Sunday, 1 February 2015

My first postcard from Ethiopia

Simien National Park
24 Nov 2014 | From Kate of Ethiopia

The postcard shows a view of the Chennek and Imet Gogo in the Simien Mountains National Park. They are some of the most spectacular spots for trekking route through the Simiens - a UNESCO World Heritage site blessed with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. It is also home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world.

The Simien National Park, located in northern Ethiopia, was formed massive erosion over millions of years and has created such a spectacular landscape of mountains and valleys.

The site is located in the western Simen Mountains, 120 km north-east of Gondar in Begemder Province, north-west Ethiopia. With its abundance of creviced basalt rock, Simen serves as an ideal water catchment area, replenished by two wet seasons and the Mayshasha River, which weaves its way north to south through the national park. Consequently the park is rich in a wide range of wildlife and vegetation.

The Simen region has been inhabited by human settlers and cultivators for at least 2,000 years. Today it is surrounded by old cultural centres such as Aksum, where over 100 hand-carved stone monoliths (stelae) can be found, Lalibela and Gonder, where curious 15th-century churches and palaces still stand. Erosion indicates that cultivation first started on the gentler slopes of the highland valleys but later extended onto steeper slopes. Simen is at the crossing of old trade routes and records of various local features were made in the 18th and 19th centuries.


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