Unusual and Endemic Wildlife of Ethiopia
Ethiopian wolf - gravely endangered icon of the Ethiopian Highlands  
Menelik's bushbuck female and Tree hyrax, Harenna Forest  
Von der Decken's hornbill  
Guenther's Dikdik  
Endangered Walia ibex can be seen only in the Simien Mountains  
Giant lobelias on Sanetti Plateau, Bale (Derek)  
Less than 400 Ethiopian wolves remain today  
Walia ibexes and Geladas in Simien Mountains National Park  
Gelada monkeys are common in the Simien Mountains  
Juniper and Hagenia woods, Bale Mountains National Park (Derek)  
Big-headed (giant) mole-rat, Bale, the favoured prey of Ethiopian wolf  
Rouget's rail, Sanetti Plateau (Ariadne van Zandbergen)  
Endemic Starck's hare, Sanetti Plateau  
Blue-winged goose, Africa's sole true goose, is uniquely Ethiopian  
Abyssinian catbird - regarded by many as Africa's finest songster.  
The endemic Black-winged lovebird  
Another endemic is the White-winged cliff chat  
The spectacular Abyssinian ground hornbill  
Hippos and waterbirds, Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes region  
Mountain nyalas, Dinsho, Bale (Derek 2016)  
Thick-billed ravens, Simien Mountains  
12 day tour
Prices from
£4800 - £5320

Tour Highlights

  • Ethiopian wolves - the world's rarest canid
  • Sanetti Plateau - being on the Roof of Africa!
  • Fantastic birding throughout.
  • Rare endemic antelopes including Mountain nyala
  • Gelada monkeys and Walia ibexes in the Simien Mountains
  • Some of Africa's most impressive scenery
I'm enquiring about: Unusual and Endemic Wildlife of Ethiopia

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I'm enquiring about: Unusual and Endemic Wildlife of Ethiopia

Unusual and Endemic Wildlife of Ethiopia


Ethiopia's wildlife is unusual, to say the least. Its as if the Ethiopian Highlands in particular, are an 'ecological island', as they hold a reasonable concentration of endemic mammals, some of which are very rare or range-restricted. 

You start this itinerary with a quick flight to Gondar, site of the famed Fasalidas Castles in its Imperial Compound. This is the access airport to the rugged Simien Mountains, where you stay for two nights in the comfortable Simien Lodge. During your time here, you will be taken deep into the park to seek its iconic resident mammals, the highly endangered Walia ibex (only some 500 remain with none held anywhere in captivity) and the unmistakeable Gelada monkey, which you should see in fair numbers, even around the lodge. Scenery here is some of Africa's most breathtaking and the site is rewarding for birders too, particularly raptor enthusiasts.

Fly back to Addis Ababa from Gondar, and set off in a comfortable, air-conditioned 4WD vehicle southwards along a good road to the Rift Valley Lakes region with a stay at Lake Langano. You may see families of warthog, small antelopes including Dik-diks, baboons, and Colobus monkeys as well as pods of hippos and Nile crocodiles at the lakes. Lake Langano provides the ideal overnight stop to break the road journey to Bale Mountains National Park, the other main area focussed on during this individual tour.

In Bale Mountains National Park, explore widely varying habitats from lush evergreen forest to the bleak moorlands of the Sanetti Plateau.Seek out the endangered Mountain Nyala and the almost blackish Meneliks bushbuck around Dinsho and on the Sanetti Plateau, You will be able to look for the gravely endangered Ethiopian wolf, now numbering around 150 individuals globally, again with none held in captivity anywhere. In Harenna Forest, where Bale Mountains Lodge is located, you can look for very unusual, forest-dwelling Lions, Giant forest hog and the recently discovered Bale monkey, which feeds predominantly on bamboo.

Birders will be in their element here - Bale is rated as one of the continent's top 5 birding localities and many of the country endemics are present in fair numbers here.Please note: Bale Lodge and Limalimo Lodge in the Simien Mountains are closed annually because of the rainy season (July/August) so this tour should be done from September to June. Birding at the Rift Valley Lakes and in the Simien Mountains, is also superb.

Read more about this tour

Day 1
UK to Addis Ababa
Overnight Ethiopian Airlines flight from UK to Addis Ababa.
Day 2
Day 2
Arrival in Addis Ababa
On arrival in Addis Ababa your guide and driver will assist you and transfer you to the Momona hotel to stay overnight with breakfast included. Relax for the balance of the morning. In the afternoon, visit some of the capital city highlights, notably Mt Entoto Park overlooking the city.
Day 3
Day 3
Addis Ababa - Gondar (flight) - Simien Mountains National Park (drive)
Early transfer to the airport to check in for the 1 hour flight to Gondar. On arrival, you will be met and transferred 2 hours to Simien Mountains National Park, where you stay for two nights in Africa's highest-lying lodge, the Simien Lodge with all meals included. An introductory walk around the area should reveal the likes of the iconic Gelada monkey, the only primate in the world that grazes. Large numbers can be seen around the lodge.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge
Day 4
Day 4
Simien Mountains National Park
Your guide and driver will take you to high-lying Chennek, deep in the national park. This is one of the best sites in which to seek the highly endangered Walia ibex, which frequents rock faces here. It cannot be seen anywhere else, as it is not represented in any captive breeding programmes. Aside from some of Africa's most spectacular scenery, you'll also be able to see various raptors, such as Verreaux's and Golden eagles, and with them in the thermals, endemic Thick-billed raven among other birds.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge
Day 5
Day 5
Simien Mountains National Park - Gondar
After seeing beautiful Sankaber in the sub-Afroalpine zone, travel 2 hours back to Gondar where you stay overnight in Mayleko Lodge with all meals included.
Accommodation: Mayleko Lodge
Day 6
Day 6
Gondar - Addis Ababa (flight) - Lake Langano (Rift Valley Lakes region)
Transfer to Gondar airport to check in for the quick early morning flight back to Addis Ababa. On arrival, travel in your comfortable air-conditioned 4WD vehicle about 4 hours south along good roads, to the Rift Valley Lakes region to stay overnight at the relaxed lakeside Sabana Lodge, all meals included. Sunsets here are pure African magic, as the birdsong chorus cross-fades into the sound of hundreds of thousands of frogs.
Accommodation: Sabana Beach Resort
Day 7
Day 7
Lake Langano - Bale Mountains National Park
After breakfast, drive to Dinsho in the Bale Mountains National Park, to collect your park permits. Take an exploratory walk in the surrounding Juniper and Hagenia woods just outside the park HQ as this should easily reveal two endemic antelopes: the Mountain Nyala (population approxinately 2,500) was one of the last large antelopes to be discovered in Africa and is endemic to this part of Ethiopia. The less gregarious, almost blackish Menelik’s bushbuck is also easy to see. Woodland birding here is superb. Ascend to Sanetti Plateau, which you cross on Africa's highest-lying road and then descend to the luxuriant Harenna Forest, where your accommodation for three nights is the splendid Bale Mountains Lodge, all meals included.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 8
Day 8
Bale Mountains National Park - Sanetti Plateau
Take an excursion on Africa’s highest-lying road to the bleak Afro-alpine moorlands of the Sanetti Plateau. This area holds the largest concentration of the remaining 400-odd Ethiopian wolves, now critically endangered with none held anywhere in captivity.
Because the wolves are habituated and diurnal, they often allow for good photo opportunities. Sleek and animated, these wolves are the world's rarest Canids. Just as interesting, is its main prey item, the endemic Giant mole rat, which somewhat resembles a large marmot or gopher.
Birdlife includes several endemic moorland-dwelling species such as Africa’s only true goose, the Blue-winged goose. Raptors abound.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 9
Day 9
Bale Mountains National Park - Harenna Forest
A dramatic escarpment separates the various sectors of Bale Mountains National Park, which, as its proprietor Yvonne Levene aptly points out, is an 'experience' rather than just a visit. (That's why one needs at least three days here).
The beautiful tropical Harenna Forest, in which Bale Mountains Lodge is located, is a treasure trove for naturalists. Harenna is as yet poorly inventoried, but does hold some rare wildlife such as the recently described, highly localised Bale monkey. (Lucky visitors also see Lion).
Evergreen forest birdlife is exceptionally diverse here, as is other wildlife.
Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge
Day 10
Day 10
Bale Mountains Lodge - Lake Langano
Drive back upcountry to the Rift Valley Lakes region where you stay overnight at Sabana Beach Resort, Lake Langano. All meals included.
Accommodation: Hara Langano Lodge
Day 11
Day 11
Lake Langano - Addis Ababa
Spend the morning sightseeing with your guide in the Rift Valley Lakes area. Drive back to Addis Ababa after lunch. You have the use of a day room at Momona Hotel. Evening transfer after dinner at a local restaurant, to Bole Airport for the Ethiopian Airlines check in. (Most flights depart in the early hours of the following morning. (If yours is a later departure, overnight in Momona Hotel with breakfast included).
Day 12
Departure: Addis Ababa - London Heathrow
Take the early morning Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to London Heathrow.

Pricing Information & Dates

12 day tour, from £4800 - £5320 per person
Price Includes
* Return international return (economy class) flights on Ethiopian Airlines from London Heathrow;
* Domestic Ethiopian Airline flights: Addis Ababa - Gondar return
* Airport taxes
* All private transportation (4WD vehicle for the Rift Valley and Bale Mountains section)
* Services of professional guide and drivers throughout
* Entrance fees and permits
* Local guiding services
* All accommodation with meals as listed
* Mineral water in vehicle
* Portage and scout fees.
Price Excludes
* Any meals not listed
* Ethiopia visa (US$50, issued on arrival)
* Personal items (travel insurance, tips, phone calls, laundry)

Tour Route Map

  1.   Addis Ababa
  2.   Gondar
  3.   Simien Mountains
  4.   The Ethiopian Rift Valley
  5.   Bale Mountains

Accommodation on this Tour

Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
Bale Mountain Lodge *******IMPORTANT UPDATE (APRIL 2022) - BALE MOUNTAIN LODGE IS CURRENTLY SHUT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.*******At an elevation of 2380 metes above sea level in the middle of 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......
Mayleko Lodge
Mayleko Lodge
Gondar, Ethiopia
Mayleko Lodge Ideally situated five minutes drive from Gondar Airport, Mayleko is arguably the town's best accommodation.The lodge has 20 spacious bungalows which are tastefully furnished with......
Sabana Beach Resort
Sabana Beach Resort
The Ethiopian Rift Valley, Ethiopia
On the shores of Lake Langano in the Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes region, Sabana Beach Resort has a relaxed, holiday feel to it and makes for the perfect end after a busy itinerary exploring areas such as the Bale Mountains National Park or the Omo region.
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.

Image Gallery


Hi Derek,

Thank you for organising such a fantastic tour for us. We had a wonderful time, the country is amazing, the wildlife and of course the birds. At a rough check Trevor saw 270 birds, a lot of endemic so he was delighted! We had a fantastic guide, he was so knowledgeable about the country and wildlife. He was great fun and nothing was too much trouble.

We are now going to sort through hundreds of photographs!

We were so pleased with the way the holiday was organised and will hopefully be travelling with you in the future.

Thank you again

Lynne and Trevor Wright


Mr and Mrs Wright
November 28, 2018

Overall holiday satisfaction: excellent. Will return. 

We had the very best guide. We would want to use him again. He was exceptional. 

Maribela Hotel, Lalibela: an incredible experience with amazing staff and food excellent.

Simien Lodge: a wonderful place. Lovely. 

Bale Mountains Lodge: really enjoyable stay - lovely accommodation and very friendly host.

Sabana Beach Resort: great bird watching. 

We have had a fantastic time - deeply enhanced by our incredible guide Zee and the drivers. Very knowledgeable and fun to be with, and attentive to the point of making us feel like royalty. Our guide went above expectations with the information he gcave us and the little extras - nothing was too much trouble. The best guide we have ever had. Excellent staff. 

Mr and Mrs Hickie
March 14, 2018
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