When is the best time to go to the Simien Mountains?

The best time to visit the Simien Mountains is between October and March, with the clearest skies and warmest weather.  December, January, and February is the peak travel season, meaning the campsites could be busy, but you have the best weather conditions. The rainy season in the northern highlands of Ethiopia runs from June to August, with showers often extending into the first half of September. 

The shoulder season runs from April to the start of the rainy season in June. You won’t have any issues trekking in these months, but be prepared for cloudier skies and intermittent showers. From June to early September, rainfall increases significantly and temperatures drop. Whilst it is still possible to do treks, most people tend to avoid the Simien Mountains during these months. 

When to go to the Simien Mountains

Simien Mountains Seasonality

Best trekking conditions: October to March

The dry season begins in October which also marks the start of the peak travel season that runs until April. If you travel in October or November, the Simien Mountains (and much of the country) are verdant and colourful with grasses and flora in full bloom following the rainy season. There will likely be fewer trekkers around during these months, but temperatures will be slightly colder. 

January and February sees peak visitors numbers to the Simien Mountains, and the best weather conditions for trekking. All campsites will be open for business, as will the Simien Lodge and Limalimo Lodge for those wanting some luxury.

People looking at views in the Simien Mountains

Shoulder season: April - May

April is the start of a transition period in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. You can expect cloudier skies and intermittent, sometimes heavy, showers in the mornings and afternoons. These showers become more frequent as you head into May. 

Generally, conditions hold up for trekking. Campsites and lodges are still open for business in the Simiens, and there will be fewer other trekkers around. 

Landscape in the Simien Mountains

Rainy season: June - September

The rains begin in June and can persist through to August, even creeping into the first half of September. You won’t be able to camp in the mountains during these months as all campsites are closed. Limalimo Lodge is closed from mid-July until the end of August (but remains open in June). Simien Lodge remains open year-round and can be a nice spot to enjoy the mountains without many other people around, and a good launching point for exploring the mountains if that’s the only time of year you’re able to make it.

If you’re trekking during these months, be prepared for heavy showers and overcast skies. Mists can often obscure the views during these months. Where possible, you’ll want to avoid longer treks in the Simien Mountains during the rainy season. 

Landscape in the Simien Mountains
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Which season is best for wildlife?

The famous Gelada Monkey, Walia Ibex, Ethiopian Wolf, and birdlife of the Simien Mountains can be seen year-round. Sightings of Geladas are all but guaranteed, as they have become accustomed to humans. Walia Ibex are harder to find, particularly on misty days. Your best chance for seeing Walia is around the Chennek campsite. Birdlife in the Simiens is abundant, but of course clearer skies make for better sightings. 

The endemic Ethiopian Wolf is seldom spotted in the Simiens. The size of the park combined with the limited population make sightings very rare. If you want to see Ethiopian Wolves, your best bet is to take a trip to the Bale Mountains in the south of the country.

Gelada Monkey in the Simien Mountains

Seasonal Rates

Campsites, lodges, scouts, guides, support staff and vehicle costs all have seasonal prices. Costs are higher in the peak trekking season (October - March), and lower in the shoulder and rainy season (April - September). 

Landscape in the Simien Mountains

When is the best time to visit the Simien Mountains?

When is the best time to visit the Simien Mountains?

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