Our bird watching holidays package you may find yourself spoiled for choice with over 830 recorded species and 23 species found nowhere else in the world. Of the ten bird families endemic to the African mainland eight are represented in Ethiopia. In fact in a recent report, Ethiopia's Bale Mountain region was voted No.4 on a list of the best birding sites by the African Bird Club. Bale Mountains is also a favorite destination among birders and famous for its large number of Ethiopian endemics. We have guides who have rich experience in accompanying international or local bird watchers to the best bird sites of Ethiopia. This tour is one of our best vacation packages designed to serve the needs of anyone looking for adventure trekking, bird watching, observing wildlife and sight seeing in one of the most beautiful parts of Ethiopia. It is my pleasure to offer you one of our most exciting vacation packages.
Day 1: Addis Abeba :
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, meet our representatives and transferto the given Hotel. During the day, visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where wewill view the 3.2 million year old remains of "Lucy", whose skeletalremains when discovered in 1974. You will also visit the HolyTrinity Cathedrals and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitudeof 3,200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis.Overnight hotel
After an erealy breakfast , drive north through the Sululta Plains, with a chance of WattledIbis, Erlanger's Lark, Blue-winged Goose and Black-headed Siskin. Later, we reach JemmuGorge, where well scan for Erckel's Francolin,White-winged Cliff Chat, White-billed Starling,Lammergeier, Rueppell's Vulture and Verreaux'sEagle, plus Gelada Baboons. The forest surroundingDebre Libanos monastery is a good place to seeBlack-winged Lovebird, Banded Barbet, White-cheeked Turaco and Abyssinian Oriole. Overnight Debre Libanos
Drive Awassa en route visit Rift Valley Lakes.Awassa is one of Ethiopia's most beautiful lakesand is rich in bird life. Among those Pygmy Goose,Brown Snake Eagle, Grey Kestral, Spotted Creeper,African Firefinch, Green-backed Honeyguide, Blue-headed Coucal, Red-breasted Wryneck, MalakiteKing Fisher, Spur-winged Plover, Black Forest wecan expect to see Saddlebill and Maribou Storks,Bruce's Green Pigeon. There are hippos in the lakeand Colobus and Cervet monkeys in the gardens ofthe lake side hotels.
Before breakfast we will explore our wooded hotel grounds.Amongst our targets will be African Mourning Dove, WoodlandKingfisher, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Double-toothed Barbet, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Spotted Creeper, Brown-throatedWattle-eye, Grey-backed Fiscal, Northern Puffback, Broad-ringedWhite-eye, African Paradise-flycatcher, Little Weaver and BronzeMannikin. Reed-beds in the vicinity support Purple Swamphen,Black Crake, Blue-headed Coucal, Lesser Swamp Warbler andCommon and Abyssinian Waxbills. After breakfast we will visitLake Awassa fish market, where the discarded waste attractslarge numbers of Marabou Storks and other birds, givingunrivalled photographic opportunities. We should also see Long-tailed Cormorant, Sacred Ibis and Grey-headed Gull. In the nearbypark we will look for the endemic Banded Barbet and White-browed (Heuglin's) Robin-chat, Buff-bellied Warbler, Grey-backedCamaroptera, Rufous Chatterer, Spectacled Weaver and Grey-headed and Nubian Woodpeckers. In the afternoon we will transferto Wondo Genet for a two-night stay. Close to the hotel areswimming pools filled with water from nearby hot springs.Overnight Wondo Genet (hotel)
We will spend the day exploring our hotel gardens andnearby forests. Species we may find include several endemics:Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Brown Saw-wing(antinorii race of Black Saw-wing), Dark-headed Oriole,Abyssinian Slaty-flycatcher, and White-winged Cliff-chat. Otherbirds may include Scaly Francolin, Little Sparrowhawk, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Double-toothed and Red-fronted Barbets,White-cheeked Turaco, Lesser and Green-backed Honeyguides,Mountain Wagtail, Abyssinian Thrush, Abyssinian Ground-thrush,Brown Woodland-warbler, Brown Warbler lugens, White-rumpedBabbler, Collared, Scarlet-chested and Variable Sunbirds, Half-collared Kingfisher, Red-billed and African Firefinches andSlender-billed and the rare Sharpe's Starlings. We will also havegood chance of seeing soaring Crowned Eagle, White-headedVulture, Black Goshawk, African Harrier-hawk and Ayres' Hawk-eagle as well as Steppe and Tawny Eagles. The hotel grounds alsosupport families of Grivet Monkeys and Guereza Black-and-whiteColobus monkeys.
Today we will head for the world-famous Bale MountainsNational Park. On the ascent we will start to see flocks ofAbyssinian Siskins and Yellow-crowned Canaries feeding on theshort grass and many Red-billed Choughs. Just before we reachedDinsho wetlands we will stop for Cape Eagle-owl in a rockyravine. On the plain nearby there will be groups of Black-wingedLapwings together with many Thekla Larks and Red-throatedPipits. At our picnic spot we will watch out for the endemic Spot-breasted Lapwing and Rouget's Rail while nearby we will look foranother endemic: Abyssinian Longclaw. We should also see Fan-tailed Widowbird, Winding (Ethiopian) Cisticola, African Stonechatand Buffy Pipit in the same area. At the park headquarters, we willsearch for Chestnut-naped Francolin together with two moreendemics: Abyssinian Catbird and White-backed Black-tit. We willalso hope to see a variety of mammals including Mountain Nyala,Menelik's Bushbuck and Desert Warthog. The park wardens mayknow of roosting sites for Abyssinian Owl, African Wood-owl andAbyssinian Nightjar. We will stay in Goba for three nights.
- A 1600m descent will find us enjoying some dry warmth inthe Sof Omar region. The habitat here consists of broad-leavedand Acacia woodlands, which hold many new species for us. Ourmain target bird will be the extremely range-restricted Salvadori'sSerin, the most attractive of Ethiopia's endemic canaries. Othertarget birds will include D'Arnaud's Barbet, Somali Crow, NorthernBrownbul, Somali Tit, the localised Brown-tailed Chat, Yellow-breasted Apalis (a form likely to be split as Brown-tailed Apalis),Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Black-crowned Tchagra, Pearl-spottedOwlet, Greater Honeyguide, Striped, Grey-headed and Half-collared Kingfishers, Marico Sunbird and the impressive Bristle-crowned Starling. Other likely birds include Crested Francolin, KoriBustard, Bruce's Green-pigeon, Ring-necked and NamaquaDoves, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Orange-bellied Parrot, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Black-billed Woodhoopoe, Von derDecken's and Northern Red-billed Hornbills, Black-throatedBarbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, Grey Wren-warbler, NorthernCrombec, Rufous Chatterer, Brubru, White Helmetshrike, SuperbStarling, White-headed Buffalo-weaver, Speke's Weaver, the localsubspecies of Red-headed Weaver, Eastern Paradise-whydah,Straw-tailed Whydah, Village Indigobird, Red-cheeked Cordonbleu,Cut-throat, and Reichenow's Seedeater. Sof Omar boastsEthiopia's longest cave system and we will have the option to taketime out from our busy birding schedule, hire a guide and wanderthrough some of these impressive tunnels with undergroundwaterways and roosting Horseshoe Bats.
During our ascent of the Bale Mountain massif onto theSanetti Plateau, which lies between 3800m and 4377m above sealevel, we will enter a Tid, or Juniper forest zone, where we willsearch for African Goshawk, Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk,African Hill Babbler, Cinnamon Bracken-warbler, Yellow-belliedWaxbill and the difficult Abyssinian Crimsonwing. Once we reachthe unique plateau we will be driving on Africa's highest road,passing close to the summit of Ethiopia's second-highestmountain. The habitat is termed 'Afro-alpine moorland' and ischaracterised by Jibrra or Giant Lobelias, which tower over therich tussock grasslands. This site is an Important Bird Area ofimmense significance, supporting seven globally-threatened birdspecies and nearly all of Ethiopia's highland biome species. If weare very fortunate we will see a pair of endangered Wattled Cranesstriding through the moist grassland. We will also search forRuddy Shelduck, Black Stork and Moorland Francolin, whileMoorland Chat is hard to miss! The grasslands are estimated tosupport an amazing biomass of 4000kg of rodents per hectare.This obviously attracts raptors, and we should see Golden, Steppeand Tawny Eagles together with Pallid Harriers hunting over thisgreen sea. They share the abundant food source with the plateau'smost celebrated resident, Ethiopian (Simien) Wolf, the world'srarest canid. Finally, we will reach the escarpment of this elevatedplateau and stare down through the clouds at the vast HarennaForest below. This is the largest intact forest block in Ethiopia andthe largest protected Afro-alpine forest on the continent. It stillsupports Lions and the only surviving forest-dwelling African WildDogs. Here we will search for the uncommon Mountain Buzzard,Rameron Pigeon, African Emerald Cuckoo, Narina Trogon, BrownWarbler (an endemic subspecies to this National Park BaleParisoma) and the virtually endemic African Citril. In the afternoonwe will return to Goba across the Sanetti Plateau.
- An early start is required to reach the dry thorn savannah inthe remote southern part of Ethiopia. We will head up over theSanetti Plateau again, giving us an opportunity to look for specieswe may have missed, then drop down to the amazing HarennaForest, where we will make opportunistic stops and also take alunch break. We may see mixed flocks of Bronze and Black-and-white Mannikins hanging on the grass by the road. Later, as wereach Acacia forest, we are likely to see Red-and-yellow Barbet,Abyssinian Ground-hornbill, Grey Kestrel, Wahlberg's and MartialEagles, Spotted Morning-thrush, Stout Cisticola and Shelley's Starling. In the afternoon we will reach a dry wadi on the GenaleRiver, home to Ethiopia's most sought-after endemic, PrinceRuspoli's Turaco. We should enjoy excellent views of this veryunusual and beautiful bird. New for us in the area will be BeardedWoodpecker, Grosbeak Weaver and Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike.In the late afternoon we will arrive in Negele, where we will spendtwo nights.
- East of Negele lies the Liben Plains, the only place in theworld to find Liben Lark. We will walk across the plains in searchof this special bird, which we will hope to watch performing itsparachute display flight. We should also find Pectoral-patchCisticola, Long-billed Pipit, Crowned Lapwing and the range-restricted Somali Short-toed Lark. Ethiopian Swallow is commonhere as are White-crowned Starling and Shelley's Rufous Sparrow.The surrounding dry woodland and thorn savannah supportEgyptian Vulture, Bateleur, African Harrier-hawk, EasternChanting-goshawk, Diederik Cuckoo, Abyssinian Scimitarbill,Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Red-and-yellow Barbet, the rareand enigmatic Gillett's Lark, Dodson's Bulbul, Boran Cisticola,Golden-breasted Starling, African Grey and Pale Flycatchers,Mouse-coloured Penduline-tit, Slate-coloured Boubou, NorthernWhite-crowned Shrike, White-winged Widowbird, Crimson-rumpedWaxbill and Somali Bunting. If we are lucky, we may see Salt'sand Gnther's Dikdiks, while Anubis Baboons may also beencountered.
After passing close to the Kenyan border we will finallyreach the Yabello region, home to two of Ethiopia's most sought-after endemic birds, both listed as globally-threatened:Stresemann's Bush-crow and White-tailed Swallow. This area ofAcacia savannah is characterised by giant red termite mounds,some towering 5m above the plains, and both of these birds seemto be associated with these marvels of natural architecture. Wewill also have a good chance of seeing flocks of VulturineGuineafowl feeding by the road, Yellow-necked Spurfowl,Levaillant's and Pied Cuckoos, Steel-blue Whydah and VitellineMasked-weaver. The late morning will be spent walking along theDawa River in search of the extremely localised White-wingedCollared-dove, Juba Weaver and Black-bellied Sunbird. We mayalso see Grant's and Thomson's Gazelles and Gerenuk. Twonights will be spent in Yabelo.
A walk before breakfast should give us a closer look atStresemann's Bush-crow and we are also likely to see Bare-facedGo-away-bird, Croaking Cisticola and Rock Hyraxes waiting forthe sun on the top of the rocks. We will spend a full day exploringthis bird-rich area. In addition to the two special endemics we willlook for Ostrich, Gabar Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Somali Courser,Mottled Swift, Grey-headed and Pygmy Batis, Blue-napedMousebird, Pale Prinia, Rufous-crowned and Lilac-breastedRollers, Golden and Bush Pipits, Pringle's Puffback, Red-napedBush-shrike, Taita Fiscal, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, KenyaViolet-backed, Hunter's and Shining Sunbirds, Somali Crombec,Banded Warbler, Purple Grenadier, Three-streaked Tchagra,Wattled Starling, Yellow-spotted Petronia, Chestnut Sparrow,Northern Grosbeak-canary, Grey-headed and Black-cappedSocial-weavers, Chestnut Weaver, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Green-winged Pytilia and White-bellied Canary. In the evening we willmake a local excursion to look for Donaldson-Smith's Nightjar andThree-banded Courser.
Following some early-morning birding around the hotel wewill head north towards Addis Ababa. After lunch in Awassa wewill travel along Awassa Lake shore, where we may see theendemic Fawn-breasted Waxbill and have a reasonable chance ofseeing Basra Reed-warbler. In the late afternoon we will arrive atLake Langano for two-night stay on the shores of the lake withviews of the 4000m Arsi Mountains in the background. In theevening we will look for Greyish and Verreaux's Eagle-owls,African Scops-owl, Northern White-faced Owl and Freckled,Slender-tailed and Sombre Nightjars around our hotel.
The three neighbouring lakes in the central Ethiopian RiftValley are totally different from each other but all are superbbirding sites. The morning will be spent around the vast hotelgrounds, where we will look for Clapperton's Francolin, White-winged Black-tit, Hemprich's Hornbill, Little Bee-eater, LittleRock-thrush, Abyssinian (Schalow's) Wheatear and many otherspecial birds of the area. The afternoon's destination will be themagnificent Bishangary area, where we will look for NarinaTrogon, Lemon and Tambourine Doves, African Emerald Cuckoo,Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Ethiopian Boubou, Black Cuckoo-shrike,Black Scimitarbill, Cape Teal, Southern Pochard, IntermediateEgret, Dark Chanting-goshawk, Imperial and Long-crested Eagles,Black-chested and Banded Snake-eagles, Kittlitz's Plover, AfricanSnipe, Pallas's Gull, African Pipit, African Thrush, Red-facedCrombec, Rppell's Long-tailed Starling and Red-billed Oxpecker.Mammals may include Oribi and Spotted Hyena.
After further early-morning birding around Lake Langanowe will head to Awash National Park. The route will take usthrough savannah habitat and close to numerous Rift Valley Lakeswith great birding. As we skirt around the lava fields at the base ofthe Fantale Crater, we will look for Sombre Rock-chat, Blackstartand Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark. In the late afternoon we willarrive at the park entrance where we are likely to see AbyssinianRoller, Ashy Cisticola and Green-winged Pytilia. We will stay inAwash for two nights.
Today will be spent in the superb Awash National Park,specifically around the Bilen and Fulhowa Hotsprings, the AwashRiver and the Kirayawa Gorge, exploring riverine forests, wetlands,thorn woodlands, savannah grasslands, rocky hills, cliffs andescarpments. The park boasts a bird list of 460 species and wewill look for Greater Spotted Eagle, Scissor-tailed Kite, Shikra,Arabian, Buff-crested, Hartlaub's and White-bellied Bustards,Three-banded Courser, Helmeted Guineafowl, Small Buttonquail,Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Chestnut-bellied and Lichtenstein sSandgrouse, Black-billed Barbet, White-browed Coucal, AfricanPalm-swift, Plain Nightjar, Northern Carmine and MadagascarBee-eaters, Wire-tailed Swallow, Red-winged and Flappet Larks,Singing Bushlark, Red-backed Scrub-robin, Eastern OlivaceousWarbler, Southern Grey, Isabelline, Red-backed, White-rumped andWoodchat Shrikes, Somali Fiscal, Nile Valley, Shining and MaricoSunbirds, Grey-headed and Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrikes, Fan-tailed Raven, African Pied Wagtail, Red-billed Quelea andCrimson-rumped Waxbill. Mammals may include Lion, Leopard,Beisa Oryx, Aardvark, Soemmering's Gazelle, Impala, HamadryasBaboon, Abyssinian Hare, African Wild Cat, Black-backed Jackal,Striped Hyena and Greater and Lesser Kudu.
Some early morning birding around the lodge will befollowed by the return journey to Addis Ababa . you will haveanother opportunity to look for Sombre Rock-chat in the lava fieldsof the Fantale Crater before stopping for lunch en-route. Uponreaching Addis Ababa will have time to shower and changebefore dinner, following which you will return to the airport for your late evening/early morning flight back to home .