Ethiopia – Mammals and Birds
AT A GLANCE
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 two 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 Libanos 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 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. We have one full day and another half day on the plateau and a further half day back at Dinsho for any species we may have missed on our way to Goba.
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 previous client feedback, we have upgraded the standard of some of the accommodation for this tour, we now use the best available in the areas being visited, however some of the accommodation, particularly Animalia Lodge and the Turaco Hotel is ‘simpler’ than accommodation elsewhere on the tour. (Rooms are with private facilities throughout).
Day 1: Depart London Heathrow in the evening, approx. 2100
Day 2: Arrive Addis. Transfer to Hotel Ghion to check into rooms. Drive to Debre Libanos. Lunch and afternoon Debre Libanos and Solulta Plains and return to Hotel Ghion for the night.
Day 3: Pre-breakfast walk around hotel. Drive to Awash via stop at Debre Zeit if water levels permit. Lunch Nazret or Awash depending on water levels at Debre Zeit. Night Awash Falls Lodge.
Days 4: Morning Filwoha Hotsprings. Afternoon Mount Fantalle. Night Awash Falls Lodge.
Day 5: Morning around Awash then drive to Bilen Plain. Afternoon visit to Ali Dege. Post dinner spotlighting near lodge. Night Animalia Lodge.
Day 6: Morning Ali Dege Plain. Afternoon Hotsprings north of Bilen including spotlighting back to lodge. Night Animalia Lodge.
Day 7: Long drive to Langano. Lunch in Nazret on route. Night Haro Lodge.
Day 8: Early morning Haro Lodge then drive to Dinsho for owls and Serval. Continue to Goba for two nights. Night Goba Wabe Shabelle, Goba.
Day 9: Morning Sanetti Plateau. Afternoon Dinsho or Sof Omar Bat Caves depending on what we still need to see at Dinsho. Night Goba Wabe Shabelle, Gob
Day 10: All day crossing Sanetti Plateau. Evening spotlighting Harrena Forest. Night Bale Mountain Lodge.
Day 11: Morning Harrena Forest. Long afternoon drive to Negele. Night Turaco Hotel.
Day 12: Morning and afternoon drives/walks to look for birds and mammals in Negele area. Night Turaco Hotel.
Day 13: Long morning drive to Awasa. Afternoon Senkelle National Park. Night United African Hotel Awasa.
Day 14: Morning around Lake Awasa. Afternoon drive back to Addis and transfer to day room at Jupiter International Hotel.
Day 15: 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
Yellow-spotted and Black-clawed Brush-furred Rat
Blick's Grass 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)
Ethiopian Wolf (Simien Fox)
Cape Clawless Otter
Guereza Black-and-White Colobus
Gelada, Hamadryas and Olive Baboons
Bale and Grivet Monkeys
Bright's and Soemmerring’s Gazelles
Northern Lesser Kudu
Ethiopian Rock and Yellow-spotted (Bush) Hyrax
Arabian, Kori, Hartlaub’s, Northern White-bellied and Buff-crested Bustards.
Abysinnian, African Wood and Cape Eagle Owls
Abyssinian Ground Thrush
Sombre Rock Chat
Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.
Dates: TBC February 2020
Leaders: Richard Webb plus local guides.
Cost: c£4595 per person sharing a twin room
Single supplement: c£379
Group size: 6 plus leader and local guides using 4x4s
Price excludes: Travel insurance, laundry bills, drinks, other items of a personal nature, gratuities to local guides and drivers.
See the trip report section for our highly successful departures in 2014 & 2016.
TBC Feb 2020