One of the things we were most excited about doing in Ethiopia was going on a multi-day trek in Simien Mountains National Park. We had heard about week long treks in a stunning mountain setting, camping in the wilderness and sharing it all with troops of Gelada baboons.
We had even bipassed seeing the fascinating castles of Gondar so that we would have enough time for a good long hike… that and the fact it was raining like hell when we arrived in Gondar. Sadly though, the weather did not adhere to our plans- it would not stop raining!
But, as we hitchhiked through the mountains, from Gondar to Debark, we got a little taste of just how incredible this part of the country was.
And seeing the intense green of the mountains, life bursting from the saturated ground, showed us just how rewarding it can be travelling out of season. Yes, we were disappointed to not be able to trek because of the bad weather, where you could barely see 10 feet in front of you up in the mountains, but man was it beautiful. And a complete contrast to the draught and poverty ridden image of Ethiopia so often portrayed in the media. It’s amazing how many people believe that the whole of the African continent is a dry wasteland when this is so far from the truth.
Northern Ethiopia is green, wet, and utterly breathtaking.
As we trundled along, mile after mile in the bed of a Isuzu truck, we were amazed at how many people were walking these same roads on foot. They seemed to appear from no where and who knows where they were headed, with no visible towns in sight. From little kids to old grandpas, the sodden roads were full of life. Life that would wave and smile as we road past.
It was by far the most scenic drive I’ve ever been on- we just sat back and took it all in. Bus journeys are actually one of my favourite things about travelling and this particular journey was very special. The incredible green, the rising, craggy peaks and the roads just a tiny sliver of civilisation running through the raw beauty of it all.
Plans do not always go, well, to plan. But, if there is just one thing I have learned from travelling, it is to make the most of the situation that you find yourself in. If you quickly get over disappointments and accept your new fate then you will enjoy yourself so much more and often see things you would not have otherwise. We wanted to do a five day trek to Chenek but instead we got a 12 hour truck ride and probably saw a much larger area of the mountains anyway. The only disappointment I have is not seeing any baboons! But… there is always next time!
Tell me about your travel plans gone awry and how you made the best of them…