The Simien mountain constitutes one of the major mountains in Africa. The region includes many summits above 4,000 meters and culminates in the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras dashen, at 4,543 meters(14,904 feet), the fourth highest mountain in Africa; the reason for which is considered the roof of Africa.
The geological description of the area, somewhat more prosaic then the above quotation by Rosita Forbes, says the Simien massif is a “volcanic pile now bounded by gigantic erosion precipices on almost all sides.” In addition to spectacular scenery, the region contains a number of unusual botanical phenomena and some of the rarest animals in the world. The Walia Ibex has its citadel among the peaks of the Simien; the last 500 to 700 individuals of this species survive there.
The Simien Fox, also very rare, is found nowhere else but in these mountains and in the highlands of southern Ethiopia. The Gelada, a primate which looks like a cross between a baboon and a lion, is another exclusively Ethiopian species which lives in this habitat. Probably about nine of the twenty-three species of birds which are endemic to Ethiopia are found in the Simien.