We left Gondar and we headed north as we wanted to visit the magnificent Simien Mountains National Park, which is the best place in Ethiopia for trekking, admiring stunning panoramas (plateaus and peaks reaching over 4000m) and also it is home of the intriguing gelada baboons, which we really wanted to see.
The road leading north was sort of difficult (no wonder that tourists prefer fly from Addis to Axum). Almost as soon as we left Gondar the tar run out. As we followed the ever ascending dusty track it was winding and twisting through the hills. The worst parts were the curves, and we must have gone through thousands of these there! There was no straight bit in sight for the whole drive and each curve had its surface washed out from the torrential downpours so it was like going through an old-school washing board made out of kerb stones… all this driving in 2nd gear max 40km/h. As we ascended higher and higher the air was getting thinner and thinner and Rusty was getting ever fewer oxygen delivered to the engine so it was no point in stressing the engine to go any faster. Sometimes we passed eminent signs of oncoming development of these remote areas… as well as the Chinese expansion in Africa – teams of local road builders lead by Chinese and utilising Chinese machinery. And for some reason our Chinese „friends” didn’t like to have their photos taken… As we neared our destination, well above 3000m above sea level (3 times the height of Ben Nevis!) we encountered packets of thick fog. As we descended into the grey darkness of their fluffiness and suddenly one of them was simply blown away by the not-so-strong wind we realised something – we were driving in the clouds!
We finally never reached Siemens Mountains National Park as the weather was getting worse and we were worried about our Rusty. We stopped in Kossoye – really small village on the mountain edge. We camped in Kossoye Eco Lodge, which was absolutely beautiful and seriously eco and environmentally friendly. We were sleeping in the small mud field in front of luxurious rooms, which we paid 10 USD for, per car (after half an hour price negotiating over the phone with the manager, who wanted to charge us much more for only parking our cars in the mire). People who were working there were very nice. They made a fire to warm us up. It was pleasant evening, although it was cold and raining .
The weather next morning was absolutely beautiful, so we decided to do half a day trekking in the mountains (It wasn’t the National Park, but it was still in the Siemien Mountains, where views were incredible amazing). Anyway, the walk was great – spectacular scenery and plenty of gelada baboons, which kept safe distance between us.
Short video from trekking – lots of gelada baboons
In the afternoon the weather changed again and it was cloudy and rainy later on. We decided to turn around and head back toward our next destination Bahir Dar and Lake Tana
Photos from the road
The road full of winding curves