Tour Length: 8 DAYS
Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa. Later in the day, we drive to Geferssa Reservoir, about an hour’s drive from Addis where at least seven of the endemic species can be seen, including Blue-winged Goose and Black-headed Sis kin. Overnight AA Ghion Hotel.
Day 2: Drive to Awash National Park. En route we will have a lot of roadside stops including one major stoppage at Cheleklaka wet land some 42kms east of Addis. The Yellow-billed stork, African spoonbill, Red-billed Duck, Knob-billed Duck, Crowned Crane, Black Crake, and White backed Duck and Hottentots Teal are one of the dwellers of Cheleklaka wet land. Then proceed to Nazareth for lunch. Afternoon continuing to Awash National Park. In this lowland and acacia woodland area over 470 bird species have been recorded. The Abyssinian Roller, Red winged Bush Lark, Black Shouldered and Swallow tailed kites, different species of Bustards and Sunbirds are amongst the species we are expecting to see. stay Overnight
Day 3: Full day birding and game viewing in the park. Overnight Awash Genet Hotel/Awash falls Lodge.
Day 4: Leave Awash National Park for Langano. Along the way we are birding at Awash River Bridge and /or Koka Dam. After having lunch, there would be a birding program on the shores of Lake Ziway where huge number of water birds inhabit. It is a wonderful lake for its different storks, plovers, Egrets and Ducks. Overnight Langano Wabe -Shebelle Hotel.
Day 5: Drive to Lake Abijata, which is a magnificent habitat for a wintering species from Europe and North Asia. After lunch we spend more time in the acacia woodland area at the Abijata-Shalla Lakes HQ. The spotted Eagle Owl, Rufus crowned and Lilac-breasted Rollers, Bearded and Cardinal Woodpeckers, African pygmy Falcon, Imperial Eagle, Crested Francolin and Black-wood Hoopoe are amongst the verities of birds inhabiting this area. Then, proceed to Wondogenet for two nights staying. Overnight Wondogenet Wabe Shebelle Hotel.
Day 6: Full day bird watching in Wondogenet forest. The endemics Yellow Fronted Parrot and Abyssinian woodpecker, double toothed Barbet, white checked Turaco, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Narina’s Trogon, Spotted Creeper, Lesser Striped Swallow, Crowned Eagle, Ayer’s Hawk Eagle, Lemon and Tambourine Doves are one of the special birds we are looking for. Overnight Wondogenet Wabe Shebelle Hotel.
Day 7: Leaves Wondogenet in the morning for Lake Awassa. Full day birding in and around Lake Awassa. It is one of the wonderful birding sites in the main Ethiopian Rift system. Grey Kestrel, Allen’s Gallinule, Lesser Moorhen, Blue-headed Weaver, Grey-headed and Giant Kingfisher are amongst the verities of species we are expecting in Awassa. Overnight Awassa East Africa group Hotel.
Day 8: Drive back to Addis Ababa. Along the way we have a lot of roadside stops including birding at Hora , Traditional dance show and dinner and finally transfer to the Airport.
Bird Watching 14 days
Day 01 - Addis Ababa , Sululta Plains and Debre Libanos Monastery (110 km)
Depart in the morning towards the north for about 110 km, to Debre Libanos monastery.
On your way, you will have birding stop in Sululta plains expecting to see some endemics such as Abyssinian long claw, Black headed siskin, Wattled Ibis , Blue winged Goose and other birds of interest like Black wing Plover, Red throated Pipit, Pid Wheat ear, Ground Scraper Thrush , African stone chat , Tawny eagle, Mountain and Augur Buzzard and wader birds nearby the rain feed ponds of the Sululta plain.
After lunch birding walk by the side of the cliffs of Jema Valley here one can able to see very good view of Lammergeier, Giriffon Volture, Ruppell’s vulture, Verraux’s eagle, White-billed starling, Ruppell’s black chat, Erckel’s francolin and others .
This is also a good place to see the endemic Gelada Baboon (Papio gelada) right nearby the edge of the Jema Valley Cliffs. After this a short drive to Debre Libanos Monastery will take you to the indigenous Forest which one can expect to see other endemics such as White checked turaco, Banded barbet, Abyssinian forest oriole , White-backed black tit and Abyssinian woodpecker. Other birds of interest include Scaly-throated honeyguide and Brown woodland warbler.
Over night at Ethio-German Hotel
Day 02 - Lemi escarpment, Jema Valley and Debre Berhan (100 km and 160 from Jemma to Debre Brhan)
Start journey very early in the morning from Debre libanos to jemma valley. The site, which lies at the escarpment towards the valley where the range restricted, is the best place of the endemic Harwood’s francolin
Do birding at this site, targeting Harwood’s francolin and various birds such as Vinaceous dove, Black-billed barbet, African grey and crowned hornbills, Common bulbul, Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Northern crombec and Eastern chanting goshawk. You will also record Black-winged bishop, Singing cisticola, Eurasian hoopoe, Bush petronia and Vitelline masked weaver.
Drive back towards Debre Birhan town some 80 km northeastern direction from the junction. Overnight Debre Birhan Town Eva Hotel (the best hotel in town with good facility).
Day 03 - Debrebirhan-Debresina and Melka Jebdu (150 km)
After breakfast, drive to Debresina at the rim of the rift valley, the topography of the area is steep and dissected by ravines and gorges through which rivers and streams tumble down the eastern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. The altitude ranges from 1,650 m ASL to 3,700 m asl near Kundi on the plateau, the vegetation is moist to dry afro-alpine moorland with some stunted Erica arborea and shrubby everlasting flowers Helichrysum.
This site holds the only known population of the Ethiopian endemic and restricted-range Ankober serin, a species whose known distribution is limited to a narrow altitudinal range from perhaps as low as 2,800 m up to 3,750 m along the Tarma Ber, a distance of approximately 20 km as the crow flies, Ankober Serin typically lives and breeds along broken hill tops, and on the steeply shelving, near vertical cliffs. Verreaux's eagle, Peregrine, Red-rumpped swallow, Ethiopian siskin, Alpine and Mottled swifts, African pipit, Cinnamon bracken warbler as well as the Ankober serin will be seen.
Overnight at Ankober Lodge
Day 04 - Ankober to Awash National Park (120 km)
After an early breakfast, you will drive towards Awash town and Melka Jebdu River along the Dulecha road, recently identified as a reliable site for the Yellow-throated serin. The vegetation and altitude changes noticed dramatically from an altitude of around 3,300 m to 700 m. The road is also rough, dusty and far from towns.
Overnight at Awash Falls Lodge inside the Park (the only available accommodation inside the park, with very good rooms and restaurant).
Day 05 - Awash National Park ( Illala Sala Plains, Awash River and hot springs), Allideghie Wildlife Reserve and Bilen Lodge
Birding the whole morning along the Awash River and waterfalls, a good opportunity to walk inside the Park. Expect to see Senegal thicknee, Woodland kingfisher, Hadada ibis, Blue-napped mouse bird, Tropical boubou, Red and yellow-billed horn bills, African Harrier hawk and others.
Exploring the Fentale slopes to the hot spring directions expect key birds like Arabian bustard, Yellow-breasted barbet, Nile valley sunbird, White-throated and Little bee-eaters, Yellow-bellied eremomela, Ruppell's weaver, Pale flycatcher, Chestnut-headed sparrow lark and Black-cheeked waxbill whilst bush petronia, Grey kesterl, Northern white-crowned shrike and African hill babbler can also recorded.
In Lake Beseka and also at the Filwuha hot springs you will find Great white and Pink-backed pelicans, Greater and Lesser flamingos, cormorants, egrets, herons, storks, ducks and geese, waders and Osprey in and around Lake Beseka. Nearby this Lake at the lava flows, the very rare and threatened Sobre rock-chat can be spotted.
Day 06 - Awash National Park-Ziway town (170 km)
On the way to Ziway, you will explore the other side of Mt. Fentale with its vegetated crater and rocky rim, the breeding site at Mt. Fentale for Ruppell’s griffon vulture and Fox kestrel. Here you will see Egyptian vultures and many more raptors.
Short stop at Koka Dam (Awash River Bridge) for aquatic birds and waders is also recommended. Then continue to Lake Zeway, one of the most important bird habitats. Visit breeding site of different water birds appropriate time is early in the morning. Hippopotamus in Lake Ziway can also be seen.
Overnight at Bekele Mola Hotel.
Day 07 - Ziway and Langano Lakes, Abijata-Shalla Lakes National Park and Bishangari Ecolodge (80 km)
The three neighbouring lakes in the central Ethiopian Rift Valley (Lakes Langano, Abijata and Shalla) could not be more different from each other. The medium depth reddish-brown Lake Langano, shallow, brackish Abijatta, and the extremely deep, blue Shalla, once a volcanic crater and now home to several bubbling sulphuric hot springs. So, you will spend some time exploring these lakeshores and their surrounding woodlands and forests. Little Rock thrush, African thrush, Buff-bellied warbler, Red-faced crombec, Beautiful sunbird, Rüppell’s starling, Red-billed oxpecker, Red-billed firefinch, Bare-faced go-away-bird, Hemprich’s hornbill, Black-winged lovebird, Abyssinian wheatear, White-winged black tit, Black-billed wood hoopoe, African pygmy kingfisher, Bearded woodpecker and Masked shrike occur in dry acacia woodland surrounding the lodge, whilst Lemon dove, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Black-billed, Banded and Double-toothed barbets, African grey woodpecker, White-rumped babbler, Tropical boubou, Scaly francolin and Abyssinian ground thrush are resident in forest areas. You can also search the lake edge for the impressive Saddle-billed stork and the attractive White browed coucal. At Lake Abijata, you will find flocks of Greater and Lesser flamingo, Northern shoveler, Southern pochard, Cape teal, Dark-chanting goshawk, Asian imperial and Long-crested eagles, Grey kestrel, Little ringed, Common ringed and Kittlitz’s plovers, many species of Palaearctic waders, Great black-headed and Lesser black-backed gulls, amongst several other species of gulls and terns, Little bee-eater, family groups of the wonderful Abyssinian ground hornbill, Sand martin, African pipit and Isabelline, Pied and Mourning wheatears. There is also a chance to see mammals including Grant’s gazelle, Oribi and Spotted hyena.
Overnight at Bishangari Ecolodge (very attractive location and very good standard services).
Day 08 - Depart Bishangari Ecolodge to Dinsho (Bale Goba) (250 km)
Bishangari is located 20 km from the main road at the eastern side of Lake Langano, one of the remaining natural forests of its kind, 401 bird species have been recorded around this area. Expect to see Double-toothed barbet, Banded barbet, Olive dove, Tambourine dove, Green-backed twinspot, Abyssinian ground thrush and many more forest birds as well as water birds. Start birding very early in the morning at the nearby indigenous forest. Leave Bishangari before 0930 hrs upwards towards the world famous Bale Mountains National Park.
At the Park Headquarters in Dinsho, you can search the trails for the colourful Chestnut-napped francolin, Ground scraper thrush (of the distinctive, endemic race simensis), the secretive Abyssinian ground thrush, vocal Abyssinian catbird and the endemic White-backed black Tit. You are also expected to see a variety of mammals, including Mountain nyala, now entirely restricted to the Bale Mountain massif, Menelik’s bushbuck and Common warthog, unusual at this high altitude.
Overnight Bale Goba (the only best available hotel at the area, clean rooms and restaurant.
Day 09 - Goba, Negele Borana via Dolo Mena (270 km)
Goba to Negele via the Bale Mountains. You will depart early, and ascend the Bale Mountain massif onto the Sanetti Plateau, expect to see the endemic Ethiopian wolf, Wattled crane, and Mooreland francolin. After crossing this fascinating area, you are expected to drop into Harenna forest. There you will see a considerable altitudinal differences and will exit the forest zone and enter progressively drier thorn savannah in this remote southern section of Ethiopia. Then you will reach reach a dry wadi on the Genale River, home to Ethiopia’s most sought-after endemic, Prince ruspoli’s turaco. The bird is named after an Italian Prince, its hapless discoverer, who was killed by an elephant soon after collecting the type specimen of the Turaco in the 1890s. It took another 50 years before explorers saw the Turaco again, only in the 1970s was anything revealed about this bird. Then search fruiting fig trees along the wadi, and with the assistance of local farmers, you should enjoy excellent views of this very unusual and beautiful turaco. Then you will arrive in Negele in the early evening and check into our basic hotel.
Overnight Negele Borana Nile hotel (one of the two best accommodations with basic facilities).
Day 10- Negelle Borena and Liben Plains, Filtu road.
Full day birding, morning drive to the Liben Plains which is about 27 kms away from our Hotel. Our target bird today is the rare endemic and habitat restricted Liben lark( Sidamo Lark), after this we expect to see birds Like White crowned Starling, Ethiopian swallow, Teminics Courser, black wing Plovers, Somali short toied Lark, Tawny Eagle, Kori bustard, Secretary bird, red headed weaver, Sulfur breasted Shrike and many other birds.
Day 11 - Negele Borana-Yabello (300 km)
Negele to Yabello. Drive along another long and seldom-travelled road, which take you near to the Kenya border and finally to the Yabello region, home to two of Ethiopia’s most sought-after endemic birds, both listed as globally threatened: the enigmatic Stresemann’s bush crow and glistening White-tailed swallow. This area of Acacia savannah is characterised by giant red termite mounds, some towering 5m above the plains, and both these birds seem to be associated in some way with these marvels of natural architecture. The social Bush crow was only discovered in 1938, and its affinities have yet to be established. Although it appears starling-like, it is presumed to be most closely related to choughs. Several birding stops will break the journey, the most notable being a stop at the Dawa River in search of Juba weaver, White-winged collared dove and Black-bellied sunbird. Other noteworthy birds that you may encounter en route to Yabello include somali courser, Magpie starling, Black-capped social weaver, Steel-blue whydah and its host, Black-cheeked waxbill.
Overnight at Yabello town, Yabello Motel (very clean rooms and good restaurant).
Day 12 - Yabello area (30 k.m)
Have the whole day birding at Yabello area getting better acquainted with the Stresemann’s Bush Crow and White-tailed Swallow. Birds that we will be expected here inculudes Gabar Goshawk, the shrike-sized Pygmy Falcon, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, attractive flocks of Vulturine Guineafowl, Black-faced sand grouse, Mottled swift, Tree pipit, the localized African Bare-eyed Thrush, Spotted Palm Thrush, African Grey Flycatcher, Pale Prinia, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Banded Parisoma, Hunter’s and Shining Sunbirds, Superb and Wattled Starlings, Chestnut Sparrow, Yellow-spotted Petronia, Grey-capped Social Weaver, Chestnut Weaver, Green-winged Pytilia, White-bellied Canary and White-winged Widowbird. A night drive in this exciting area could produce Donaldson-Smith’s and Slender-tailed Nightjars, Greyish Eagle-and Northern White-faced Owls and Three-banded Courser. Nocturnal mammal sightings may include Striped and Spotted Hyaenas, Serval, African Wild Cat and Ethiopian Genet. Overnight Yabello Motel
Day 13- Yabello to Hawasa (310 k.m)
Hawasa town is the capital of the southern peoples region 310 k.ms north from Yabello.
Lake Hawasa is the smallest of the rift valley lakes; it is fed by a small river called “Tikur wuha “meaning black water.
Birds:-Significant numbers of waterbird species occur, particularly White-breasted cormorant, White-faced whistling duck, Spur-winged goose, Red-knobbed coot, Pygmy Goose as well as great number of birds associated with forest such as Barbets, Blue-headed Coucal, etc.
One of the most striking natural features of Hawasa is large population of Marabou stork.
Overnight at Hawasa East African Group Hotel (very nice location by the lake and forest compound, nice clean rooms and restaurant).
Day 14 - Hawasa and Wondo Genet
After breakfast drive to ‘’Amora Gedel”, lake side fish market for some great opportunities to photograph various birds accustomed to human company in a close distance, continue birding along the shores of Lake Hawasa.
This lake is particularly rich in fish and the fishermen got their fish and discard the waste around the fish market. This attracts large numbers of Marabou Stork, Great White Pelican, Cormorants and other birds.
Then after lunch, start driving towards Wondo Genet, having some stops and window birding all the way to wondo Genet. Overnight at Wondo Genet
Day 15 - Wondo Genet to Addis Ababa (270 km drive)
Start birding early in the morning at the forest near your hotel until lunch time. Targeted birds include, African crowned Eagle, Half collared Kingfisher, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Spotted Creeper and Narina,s Trogon.
After lunch you will start driving back towards Addis Ababa then you will be taken to cultural dinner party before transferring to the Air port.
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