Travel off the beaten track and see Ethiopia's most charismatic endemic species - the gelada baboon and walia ibex – whilst enjoying spectacular scenery and comfortable accommodation.
Travelling first to the picturesque Simien Mountains, you can familiarise yourself with a troop of curious gelada baboons as they forage amongst the grasses, and go in search of walia ibex in the Chenek area of the park.
Continuing your journey, travel south to the spectacular Bale Mountains, where amidst wild alpine scenery, you can view of a diversity of wildlife at ease. Spend a day exploring the Sanetti Plateau, which is home to the fascinating Ethiopian wolf, as well as mountain nyala, bohor reedbuck, Menelik’s bushbuck and an amazing array of birdlife
By focusing on two key destinations, your overall journey time is reduced, therefore maximising the time spent in each area on your quest to see baboons and wolves.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Addis Ababa
On arrival in Addis, you will be met and transferred to your overnight hotel, before an onward flight to Gondar the next day.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, 1-night
Days3-5: Fly to Gondar & transfer to the Simien Mountains
Today you fly to Gondar, and then transfer by road to Sankaber, situated inside the Simien Mountains National Park. During the drive you'll get your first impression of the scale and beauty of this highland region, and hopefully spot some gelada baboons and the bone-breaking giant lammergeyer soaring above. During the afternoon you head out on foot to see the endemic gelada baboon, staying close to the lodge.
The next day is dedicated to viewing the walia ibex, found nowhere else in the world, as you go on a full day guided trip to the Chenek area of the Simien Mountains. Walia ibex are often found in the rocky cliff areas between 2,500 - 4,500 metres, and easily spotted with their long curved serrated horns. The following day is left for you to discover more of the superb wildlife found within the Simien Mountains, with over 80 species of birds including at least 12 rare endemic species.
The morning is free for you to enjoy some birding or visit the gelada baboons again. Following lunch you drive to Gondar and fly back to Addis Ababa where you spend the night. This is a great opportunity for you to enjoy one of the delightful live jazz bars for an atmospheric night in the city.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, 1-night
Days7-10: Fly to Awassa & explore the Bale Mountains
In the morning, take a short flight from Addis Ababa to Awassa in the south and transfer to your lodge in the Bale Mountains National Park. The drive to the lodge is around 300 kilometres, and can take up to seven hours depending on road conditions. There will be a stop on the way at Dinsho (the park’s headquarters) for an afternoon trek, before continuing into the Harenna Forest.
During your stay you explore the Sanetti Plateau where you can track the charismatic Ethiopian wolf, but also see raptors and indigenous plants. Along the way you may spot Menelik's bushbuck, or mountain nyala. Another day is spent walking in the mystical Harenna forest in search of wildlife, with plenty of great birding opportunities. The following day you drive to Dola Mena Valley (part of the Rift Valley) to visit coffee plantations, witness wild honey collection and visit a traditional camel market. Then you head to Welman River Falls and cave, a birding paradise.
Day11: Drive to Awassa, fly to Addis Ababa & depart
This morning, you leave early to drive back to Awassa in time for an early afternoon flight back to Addis Ababa. On arrival, you can make use of a hotel day room to freshen up and relax, or head into the city for a traditional dinner, before a late evening flight home.
Day12: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 12 daysfrom £4,195 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 10 daysfrom £3,295 pp
Single supplement: From £585
When to go: Jan-Jul; Sep-Dec: (Bale Mountain not accessible August)
The Bale Mountains form a high altitude plateau, broken by spectacular volcanic peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and mountain streams descending through deep rocky gorges into the lowlands. The area is home to an incredibly high number of endemics, including the world’s rarest canid, the Ethiopian wolf.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Simien Mountains are a place of dramatic scenery. Their rugged landscape was formed over a 3,000 year erosion period of basalt lava, and despite their altitude they sustain a fascinating range of mammals and birdlife, alongside isolated nomadic and rural communities.
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
This innovative and attractive lodge brings new levels of comfort and service to the unmissable Bale Mountains. Set in a forest clearing which teems with wildlife, this thatched ecolodge offers a secure and comfortable base with first-class facilities, excellent food and exceptional views.
Situated at an altitude of over 3,260 metres in the Simien Mountains, this is the highest lodge in Africa. Accommodation consists of 26 rooms in thatched tukel roundhouses, sympathetically constructed in traditional style using local materials. Gelada baboons are regular visitors to the grounds.