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Although we are now working from home, if you are due to travel shortly we will be in touch to support and guide you in either postponing or cancelling your trip, based on Foreign Office advice and your insurance arrangements.
 
When you feel ready to do so, we are here to help you plan your next holiday, knowing availability in many key destinations is already tight for next year. To help you move forward with confidence, our booking conditions have been relaxed in case you are unable to travel due to COVID-19 issues beyond your control (eg a new wave of infections; visa restrictions; mandatory quarantine; or cancellation of your international flight).
 
Thank you for your ongoing kindness & support in these difficult times. And remember that all our holidays are fully financially protected, wherever in the world you live.

Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director
Ethiopia Holidays Tours Omo Valley Lalibela Simien Bale Mountains Park

Wildlife of Ethiopia: Simien + Bale Mountains


YPC12A
12 NIGHTS
FROM £3,896
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Wildlife Holiday Ethiopia Bale Mountains Wolf Simien Ibex Baboon Safari

This wildlife holiday to Ethiopia explores its flora, fauna & birdlife. Visit Bale Mountains National Park, which is the best place to see the Ethiopian wolf, & Simien Mountains where you can hope to see the rare Walia ibex and colourful Gelada baboon on safari. Enjoy the unique alpine flora of these regions & their birdlife. Also visit historic Gondar & Lalibela. All transfers & English speaking guides included.

Wildlife Holiday Ethiopia Bale Mountains Wolf Simien Ibex Baboon Safari
• 
Addis Ababa
• 
Simien Mountains
• 
Walia Ibex
• 
Gelada Baboon
• 
Gondar
• 
Lalibela
• 
Lake Langano & Lake Awasa
• 
Bale Mountains Safari
• 
Ethiopian Wolf
• 
Wildlife Holiday, Ethiopia
• 
Addis Ababa
• 
Simien Mountains
• 
Walia Ibex
• 
Gelada Baboon
• 
Gondar
• 
Lalibela
• 
Lake Langano & Lake Awasa
• 
Bale Mountains Safari
• 
Ethiopian Wolf
• 
Wildlife Holiday, Ethiopia
Day 1
You will be met at Addis Ababa Airport and transferred into Ethiopia's capital city. This beautiful high-altitude country was once ruled by the Queen of Sheba and has a fascinating and ancient history. With over 80 different languages and many different religions, its strong tribal traditions and festivals are world famous.
 
On arrival enjoy a private tour of the city, viewing landmark building such as Headquarters of the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as well as Meskel Square - the main meeting place of the city. We visit Trinity Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in the city, and the former palace of King Menelik II (also called the Imperial Palace or the Old Gebi), which has been the residence of various Ethiopian emperors including Haile Selassie. Today it contains the offices of the Prime Minister.
 
Ethiopia is one of the world's oldest civilizations and you can see many ancient artefacts on display at the National Archaelogical Museum. This includes the fossils remains of Lucy, one of the oldest known hominids ever discovered who lived in Ethiopia over 3.2 million years ago. Over 40% of her skeleton was found intact.
 
Time permitting there is also the opportunity to visit the Mercato, the largest open air market in Africa, and drive up Mount Entoto for panoramic views over the city. As Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee, do try to experience a typical Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony at some stage during your stay.
Day 2
Transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Gondar Airport by your guide, who will drive you 3-hours to Debark, continuing to our Simien Mountains National Park lodge in the northern Ethiopian Highlands - a dramatically beautiful World Heritage Site.
 
We drive through the spectacular landscapes of one of Africa's largest mountain ranges, with many deep valleys and jagged peaks. Here you will find Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in the country and the fourth highest in Africa soaring over 15,000 ft (4,630 m).
 
Simien Mountains National Park covers an area of over 70 square miles (190 km²). This high altitude park is situated between 4,500 and 6,200 ft (1,900 to 4,430 m) and has a variety of Afro-alpine flora, including 57 different tree species and many herbaceous plants, spread across three distinct botanical zones. Over 180 bird species have been recorded here and this park is home to 35 different mammals.
 
Note: Be aware that your lodge in the Simien Mountains is at high altitude at 10,500 ft (3,200 m).
Days 3 To 4
This morning enjoy walking in Simien Mountains National Park. The alpine meadows in the highest reaches of this park have very little vegetation and snow falls regularly, but they provide essential sanctuary to the animals that live here.
 
Simien Mountains National Park was created primarily to protect the critically endangered Walia Ibex, which you can see clinging to the sheer rock faces. It is also home to other endemic species such as the colourful Gelada ('bleeding heart') baboon; the Ethiopian wolf (also known as the Simien fox); Menelik's bushbuck; caracal and the rare Lamergeyer (a huge vulture).
 
Enjoy outstanding views of the gorge and mountain range, whose striking formations have been described as ‘the chess pieces of the Gods’.  We also drive to Chenek which at 11, 877 ft (3,620 m) has an impressive escarpment with scenic views of Mount Buhit. Here you will have the best opportunity of observing the endemic Walia ibex, as well as many different bird species and the varied alpine flora.
Day 5
This morning we leave Simien Mountains National Park and drive 3-hours to Gondar.
 
This historic city was the 17th century capital of the Ethiopian Empire under king Fasilidas and also of the ancient Abyssinian Empire. Its emperors built many castles here, giving the region a very European feel - hence the name 'African Camelot'. The whole city is today a World Heritage Site.
 
We visit the Imperial Castle Compound with its six castles, including including the oldest and most magnificent Fasiledes Castle, with its Royal Enclosure and Emperor Fasilidas’ Pool. This is where the colorful Timket festival (Epiphany) is celebrated every January, when pilrims still take a plunge.
 
We also visit the church of Quskuam Mariam, the residence of the Empress Mintewab and the church of Debre Berhan Selassie (meaning 'Light of the Trinity'), located on the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. This church was not destroyed, even during the dervishes, and on its painted 18th century ceiling over 100 winged cherubs look down on you, with slightly different but equally quizzical expressions. Full of all the colour, life, wit and humanity of Ethiopian art at its best, the walls provide a compendium of the country's saints, martyrs and folklore.
Day 6
Transfer to Gondar Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Lalibela Airport and transferred into this spiritual town - the 'African Jerusalem'.
 
Perched high on an isolated mountain over 8,500 ft (2,600 m) above sea level, Lalibela is home to 11 spectacular rock-hewn churches built by King Lalibela (1181 - 1221) after whom the town is named. Each church is carved entirely out of a single block of granite, with its roof at ground level, and each is built in a different architectural style. The entire town seems frozen in biblical times and is today a pilgrimage site for Christians.
 
After lunch we visit the First Group of extraordinary rock-hewn churches and their subterranean complex of passages, found by a stream called the River Jordan. Bete Medhanialem (Saviour Church), Bete Miriam, Bete Denagel, Bete Meskal, Debra Sina and Bete Golgotha are all part of the amazing UNESCO World Heritage site found at Lalibela.
 
Note: When entering churches, men should wear long trousers. Women should wear jeans or long skirts (avoid short skirts and shorts) & must wear a head scarf. Please be aware there is a lot of walking and climbing up and down rough steps when visiting these churches.
Day 7
This morning we take a mule ride to the top of a hill to view the semi-monolithic church of Asheton Mariam (13th century AD). Here you will be rewarded with unforgettable views of the surrounding area.
 
In the afternoon we visit the Second and Third Group of Lalibela's famous churches. These include Bete Gabriel & Raphael, Bete Merquorios, Bete Emmanuel and Bete Abba Libanos.
 
Finally we visit the famous Bete Giorgis - Church of St George - carved in the shape of a cross from solid red volcanic rock. It is the most beautiful rock-hewn church in the world and symbolises Noah's Ark.
Day 8
Transfer to Lalibela Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Addis Ababa by your guide, who will drive you 3-hours southwards through the beautiful Rift Valley with its chains of lakes - Lake Ziway, Lake Langano, Lake Abijatta and Lake Shala.
 
On arrival at Lake Langano you can enjoy the wonderful views and prolific birdlife, including pelicans and flamingos. You can also swim in the lake.
Day 9
Today we leave Lake Langano and travel 4-hours towards Bale Mountains National Park - the best-known national park in Ethiopia.
 
We drive up through forests, fields, villages and banana groves until we reach the open grassy uplands, with the scenery becoming increasingly spectacular as we approach the park. Situated on the high altitude Sanetti Plateau, the park covers an area of over 830 square miles (2,150 sq km).
 
The plateau is broken up by dramatic volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams that descend into deep rocky gorges on their way down to the lowlands. This is the largest Afro-Alpine habitat in Africa and the best place to see many endemic mammals. It is also the best place to spot many high-altitude bird species.
Days 10 To 11
Today enjoy the upland birdlife, flora and fauna of Bale Mountain National Park which offers wonderful opportunities to view 11 of Ethiopia's 29 endemic bird species (over 260 bird species have been recorded here) as well as over 60 different mammals.
 
Depart early and ascend the Bale Massif on foot until you reach the high altitude Sanetti Plateau, which ranges between 12,500 and 14,360 ft (3,800 to 4,377 m). As you climb up the mountain you will see the vegetation changing from juniper forests to heather moorlands and alpine meadows, which at certain times of year are covered in an abundance of colourful wildflowers.
 
The Sanetti Plateau is a birding area of great importance, as it supports seven globally threatened species, including the Thick-billed raven, Wattled ibis, Blue-winged goose and Rouget's rail. It supports nearly all of Ethiopia’s highland biome species and is particularly good for raptor sightings.
 
This is also the best place to see the park's most celebrated resident - the Ethiopian wolf (also called the Simien fox). Watching these vibrantly coloured animals hunting giant mole-rats (another endemic species) is a truly wonderful wildlife experience. You can also see the endemic Mountain nyala, a magnificent antelope unique to these hills, the endemic Bale Mountains vervet monkey and other sepcies such as the Menelik bush buck, warthog, reed buck and gray duiker. If you are very fortunate, you may see the rare black-maned lion.
Day 12
This morning we travel 4-hours to beautiful Lake Awasa, which is home to hippos and a magnificent spectacle of water birds.
 
Species you can hope to see here include the Marabou stork, Black heron, Goliath heron, Hamerkop, Hadada ibis, Pygmy goose, Fulvous whistling duck, White-faced whistling duck, Knob-billed duck, Black crake, African jacana, Three-banded plover, Whiskered tern, White-winged black tern, Pied kingfisher, Malachite kingfisher and many other species of egrets, ducks and kingfishers.
 
Birds are so plentiful here that little energy is required in finding them. You can also hope to see beautiful black and white Colobus monkeys.
Day 13
This morning we visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awasa, before driving 4-hours through the magnificent chain of Rift Valley lakes to Addis Ababa.
 
Along the way we visit the Tiya Stelea - the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture whose age has not yet been precisely determined. There are 36 monuments at this UNESCO World Heritage site, including 32 carved stone slabs covered with symbols that are difficult to decipher.
 
We also stop at the pre-historic Melka Kunture archeological site in the Awash River Valley, where many ancient stone tools and huge mammal fossils nearly 2-million years old have been discovered and the rock-hewn church of Adadi Mariam that is believed to be the southernmost church founded by King Lalibela.
 
Afterwards continue to Addis Ababa where you will have the use of a hotel day room, until it is time to transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for your flight home.
 
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