The Walia Ibex
The combination of poaching and habitat loss from agricultural expansion have led to a sharp drop in the numbers of Walia Ibex left in the wild.
The animals have a white belly, a brown coat, and large, backwards-reaching horns - often more than a metre in length.
The horns are used for fights between males for dominance, where horns clash with incredible force. Females also have horns, but they are smaller. Males weigh between 80 and 125 kilograms.
Walia Ibex are social animals that live in herds of 5 to 20, although the more mature males often partially detach from the main group and only fully return to the herd for mating season. This generally takes place in late autumn and early winter.
Their habitat is mountain forests and grassy subalpine plains, and they spend their days grazing on a mix of herbs, shrubs, grass and other vegetation, often travelling up to 2 kilometres per day in search of food.
Walia Ibex are one of a number of fascinating animals to be found in the Simien Mountains - whose dramatic contours were described by Homer as the ‘chess pieces of the gods’ - with others including mountain Nyala, Gelada Monkeys and Ethiopian Wolves.
While endangered, efforts are being made to boost their numbers, and tourism has a role to play. By providing a steady stream of revenue and employing local people, tourism incentivises the preservation of natural environments rather than their destruction for economic purposes.
Meet the Walia Ibex on these tours
Historic North and Luxury Lodges
Experience Ethiopia's northern circuit in style. Explore the incredible highland scenery, visit ancient monuments, discover unique cultural traditions, and break up your journey at luxury lodges set amongst incredible backdrops.…
- 12 Days
Trekking in the Simien Mountains
Discover the beauty of the Simien Mountains with this one week trekking adventure. Our Brilliant local guides know all the hidden gems to get the most out of your time on the 'Roof of Africa'. Easy to incorporate into a…
- 7 Days
Classic Simiens Safari
The Simien Mountains are one of Ethiopia’s most stunning destinations. With its diverse flora and fauna, immense views and extraordinary geography, it’s an exceptional place that can be enjoyed by hardy trekkers and afternoon strollers alike. A couple of nights…
- 5 Days
Camping in the Simien Mountains
The classic 3-night camping circuit in the Simien Mountains. This trip is usually included as part of a wider itinerary in the country.…
- 4 Days
Simien Mountains and Northern History
This trip packs in a myriad of history, culture and some of the best scenery in Africa. Explore the palaces of Gondar, the world-famous rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, and the sweeping plateaus of the Simien Mountains. Leave enough time either…
- 7 Days
Historic North Circuit
Explore the Simien Mountains from a luxury lodge perched high in the escarpment, discover the architectural remains of ancient civilisations, and watch the sun set over the sandstone cliffs of Tigray. The Historic North Circuit is a flagship itinerary in…
- 12 Days
Historic North Circuit and Community Trekking
Fusing history, culture, landscapes and wildlife along a perfectly paced circuit, this trip is a synthesis of the very best experiences on offer in Ethiopia’s northern highlands. Explorations of the ancient cities Axum, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Lalibela are broken…
- 12 Days
2 Day Simien Trek
An introduction to the Simien Mountains, this 2 day trek takes you to some of the major viewpoints of the primary escarpment, with one night spent camping at the beautiful Gich campsite.…
- 2 Days
3 Day Simien Trek
This 3 day Simien Trek is the perfect introduction to the national park. Enough time to hike to all the major viewpoints, see the wildlife, and enjoy the beauty of these highlands.…
- 3 Days
4 Day Simien Trek
This 4 day trek in the Simien Mountains starts and ends in Gondar. Hike from camp to camp, across the sweeping plateaus and down into the valleys.…
- 4 Days
6 Day Simien Trek
6 days trekking in the Simien Mountains, across the vast plateaus and down into the valleys to discover some of the most exciting regions of the park. A proper wilderness escape.…
- 6 Days