ADDIS ABABA ARRIVAL AND BIRDING AT GEFERSSA
On your arrival at the Bole International Airport, our staff welcomes you and assisted for the Hotel transfer. 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. Overnight at the Hotel.
We leave Addis Ababa early in the morning, heading south for the main Ethiopian Rift Valley. We will be birding along the main road, stopping off at Koka Dam and the Awash river and then at Lake Zeway for lunch. After lunch, we head down to the lakeshore where huge numbers of water birds are congregated. African Pygmy Geese, Yellow-billed storks, Collared Pratincoles, Lesser and greater Jacanas, African Jacanas, White Pelicans, Fish Eagles, crowned and common cranes are some of the species to be seen here in impressive numbers. We leave Zeway mid-afternoon, continuing to Lake Langano for an overnight stay. Overnight at one of the lake Side resorts at Lake Langano.
LANGANO TO BALE MOUNTAINS
After early breakfast leave the valley and start the ascent of the Bale Mountains. We will continue to drive to Bale Mountains National Park and it is here you will visit many of the endemics Ethiopian Birds 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 at the Hotel.
EXPLORE THE BALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
We will explore the Bale Mountains National Park and on our first day in the morning drive towards Sanete Plateau. While crossing a lush green forest, you will enjoy the Simien Wolves (Ethiopian 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.
RESUME THE EXPLORATION
We will visit many water birds in the small ponds. In particular search the trails of Bale Mountains for Chestnut-napped Francolin, Ground scarper Thrush (of the distinctive, endemic race Simensis), the secretive Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, vocal Abyssinian Catbird, and the endemic White-backed Black-Tit on the high moorlands, if we are very fortunate, we will see a pair of the endangered Wattled Crane striding through the moist grassland or spot a Cape Eagle-Owl sunning on a rocky perch.
BALE MOUNTAINS TO NEGELE
After an early breakfast, drive to Negele via Harena Forest. En route, we will be looking for the Turaco and outstanding Golden-breasted Starling, later we will also seek the endemic Sidamo Lark together with Somali Short-toed Lark and possibly Heuglin’s Bustard on the Negele Plains. The Sidamo lark is quite secretive and like many Ethiopian endemics inhabits a very small area. Overnight at the local Hotel in Negele.
We shall spend the morning in the area seeking to see the Degodi Lark together with the White-winged Dove and Juba Weaver two specialties of the area plus Black-faced Sandgrouse, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark, Scaly Chatterer, we then we return to Negele, birding along the way. We will stay overnight at Negele before pushing on to Yabello the following day. Overnight at the local Hotel in Negele.
Today, we will enter the region of the endemic White-tailed Swallow and Streseman’s Bushcrow, after some searching we should find the Swallow threading its way through the termite chimneys and some groups of Bushcrows in the thorn bush. All day will be used to explore the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary & Reserve, species we could see include: Somalian Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Rueppell’s Griffon Vulture, Martial Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Pygmy Falcon, Vulturine Guineafowl, Kori Bustard, Donaldson Smith’s Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Yellow-billed Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, Rufous-crowned Roller, d’Arnoud’s Barbet, Red & Yellow Barbet, Short-tailed Lark, Northern Grey Tit, Shelley’s and White-crowned Starlings, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped Social Weaver, Grey-headed Silverbill, Taita Fiscal, Somali Golden-breasted Bunting with possibilities of: Coqui Francolin, Somali Courser, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Little-spotted Woodpecker, Pringle’s Puffback, Little Tawny Pipit, Fawn-coloured Lark. Mammals that inhabit the park include Burchell’s Zebra, Aardvark, Grant’s Gazelle, Thompson’s Gazelle, Lesser-spotted Genet.
The day will be spent in the Yabello area including the wildlife reserve. We will look again at Streseman’s Bushcrow and White-tailed Swallow and it is possible to encounter other specialities including: Somali Courser, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Little-spotted Woodpecker, Pringle’s Puffback, Little Tawny Pipit, Short-tailed Lark, Fawn-coloured Lark. Mammals that inhabit the reserve include: Burchell’s Zebra, Aardvark, Grant’s Gazelle, Thompson’s Gazelle, Lesser-spotted Genet. Overnight Yabello Motel.
Upon leaving the area, we head back up the Rift valley to Awassa, birding the acacia bush and areas of highlands and lake Awassa.
DRIVE BACK TO ADDIS ABABA
Today we travel back to Addis Ababa birding along the Great Rift Valley looking for additional species. Afternoon, drive to Addis Ababa: evening farewell dinner party then transfer to airport for departure.