Ethiopia's Endemic Wildlife Small Group Tour - 30 October - 13 November 2020
Ethiopian wolf on the hunt, Sanetti Plateau, Bale  
The Gelada Experience, Simien Mountains  
Starck's hare, Bale Mountains NP  
Walia ibex, Simien Mountains  
Endemic Thick-billed ravens, Simien Mountains  
White-cheeked turacou, a near endemic  
Ethiopian wolf on Sanetti Plateau  
Ethiopian wolf mother and cubs, Bale Mountains National Park  
Big-headed mole-rat, the Ethiopian wolf's favoured prey  
Guenther's dikdik  
The plucky, endemic Rouget's rail, Bale Mountains National Park  
Abyssinian roller, Awash National Park  
Mountain Nyala, Dinsho, Bale Mountains  
Geladas in the Simien Mountains  
Bale monkey in Harenna Forest, near Bale Mountain Lodge  
Hyena-feeding in Harar  
Walking on Sanetti Plateau among Giant lobelias, Bale Mountains NP  
Abyssinian catbird, Africa's finest songster, Bale  
Honey collectors, Harenna Forest, Bale Mountains NP  
White-bellied bustard, Awash NP  
4-wheel drive vehicle, Dinsho, Bale Mountains NP (Derek)  
Beisa oryx in Awash (Helen)  
Rosy-patched bush-shrike, Awash (Helen)  
Butterflies at a mud wallow, Awash (Helen)  
15 day tour
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Tour Highlights

  • Ethiopian wolves, Bale monkeys, Big-headed mole rats and more in Bale Mountains National Park
  • Gelada monkeys, Walia ibex and raptors in Simien Mountains National Park
  • Beisa oryx, Soemmering's gazelle, Gerenuk, Swayne's hartebeest and wonderful birds in Awash National Park
  • Endemic birds including Blue-winged goose, Rouget's rail and many more
  • Attending a Hyena-feeding event in Harar
I'm enquiring about: Ethiopia's Endemic Wildlife Small Group Tour - 30 October - 13 November 2020

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I'm enquiring about: Ethiopia's Endemic Wildlife Small Group Tour - 30 October - 13 November 2020

Ethiopia's Endemic Wildlife Small Group Tour - 30 October - 13 November 2020

Discover Ethiopia's fascinating assemblage of endemic mammals and birds with us on this small group set departure at the end of October 2020. The Ethiopian Highlands are well known for being almost like an 'ecological island' of sorts, with a fair number of mammals and birds being found only there.
These include some of the rarest mammals on Earth, such as the charismatic Ethiopian wolf, the global population of which is hovering around the 400-odd mark. There's also the Walia ibex, which, while increasing in numbers, is still very rare with a population of around 500 individuals. As neither of these species is held in captive breeding programmes anywhere in the world, the only place you can see them is in their awe inspiring Ethiopian mountain homes, which are the Bale Mountains and Simien Mountains National Parks respectively. 
During your time in these national parks, which boast some of Africa's finest mountain scenery, you'll get to know some other interesting mammals, such as the iconic and very distinctive Gelada ('bleeding-heart') monkeys of the Simiens, the world's only primates that graze. (The 'gelada experience' is fast becoming quite popular, as sitting among sometimes very large groups of these sociable primates as they chatter and graze, is memorable. 
In Bale Mountains, you can seek a far rarer, more skittish and localised primate, the recently described Bale monkey, which frequents bamboo groves in Harenna Forest. While there, you'll be able to seek Mountain nyala, Meneliks bushbuck and the comical Big-headed mole-rat, which is a favoured prey item of the gravely endangered Ethiopian wolf. 
Also included in this tour is a sojourn to eastern Ethiopia, where we visit Awash National Park to seek Horn of Africa dry-country wildlife and birds:
mammals include Beisa oryx, Soemmering's gazelle and the scarce, endemic Swaynes' hartebeest. Awash is on all birding itineraries to Ethiopia thanks to an immense species list. Noteworthy among its avian denizens are 7 species of Bustard, so we'll be looking out for some of these. We also visit Harar, to witness one of Africa's (if not one of the world's) most bizarre wildife-related spectacles - the nightly Hyena-feeding events held on the outskirts of this city. There's nothing else quite like it anywhere!
Keen birders can expect to chalk up a substantial list of lifers, especially if you are a first-time visitor to the Horn of Africa. In terms of scenery,
you'll be treated to mind-blowing montane scenery; lush forests, the Rift Valley lakes, the dry savannahs of Awash and more. We will also include talks by people involved in conservation programmes on the ground, at the sites of biological interest that we will be visiting, so that guests can not only see, but also understand, the complexities involved with wildlife conservation and well-being of permanently resident communities around the parks.
The tour ends with a visit to the fascinating Melka Kunture Archaeological Site, visited on the way to Addis Ababa from Lake Langano. This makes for the perfect end to a very different African wildlife tour!
Group size: minimum 6, maximum 10. 

Day 1
30 October 2020: London Heathrow or Manchester to Addis Ababa
Take the overnight Ethiopian Airlines flight from London Heathrow or Manchester to Addis Ababa.
Day 2
Day 2
31 October 2020: Welcome to Addis Ababa!
On arrival into Bole International Airport, purchase your Ethiopia visa (US$50) and collect checked baggage. You will be welcomed and transferred to Jupiter International Hotel to stay overnight with breakfast included.
Relax for the morning. After lunch at the hotel, we visit the National Museum to see among other exhibits, the remains of 'Lucy', one of the earliest known hominids. We also visit the recently opened Botanical Gardens.
Accommodation: Jupiter International Hotel Bole
Day 3
Day 3
01 November 2020: Attendance of Hyena-feeding in Harar
Today, we transfer to the airport after an early breakfast for the flight to Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia. On arrival, we will be met by our driver and taken on the very scenic 90 minute road transfer to the walled city of Harar.
We stay overnight in the Rowda Waber Cultural Guest House, with all meals included. Just after dark, we will be taken for one of the most bizarre wildlife experiences to be had anywhere on earth - attendance of the nightly Hyena-feeding events on the outskirts of the city. (It is incredibly unusual and unforgettable).
Accommodation: Rowda Waber Cultural Guest House
Day 4
Day 4
02 November 2020: Horn of Africa wildlife in Awash National Park
We drive on to Awash National Park, to stay a night in the Awash Falls Lodge with all meals included. During our time in this interesting park, we'll be looking for the Horn of Africa wildlife which frequents the area - this includes ungulates such as Beisa oryx, Soemmering's gazelle, the rare and endemic Swayne's hartebeest and Salt's dik-dik. Carnivores such as Cheetah and Caracal are much less often seen. The four resident diurnal primates are not hard to find, notably Anubis and Hamadryas baboons; Colobus and Grivet monkeys.
Awash is part of all birding itineraries to the country, with a checklist of 453 species - highlights include no less than seven Bustard species (it is a good site for the increasingly scarce Arabian bustard - this family is best sought in the grasslands of the Allideghi Plains). Among the parks' better-known avian attractions are large numbers of beautiful Northern carmine bee-eater; colourful Abyssinian roller; Nubian woodpecker and at night, Slender-tailed nightjar. Three large and interesting terrestrial birds we'll look out for are Somali ostrich, Secretary-bird and Abyssinian ground hornbill. Some other notable species we'll look for are Abyssinian scimitar-bill; Somali fiscal and Somali bunting.
Accommodation: Awash Falls Lodge
Day 5
Day 5
03 November 2020 - Awash National Park - Addis Ababa
We enjoy the morning exploring Awash Falls National Park. After lunch at the lodge, we make a game and birding drive out of the park and then continue back to Addis Ababa (drive time 3 hours), where we stay overnight in the Jupiter Hotel with breakfast included.
Accommodation: Jupiter International Hotel Bole
Day 6
Day 6
04 November 2020 : Addis Ababa - Gondar (flight)
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport to check in an hour prior to the departure of the flight to Gondar. On arrival, we'll be met and transferred to the hilltop Goha Hotel where we stay overnight with all meals included.
We'll take a relaxed tour of this town, including a stroll around the totally unexpected castles of the Royal Compound - here, birding is usually good, delivering endemics such as White-collared pigeon, White-billed starling and White-backed black tit. We'll enjoy lunch at one of the country's most appreciated restaurant, Four Sisters.
Accommodation: Goha Hotel
Day 7
Day 7
05 November 2020: Gondar - Simien Mountains National Park
After an early breakfast, we drive about 2 hours to the Simien Mountains National Park, where our base for two nights is Africa's highest-lying hotel, owned by our friend Nick Crane. We stay in comfortable en-suite gojos (chalets), all meals included.
Today we'll visit the beautiful sub-Afroalpine zone area around Sankaber Camp. From here trails lead to some awe inspiring viewpoints. We will almost certainly be able to have the 'Gelada Experience' today - this park, which has some of Africa's finest mountain scenery, is best known for its large and thriving population of these iconic and very distinctive primates, which for a long time were classified as baboons. They are the only primates which graze, and it is not impossible to sit among up to 100 or more of them as they chatter and graze on the escarpment.
We will also meet a member of the Gelada Research Team, who will come and deliver a presentation at dinner tonight, so that we are able to learn about challenges facing conservation in this part of the country.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge
Day 8
Day 8
06 November 2020 - Walias and raptors - deep into the Simien Mountains
We take a drive deep into the national park today, to Chennek up in the Afroalpine zone proper. Our main mammalian target in this area is the endangered Walia ibex, the population of which is about 500, with none held in captivity anywhere. So the only place you can see them is in this park.
We'll see more Geladas and some wonderful birdlife, especially raptors, notably Lammergeiers, which to the delight of birders, are commonly seen up here.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge
Day 9
Day 9
07 November 2020: Simien Mountains - Gondar - Addis Ababa (flight)
After the morning enjoying more of the Simien Mountains, we take the 2 hour drive back to Gondar airport to check in for the late afternoon flight to Addis Ababa. Here we are welcomed and transferred to Jupiter International Hotel, where we stay overnight with breakfast included.
Accommodation: Hara Langano Lodge
Day 10
Day 10
08 November 2020: To Bale Mountains National Park (flight)
After breakfast, we transfer to Addis Ababa Airport to check in an hour before the thrice- weekly flight to Goba, the access airport to the Bale Mountains National Park
Here our drivers meet us and take us to the park HQ by Dinsho, where we'll collect our permits and do the easy walk there to see the endemic antelopes for which this park is well known. Topping the list is the Mountain nyala, which numbers some 2,500 globally and which has its stronghold here. At Dinsho, in the Hagenia and Juniper woods, they are easy to see and photograph. Also often seen here are Menelik's bushbuck. Warthog and Serval.
We then continue over the bleak Afro-alpine moorlands of Sanetti Plateau - the 'Roof of Africa' - and down an escarpment into the beautiful Harenna Forest, where our accommodation for the next 3 nights, Bale Mountain Lodge, is located. We stay here on a full board basis.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 11
Day 11
09 November 2020 - Sanetti Plateau excursion
After breakfast at the lodge, we drive up to Sanetti Plateau to seek the enigmatic Ethiopian wolves, an icon of this area. Critically endangered and possibly numbering only some 400 individuals, again with none held anywhere in captive breeding programmes, this striking species is the rarest of all the world's canids. There is something truly special about making that eye-to-brain connection with these rarities.
Up in the moorlands here, we will also look for the endemic Big-headed (Giant) mole-rat; Starck's hare, and various endemic birds such as Blue-winged goose, Spot-breasted lapwing and Rouget's rail.
We overnight in Bale Mountain Lodge with all meals included.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 12
Day 12
10 November 2020: Harrena Forest
Today, we explore the very beautiful Harenna Forest, which holds sought-after wildlife such as the recently described, bamboo-dependent Bale monkey. Its other denizens include very unusual forest-dwelling lions; Giant forest hog and many evergreen forest birds, from the stunning White-cheeked turacou to the Abysinnian catbird, arguably Africa's finest songster.
We overnight in Bale Mountain Lodge with all meals included.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 13
Day 13
11 November 2020: Bale Mountains to Lake Langano (Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes region)
We depart Bale Mountain Lodge after breakfast. (Keen birders can make an early morning forest walk before breakfast, for the dawn chorus). The journey takes us back up over the Sanetti Plateau, providing another chance to seek the wolves - and we pass Dinsho again, before heading north to Lake Langano for an overnight stay in the lovely lakesideHara Langano, with all meals included.
Accommodation: Hara Langano Lodge
Day 14
Day 14
12 November 2020: Lake Langano to Addis Ababa via Melka Kunture Archaeological Site
We depart after breakfast and an early morning bush walk, back to Addis Ababa, with a stop at the fascinating Melka Kunture Archaeological Site, At this fascinating place, you will see the interactive museum built by the Oromia Culture and Tourism Commission, backed by the EC. Exhibits showcase and provide information on prehistoric Africa; geology and volcanology; paleoanthropology and the prehistory of Melka Kunture. The 'open air museum' includes the excavation of two Acheulean sites that have been dated to 0.8 million years BP.
In Addis Ababa, we have the use of day/evening rooms (for those flying back to the UK on Ethiopian Airlines tomorrow). We arrive in time for a farewell dinner at Habasha-2000 restaurant.
In the later evening, we will be transfered to Bole International Airport where we bid our tour leader and driver farewell. We will check in for the flight back to either London or Manchester, departing around 01h00 the next morning.
Accommodation: Jupiter International Hotel Bole
Day 15
13 November 2020 - Departure (reluctantly)
Depart on the Ethiopian Airlines flight back to London Heathrow or Manchester.

Pricing Information & Dates

15 day tour, from £5295 per person
Price Includes
Return international Ethiopian Airlines flights from London Heathrow (or Manchester) to Addis Ababa (economy class seating)
Internal Ethiopian Airlines flights
Airport taxes
Airport facilitation
All transfers and transportation in 4-wheel drive vehicles.
Services of your dedicated, professional, experienced, English-speaking Ethiopian tour leader throughout
Services of drivers
All excursions and activities as per the itinerary
Park guide/ranger fees and park permits/entry fees
All accommodation and all meals as outlined.
Mineral water in the vehicles
Price Excludes
Ethiopia visa (US$50, issued on arrival)
Personal items (drinks, gratuities, phone calls, laundry, travel insurance)
Any meals not included (lunch and dinner in Addis Ababa)
Price Notes
Single room supplement £845

Tour Route Map

  1.   Addis Ababa
  2.   Harar
  3.   Awash National Park
  4.   Gondar
  5.   Simien Mountains
  6.   Bale Mountains
  7.   The Ethiopian Rift Valley

Accommodation on this Tour

Awash Falls Lodge
Awash Falls Lodge
Awash National Park, Ethiopia
Awash Falls Lodge 1km south of the national park gate and in a lovely location facing the Awash Falls, this rustic 25-room property is our accommodation of choice for visitors to Awash National Park.......
Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
Bale Mountain Lodge At an elevation of 2380 metes above sea level in the middle of the stunning evergreen Harenna Forest and fronted by a small river in Bale Mountains......
Goha Hotel
Goha Hotel
Gondar, Ethiopia
Goha Hotel Goha Hotel in Gondar was privatised some years ago and its big selling point is its superb location on a hilltop from where there are lovely views over the town.From the terrace and the......
Hara Langano Lodge
Hara Langano Lodge
The Ethiopian Rift Valley, Ethiopia
Hara Langano Lodge Our accommodation of choice at Lake Langano, the recently re-branded and refurbished Hara Langano is on the eastern side of the lake and is a perfect place at which to stop after......
Jupiter International Hotel Bole
Jupiter International Hotel Bole
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Jupiter International Hotel Bole Jupiter International Hotel (Bole branch) is one of two Jupiter hotels in Addis Ababa. Just 2km from Bole airport, this is our preferred branch of the Jupiter......
Rowda Waber Cultural Guest House
Rowda Waber Cultural Guest House
Harar, Ethiopia
Rowda Waber Cultural Guest House If staying overnight in Harar, Rowda Waber Cultural Guest House is your best choice of accommodation: it gives the opportunitiy to stay within the walls of the old......
Simien Lodge
Simien Lodge
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Simien Lodge is currently the only accommodation in the Simien Mountain National Park which is listed as a World Heritage site because of the incredible views and the endemic animals.

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