Taking you through the Rift Valley Lakes at a more leisurely pace, we turn South-East and start climbing toward the Bale Mountains. There are more dramatic changes in topography when we reach the forests, dominated by Juniper and St John’s Wort trees. Some of these majestic trees are over 12 metres high, hosting Colubus monkeys as well as other wildlife. After our journey through the forest we reach the Bale Mountains, temperate by day and often a few degrees below freezing at night. Crater lakes and trout filled streams make for a wonderful trekking experience. The Bale Mountains scenery is wildly alpine and can be explored on foot, horseback or by vehicle, making it accessible to all. The Bale Mountains is undoubtedly the best part of Ethiopia for endemic birds; a bird-watching enthusiast’s paradise. More than 40 streams rise in the Bale Watershed eventually flowing into the mighty rivers of Juba or Wabe Shabelle. These mountains, formed from solidified lava, make a wonderful trek during which it is possible to see endemic wildlife. Menelik’s bushbuck, warthog, mountain nyala, monkey and baboon can all be seen from the mountain treks. Lion, leopard and African wild dog do inhabit the Bale Moutains but are rarely seen by visitors. A most important fact is that the Bale Mountains are home to a population of the rare Ethiopian Wolf and it was when this was proved and data collected that the Bale Mountains were declared a national park.
Geographically Ethiopia is stunning. The landscape is dominated by the dramatic Ethiopian Highlands with peaks of 4000m or higher. The country is bisected by the Rift Valley, which starts at the Red Sea, to the North East, and continues south to Mozambique in southern Africa.