It was just after sunrise in the Simien Mountains, a collection of peaks in northern Ethiopia, when I heard rustling coming from a thicket of tall grass.
Seconds later, a troop of stocky, baboon-like primates called geladas came screeching out of the brush and weaved, like a school of fish, towards a nearby cliff.
I froze and watched the animals – males, females and babies – jump over the precipice at full tilt. It looked like mass suicide.
A few moments later, a rival group of geladas burst from the grass, howling and flashing incisors big enough to make a lion blush.
When tempers settled, I snuck towards the cliff’s edge, expecting to see a collection of dead primates on the valley floor. Instead, the jumpers were calmly scrambling across a nearly sheer rock face, chatting – geladas have a 20-word vocabulary – and munching on tufts of grass jutting from the bluff.
It was just one of many cliff-side acrobatic routines I saw during a hike through the Simien Mountains, a rugged, untamed range that is fast becoming one of Africa’s most popular trekking spots.
While the peaks are tucked away in a remote corner of Ethiopia, a reported 24,000 people visit every year, lured by stunning vistas and wildlife not found anywhere else on the planet.
Read more at: The Straits Times