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Ethiopia Simien National Park 2018 - trekking and tracking wolves with EWCP


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jeremie

Nick Crane message sent this morning on ST motivated myself to finish to edit my pictures from September 2018! It was a full Sunday selecting and editing pictures from my 7-days trip in Ethiopia, focused 100% on Simien National Park.

 

The first part of the trip was the classic, oustanding trekking from Simien Lodge to Chenek, sleeping 2 night at Sankaber and Geech. it's a marvelous trekking along the edge of the mountain, enjoying the scenary and hundreds of geladas grazing on the grasslands.

 

The second part of the trip focused on the rare Abysinian wolf. While most travelers and wildlife lovers go to Bale Mountain National Park, and especially Sanetti Plateau to see them, I contacted the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation program (EWCP) to try to meet their local team on the ground at Simien mountains, and eventually met with Getachew with is boys after crossing Bwahit Pass.

 

This trip concluded 3 weeks of safaris in Uganda and Rwanda in Ziwa sanctuary, Murchison Falls, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi, Volcanoes & Akagera protected areas.

 

The base before and ending the trekking was the confortable @Simien Lodge, the highest lodge of Africa! Another new, nice option is Limalimo lodge closer to Debark. 

 

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jeremie
Posted (edited)

Day 1:

 

The lodge picked me up at Gondar airport after a long and tiring night flights between Kigali and Bole airport at Addis Abeba, and a local flight to Gondar.

 

I took the time to visit Gondar castle, before driving to Debark where we took lunch. The scenaries were marvelous, with lush green grasslands and fields all along the road, covered with yellow flowers. 

At Debark we met with our ranger, and paid the permit to enter the national park.

 

On first day, I went around the lodge and started to meet my new friends, the Geladas...

I also met with a couple of Klipspingers the only one I would see during the trip

 

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jeremie
Posted (edited)

Day 2:

 

It's the beginning of the trekking, it's a short walk along the cliff between the juniper trees forest or in the grasslands. The view of the valley is astonishing. 

 

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Sankaber is probably the only place along the trekking where there is fair chances to spot Bushbuk. We tracked it around the camp and got it!

 

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jeremie
Posted (edited)

Day 3:

 

We got up very early and went to see sunrise from a viewpoint 5 minutes away the camp. Breathless...

 

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jeremie

We then started the trekking to Geech, the mules followed the road while the path for trekkers continues along the edge of the mountain.

 

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jeremie

Day 3:

 

It's probably the largest day of the trekking, first crossing the plains of Geech where there is a resident pack of wolves (but did not see them) to go to Imetegogo, and it's stunning viewpoint. The walk starts in a vast grassland covered with giant lobelias. And ends on a mountain ridge with a stunning point of view!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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jeremie

We then have to go down before going up again to a second mountain before reaching Chenek.

At the bottom between the two valleys, we spotted in the distance our first Walia Ibex. But the star of the days was undoubtly the gelada baboons, almost everywhere on the mountain...

 

 

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jeremie

We then went down in a stiff descent to Chenek camp, where we met again with our friends the Geladas...

 

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jeremie

Day 4:

 

The night was a bit cold at Chennek for us, and same for the geladas that sleep in the cliffs to protect themselves from predators such as common leopards and spotted hyenas.

They went up on the ridge to take a sunbath much needed and warm up before starting their favorite activity: grazing!

 

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jeremie

Today, we would meet with the jeep of the Lodge to cross Bwahit Pass and meet the EWCP team in another sector of the park.

We decided to climb up ourselves before the jeeps comes... We where lucky to find our first walia ibexes, mostly females...

 

 

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jeremie

The jeep eventually arrived, and we continued to climb up to the high Bwahit Pass, over 4300 meters high!

There was a large herd of old males walia, and again, some geladas.

 

 

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jeremie

We arrived soon after at the camp, put up the tent, and before lunch, met our first wolf! it was just hundred meters away down the lodge.

 

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jeremie

At this altitude it was quite hard to follow him, it always stayed in the distance. These wolves are clearly more squitish than Sanetti wolves. But accept the presence of humans in the distance. Unfortunately, they suffer from major disturbance, with herds of cattle inside their habitat, as well as fires. The good thing is that the pack of wolf persists in this area and breed!

 

In the afternoon, we spot our second wolf, eating in the distance a bone, that a lammergeier stole!

 

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jeremie

Day 5:

 

The night was freezing, I would be happy to take a hot shower before midday at Simien Lodge!

But before, we still have time to track wolves and enjoy the scenaries on the way back.

 

We say our third wolf just before Bwahit Pass in a dense giant lobelias valley.

 

 

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jeremie

We tried to follow him but quicly lost it. We presume it crossed on the other side of the mountain.

 

Just at the pass, we saw again some Walias Ibex!

 

 

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jeremie

I didn't do much in the afternoon, but stay with the emplees of the lodge to celebrate Meskel!  Meskel is a Christian holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches that commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress Helena (Saint Helena) in the fourth century.

 

 

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Alexander33

Beautiful photographs @jeremie.  Thanks for posting.

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gatoratlarge

Geladas in the Mist!  Great photos---beautiful people and the scenery is incredible.  So fortunate to see the wolves!!!  Africa is so diverse!

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shazdwn

Somewhere I really want to visit - thanks for the great photos

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