36 – Trekking the Simien Mountains
Fri 1st Jan, “Lodge”, Simien Mountains National Park
Took the 8am local bus out from Gonder to Debark (4hrs, 30 birr). The bus ride included a couple of scares where the bus stalled and needed fixing. On reaching Debark, we waited outside the tourist information centre / park headquarters till they re-opened at 1.30pm. Initially the HQ people said that it was not possible to leave at that time, since it is too late to arrange all the logistics. Fees were 90 birr per day per person, 40 birr for the mandatory Scout. Besides that, a Guide costs 120 birr and a Cook would cost 75 birr. Further costs would include mules, their handlers, cooking material, tents, and maybe some arrangement for 4WD hire. After consideration, we decided to go ahead for 3D2N, with one Scout. We will not camp, instead will pay 40 birr per night at two lodges along the way. Our target would be Sankaber, over the 2 days. Any further up will require camping since there would be no other lodges.
The terrain was spectacular, covering hills and valleys, bypassing villages. The first day didn’t see us spotting any interesting. Though i was completely exhausted by the time we reached the lodge, no thanks to me carrying extra unneeded weight. Reached the lodge just after dark, it was effing cold, my nose was running and we had no gear. All we had amongst the two of us were 20 hard boiled eggs, some biscuits, and 10 packs of instant noodles (with no cooking material). We had leftover injeera from this afternoon’s breakfast, but i passed on it. And so, after 4 hard boiled eggs, i went to sleep at 8am, effing cold. Altitude: around 3260m.