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Entries from October 31st, 2007

Gondar and the Simien Mountains

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In Ethiopia, the most widespread mountain ranges on the highlands are the Simiens, which lie straight north of Gonder and mount to the fourth highest peak in Africa, Ras Dashen (also known as Ras Dejen), whose height is usually given as 4,620m.

Combined with a visit to Ras Dashen:

• The castles and churches of the ancient capital of Gondar
• The rock carved churches of Lalibela
• The island monasteries on Lake Tana

During the rainy season crops grow well on the rich volcanic soils of the highland plateau but roads are very muddy. From September to June the weather is much drier and so the recommended time to visit Ethiopia is most likely between September and Christmas.

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Bale Mountains

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The Bale Mountains (they are also known as the Urgoma Mountains) are a range of mountains in the Oromia Region of southeast Ethiopia, south of the Awash River.

The Bale Mountains comprise:
• Tullu Demtu, the second-highest mountain in Ethiopia (4377 meters), and
• Mount Batu (4307 meters)
• The Web River, a tributary of the Jubba River, rises in these mountains east of Goba
• The Bale National Park covers 2,200 square kilometers of these mountains

Many Ethiopia’s endemic animals shelter in The Bale Mountains. These include:

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Ras Dashen

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For many Ethiopia is seen as dry and sandy land. But in contradiction this country is full of wonderful mountains of which one is Ras Dashen (alternatively Ras Dashan or Ras Dejen). It’s the highest mountain in Ethiopia.

Ras Dashen

The widely-quoted elevation of 4,620 metres is inconsistent. A more recent DGPS Franco-Italian survey measured a slightly higher elevation of 4,549 metres, which agrees more closely with the most recent elevation supplied by the Ethiopian mapping authority.
Ras Dashen is the highest mountain in Ethiopia, and the highest of the Simien range, a group of eroded mountains that rises gorgeously from the surrounding 9,000 foot plateau in northern Ethiopia.

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Ethiopia: Semien Mountains

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The most extensive mountain ranges on the highlands are the Simien Mountains, which lie directly north of Gonder and rise to the fourth highest peak in Africa, situated about 100km north of Gonder to the east side of the Axum road.  The Simien Mountains is one of Africa’s largest rages, studded with at least a dozen peaks topping the 4,000m mark. Other notable heights include: • Mounts Biuat (4,437 m) and
• Abba Yared (4,460 m)
 These comprise Ras Dashen (also spelt Ras Dejen), the highest point in Ethiopia and the fourth highest peak in Africa.
 The western side of the range, excluding Ras Dashen, was designated as the Simien Mountains National Park in 1969, and the entire range was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The major attractions here are spectacular scenery. Besides, you will have the opportunity to see three of Ethiopia’s four endemic large mammal species in the area: • The Walia Ibex,
• Gelada Baboons and
• A few Ethiopian wolves
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The Semiens are remarkable as being one of the few spots in Africa where snow recurrently falls.
Despite their ruggedness and altitude, the mountains are scattered with villages linked by tracks.

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