges, river valleys and plains stretching all the way to Eritrea. There are many peaks over 4000 meters, and Ras Dejen at 4620 meters in the highest in the country and the fourth highest in Africa.
While trekking in the Semien visitors can see the endemic Gelada or bleeding heart baboon, the Walia Ibex, Semien Wolf and rock hyrax, endemic birds such as the Thick-billed Raven, Black-headed Siskin, White-collared Pigeon, Wattled Ibis, White-billed Starling, Spot-breasted Plover and White-backed Black Tit, cruising Lammergeyer with their 3 meter wingspan. You can go in for a day, or go the whole hog and climb Ras Dejen – it is not a technical climb and no special climbing ability is needed. Mules can carry you and your luggage for most of the way. If you are interested in climbing Africa’s fourth highest mountain, Ras Dejen (4624 metres), you should allow eight days in and out. The Semien Mountains can easily be combined with a tour on the Historic Route. Visitors with little time can fly from Addis Ababa to Gondar, some 100 km from the entrance to the park at Debark. For those who do not like camping, there is a comfortable lodge near Sankaber, which can be used as a base for exploring the park.