Bale Mountains National Park
Bale Mountains National Park contains one of the richest habitats in Ethiopia’s alpine heights. The five distinct vegetation zones make it the best place for viewing a broad cross-section of the country’s unique wildlife including the rarest Ethiopian wolf, Majestic Mountain Nyala, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Giant Forest Hog, Giant Mole Rat, and Bale Monkey. The northern section of the park is dominated by the Gaysay Grassland, the best place to spot Mountain Nyala among other species. The woodland is offering a great opportunity to walk through unspoiled habitats teamed with wildlife. The otherworldly Sanatte Plateau often referred to as the air in the sky is the world’s largest expanse of Afro-alpine moorland with an average elevation of 4000m. It is the best place to look for the most endangered carnivore in Africa, the Ethiopian Wolf. The spectacular Harenna escarpment that runs from east to west divides the national park into two and is the largest cloud forest in Ethiopia. In addition to its immense importance to mitigate global warming. Harenna is home to the Bale Monkey, Serval, Leopards, and Lions. The Bale Mountains are recognized as one of the prime birding destinations in Africa. Bale is endowed with many wonders- the extraordinary Sof Umar Cave, the amazing shrine of Dire Sheik Hussein, and above all the hospitable Oromo People.
Leave Addis Ababa via the Arsi Highland areas, home to the famous long-distance Ethiopian runners including the legendary Haile Gebre Silasse, Derartu Tulu, Fatuma Roba, Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, and many more. This road is less crowded and shorter than the other alternatives. We would be in the Bale Mountains National Park Head Quarter in time for the late afternoon hiking through the northern woodland habitats and proceeding onto the beautiful Habera Water Falls/Fincaa’a Habeeraa for an overnight stay. The shores of the Web River, specifically near the Habera waterfall are a great place to look for wetland birds. Today we will expect to see the endemic Mountain Nyala and Menelik Bushbuck as well as Warthogs, Bohor Reedbuck, and Olive Baboon. Also, we will expect to see many higher elevation endemic bird species including Rouget’s Rail, Thick-billed Raven, Blue-winged Goose, Abyssinian Long Claw, White-collared Pigeon, Yellow-crowned Canary, Red-breasted Wheatear, White-backed Tit, Cape Eagle-Owl, Abyssinian Long-eared Owl, Spot-breasted Plover, Abyssinian Catbird, Montane White-eye, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, and Black-winged Love Bird.
Overnight Camping at Habera.
Today we will trek for about 5 hours through web valley onto the photogenic Adelley Forest, one of six remnant patches of dry Afromontane forest dominated by indigenous tree species of Juniperus procera and Hagenia abyssinica at a lower elevation, and Rappanea simensis and Hypericum revolutum near the upper tree-limit. Today we are expecting to spot the endemic Ethiopian Wolf. The valley is an important pocket for this iconic species. The forest patch hosts many birds including the Abyssinian catbird, white-backed black tit, yellow-fronted parrot, and gold-mantled woodpecker. Like the Gaysay area, Adellay Forest is a great place for game viewing and photographing fauna such as the endemic Mountain Nyala and Menelik’s Bushbuck. We may have also a chance to spot the woodlands’ elusive animals such as the serval. We will have a picnic lunch somewhere in the wilderness enjoying the stunning scenery and fresh air. We will be at the Adelley campsite in good time to enjoy the view before sunset. Overnight Camping at Adelley.
After breakfast, we will leave Adelley and retrace back to the Gaysay Grassland, the best place to spot Mountain Nyala among other species. Then, head onto Sannete Plateau. Venturing up onto the plateau, we will encounter a habitat of rolling grasslands and moorland, punctuated with often dense pockets of the giant Lobelia L.rhyncopetalum and carpets of everlasting flowers such as Helichrysum splendidum, stands of Artemisia afra, and the bizarre thistle Echinops longisetus with its startling red flowers positioned on strange four meter long stems. The star of Sanette Plateau undoubtedly is the Ethiopian Wolf-the rarest canid in the world hunting the abundant rodent population including the Giant Mole rat. Apart from serving as the wolves’ food, the high abundance of rodents (13 species) in the area attracts many species of raptors. The nearby Tullu Dimtu peak at 4377 m is the second highest summit in the country next to Ras Dashen. We will have our picnic lunch overlooking the stunning Harenna escarpment from the Tuluqe viewpoint. We will descend onto the Harenna Forest, the only cloud forest in the country. Late afternoon, leave the pristine forest and the ’air in the sky’ habitat to stay overnight in Goba. Overnight Goba Wabe Shebelle Hotel.
After breakfast leave Goba for Addis Ababa with a brief stop at Gaysay Grassland with a treasured memory of the Bale Mountains National Park, arriving in Addis Ababa early evening.