Like Blue Nile Falls, the Semien Mountains are at their most beautiful during or just after Ethiopia's rainy season, when they are lush, green and wet. Thankfully, I happened to venture into them on a perfectly sunny day, there the cobalt sky provided the perfect counterbalance to the golden grasses atop the hills. Anyway, the Semiens superficially resembled South Africa's Drakensberg, which I saw in full emerald regalia. I wasn't missing out, not really.
To be sure, I spotted at least 200 baboons, which is more than most day trippers can expect to see, even if the full range of wildlife that lives deeper in the mountains (most people camp at least one night here, many much longer) was lost on the brevity of my own visit. In the end it had been worth sacrificing a day in Gondar, though it made me curious about how Lalibela would sit with me.