Catch A Glimpse Of Rare Wildlife At This National Park In Africa

While many tourists choose to go on safari in countries like Kenya and Tanzania, there are rare and fascinating wildlife viewing opportunities in the less-visited Ethiopia. One of the best places to find these native species is the Simien Mountains National Park in the north of the country. The importance of its spectacular location as well as its phenomenal biodiversity means that it was one of the first locations classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also rated as a top 100 "Must-Visit National Park" in the world by

The park forms part of the Ethiopian highlands and here you can see Ras Dejen, the tallest mountain in the country, standing at 14,930 feet. It is also one of just a handful of places in Africa where it snows. Due to this unique landscape, the park is home to Walia ibex, a type of mountain goat that you'll never see anywhere else. The wildlife can be seen from a safari vehicle or by the more popular option of trekking through the park.

The wildlife of Simien Mountains National Park

Apart from the Walia ibex, Simien Mountains National Park contains other rare species that you may come across. It is home to the Ethiopian wolf, the most endangered carnivore in Africa, which is also known as the Simien fox. Another animal you're likely to see here is the gelada, as the park is a stronghold for this grass-grazing monkey.

Other mammals that can be found here include the olive baboon and Hamadryas baboon. Klipspringers, bushbucks, hyenas, golden jackals, and leopards can sometimes be seen, but they are rare. There are 180 bird species to see here, with six of those being endemic to the park, like the Ankober serin, the Abyssinian catbird, and the thick-billed raven. Impressive raptors worth whipping out your binoculars for include the bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the tawny eagle. Dedicated birdwatchers can use Avibase, the World Bird Database, to mark off the species that can be seen gliding across Simien's undulated vistas.

How to find wildlife in Simien Mountains National Park

Just like in any national park, some of the wildlife is easier to find than others, but the more days that you spend here, the more you'll discover. Going with a guide is your best bet of spotting wildlife, as their professional knowledge and expertise will steer you in the right direction. With bird-watching, in particular, it may be more difficult to spot birds during the wet season, from June through August.

Trekking trips usually start from the park headquarters, located in Debark. Guides and other provisions can be booked directly from there. As many of the hikes are multi-day, you will need a tent and other trekking equipment.

While there are not as many animals that will harm you as there are in other national parks, it is wise to exercise caution. This is another reason why you should consider trekking through the park with a guide: Their advice is invaluable as they know how to behave around wildlife and how to avoid any potential dangers that may occur. It's also a great way to expand your knowledge about Ethiopia's rare wildlife and creatures that most of the world doesn't even know exist!