Start Addis Ababa. In the afternoon, we will have a city tour of Addis Ababa and visit the Ethnographic museum
An early start this morning to visit the Debre Libanos Gorge, the drive is approximately 2 hours. The gorge is carved by a tributary of the Blue Nile and is home to a large troop of Gelada Baboons, a species unique to Ethiopia. These magnificent animals have a much evolved society, efficiently communicating with each other. Adult males are especially impressive with their long flowing manes of hair and their red 'bleeding heart'. Also keep an eye out for the Lammergeyers soaring over the gorge. We will return to Addis Ababa for the night
Today we head east to Awash National Park and we stop at Hora Crater Lake and Beseka Lake en route to spot birds and crocodiles. The journey to Awash takes us about 8 hours (including the stops along the route for visits and lunch) and we should reach Awash National Park for a game drive around 4pm. The park is situated on the edge of the Awash River and is an acacia plain surrounded by hills. This afternoon we will go on a game drive into the park and enjoy the beautiful sunset over the park. We will stay for two nights in the Awash Fall Lodge.
Today we will have a full day game drive in the park. We will visit the Fulweha Hot springs in the far north of the park where we hope to see Hamadryas baboons. After a picnic lunch we will visit Kudu Valley and Awash Falls. We will have the bus with us to drive us from one game area to another and we can walk with the scouts to have a closer view of wild animals in the park. The wildlife we hope to see includes the Beisa oryx, Lesser kudu, jackals, warthog, baboons, spotted hyena, bat eared fox and wildcat. The elusive Striped Hyena, lion, leopard and caracal have also been seen in this park
After a final game drive in the park, we leave Awash to travel to Lake Langano. The journey takes us about 5 hrs including stops at the Koka Dam and Lake Ziway which offers a great variety of water birds. At Lake Ziway we will stop for lunch - make sure you look for small furry mammals called Tree Hyrax which live by the lake. In the afternoon we will arrive at Lake Langano and check into our hotel on the shore of the lake. The lake is surrounded by the Arsi Mountains that are 4000m high. We will take an afternoon walk along the shore of the lake in the acacia woodland forest and look for woodland birds including starlings, White headed Buffalo Weaver, White browed Sparrow Weaver, Lilac- breasted Roller and the African Hoopoe.
In the morning we will visit Abiata-Shala National Park. We will first stop at Lake Abiata to see the flamingos. We will then travel south to Wendogenet, a beautiful hill resort set in tropical forest full of birds and monkeys. There is also a swimming pool that is filled from a local hot spring. We will spend two nights here.
Today we will explore Wendogenet and its surroundings. We take a walk into the forest to see Colobus Monkeys, forest baboons and many colourful tropical birds including the endemic Yellow Fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Wood Pecker and the rare White Cheeked Turaco. We will have also the option to visit the small local market at Wendogenet which is full of locally produced fruit.
We will leave Wendogenet in the morning and embark on the long road to the Bale Mountains National Park. The journey takes about 10 hours including a stop, but despite the length of this journey the constantly changing dramatic scenery will keep your attention. We cross the vast Arusi-Bale plains and travel over mountain passes at over 3600m. We will have a brief stop at Adaba for the Saturday market of the Oromo people who live in the fertile plains of the Bale Mountains. The Bale Mountains cover an enormous area of 2400 sq km and reach an altitude of 4377m. The park is virtually uninhabited and therefore almost entirely unspoilt by humans. The park contains large areas of plateau broken up by volcanic peaks and gorges, lakes and streams. When we arrive at the village of Dinsho we will visit the park headquarters to collect a guide and scouts. We will then spend an hour walking in the park before driving to our hotel for the next two nights.
Today we will enjoy the varied scenery and unique wildlife of the park. We will drive up to the Senatti Plateau (4000 metres) to try and spot the most endangered canid in the world: the Ethiopian wold. The Senatti Plateau is home to the largest population of Ethiopian wolves and we have a good chance of seeing the rare and beautiful animal. We will spend the morning on the plateau before driving further to the edge of the Harenna escarpment to enjoy the spectacular view over the Harenna forest, where we will have our picnic lunch. After lunch we will drive back to the plateau and enjoy its flora and fauna and looking more endemic species such as the Giant mole rat and the Stark's hare.
After breakfast we travel back west along the Rift Valley towards Lake Awassa, the drive is approximately 6-7 hours long. We will arrive at Lake Awasa in the afternoon and we will go on a walk to explore the rich bird life on the shores of the lake. We will stay in a hotel on the shore of Lake Awassa, which has very beautiful views over the lake.
This morning we will visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awasa. The fishing boats come in from the lake and the locals congregate to purchase their fish. In addition to the villagers shopping there are local children playing games, pelicans trying to steal food and monkeys swinging in the trees overhead. It is a real taste of local life! After the market we drive back to Addis Ababa (approximately 4 hours). Those on the group flight will be transferred to the airport. The trip ends upon arrival in Addis Ababa.