Package Name: 16 Days Bird Watching Tour
Package Code: MCE-WT-025
Duration: 16 Days
Day 1 Arrive in Addis Ababa. Overnight Addis Ababa.
Day 2 We set off early on the road north, through the Sululta plain to Debre Libanos and the Jemma River Gorge, about 110 km from the capital. Sululta plain is a wide shallow valley, ringed by mountains, with many rivers draining into it and forming extensive wetlands for much of the year. En route through the plain we can expect to see Black-winged and Spot-breasted Plover, Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, Rouget’s Rail, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird, Common Crane and Wheat Ear. It is currently the only known location in Ethiopia for the exceptionally rare White-winged Flufftail. We will make a small detour from the main road to take in the very attractive 200 m Aleltu Falls, where we can expect to see White-billed Starling, Ruppel’s Chat, Bearded Vulture, Verreaux’s Eagle, Lanner and Peregrine Falcon.
Debre Libanos has been an important monastic centre for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity since it was established in the 13th century by Saint Teklehaimanot, a renowned mystic. During the brief Italian occupation (1935-41), the site marked the spot of a major atrocity – more than 300 monks were slaughtered here in an attempt to undermine resistance by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
On arrival at Debre Libanos, we will first stop at the Jemma River gorge. The Jemma river is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of nearly 1000 metres to the valley below. Here at the gorge, and in the forest around the church we can expect to see the Banded Barbet, Black-headed Forest Oriole, White-billed starling, Red-billed starling, White-winged Cliff Chat, White-backed Black Tit, White-cheeked Turaco, Montane White-eye, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird and Hemprich’s Hornbill. We will also see one of Ethiopia’s endemic mammals, the Gelada or bleeding heart baboon. (In the gorge we will see a variety of vultures – Lamergeyer’s, Ruppell’s and Lappet faced vultures.) We will leave Debre Libanos late afternoon, returning to Addis Ababa early evening.
Day 3 After breakfast we head west on the Ambo Road for Menagesha State Forest, about 50 km from Addis Ababa. The Emperor Zera Yacob (1434-1468), noticing the degradation of the forest around Mount Wechecha, initiated what was perhaps the first reforestation and conservation measure in the region by having Juniper trees planted. We will take a picnic lunch, making our way up through the forest towards the top of Mount Wechecha. We can expect to see the Abyssinian Catbird, Banded Barbet, Golden-backed Woodpecker, Black-headed Forest Oriole, Wattled Ibis, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Crowned Eagle and Narina’s Trogan. Among the wildlife species recorded here are: Menelik’s Bushbuck, Leopard, Colobus Monkey, Serval, Grey Duiker, Hyaena, Warthog, Porcupine and Civet Cat. We will return to Addis Ababa by the Jimma Road, to the south of the forest. Overnight Addis Ababa.
Day 4 Today we head south down to the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley, turning east at Mojo towards Awash and our destination, to Bilen, some 270 km from Addis Ababa. We will be birding along the way, and will stop in Nazareth.
Day 5 Full day birding in the different habitats of the area, the plains, cliffs, wetlands and riverine forest by the Awash. We can return to the camp for lunch. Camel trekking can be arranged to some of these sites – one gets a great view from on top of a camel, and can also get closer to birds and wildlife provided in Bilen.
Day 6 Today we retrace our steps towards Mojo, birding along the way, and stopping to see the hippo in the pools near Nazareth. At Mojo we take the road south for the Rift Valley Lakes Region, Overnight Langano.
Day 7 We drive to Shalla and Abijata National Park, and then on to Lake Awassa – Visit the rich wildlife varieties in these lakes and enjoy the hot springs. Overnight Awassa.
Day 8 Full day birding along the shores of Lake Awassa. In composition this fresh water Lake is different from the alkaline lakes of Abijata and Shalla. The Black forest near the lake is an additional and interesting birding site. Overnight Awassa.
Day 9 We take an early morning visit to the fish market for some excellent photo close ups of birds used to human company, and after breakfast we drive to Wondo Genet, about 37 km to the east. Overngiht Wondo Genet.
Day 10 Full day with picnic lunch in the forests around Wondo Genet. Overnight Wondo Genet.
Day 11 We leave Wondo Genet for the Bale Mountains National Park, stopping at the Park HQ at Dinshu en route. Overnight Goba.
Day 12 Full day birding in the stunning Afro-Alpine setting of the Sanetti plateau. for more information Overnight Goba.
Day 13 Full day birding in Harena forest Overnight Goba.
Day 14 We return to the Lakes Region via Dinshu and arrive late afternoon at Lake Langano, where we can spend some time birding along the shores. Overnight Langano.
Day 15 Early morning birding by the cliffs next to the lake, then after breakfast we set off back to Addis Ababa, with a lunch stop in Debre Zeit. We can take in at least one of the Crater Lakes (there are seven in the area), probably Green Lake (Maccoa Duck, Cape Teal, Red-billed Duck, possibly White-winged Cliff Chat and Red-breasted Wry Neck), before leaving for Addis Ababa, arriving back in time for souvenir shopping. Overnight Addis Ababa.
Day 16 There will be a morning excursion to Gefersa reservoir, some 20 km west of the city, where we can expect to see Rouget’s Rail, Abyssinian Longclaw, Blue-winged Goose and Black-headed Siskin. Farewell party at some cultural restaurant live music and dancing.