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The Simien Mountains became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, and mammals to be found here include walia ibex, gelada baboon, caracal, lammergeiers, plus a handful of Ethiopian wolves.

Covering much of the Begemir region and formed by volcanic eruptions some 20-30 million years ago, this rugged mountain range lies in northern Ethiopia, northeast of Gondar, and is a place of dramatic scenery. The highland area, whose highest peak reaches 4,543 metres, is one of the few places in Africa to get regular snow.

In addition to the breathtaking scenery, the Simien Mountains National Park is home to some of Ethiopia’s most iconic endemic mammals, alongside fantastic birdlife and flora that includes six-metre-high giant lobelias and fabulous stands of red-hot pokers. The park is best known for its population of geladas and, with an estimated population of 7,000 individuals, is regarded as something of stronghold for the species. With their thick golden mane and heart-shaped red chest, these magnificent animals are typically found in family groups of 20-30 individuals but often come together in mega-troupes of over 500 animals. 

The area is home to traditional nomadic and rural populations, who survive in this harsh climate with few natural resources.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: caracal, Ethiopian wolf, gelada baboon, lammergeier, walia ibex
  • Where: Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Ethiopia: A Unique Wonder

Join award winning environmental photojournalist and conservationist Ben Cherry on a trip through three very unique locations in Ethiopia: the Simien Mountains, Lalibela and Bale Mountain National Park, and discover an entirely different take on African wildlife photography.

  • When to go: Nov
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Ethiopian Wildlife Extravaganza

This wonderful introduction to Ethiopia takes you to each of the country’s major cultural highlights and provides you with the chance to see superb wildlife, such as gelada baboon, Menelik’s bushbuck, mountain nyala and one of the world’s rarest mammals - the Ethiopian wolf - all in stunning scenery.

  • When to go: Jan-Jul, Sep-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,195 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Wolves & Baboons of Ethiopia’s Highlands

Ethiopia offers a wonderful array of unique wildlife species. This suggested itinerary begins in the picturesque Simien Mountains where you can enjoy huge herds of charismatic gelada baboons and walia ibex, before travelling to the spectacular Bale Mountains, in search of the endangered Ethiopian wolf.

  • When to go: Oct-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Simien Lodge

Situated at an altitude of over 3,260 metres in the Simien Mountains, this is the highest lodge in Africa. Accommodation consists of 26 rooms in thatched tukel roundhouses, sympathetically constructed in traditional style using local materials. Gelada baboons are regular visitors to the grounds.