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Monday, 07 July 2014 09:20

Birding Along the Historic Route

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

Day 2: Leave early for Debre-Marcos (305km.) through the Sululta plain. Stop at Debre Libanos and descend to Jemma River Gorge. Debre Libanos is an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianias established in the 13th century. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of elevation nearly 1000m. From the general level 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 winged cliff chat, the white backed black tit, White cheeked turaco, Lammergeier, Ruppell’s s and Lappet faced vultures etc and we will also see one of Ethiopia‘s endemic mammals, the Gelada baboon.
We will leave Debre Libanos to Debre Marcos in the after noon. O/n Shebell Hotel, Debre Marcos.

Day 3: Leave early for Bahir Dar Checking in to Tana Hotel. After lunch bird watching around Bahir Dar at the Blue Nile Bridge, Haile Selassie’s Palace of Bezawit, around the Michael Church and the shore of lake Tana, We expect to see a number of aquatic and forest birds, Herons, Sacred ibis, Double toothed barbet, Egyptian goose, Darters, Cormorants, Terns, Pelicans, Egrets, Ducks and etc. Tana Hotel is situated on the lakeshore; Open billed stork, Sacred Ibis, White cheeked Turaco, Striped king fisher, Eagle, Masked weaver, and many different Sunbirds can be seen in or near the hotel compound.

Day 4: Early morning visit to the Blue Nile Falls & return to the Bahir-Dar for lunch. En route we can expect to see Carmine bee-eater, Grey headed Kingfisher, Wire tailed pipit, Spotted Eagle Owl, etc. After lunch boat trip to Zeghe Peninsula, which is known for its 14th centaury round church of Ura Kidane Mihret highly decorated with mural paintings and other magnificent monasteries. The endemic Yellow fronted parrot and Black Winged lovebird can easily be seen from Bete Mariam to Ura Kidane Mihret, though a thick forest. O/N Hotel.

Day 5: Leave early in the morning for Gonder which is 180 Km, on the way different species of birds can be seen, for example, Lovebirds, Abyssinian Ground horn bill, Long Crested eagle, Augur buzzard, crowned crane and large number of Common Cranes. Arrive in time for lunch at Goha Hotel, which is situated high on a mountain overlooking the town. Lammergeier can often be seen soaring around the hotel compound. After lunch start tour of the imperial castles’ compound and the churches of Debre Berhan Selassie, famous for its murals, and Qusquam church. These Places are also important for birding; Black headed forest Oriole and Thick billed raven and others can be seen. Spectacular Sunset view is additional asset to be at Goha hotel. Dinner in the Hotel and tour of Gonder by night is possible if desired.

Day 6: After breakfast leave for Gorgora through Dembia plain at the northern end of lake Tana. Dembia plain is known for its suitability for cattle raring and hot weather crops production. Lunch at the on the shore of the resort hotel. Flock of flamingos, Cattle egrets, little egrets, King fishers, Herons and others will be seen. Visitors may also see hippos. Return to Gonder late in the afternoon for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Early in the morning leave for Axum, 354 Km north of Gonder. The thrilling Limalimo gorge is worth crossing, up looking the Simen Mountains to the right side and overlooking the gorge of Tekeze that abruptly descends to 2000 meters below the general level .We expect to see among the endemic birds; Wattled ibis, Thick billed raven, White collared Pigeon and, numerous Lammergeier, various vultures, Auger buzzard, Gabar goshawk, Grey Kestrel, Lanner green Pigeon, Mountain black billed barbet etc. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 8: Before breakfast, birding in the lush hotel garden where one can see many birds. After breakfast drive to the Edifice ruin of Emperor Caleb and Gebre Meskel, swimming pool of the legendary Queen of Sheba, the main stele park where huge monolithic stele are erected, the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is believed to be kept, the archaeological museum. O/N Hotel.

Day 9: After breakfast Drive to Lalibela, which was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty kings where several rock –hewn churches that are considered as the 8th wonder of the world are carved out of solid volcanic rocks. Endemic birds like, Black winged lovebird, White Collared Pigeon, Ruppell’s cliff Chat can be seen. O/N Roha Hotel.

Day 10: After breakfast trek to Asheton Mariam church on top of a mountain on foot or on mule back (4 Hour round Trip). The church itself worth the trip and the scenery on the way is again impressive. Among the endemic birds, we can expect to see on the way White billed starling, Golden backed woodpecker and others. In the after noon drive to Nakuto Leab cave church rich in paintings, and other relics, Glossy starling, Superb starling and other birds can be seen. O/N Roha Hotel.

Day 11: Fly to Addis Ababa, city tour in the capital.

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