Ethiopia bird watching tour taking you to the main birding sites in Ethiopia and provides a good selection of Ethiopia endemic Birds, near-endemic, localized and less often found bird species. One will find over 40 lifers despite extensive previous travel in Africa.
TOUR CODE: AAT 1122
DURATION: 19 DAYS
SITE: ETHIOPIAN RIFT VALLEY, BALE & NEGELE
- Visit one of the most attractive birding sites in Africa accompanied by an experienced birding guide
- Over 850 species of birds live in Ethiopia. Enjoy endemic, near-endemic, localized and less often found species
- See Awash National Park, the Rift Valley Lakes and the famous Bale Mountains National Park with its spectacular landscapes and afro-alpine vegetation
- Drive in a modern, air-conditioned 4WD and stay in the best available accommodations
- Traditional Ethiopian farewell dinner with “coffee ceremony”
Departure: Daily Guaranteed Departure with 3 participants minimum
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa
WELCOME TO ETHIOPIA. On arrival in Addis Ababa our representative will meet you at the airport. After transfer to your hotel an overview of the program will be given. We spend some time birding around the extensive grounds of the Ghion Hotel. Among the species spotted here are the White-backed Black Tit and the Brown Tit Warbler. After lunch we leave for Geferssa Reservoir where Blue-winged Goose, Black-headed Siskin, Abyssinian Long Claw and Wattled Ibis can be seen. In the evening return to Addis Ababa. Overnight Ghion Hotel
Day 2: Alem Ketema
After a final morning birding around the cliffs surrounding our hotel we drive north across the Sululta Plains and to the Jemma Valley.
Day 3: Explore Jemma Valley
We explore Jemma Valley for Harwood’s and Erkel’s Francolin as well as for other birds. A very early start will be needed to find Harwood’s Francolin. If we miss Erkel’s Francolin here there is an another chance later in the programme. The lower valley holds, due to its great depth, lowland species as Speckle-fronted Weaver. We shall look for it and make our way back up the gorge to seek Rueppell’s Black Chat and White-winged Chat, always keeping an eye open for Lammergeyers patrolling the cliff edges. Overnight (very basic) hotel
Day 4: Alem Ketema to Debre Birhan
An early departure from Alem Ketema is essential in order to be at our chosen site when the endemic Harwood’s Francolin is at its most vocal, thus providing our best opportunity to see this elusive species. We will have a picnic breakfast at the river and bird the surrounding woodlands.
Day 5: Awash
From Debre Birhan we head to Ankober and descend the escarpment to look for the elusive Yellow-throated Serin in the vicinity of Melka Guba. We continue our descent into the hot acacia woodlands birding en route to Awash. Birds we will hope to see include: Bateleur, Dark-chanting
Goshawk, Gabar Goshawk, Shikra, Pygmy Falcon, Arabian Bustard, Buff-crested Bustard, Black-headed Lapwing, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, African Collared-dove, African Mourning Dove, Ring-necked Dove, Laughing Dove, Namaqua Dove, Orange-bellied Parrot and many, many more. As we progress across the sands of the encroaching desert we approach the Fantalle Volcano, where we hope to find Sombre Chat in its black lava fields.
Day 6: Awash National Park
All day birding in Awash National Park, which is located in the Rift Valley. Many species of birds and mammals live here. African Orange-bellied Parrots, Bustards, Weavers, European Hoope Somber Rock-chat, Yellow-throated Serine, Red-fronted Barbet, Pygmy Baits, Lesser Striped Swallow, House Martin, etc. - just to name a few. Also mammals like the Anubis Baboon, Colobus Monkey, Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox, Warthog, Beisa Oryx, Soemmering’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu and Dik-dik live in the park.
Day 7: Bilen Lodge
Explore Awash National Park and the surrounding area including a visit to the Awash River Gorge and the Awash waterfall. Here we search the acacia woodlands and grasslands for specialties
including: Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Arabian Bustard, Kori Bustard, White-bellied Bustard, Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Swallow-tailed and Black-winged Kite, African Hobby, Bateleur, Crowned Plover, Black-headed Plover, White-rumped Helmet-shrike, Chestnut-bellied and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, White-bellied Go-away-bird and many more. Also a variety of mammals can be seen (Beisa Oryx, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Greater & Lesser Kudu, Waterbuck, Soemmering’s Gazelle, Spotted Hyena, …)
Day 8: Langano
This morning we search the vicinity of the lodge for more East African acacia birds. Then we head south to the lake district of the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Along the way a variety of raptors can be seen. A stop at Lake Ziway will reveal a bewildering assortment of water birds: Great White Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Darter, Squacco, Intermediate Egret, Hammerkop, etc. In the evening we will look for Freckled Nightjar along the cliff pathways.
Day 9: Wondo Genet
Morning birding in the extensive acacia woodland near the hotel (Banded Barbet, Superb Starling, Little Rockthrush, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Red-fronted Barbet, African Black-headed Oriole, Bearded Woodpecker,…). After lunch we will look for Roosting Verraux’s and Spotted Eagle Owl then visit the Abiata-Shalla National Park. At Lake Abiata thousands of Lesser Flamingos and sometimes Wattled Cranes gather. The lake has been in recent years much dryer than usual but if the water level returns it will continue to be a stopping place for birds migrating along the Rift Valley. This attracts also raptors like: African Fish Eagle, Pallid, Montague’s and Marsh Harriers.
Day 10: Wondo Genet
All day will be used to explore the lush wooded valley with its thermal springs. There are many trails to walk and look for birds. Endemics here include: Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Woodpecker, White winged Cliff chat and Thick-billed Raven. Also
Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Lizard Buzzard, Nerina’s Trogon and Half-collared Kingfisher inhabit the area together with Scaly Francolin, African Thrush and more. Colobus and Vervet Monkeys can be found right on the hotel grounds.
Day 11: Bale
We leave the Rift Valley and start the ascent of the Bale Mountains. Endemics here are Blue-winged Goose, Wattled Ibis,White-backed Black Tit, Rouget’s Rail, White-collared Pigeon, Catbird,
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole, Thick-billed Raven, Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Abyssinian Longclaw and Abyssinian Black-headed Siskin. Also Lammergeier, Little Sparrowhawk, Black Goshawk, Red-chested Sparrowhawk, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Rueppell’s Robin-Chat, Red-billed Chough, Somali Crow and more can be found in the park. We should also see some of the mammals, like Mountain Nyala, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Klipspringer, Bohor Reedbuck, Grey Duiker and Warthog.
Day 12: Excursion to Sof Omer
Travel to Sof Omer to seek Salvadori’s Serin birding en-route. After travelling on the Bale Plateau we drop down 1,300 metres to the dry acacia landscape. On the way we pass through villages where small camel caravans arrive with salt. Birds that we expect to see are: Long-legged Buzzard, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Nubian and Cardinal Woodpecker, Grey-headed Batis, Pale Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Apalis and many more. If time allows we will take a look to the large cave system of Sof Omer, before returning to Goba.
Day 13: Senette Plateau
The Senette Plateau with its afro-alpine vegetation is one of the highlights of the tour. The majority of the vegetation is low which ensures good views of our target species: the endemic Spot-breasted Plover and Simien Red Wolf. It is unlikely to be disappointed in our search for these species. Also we will look for Yellow-billed and Ruddy Shelduck, Chestnut-naped and Moorland Francolin, Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, Wattled Crane, Slender-billed Starling and the endemic Starck’s Hare. We drive down the escarpment to the Herrena Forest in search for: Mountain Buzzard, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler and endemic Abyssinian Woodpecker, Brown Sawwing and near endemic White-cheeked Turaco. Then descend further to the area where Prince Ruspoli’s Turacos can be found. A variety of raptors, plover, weaver and many more can be seen on the way.
Day 14: Negele
The morning will be spent seeking Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco and other birds in the area like Golden-breasted and Violet-backed Starling. In the afternoon we head for the Negele Plain where we seek the endemic Sidamo and Somali Short-toed Lark. The Sidamo Lark is quite secretive and inhabits a very small area. While there we will also look for other plains species like Kori Bustard, Teminck’s Courser, White-crowned Starling, Plain-backed Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Pale Prinia, Rufous Sparrow, etc.
Day 15: Negele
We spend the day seeking the Degodi Lark (if not seen the day before), White-winged Dove and Juba Weaver, two specialties of the area. Also Black-faced Sandgrouse, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark, Scaly Chatterer and more live in the area. We return to Negele, birding along the way.
Day 16: Yabello
Today we enter the region of the endemic White-tailed Swallow and Streseman’s Bushcrow, which we expect to see. Other species like Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Rueppell’s Griffon Vulture, Martial
Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, Pygmy Falcon, Vulturine Guineafowl, Kori Bustard, Donaldson Smith’s Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Coqui Francolin, Yellow-billed Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller and many more live in the area.
Day 17: Yabello
The day will be spent in the Yabello Wildlife Reserve where we look for Streseman’s Bushcrow, White-tailed Swallow, Somali Courser, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Little-spotted Woodpecker, Pringle’s Puffback, Little Tawny Pipit, etc. Also mmammals like Burchell’s Zebra, Aardvark, Grant’s and Thompson’s Gazelle and Lesser-spotted Genet inhabit the reserve.
Day 18: Awassa
Today we head back up the Rift Valley to Awassa, birding the acacia bush and highlands as we go.
Day 19: Addis Ababa, Departure
Morning visit the Awassa freshwater lake on the search of species previously missed. Birds like Pink-backed Pelican, Black and Goliath Heron, African Openbill, Glossy Ibis, Black Crake, Banded Snake Eagle, African Harrier Hawk, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-headed Coucal, Senegal Thicknee,
several Kingfisher, Carmine Bee-eater, Little Bee-eater, Red-breasted Wryneck, Black-billed Wood-hoopoe, Tropical Bou Bou and many more live in the area as well as Hippopotamus. Afterwards we drive to Debre Zeyit’s crater lakes, birding along the Rift Valley.Then drive to Addis Ababa. Evening fare well dinner party, with dances from the different ethnic groups, in a traditional Ethiopian
restaurant and transfer to the airport for flight home.
We respect your personal preference on what is to be included and not included on the tour cost.
But as a standard included in our given prices are meet and greet at airport, All accommodation, Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis, Meals out of Addis, on full board basis, All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages, All ground transportation according to the itinerary and Guide service.
International flights, Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa , Any drinks including local non-alcoholic beverage and alcoholic drinks, Video filming and photography fees, Incidental meals, snacks and drinks and Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
Visa and Immigration Requirements
Most nationals require a visa for entry into Ethiopia. The easiest way to get Ethiopian Visa is to get it on line thttps://www.evisa.gov.et/ . Again visa can be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.. The last option is to get visa on arrival at Bole International Airport; nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and United States.
How to get in to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a major hub for international airlines. Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline of Ethiopia, provides excellent links with East, West and South Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with connections to America and the Far East. The national airline also offers domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia, as well as most regional centers. All international services arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Other airlines serving Ethiopia include: Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egyptian, Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Saudi, Aeroflot, Yemeni, and Turkish Airways.
Luggage on tour
your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. Soft rolling bag (we usually use a 22 inch roll aboard) are recommended.
Weather and Climate
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September.
Generally except for June, July and August, most part of Ethiopia will be sunny and pleasant temperature to travel around.
When you travel to the north you are staying in higher altitude towns (Example Addis Ababa, Gondar, and Lalibela) the daily average Temperature is from 20 – 25 degrees and the temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Evenings are fairly cold and you are advised to bring something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or warm Jacket.
Those travelling to the Southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia, the weather of this region will be sunny, hot and dry; the average temperatures is about 30 degrees. During the day the sun is strong. Shorts, Hats, sun glasses, sun creams, light cotton summer clothes and layers of clothes are recommended. Although the daytime temperatures are not very high, the sun is strong and people coming pale and pasty from a European winter should be careful of sunburn -long sleeved shirts may be advisable.
Travelers are advised to travel with American Dollar or Euro. Australian dollar cannot be exchanged in Ethiopia. There is ATM machine In Most of the Regions and one can withdraw money Visa or Master Card. Banks are places to exchange money.
Hotel rooms are basic but generally clean with en suite toilet and bath facilities (usually shower only). In many places hotel accommodation is limited; we utilize the best tourist class properties available. Hotel in Addis is 3-star international standard.
We will be using 4WD Land Cruisers, 4WD mini buses or Coaster buses depending on the conditions of the roads and the size of the group. All our vehicles are Air- conditioned.
For internal flights, we use the national airline Ethiopian Air lines, which offer excellent domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia.
Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or families who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek. (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.) Usually a handshake greeting is accompanied by a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or in front of priests. Shoes are often taken off on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.
Despite years of the civil wars in the previous regime, in terms of crime and robbers, Ethiopia is still a very safe country to visit, and Addis Ababa is still one of the safest capitals in Africa. Visitors should of course take the usual precautions, not carry large amounts of money with them and leave particularly valuable items with hotel reception. Both men and women visitors should be careful about hand and money bags, keeping them close at hand in crowded places. Like everywhere else, pick pockets and snatch thieves like to create some kind of diversion before making their move, so visitors should walk purposefully and be cautious about sudden introductions in the street.
- Special qualified birding guide as well as mandatory local guide or scout fees in parks and villages
- 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa and the best available accommodation outside of Addis Ababa
- All accommodation based on twin room occupancy
- Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis
- Meals out of Addis, on full board basis
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and music
- All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages
- All transfers according to the itinerary
- All ground transportation including insurance, fuel and all costs of the driver
- Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program
- Government taxes
Price doesn’t include
- International flights
- Lunch and dinner in Addis Ababa
- Any kind of drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, incidental meals and snacks
- Video filming and photographing fees
- Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc .
- All what is not included in the list above