Walking with the wild things: Paul Gains discovers an abundance of extraordinary wildlife; Paul Gains; Herald Scotland

Ethiopia – Simien National Park

TWILIGHT had enveloped the Simien Mountains, high up on the roof of Africa, when a series of high-pitched screams pierced the cold night air. The din increased. Shifting position on the rocks where I was seated, I waited patiently.

There was movement to my left and, as my eyes adjusted to the dark, a troop of some 100 Gelada baboons suddenly appeared from the plains below, heading towards the rocky cliffs for the night. As they nimbly descended the rock face and entered the caves for protection from hyenas, leopards and wolves, they squabbled amongst themselves.

The dominant male bared his enormous canine teeth and, for nearly half an hour, chased away bachelors before each baboon found its own shelter and quiet was restored. This phenomenon, I learned, is a nightly occurrence in the Simien Mountains.

Ethiopia may be overshadowed by wildlife tourism.

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