Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sauntering through the Simien Mountains

The Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia are famous for being the home to the Gelada baboon.
It's also called the bleeding heart baboon for the red patch of skin on the chest, which is especially noticeable on the large males. 
They are herbivorous animals (and are therefore not aggressive like the Chacma baboon) and quite used to humans wandering amongst the troop, providing you  don't get too close.
Canon EOS 5D MkIII, 70-200mm + 1.4 EF Extender
Sunrise over the Simiens. What you see here are the remnants of the high plateau, harder rock standing 1000 feet above the valley floor. It's a spectacular sight in daylight - even better just before sunrise.
Canon EF 70-200mm + 2X Extender @ 400mm, tripod, Cloudy White Balance (to make the colour come out stronger).

At some points this is very reminiscent of Monument Valley in the US, but it is much larger!
Hazy ridges shot on the way back down from 3200 metres to the junction turning for Axum .
Canon EF 70-200m lens + 2X Extender
National Parks guide hooning about, leaning on a large rock overlooking the valley below
I think the two guards were amused at so many cameras clicking away
View from the ridge down into the valleys below the Simien Mountains
Our second guard sporting an ancient kalashnikov assault rifle, a relic from the 17-year civil war that eventually gave Ethiopia freedom from its communist Derg.
Gelada baboons preening each other
A mother gelada baboon putting up with the antics of her tiny baby
Macro shot of the Abyssinian rose

Academy Tour to Ethiopia Group Shot

I could not resist this group shot.
In Ethiopia it's normal to have several guides and armed guards when visiting the Simien National park
And here are the park guards and the guide larking about at 3200 metres, overlooking the escarpment.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

What Ethiopians eat for breakfast

Breakfast is important wherever you are.
This is Ethiopian injera, a dish served for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
It consists of a large pancake made from tef flour which is fermented then cooked on a huge griddle plate onto which are dolloped many vegetarian dishes including dall, spinach, salad, beetroot, potato, chick peas and more. Very tasty.
Herbs and pulses in the local market in Bahir Dar
Raw tumeric
Dried red chillies
Local ladies selling their home grown veggies in Bahir Dar markets. 
All the produce looked exceptionally fresh and high quality.