Rockingthisworld - Ethiopia - Debark

    We woke up bright and early at 06:45 eager for the adventure to begin and enjoyed what would be the last shower in over a week. Despite a bit of a rough start with a mild food poisoning for breakfast (which gave some unsuspecting local villagers a white-man-purging-show) and what felt like rally driving the first curvy section up from Gondar (until we asked the driver to calm down), we made it in one piece to the registration office where we picked up our chef, scout and guide.

    While I was still a pale shade of green-white, we were so excited to finally leave the main roads and head upwards into the mountains on dirt roads. We rode in a nice 4x wheeler, but even in the best of cars a dirt road in the making will be a bit bumpy – especially with 5 adults on-board. As we got higher and higher, the views got nicer and nicer and I felt increasingly better. The guide suggested that I ride with the car all the way to the camp rather that join Maria in the intended 2-3 hour acclimatization hike since I was still a bit reduced from the food poisoning (and we would not be able to get more food before we reached the camp), but there was no way I would sit this one out.

    And, man, am I glad I didn’t. Being a bit weary and hungry at 3200 meters (just a few days after flying from our home at sea level), even the smallest inclines required enormous effort. However, the fresh mountain air was a delight compared to the bumpy car ride and the views were spectacular! There were lush, flower-covered and wild canyons as far as our eyes could see. In the middle of a meadow we encountered a gathering of more than 100 “baboons” (they are called baboons, but researchers have established that, genetically, they're actually monkeys). The baboons were busy minding their own business and couldn’t care less that we approached them. In fact, this group of baboons was especially used to humans since an American research team was shadowing them. One of the researches took her time to talk to us and explain what they were doing and how, and pointed out a new born baby, a dominant male and how the different family groups gathered together in big groups like the one we had stumbled across. As long as we didn’t disturb the baboons, the researches allowed us to get really close (1-2 meters) to shoot some pictures. I was so excited and awe struck by these beautiful animals that my eyes teared up. You can check out some of the pictures I took below.

    During the rest of the trek we encountered even more baboons, some ravens, rare eagles, vultures and Bush buck antelopes. I had expected great views of mountains, but was not prepared for such animal richness. Almost like being on a safari (which I cannot wait to experience some day)!

    After locating our tent, making ourselves comfortable and getting a big portion of late lunch in our camp, Maria and I took a walk to explore our surroundings on our own. We had a great time breathing fresh air, taking in the scenery and looking for more animals. In addition to seeing another Bush buck, we also found and followed 3 Klipspringers, for a while. They were very shy, but I managed to snap a picture of one of them. Fun!