Hiking the roof of Africa

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Jan 31, 2013

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Flag of Ethiopia  , Amhara Region,
Thursday, November 1, 2012

I wanted to do a basic hike in the Simien Mountains since I am by now an experienced hiker and can take care of myself. I went to Debark to arrange everything from the main office. I ended up with an obligatory scout and would carry my bag myself. Total costs: 515 Birr. Normally I would have had to walk from Debark to the mountains which would be a very long trail but lucky me I found a group of Dutch people with whom I could get a ride…for free! I dropped my stuff at a friend I met, bought some food, bought a warm sweater, hired a good rain jacket and we could go. Then the last evening I heard that I did not have to carry my tent because you can sleep in lodges or with the guides. Some guys were interested to buy my tent and eventually I sold it for 850 birr which is 47 USD. More than one and a half year ago I bought this tent for 40 USD so I would say a good trade!!

Hiking the Simien Mountains is a beautiful thing to do and every time you will be surprised by an even better view, amazing! My scout did not talk English but despite that we still had fun and I came across some other people during the day. Made some nice pics and at the Sankaber camp (3.250 m) I could rest for the first day. In the afternoon met with Ernst-Jan and Ilco (both Dutch) and Gino (Italian) who were hiking together. They were very friendly and I could even join them for tea and eating dinner which was great! Sleeping I did on the ground in a hut where also the scouts and the cooks sleep so that was very basic but good enough for me.

The next day I met several times with Gino and the Dutchies on the route and in the evening joined up again at Geech camp (3.600 m). Especially Gino (63 years) was amazing company with all his travel stories and good advice in life. The third day I decided to hike with them all the way and try to get on the same transport back to Debark and then to Gondor. It worked and I was very happy that I got this ride instead of walking back for 2 days! On this third day we climbed to the top of Imet Gogo which was at 3.926 meters. Spectacular views and apparently the highlight of the Simien Mountains.

Practical stuff

-          If you want to hike cheap then go to Debark and arrange everything from the main office there. If you are lucky you can even find transport up the mountain with another group.

-          At Geech camp and Chenek camp there is food available so you don't have to cook yourself. The first day in Sankaber you have to survive on something you bring or be social and try to arrange some food from another group, you can pay for that.

-          Instead of tents you can also sleep in lodges (80 Birr) or in a simple hut together with the guides and scouts (free).
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