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Walia IBEX

Walia IbexThe habitat of the Walia Ibex is the High Semien, Ethiopia dramatic high mountain terrain. In the earth long history of violent geographical change, the most recent volcanic upheavals took place in eastern Africa, followed by torrential rains which created the thousand gushing waterfalls which in turn eroded away the newly formed mountain massive, creating the great gorges and gully which are so typical of the region. South west of Axum the land descends gradually southwards toward the Takeze river. At the lip of the gorge at about 1,400 metres (4,600 ft.) one can look across the chasm to a similar plateau beyond. On top of this plateau, adorned with steep turrets and bastions rising in three distinct steps, is perched the north wall of the Semyen.

The mountain massif is a broad plateau, cut off on the north and west by this enormous single crag over 60 kms. (40 miles) long and 1,000-1,500 metres (3000-5000 ft.) high. To the south the table and slopes gently down to 2,200 metres (7,000 ft.) divided by deep gorges 1,000 metres deep and taking two days to cross. Time has not yet been sufficient to soften the contours of the crags and buttresses of hardened basalt. As far as the eye can see looking north from the escarpment, the fused volcanic cores stand starkly defying the elements. Overhead stretches the vast dome of a sky of the deepest blue, which spreads downwards as clear as sapphire to the mauve of the horizon.