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Ethiopia Birding Tour: a birdwatchers paradise

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  • Trip Type Bird Watching Tour - Nature
  • Tour Code GHET-B001
  • Private Journey
  • 10 Days
  • This birding holiday will enable you to view a significant number of Ethiopian birds. On this tour you will also have the chance to spot some of the endemic birds and mammals as it takes you to some of the breathtaking sceneries including Jemma River Gorge, Sululta plains , the Rift Valley Lakes, Wondo Genet Forest, and the magnificent Bale Mountains where more than 10 of these endemic birds are found. Despite this is a bird watching tour we will have the opportunity to spot different endemic mammals.

Ethiopia’s greatly diversified ecosystem makes it one of the richest habitats in Africa for birds and mammals. With more than  860 bird specious of birds, Ethiopia possesses about 10% of  the world’s bird specious and about 40% of the African birds are found here. Among these 16 specious of birds are only found in Ethiopia, not anywhere else. That is the reason why we say, Ethiopia is a must for bird enthusiasts. 

This birding holiday  will enable you to view a significant number of Ethiopian birds. On this tour  will also have the chance  to spot some of the endemic birds and mammals as we explore some of the breathtaking sceneries including   Jemma River Gorge, Sululta plains , the Rift Valley Lakes, Wondo Guenet Forest, and the magnificent Bale Mountains where more than 10 of these endemic birds are found.  Despite this is a  bird watching tour we will have the opportunity to spot different   endemic mammals.  

Trip highlights

  • Numerous list of birds including  many endemic birds of Ethiopia
  • Many of Ethiopia’s endemic mammals including:  Ethiopian Wolf,
  • Mountain Nyala & Gelada Baboon
  • Breathtaking nature &  landscapes
  • Bale Mountains & Jemma River Gorge
  • The Great Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes & Wondogenet Forest
  • A chance to explore Ethiopian culture
  • This tour will be lead by our ornithologist.

Day 1: ADDIS ABABA - DEBRE LIBNOS (B-L-D)

After arrival your tour guide will welcome you at the airport. We will have a first Ethiopian coffee and a breakfast before heading towards Debre Libanos. Flocks of Hooded Vultures and Black Kites will be wheeling overhead and we should see Dusky Turtle-dove and the endemic White-collared Pigeon. Dazzling Tacazze Sunbirds, Baglafecht Weavers and Streaky Seedeaters. After break fast this morning we will cross the Sululta Plains. These high-altitude plateau grasslands provide superb birding, despite intensive cultivation.

Resident birds we may find here include Secretary bird, White-backed Vulture, African Hobby, Erckel's Francolin, Red-chested Swallow, Cape Crow, Pectoral-patch Cisticola and African Quail finch. Suddenly, the seemingly endless plain dramatically drops off into the Blue Nile drainage system. Perched on the edge of the gorge is Debre Libanos Monastery, one of Ethiopia's most sacred Christian sites. We will concentrate our search here for Rappel’s Vulture, Verreaux's Eagle, African Hawk-eagle, Augur Buzzard (dark-morph birds are commonly seen here), Lanner Falcon, Nyanza Swift, Hemprich's Hornbill, the three endemics: Rüppell's Chat, White-winged Cliff-chat and White-billed Starling, Mocking Cliff-chat, Yellow-rumped Serin and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting. Another specialty of this area is the Lion-headed Baboon.

Overnight Ethio German Lodge

Day 2: DEBRE LIBANOS-SULULTA

Leaving early morning our objective is to look for the highly-localized endemic Harwood’s Francolin.
That we will spot it dawn by Jemma Gorge. Then the rest of the day explore for terrestrial birding and drive to Sululta town for overnight.

Yaya village resort or back Addis Jupiter Bole Hotel

Day 3: SULULTA-AWASH

This is quite birdy plain, explore morning time, looking for the Endemics; Abyssinian longclaw, Erlanger’s lark, Ethiopian Siskin wattled ibis, Blue winged geese, spot breasted plover. Then head to Awash National park, birding en route.

Overnight Awash Lodge

Day 4: AWASH

Today will be spent exploring the superb Awash National Park. We will bird around the Alleghedi reserve and Doho lodge with its hot springs, the Awash River and Kirayawa Gorge, exploring riverine forests, wetlands, thorn woodlands, savanna grasslands, rocky hills, cliffs and escarpments.

The park boasts a bird list of 460 species and we will make an effort to find, amongst many others, Egyptian Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, Scissor-tailed Kite, Shikra, Arabian, Buff-crested, Hartlaub's and White-bellied Bustards, Three-banded Courser, Helmeted Guinea fowl, Small Buttonquail, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, White-browed Coucal, Plain Nightjar, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Greater Honeyguide, Wire-tailed Swallow, Red-winged Lark, Singing Bush lark, Blackstar, Red-backed Scrub-Robin, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Green-backed Camaroptera, Grey-headed Batis, Pale Flycatcher, Slate-colored Boubou, White-rumped Shrike, Somali Fiscal, Nile Valley and Marico Sunbirds, Grey-headed and Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrikes, Fan-tailed Raven, Red-billed Quelea and Red-rumped Waxbill.

Mammals we may see include Aardwolf, Lion, Leopard, Beisa Oryx, Aardvark, Soemmering-s Gazelle, Hamadryas Baboon, Abyssinian Hare, African Wild Cat, Black-backed Jackal, Spotted Hyena and Greater and Lesser Kudu. We will also take a night drive to look for the more elusive nocturnal species.

Overnight Awash Falls Lodge.

Day 5: AWASH-LANGANO

We will depart early and head south, towards the Great Rift Valley lakes and making our first birding stop around lake Beseka crater, then at the artificial lake Koka. Lunch and birding stop at lake Ziway where the surrounding lake teem with birds and we will look for flocks of approachable Black-winged Lovebirds, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, white faced whistling ducks, hottentot teals, great white pelican, black heron, Black-billed Barbet, Rufous-necked Wryneck, African Yellow Warbler, Rüppell’s Robin-chat, Black-headed Batis, Beautiful Sunbird and Rüppell’s Weaver.

We will also visit Koka Dam and lake Ziway. Here we will search for Pink-backed and Great White Pelicans, Intermediate Egret, African Darter, Goliath Heron, Hamerkop, Yellow-billed and Saddle-billed Storks, Spur-winged and Egyptian Geese, Comb Duck, African Pygmy-goose, African Fish-eagle, Black Crowned Crane, African and Lesser Jacanas, Senegal Thick-knee, Spur-winged Lapwing, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers and Winding Cisticola. After lunch we proceed lake Langano to our lodge.

Overnight: Bihsangari Lodge

Day 6: LANGANO

Explore the whole day the Eco-lodge ground; for sulfur breasted bush shrike,
Northern puff back, black shrike, yellow shouldered shrike, common red start, slender tailed night jar, Senegal thick knees, Abyssinian ground trush etc.

Overnight, at Lake Langano

Day 7: LANGANO-BALE

In the morning we head towards the world-famous Bale Mountains National Park. At the park headquarters in Dinsho we will search for Chestnut-napped Francolin, Ground scraper Thrush (endemic race simensis), Abyssinian Ground-thrush, Abyssinian Catbird and the endemic White-backed Black-tit. We also hope to see a variety of mammals including Mountain Nyala, Menelik Bushbuck and Desert Warthog.

Overnight Goba Shebele hotel.

Day 8: BALE (SENETTIE PLATEAU) HARENNA FOREST

We will drive up the Bale Mountain massif onto the Senetti Plateau, which lies between 3800m and 4377m above sea level. As we ascend, we will enter a Tid, or Juniper forest zone, and here we will search for African Goshawk, Rufous-chested Sparrow hawk, African Hill Babbler, the very-localized Abyssinian Woodpecker, Cinnamon Bracken-warbler, Montane White-eye and Yellow-bellied Waxbill. Once we reach this unique plateau we will be driving on Africa’s highest road, passing close to the summit of Ethiopia’s second highest mountain. This habitat is termed 'Afro-alpine moorland' and is characterized by Jibrra, or Giant Lobelias, which tower over the rich tussock grasslands. This site is an Important Bird Area of immense significance, supporting seven globally-threatened species and nearly all of Ethiopia’s highland biome species.

If we are very fortunate we will see a pair of endangered Wattled Cranes striding through the moist grassland, or spot a Cape Eagle-owl sunning on a rocky perch. We will also search for Black Stork, Wattled Ibis, Lammergeyer, Chestnut-naped and Moorland Francolins, the endemic Rouget's Rail, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Thekla Lark, Red-throated Pipit, Red-breasted Wheatear and Moorland Chat. The grasslands are estimated to support an amazing biomass of 4000kg of rodents per hectare.

This obviously attracts raptors, and we should see Steppe and Golden Eagles and Pallid Harriers courting over this green sea. They share this abundant food source with the plateau's most celebrated resident, the Ethiopian, or Simien, Wolf, the world's rarest canid. Finally, we will reach the escarpment of this elevated plateau and stare down through the clouds at the vast Harenna Forest below. This is the largest intact forest block in Ethiopia and the largest protected Afro-alpine forest on the continent. It still supports populations of Lion and the only surviving forest-dwelling African Wild Dogs. Here, we will search for the uncommon Mountain Buzzard, Rameron Pigeon, Lemon and Tambourine Doves, African Emerald Cuckoo, Narina Trogon, Brown Woodland-warbler (a subspecies endemic to this National Park), Abyssinian Crimson-wing, the virtually-endemic African Citril and Cape Canary. In the afternoon, we will return across the Senetti Plateau to Goba.

Overnight Goba Shebele hotel.

Day 9: BALE-AWASSA

Today we descend 1500m to enjoy some dry warmth central rift valley.
Dropping dawn from Bale Mountains, here we will be exploring for the aquatic species along Lake Awassa.

Overnight United Africa hotel.

Day 10: AWASA-ADDIS ABABA

This morning we scan the ground of United Africa hotel, for spotted creeper, both red throated and Eurasian wryneck, African pigmy goose, white backed duck, blue headed coucal and we take a short drive to a fish market on the shore of Lake Awassa and spitting many waders. Then drive Addis on the way birding and get back Addis in the old defrosting up at the Jupiter hotel then in the evening transfer to the airport.

 

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