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Ethiopia – Mammals and Birds



Mammal and birds tour: mammals, birds, scenery & photography


Addis (Ethiopia) – circular tour – Addis


Likely mammals include Ethiopian Wolf, Gelada and Hamadryas Baboons, Grevy’s Zebra, Mountain Nyala, etc plus endemic birds such as Rouget’s Rail and Spot-breasted Plover.


from cool at night to hot during the day.


hotels with private facilities, travel in 4x4 vehicles.

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa, with the Great Rift Valley at its centre with stunning scenery and one of the oldest sites of human existence in the world! With around 924 species of birds of which 23 are endemic and 279 species of mammals, Ethiopia offers a truly mouth-watering experience.  Our tours in 2014 and 2016 both came home with 45 species of mammal seen plus over 350 birds including many species endemic to the Horn of Africa and some great owls and bustards.

After taking our experiences and client feedback from the first two tours into account we have modified the itinerary this year to eliminate three of the long drives and enable us to spend more time in the Bale Mountains, around Bilen and in the Awasa area.

Our tour will take us across an astonishing range of scenery from the high plateau of the Bale Mountains to the dry and arid plains of Awash National Park.  We will start the tour in the Debre Birhan area where we can expect to find approachable troops of the spectacular Gelada Baboon. Our next port of call is Debre Zeit south-east of Addis Ababa, where if time permits, we will explore the lakes at 1,920 metres (6,300 ft) on route to Awash.  Awash National Park covering 756 km² offers fabulous birding and mammal-watching.  Mammals in the park include Abysinnian Hare, Common Warthog, Beisa Oryx, Soemmerring’s Gazelle, Northern Lesser Kudu and Harar Dik-dik. Grivet Monkey and both Olive and Hamadryas Baboons are present in the surrounding riverine forest and/or nearby gorges. Bilen and Ali Dege Plains are the next ports of call to look for Northern Gerenuk, Ethiopian Rock Hyrax, Arabian Bustard and Somali Ostriches. Largely protected, the numbers of ungulates here normally exceed the numbers in Awash and may include Grevy's Zebra. African Golden Wolf and Black-backed Jackals can both be expected here, Aardwolf was seen on one of the recces and we saw Striped Hyaena twice on the 2016 tour.  

We then drive to Lake Langano for birds and our first Guereza Colobus. From here we move onto the Bale Mountains and our first stop Dinsho and the Gayshay Grasslands where we will look for for Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck, Bohor Reedbuck, Serval and three species of owl. We also had the bonus of a black Leopard here on our 2014 tour. We then begin our ascent onto the Sanetti Plateau. The scenery here is spectacular with gigantic lobelias towering like colossal giants over the tussock grassland.  These grasslands hold an array of rodents which in turn feed numerous raptors and mammals including the rarest world’s canine: Ethiopian Wolf (Simien Fox).  Here we will also hope to find Ethiopian Klipspringer and Starck's Hare and the strange looking Giant Mole-rat and several conspicuous rodents that provide ample food for the wolves.

Descending from the plateau we will enter the lush Harrena Forest where we hope to find the restricted-range Bale Monkey along with the more widespread Guereza Colobus and Yellow-spotted (Bush) Hyrax. We will spend two nights in the new Bale Mountain Lodge which will give us the opportunity to spend a time in Harrena Forest early and late in the day. This will give us the opportunity to look for Bushpig and a variety of forest mammals and birds. Giant Forest Hog and African Wild Dog both occur in the area although we would be lucky to see them.  

Having reached our southernmost point we will return north across the Sanetti Plateau and visit the nearby Sof Omar caves which are home to a number of species of bat. Heading back west we will make a further stop at Dinsho and the Gayshay Grasslands before heading for Awasa for two nights.

We will spend a morning around Lake Awasa looking for Hippopotamus and Gambian Sun Squirrel and there is also an outside change of Cape Clawless Otter here. Birding is also excellent here with large numbers of water birds likely to be seen. In the afternoon we hope to visit Senkelle for Ethiopian Hare, Sudan Oribi and Swayne’s Hartebeest before returning to Awasa for the night. Our final morning will find us in Abiata-Shala National Park looking for Bright’s Gazelle and other mammals before driving back to Addis Ababa for our early morning flight home.

Please note, due to client feedback, we have upgraded the standard of accommodation for the majority of this tour.

Day 1: Depart London Heathrow in the evening, approx. 2100.

Day 2: Arrival Addis approx. 0800, and then drive to Debre Birhan for a one-night stay. Overnight at Eva Hotel in Debre Birhan.

Day 3: Drive to Awash National Park, afternoon game drive and spotlighting. O/n Awash Falls Lodge.

Days 4: Morning and afternoon game drives Awash, o/n Falls Lodge.

Day 5: Morning drive in Awash. Drive to Bilen, o/n Animalia Lodge.

Day 6: Full day in Bilen and Ali Dege, o/n Animalia Lodge.

Day 7: Full day in Bilen and Ali Dege, o/n Animalia Lodge.

Day 8: Drive to Lake Langano, o/n Bishangari Lodge, Langano.

Day 9: Early morning Bishangari, drive to Goba, late afternoon around Dinsho and Gayshay Grasslands. O/n Wabishabelle Hotel, Goba

Day 10: All day drive across Sanetti Plateau and on into Harrena Forest. O/n Bale Mountain Lodge Harrena.

Day 11: All day Harrena Forest. O/n Bale Mountain Lodge

Day 12: Morning drive across Sanetti Plateau returning to Goba early afternoon. Afternoon visit to Sof Omar bat caves. O/n Wabishabelle Hotel, Goba.

Day 13: Morning Dinsho and Gayshay Grasslands. Afternoon drive to Awasa. O/n United Africa Hotel.

Day 14: Morning around Lake Awasa, afternoon Senkelle National Park and return to Awasa. O/n United Africa Hotel.

Day 15: Morning visit to Abiata-Shala National Park before heading back to Addis. Day room Jupiter International Hotel.

Day 16: Depart Addis in the early hours, approx. 0125, arrive into Heathrow approx. 0600. 


Abysinnian, Ethiopian and Starck’s Hares

Gambian Sun Squirrel

Striped and Unstriped Ground Squirrels

Crested Porcupine

Yellow-spotted and Black-clawed Brush-furred Rat

Blick's Grass Rat

Giant Mole-Rat


African Wildcat (seen in 2014)

Caracal (seen in 2014)

Serval (three seen in 2016)

Leopard (seen in 2014)

African Golden Wolf (formerly lumped with Golden Jackal)

Black-backed Jackal

Ethiopian Wolf (Simien Fox)

Bat-eared Fox

Slender Mongoose

Cape Clawless Otter

Guereza Black-and-White Colobus

Gelada, Hamadryas and Olive Baboons

Bale and Grivet Monkeys

Common Warthog



Northern Gerenuk 

Bright's and Soemmerring’s Gazelles

Harar Dik-dik

Ethiopian Klipspringer

Sudan Oribi

Defassa Waterbuck

Swayne’s Hartebeest

Sudan Oribi

Mountain Nyala

Northern Lesser Kudu

Menelik’s Bushbuck

Bohor Reedbuck

Beisa Oryx

Common Duiker

Grevy’s Zebra

Ethiopian Rock and Yellow-spotted (Bush) Hyrax


Selected birds

Wattled Ibis

Blue-winged Goose

Arabian, Kori, Hartlaub’s, Northern White-bellied and Buff-crested Bustards.

Rouget’s Rail

Spot-breasted Plover

Abysinnian, African Wood and Cape Eagle Owls

Black-winged Lovebird

Yellow-fronted Parrot

Abyssinian Ground Thrush

Sombre Rock Chat

Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.

Dates:  11th – 26th March 2017

Leaders:  Nigel Goodgame plus local guides.

Cost:  £4495 per person sharing a twin room.

Single supplement: £275

Deposit: £800

Group size: 8 plus leader using three 4x4s

Price includes: International economy class flights including pre-paid taxes, all ground transportation in 4x4s, accommodation with private facilities and meals (breakfast only Addis), park entry fees, services of WildWings leader and local guides. Mammal and bird checklist.

Price excludes: Travel insurance, laundry bills, drinks, other items of a personal nature, gratuities to local guides and drivers.

NB This trip is costed at £1 = $1.40. Hopefully after the June 2016 UK EU referendum, the exchange rate will improve again and we will review the pricing.   


    Tour Leader

    Nigel now lives in Norway, has been a keen birder since childhood. He is one of the founder members of the Neotropical Bird Club.

    Learn More

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‘Very good, lots of good memories’ 

S & M.O’D Ethiopia Mammals and Birds J.T. April 2016


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