It is said to be an ornithologist’s paradise. 850 species of birds (16 of them are endemic) inhabit to Ethiopia. Having an extensive highland surrounded by arid lands, has enabled the evolution of many birds in the region into unique forms and species. It’s hard to imagine any living thing surviving in this savage wilderness. But look closely, and you will see some remarkable life not only surviving-but thriving.
Birding Tours: “One of ornithologist’s paradise”
Product: Bird watching
Tour Code: TET 005
Duration: 18 Nights/ 19 Days
Accommodation: Hotel and Camping
Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa
On arrival in Addis Ababa our representatives will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfers to Ambassador Hotel. An overview of the program and itineraries will be given. We spend some time birding around Ghion Hotel. The Hotel has very extensive grounds for birding. Among the species spotted here are the White-backed Black Tit and the brown Tit Warbler. After lunch in the hotel, we leave for Geferssa Reservoir, some 20 kms west of Addis Ababa, where one can see the Blue-winged Goose, black-headed Siskin, Abyssinian Long Claw and Wattled Ibis. Return to Addis Ababa early evening.
Day 2: Excursion trip to Debre Libanos from Addis Ababa
Leave early and drive north through the Sululta plain to Debre Libanos and the Jemma River Gorge, about 110 km. from the capital. 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 and wheatears. 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 meters to the valley below. Here at the gorge, and in the forest around the church we can expect to see the Banded Barbet, the Black headed forest oriole, the White billed starling, the Red Billed starling, the White winged cliff chat, the White backed black tit, white cheeked Turaco and Hemp Rich’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 – Lammergeyer’s Ruppell’s and Lappet faced vultures.) We will leave Debre Libanos around 5.00 pm, returning to Addis Ababa early evening. Overnight Hotel.
Day 3: Awash National Park
Early in the morning you will be birding around the garden of Ghion hotel. After breakfast drive from Addis to Awash National Park through the awe-inspiring crater lakes of Debrezeit for birding. En route further we stop at Nazareth for lunch. Our next stop will be at Lake Beseka. Then we continue to Awash National Park. Overnight Awash Sebatkilo in hotel.
Day 4: Awash National Park
Birding in Awash National Park, located in the rift valley. It is enriched with many species of birds and mammals; African orange-bellied parrots, bustards, weavers, European Hoope somber rock-chat, yellow-throated serine, Red-fronted barbet, pygmy baits, Lesser striped swallow, House martin and Anubis Baboon, Colobus Monkey, Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox, Egyptian Mongoose, Warthog, Beisa Oryx, Soemmerring’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu, Salt’s Dik-dik, etc. Overnight hotel.
Day 5: Langano
Early morning leaves Awash for Langano via Mojo. En route, birding at Lake Ziway and Koka dam. Among some bird species you will see; African pygmy goose, Black-billed wood hoopoe, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Northern black tit, little weaver, etc. The same day birding at Abiyata—Shalla National Park. Particularly, Lake Abiyata is the best place to bird many species, over 300, walking along the muddy and partly sandy lakeshore. For instance, yellow wagtails, Ibis, Cormorant, Pelicans, hammer cop, waders, ducks, egrets, herons, flamingos, storks, swallows, chestnut-bellied sand grouse, Abyssinian ground-hornbill, rollers, wheatears, African Marsh Harrier, etc. Overnight Hotel.
Day 6: Bale Mountains National Park
After breakfast, continue driving to Bale mountains National Park and it is here you will visit many of the endemics like Blue-winged goose, Spot-breasted lapwing, Abyssinian long claw, Wattled ibis, Black-headed siskin, Rouget’s rail, Banded barbet and of course other species, too. Overnight hotel.
Day 7: Day excursion to Sof Omar
After an early breakfast start driving to Sof Omar, about 120 km from Goba. Along the route you will have some stops for birding. For instance, White-ramped babbler, Nightingale, Dodson’s bulbul, Somali golden-breasted bunting, sunbird, warbler, Northern gray tit, Brown-tailed chats, Pygmy batis, etc. but our final target will be for Salvadori’s serine. Overnight hotel.
Day 8: Goba, excursion to Senete
Leave Goba early in the morning towards Sanete Plateau. While crossing a lush green forest, you will enjoy the Semien Wolves, endemic mammals. Then you will take another hike to the right-hand side of the road to reach the highest peak, 4377 meters above sea level. It is here where you will highly experience the chilly wind. Then you will walk slightly down and down across a moorland landscape dotted with white and yellow cushions of flowers, colorful lichen-covered rocks and sparse Giant Lobelias. You will visit many water birds in the small lakes. Overnight hotel.
Day 9: Wondo Genet
After an early morning birding drive to Wondo Genet. Wondo Genet is a green and lush area, inhabited with lots of Grivet Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys and many species of birds. On the other hand, Wondo Genet is an excellent place for fresh tropical fruits and hot spring for which you find an Olympic size swimming pool. Overnight hotel.
Day 10: Hawassa
After an early breakfast drive to Hawassa. En route and in Awassa, you will see lots of species for instance, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Rouget’s Rail, lots of Marabou storks, Black & white egrets, African pygmy goose, Spur-winged goose, thousands of swallows, Ibis, African fish eagle, Woodland kingfisher, Malachite kingfisher, and many more species. Overnight hotel.
Day 11: Yabello
Head south to Yabello, birding en route. In the late afternoon, we head into woodland west of Yabello, in search of the endemic Stresemann’s Bush Crow. Overnight Motel.
Day 12: Yabello
Full day birding (picnic lunch) in Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary, where we expect to see the white-tailed swallow, Abyssinian Bush Crow and if luckily, Prince Raspoli’s Turaco. Overnight Motel
Day 13: Negele
Morning birding around Mega, then we drive east to Negele, birding en route. Overnight hotel.
Day 14: Negele
The habitat around Negele is similar to mega, and you will spend the day exploring different localities for birding. Overnight hotel.
Day 15: Langano
After an early breakfast full day drive to Lake Langano, which is the best place for birding many species. Overnight hotel.
Day 16: Langano
These three neighboring lakes in the central Ethiopian Rift Valley could not be more different from each other. The medium depth reddish-brown Lake Langano, shallow, blackish Abijatta, and the extremely deep, blue shalla, once a volcanic crater and now home to several bubbling sulphuric hot springs, are all superb birding localities. We will spend today exploring the lake shores and surrounding woodlands of all three lakes. Overnight hotel.
Day 17: Debre Birhan
After a final morning birding around the cliffs surrounding our hotel, you will drive to Addis Ababa, thus completing our southern loop. Continue driving beyond Addis Ababa to Debre Berhan. Overnight local hotel at Debre Birhan.
Day 18: From Debre Birhan to Alem Ketema and to Jemma Valley, and back to Debre Birhan
An early departure from Debre Berhan to Alem Ketema is essential in order to be at our chosen site when the endemic Harwood’s Francolin is at its most vocal, thus providing our best opportunity for seeing this elusive species. We will have a picnic breakfast at the river and bird the Jemma valley. Then after drive back to Debre Birhan. Overnight local hotel at Debre Birhan.
Day 19: Ankober- Addis Ababa for night departure
Very early morning drive to the edge of the Great Rift Valley at Ankober. Afternoon, drive to Addis Ababa and use a day use room for shower and little rest. Evening fare well dinner party then transfer to airport for departure. End of the tour.