A diverse country packed full of history, scenery and some of the lesser-known animal wonders on the African continent, here’s why we believe you should head to Ethiopia right now...
Africa has long been known for its incredible diversity of wildlife, making it a dream destination for wildlife enthusiasts. However, one country which has often been overlooked within the African continent is Ethiopia, which is finally emerging as a top pick for wildlife lovers. The country boasts some of the rarest animals on the continent, many of which are only found here. We believe Ethiopia is Africa’s hottest new destination for wildlife enthusiasts and here's why…
As a result of the country's spectacular national parks, mountains, lakes and wilderness areas Ethiopia boasts a huge diversity of wildlife. It is a biodiversity hotspot, meaning its unique geography and conditions have allowed a huge number of endemic species to thrive. As a result, the Simien and Bale Mountains have so many unique species of wildlife that are exclusive to Ethiopia. It really is a must-visit destination for wildlife lovers!
Geladas are one of the easiest to spot of Ethiopia’s endemic wildlife species and live in their thousands up in the Simien Mountains, governed by a distinct hierarchy and social structure. Geladas look like baboons, but are in fact the last survivors of a species of grass-grazing primates and are now only found in the rocky, high mountain meadows of Ethiopia. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Bleeding Heart Baboons’ because of the bright red colour that forms on the bald patch of females when they are in mating season. They communicate with one another through a complex repertoire of visual signals, facial expressions and vocal sounds that has often been compared to human speech. The familiar mannerisms of these unique primates make them comical to observe and very endearing!
2. Walia Ibex
This endangered species of ibex is found predominantly in the Simien Mountains, where it is perfectly adapted to live in the craggy cliffs and peaks of this spectacular mountain range. By setting up home on the steep mountainside at high altitude, these savvy creatures attempt to keep predators at bay, who find their habitat too dangerous. Ethiopia is home to the world’s only population of Walia ibex, which is now estimated at just 500 individuals. With the species now critically endangered, it is becoming harder and harder to spot these elusive creatures and their impressive curved horns.
3. Abyssinian Wolves
Commonly referred to as the ‘Ethiopian wolves’, Abyssinian wolves are the only wolf species found in Africa. They are restricted to seven isolated mountain enclaves in the highlands of Ethiopia, so having a guide who knows where to find them is key if you want to cast your eyes on these enigmatic creatures. The Abyssinian Wolves are one of the most threatened canids in the world, and there is nowhere better to see them than the Bale Mountains.
The best place to spot the elusive Abyssinian Wolves is in the Bale Mountains with a stay at Bale Mountain Lodge. The guides here are experts at spotting the wolves, who are frequently seen up on the Senetti Plateau – the high level afro-alpine plateau.
4. Over 800 bird species
Ethiopia is rapidly becoming a top destination for birders. With more than 800 species to spot, the diversity is huge. There are also 23 species which are endemic to Ethiopia, such as the noisy wattled ibis or the colourful yet endangered Prince Ruspoli’s turaco. This stunning turaco is named after the 19th century Italian aristocrat, naturalist and explorer, who went on an expedition to Ethiopia to collect new bird species for science. Sadly an encounter with an elephant meant the prince didn’t make it back to Italy alive, and the colourful, long-tailed turcao he had collected was delivered to Italy without a label, forever to bear the name of its finder – Prince Ruspoli. With such vast species of birds to be found in Ethiopia, each with unique histories like that of the Prince Ruspoli’s turaco, it is a true birding hotspot. For keen birders we will arrange a specialist bird guide to accompany you so that you can be sure to see a huge range of bird species during your tour of Ethiopia.
Spotting these unique species of wildlife requires you to visit some of the most beautiful parts of Ethiopia. With spectacular craggy mountains, shimmering lakes and lush forests, there is not only diversity in the wildlife that you will see but also the landscapes you will pass through too. For safari enthusiasts who have not only ticked off the Big Five but have also tracked down wild dogs and other more elusive inhabitants of the African bush, Ethiopia should undoubtedly be next on your travel agenda. This less-travelled corner of East Africa is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, so we urge wildlife enthusiasts to go now to beat the crowds.
Our favourite wildlife properties in Ethiopia include:
Limalimo Lodge – located in the scenic Simien Mountains, this new lodge is the perfect spot from which to go in search of the endangered Simien fox.
Simien Lodge – a simple, yet firmly established lodge in the Simien Mountains, Simien Lodge claims to be the highest hotel in Africa at over 10,000 feet.
Bale Mountain Lodge – the perfect base from which to go in search of the Ethiopian wolf, one of the most endangered animals in Africa.
If you want to discover some of Africa’s lesser-known wildlife, get in touch today to start planning your tailor-made adventure to Ethiopia. Talk to one of our specialists on 020 3141 2810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling…