I'm giving some thought to an Ethiopian Adventure - AQI to be specific. I'd be really keen to hear about peoples experiences on this or other trips.
I travelled in Africa before (Kenya,Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda), So I used to (and have a certain fondness for) the unpredicability of accomodation and so on!
I'm not a huge fan of cities, towns or crowds so this looks like it could be an ideal trip for me - I'm too keen on itineries that are a bit rushed, although long drives are no problem.
Any thoughts or advice most welcome!
Thanks for your interest in the Wildlife of Ethiopia trip. Our Ethiopia trip manager, Tom, is out of the office on holiday for the next week or so, but I will ask him to get in touch when he returns as he has recently returned from Ethiopia where he joined the AYE (Discover Ethiopia) trip and added on some days to visit Awash, so he has covered much of the ground on the AQI. If you have any specific questions, please reply here and Tom will answer them when he's back in.In the meantime, you can see what our clients are saying about the trip by looking at the review section for this trip. There are lots of detailed comments which should give you a good picture of what the trip involves.
Cool - thanks Tim.
It does look like an interesting place to visit - based on the reviews I like the idea that Ethiopia offers quite a sense of adventure and is pretty different to other places in Sub Saharan Africa.
I was indeed lucky enough to do a condenced version of AQI visiting most places on the tour. Wildlife in Ethiopia is a very different proposition to what you'd have experienced further South, it's not endless savannah where lions stalk antelope, elephants bathe and giraffes munch on acacia leaves. What it is is a diverse landscape from the grass and acacia lands of Awash to the barren high-plateau of the Bale Mountains where the rarest caninid in the world, the Ethiopian wolf, roams and feeds on Mole rats and other rodents. You also spend time in woodlands and mountains. The birdlife is fantastic and there are numerous antelope species such as elands or nyalas. You also get to see the Gelada baboons, Vervet monkeys and various other wildlife. I was lucky enough in the few days I spent in Southern Ethiopia to also see hyenas and glimpse at a Serval cat.
The accommodation itself is fine, it can be basic and sometimes look a little run-down but there's nothing particularly wrong with it. Hot water seems to work (at least it did in all the hotels I stayed at when I was there). The food can sometimes be a bit boring but it's ok. Even the roads are improving and now most of the roads in the region are paved or mostly paved (they're still working on the road up to the plateau in the Bale Mountains). There are some dirt roads such as in Awash when you'll be on game drives.
I hope this has given you an ideam of the trip. Certainly Ethiopia is quite different to other countries in the region with its own landsacpe and endemic wildlife.
I did the AQI trip in Ethiopia back in February this year - and I really loved it.
I picked it specifically because I wanted a trip that would really get away from the crowds, and it really delivered on that front. You see very few other tourists on the trip generally, and especially in Awash National Park (a highlight for me) it feels like you have the NP all to yourself.
As Tom has said above, it would definitely be a mistake to expect the crowds of animals that you could get on a Keynan or Tanzanian safari, but you do get to see lots of monkeys and baboons, nyala, gazelle, oryx, warthogs and (if you're lucky) the Ethiopian Wolf, and you see them all with almost no other people around.
If you do the trip, one suggestion from me: when you stay in Awash, ask the hotel to arrange their night-time trip to see the hyenas. I've recommended seperately to Exodus that they include it in the standard package - as far as I know they haven't done that, but you can do it independently without disrupting the group itinerary, and it's absolutely fantastic.
Hope some of that is helpful,
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