The Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia is particularly noted for its troops of gelada baboons, mistakenly called enchilada baboons by one of our group, a misnomer which stuck – hence the title of this post! Our first encounter with these fascinating creatures came shortly after we entered the park. Alerted by a strange noise, which turned out to be the exhaust falling off our truck, the crew had stopped. While they were fixing it, we took the opportunity to take some photos of the stunning scenery. Suddenly, a huge troop of baboons came over the ridge and across the field in front of us. What a spectacle! They weren’t at all fazed by our presence and continued on their way as if we weren’t there. We had plenty of chances to photograph them as they paused to groom each other.
Bini, our guide from Simien Experience, told us that there are five troops of gelada baboons in the part of the park we were
in, each of which consists of around 350 baboons, made up of 20 – 25 families or bachelor groups. They sleep on the cliff faces to escape their predators (hyenas, jackals and leopards) and emerge onto flat ground in the day. They are creatures of habit – out and about between 7.30am and 6pm, roaming up to 5km, and returning to the same sleep site each night.