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Monday, 07 July 2014 09:19

Birding around Addis Ababa, Awash National park, Rift valley Lakes, Wondo Genet and Bale Mountain

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Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa, transfer to Ghion Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Leave early for Debre Libanos and the Jemma River Gorge. Drive through the Sululta plain. Debre Libanos is an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianias, and there is a small cave near the church where the renowned 13th century saint “Tekle Haimanot” is said to have stood for twenty-nine years for prayer. For keen birders the journey can take up to 6 hours. As we pass through the Sululta plain where we will see Black winged plovers. Wattled ibis, Blue winged geese, Common cranes, wheatears, and etc.

The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of elevation nearly 1000meters from the general. Here at the gorge, and in the forest around the church we can see the Banded Barbet, the Black headed forest oriole, the White billed starling, Red winged starling, the White wined cliff chat, the white backed black tit, white cheeked Turaco, Lammergeyer, Ruppell’s and Lappet faced vultures etc and. We will also be seen one of Ethiopia s endemic mammals, the Gelada (or bleeding heart) baboon. Return to Addis Ababa late in the afternoon. O/N Ghion Hotel.

Day 3: After breakfast leave for Menagesha forest, a bout 55 km from Addis Ababa to the west. The Abyssinian cat bird, Banded barbet, Golden backed wood pecker, Black headed forest oriole and Wattled ibis are some of the endemic species of birds which have been recorded in this relatively small but dense, indigenous forest. Mammals like Menelik’s bushbuck, Colobous monkey, Common duiker, Warthog, Grivet monkeys will be seen. Picnic lunch and return to Addis Ababa late in the afternoon. O/N Ghion Hotel.

Day 4: Leave Addis Ababa to Awash National park, 220km to the east. Stop at lake Beseka where birds like; Storks, Egrets, Vultures, Towny eagles etc can be seen. We will take lunch at Awash town. In the afternoon, game drive in the park. O/n Genet Hotel.

Day 5: Full day birding in the park including a trip to the Filweha (hot spring). We will see birds like Abyssinian roller, Abyssinian ground horn bill, Wire tailed swallow, Buff crested Bustard, Dark chanting Goshawk, pygmy falcon, Honey guide, Woodland Kingfisher, Kori bustard, Black shouldered Kite, White Crowned and Helmet shrikes, Swallow-tailed Kite, Rosy patch shrike, Carmine Bee eater, Orange billed parrot, Lilac breasted roller, Lappet faced and Ruppell’s Vultures, Helmeted guinea fowl, Yellow billed horn bill etc. We will also see a variety of different mammals, including Greater and Lesser Kudu, Warthog, Black backed jackal, Grivet monkey, Anubis. O/N Genet Hotel.

Day 6: Leave for the Lakes Region, we will stop for birding along the main at Koka Dam, Awash River and then at Lake Ziway, where, Village weavers, Marabou stork, Yellow billed Storks, Collared Pratincoles, Lesser jacanas, African jacanas, Cattle egret, African Fish Eagle, Crowned and Common Cranes are some of the species to be seen here in large number. We leave Ziway after lunch and continue to Lake Langano for an overnight stay in the Wabi Shebelle Hotel Situated on the Shores of the Lake.

Day 7: We drive to Abijata-Shalla lakes National park; we first go to lake Shalla the deepest of all the Ethiopian Rift valley lakes. This lake is the breeding ground of birds since it has islands. Then drive to lake Abyata the feeding ground of birds since it is rich in aquatic life and where one can see lesser and greater Flamingos in abundance, Africa Pochard Avocet, Gull billed Tern and Pintail ruff, Greater white pelican, and a variety of ducks are among other species to be seen. Then, We leave to lake Awassa and check into Wabi-Shebelle hotel. Lake Awassa is rich in bird life; endemic Black Winged Lovebirds, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Bare Faced Go away birds, Greater cormorants, Storks, Ducks are some of the species to be seen. O/N Wabi-Shebele Hotel.

Day 8: Full day birding on the shores of Lake Awassa. In the morning drive to Amora-Ghedel, the fish market where abundant birds can be seen and walk in the public park compound for more bird watching. After lunch and some rest boat trip to Tikur wuha, the place where hippos and Columbus monkeys, and some more of birds can be seen O/N Hotel.

Day 9: After breakfast drive to Wondo-Genet about 37 km to the east of Awassa. Wondo- Genet one of the strong holds of forests in the country and where a Field Gene Bank is established has a therapeutic hot mineral springs and naturally heated swimming pool in a lush, forested mountain setting. After lunch, we will climb through the captivating juniper forest where the endemic Yellow fronted parrot, the Black headed Forest Oriole and the Abyssinian Golden-backed Wood-pecker can be seen, along with the Red winged starling, Grosbeak weaver, Mounting wagtail etc. O/N Wabi-Shebelle Hotel. 

Day 10: Full day birding with picnic lunch in the lush forest of Wondo Genet. O/N Wabi-Shebelle Hotel.

Day 11: Leave Wondo- Genet for the Bale Mountains National park. Stop at Dinsho the head quarter of the Park for game viewing. Some endemic mammals like the mountain Nyala, Menelik’s bushbuck and non-endemics like warthog; Reedbuck, Common jackal etc will be seen. In the BMNP we expect to see the following endemic birds: the Spot breasted plover, Roget’s rail, Abyssinian cat bird, Black headed siskin, Blue winged goose, Wattled ibis, White collared pigeon and Black winged love bird and Other no-endemic birds can also be seen. O/N Goba Wabi- Shebelle Hotel.

Day 12: After breakfast drive with lunch box to the amazing Afro-Alpine setting of the senate plateau, home to the endemic Ethiopian Wolf and Giant mole rat, and among the birds the beautiful spot- breasted plover, Blue winged goose, Wattled ibis, Harwood francolin, Lammergeier, Auger buzzard etc. We should also be able to see the rare Wattled crane. On the way we will probably Klipspringer. Return to Goba late in the afternoon. O/N Hotel.

Day 13: After breakfast drive to Harenna with lunch box, full day birding there. O/N Goba Wabi-Shebelle Hotel.

Day 14: Return to Addis Ababa.

Day 15: City tour in the capital and shopping.

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