After paid eveything and meet our new guide ..Mr.Get and our armed scout ,we had lunch at a place that seems all tourists came to eat and drink there.It's kind of a hotel that has restaurant,very basic.There's nothing much to order ,so what I got was "what they had",which was "age sandwich" (sandwich with omelette) The food was on Mr.Get but all drinks we have to pay ourself.I drank a lot ,prepare for the hike that will satrt soon.During having lunch all vehicle need to fill up all necessicty thing ,petrol ,food and water.They call this area "filling station"So during waiting (quite long) I walked around seeing the town a bit but didn't go far because stuck with local boys age around early twenties ,they had nothing to do so everyday they came to see tourists passing by here at this hotel.Some how hotel staff not allow them to enter the hotel area ,they waited just outide the fence,keep looking what faranji do.They tried to talk to faranji ,to practice their english to fulfill their dream to become a guide in the future otherwise if you are interested in them to be an amateur guide for you ,it will be very happy for them.They are friendly,we just talked things ,we asked about their lives ,they asked ours,they are smart ....can speak english quite ok.I think they have potential to be a good guide in the future.
We can use toilet at the restaurant, there's only one toilet with flushing system and there's enough water for flushing and wash hand.They even provide soap for washing hand!. It's cleaner than expected because there's a staff cleaning from time to time.
There's no electricity in the socket any where around so charged camera well the day before or prepare extra battery cuz from this point only nature and nature and so beautiful that everybody want to take picture almost all the time and before we realize ....there's no more battery !.
My first day arriving Debark and we immediately started to hike.After driving up for a while ,I think half way.We left the car and started to walk,that was around noon.Our driver and chef continued driving up until the campsite to drop our backpack and prepare our dinner and put up tent for us,everything should be ready when we arrive.
Only our guide and scout walked with us.The sky wasn't so clear ,look like there wil be raining any moment.That's what I was worried the most .Temperature in November on 3,000 m.up Semien Mountains wasn't quite cold.I expected lower temperature.Anyway walking here we have to prepare for all kind of situation,it can be hot ,cold and rain in 1 day so prepare for all season up there. Not long after start walking ..it start raining,but not long.We walked under grey sky for about 3-4 hours until arrived the Sankaber campsite.It was around 30km if driving from bottom to sankaber.Mr.Get said that we walked for about 10km.today.
The first pic was where we started to hike,Mr.Get called to campsite to prepare everything.
2. ..you can see how the track look like,it's the track that local used in their daily life as well so we have chance to meet some of them .The one walking in front was my guide ,Mr. Get.We walked on the trail which most of the time was along the cliff's edge.It wasn't that scary for the height fear person.You can see from picture.The road in the center of picture is the park road ,we walked along it from time to time.
3-5 Walked deeper into mountains area ,it's so beautiful .
After passing the gate,the terrain ascend up and up ,the road twist and turn,the scenery around me was so beautiful ,with the green and brown colour of rocks.Only mountains and mountains around.
My plan was...I need vehicle to send me up until a certain point and then start to hike.I don't have time to start the hike from the bottom ,which somebody did, but really need time and good physical condition.
My accomodation will be "tents" for 3 nights,and will sleep in 3 different camp sites.
How people will hike here is different.It depends on the hikers and the time they have together with good physical condition.The hike can be varies from 1 day to 20 days .Why 1 day....possible..?..Yes... for people who want to just take some glimpse of Simien mountains by car (better by 4x4) ,that was very easy to do.They just drive up and down the mountain within half day (have to pay for park fee as well).The pictures I showed were the pictures I took along the park road during ascending,not start the hiking yet and you can see already the spectacular scenery .
First picture...That's the gate of national park.There's a security guard waiting to check some documents of cars and also passengers but it seems not so serious.We just said hello to him,he came to look and I guess because of Mr. Get is the man of the town so they respect him and the procedure was just nothing more than to say hi and go.
2.Scenery along the way ascending.
Debark ..before today ..for some people they may consider that this town is just nothing than a very small road side village but by now (2013) I think the road construction shoud be finished (last year 2012 still doing as in my pictures) And after road construction finish the town should be much better than before and because it's closest town to the Semien Mountains National Park, and is the location for the park headquarters ,so the town should be more and more lively.
Town's location is on the Gondar-Massawa trade route;by the early 19th century its market was important enough to be one of six in Ethiopia requiring a nagadras ("head of the market") to manage and collect the fees.The revenue from taxes levied on the marketplace paid the governor of Semien province.Now still we can see how big the market is,even the moment I passed the town was not market hour but still I can see many people and stalls sellling almost everything we need.My sun glass was broken so I asked my new guide from Debark to stop along the way so I can see the market a bit but he just let me wait in the car and asked someone to show me the glass right at my window ,the reason can be 1. he's worried about my safety,2. it might delayed if let a "woman" keep shopping right? So I got my new sun glass while waiting in the car withing 10 minutes.It's a good one and very cheap 40Birr.
Road construction project progressing slowly from central to the north.It now arriving Debark as you can see from the pictures.Debark now is like a small village that stretch 2 km.along road number 3 ,it's about 90km north of Gondor and the size of town grow bigger than before,with the estimated population of 75,000.It's in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, and an elevation of 2,850 meters above sea level.
It is the closest town to the Semien Mountains National Park, and is the location for the park headquarters.
The Imet Gogo summit (3926 m) is the best observation point in the Simien Mountains as it offers spectacular views in all directions. This is a good place to spot Walia Ibex, we saw some on the cliffs below. Imet Gogo is about an hour walk from the Gich camp.
Just before reaching the promontory we came out of the bushes and had this special view at the steep escarpment just in front of us.
Here must be the waterfall... and it was the place, but there was no water coming down at the moment of our visit.
You can recognize, where the water normally is falling down. Though there was no water, it was very worthwhile to make the walk because of the fantastic surroundings, the steep escarpments and the promontory nearby.
Back at the dirt track there is a path leading back to Sankaber along the escarpments. You can walk this route within a few hours.
We started our trek a few hours walk east of Sankaber. First we walked to promontory and waterfall. We took a shaded rather easy going path descending a bit from the dirt track. The views from the promomtory were breathtaking. We had splendid views in several directions. Maybe it can be a problem for people having fear of heights.
You have to take the same path back in the direction of the dirt track. This climbing path was a bit more tiring during the hottest time of the day. You can do this walk, both ways in one or two hours, depending your speed and the duration of your stay at the promontory.
On our way to the starting point of the trek we had allready so many fantastic views from the plateau into the valleys. So even when you don't make a trek it's allready fantastic and worthwhile to go up by car and find yourself some beautiful places to spend your time, enjoying the views.
Also at the plateau it can be very hot during the day, so look for some shade. At night it can be very cold.
I was not only interested in the fauna of the Simien Mountains, like the walia ibex and the gelada baboon, but also in the flora.
The most striking for me at the plateau were the heather trees. In my home country I live in an area with a lot of heather fields. You can walk on the heather there, but here in the Simien Mountains you can walk under the heather. I experienced this before on Madeira island and the Canaries islands, but it's still amazing.
I didn't see the Abyssinian rose, an ivory-coloured endemic flower, you can find along the way in the park.
At our first stop in the Simien Mountains National Park we could allready experience how steep the escarpments were, by walking to the edge. Here we saw allready the first ''bleeding heart'' baboons, the so-called geladas with the red chest.
I was excited, finally I reached this park, where I had allready liked to go for years. And of course I was not disappointed at all.
The massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. The dramatic landscape of the Simien Mountains is consisting of several plateaus separated by wide valleys. The jagged peaks, the deep valleys, the steep escarpments of about 1500 M, the views at the pinnacles make the landscape breathtaking. The Simien Mountains are an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Before we reached Sankaber we made a stop to enjoy the first long distance views to the north.
We visited the Simien Mountains with our own transport. There is a gravel road from Debark to Sankaber. At Sankaber you can camp and there are basic dormitories, a toilet, a generator, but no cooking facilities.
From Debark you can also walk to Sankaber in one or two days. If you have only one day or a few days, it is advisable to hire a car to go up in a few hours and to start your trek at the plateau.
On our way from Debark to Sankaber in the highlands we had a flat tyre. We decided to have our lunchbreak there. First a boy herding some cows came to have a look at us from some distance. Later more kids came walking from different corners over the fields in our direction. First they were a bit shy, but after a few minutes they were curious enough to come closer and to meet us. At the end everyboby liked to be photographed. For the pictures of these kids have a look in my travelogue.