Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Hiking in Simiens Part 1

We left the apartment at 5:30 am and  flew from Addis to Gondar, where Alex met us, took some money off us, and set us up with a four wheel drive vehicle loaded with camping gear and a driver. We set off to Debark and the Simien Park headquarters. Along the way we picked up a cook and his assistant, a guide, and an armed scout with a machine gun. The roads and conditions got worse, from crowded minibuses in Addis to motorbike-based trikes called Bajajs in Gonder to horses and buggies in Debark. After about three hours driving on roads which were sometimes paved, but usually dirt or major construction sites we entered the park. After a while it was time to get out for a two hour hike to our campsite. We were immediately impressed, as we strolled to the edge of a cliff with spectacular views. We followed the cliff, sometimes on the dirt road, but mostly through open country or through woods of heather trees. Eventually we arrived at Sankober Camp. Two tents were already set up, our luggage was there, and almost immediately a table was set with tea, coffee, roasted barley (a common snack here) and biscuits. After a little while this was followed with a plate laden with spaghetti and vegetables. We had a little time to explore the delights of the concrete squat toilets with corrugated metal roof and doors, and watch the staff and guides wrap themselves in blankets and settle into some circular shelters, before it got dark. Went to bed at 7:45 pm!

Next day was a spectacular 6 hour hike, probably as good as any hike I have done. It was one of those hikes where you could see where you would be going, watching the path circle round hills 

…to be continued

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