Ethiopia Mountains and Lakes
Ethiopia's stunning and varied topography make it an ideal destination for those with a taste for adventure, as well as for budding photographers. Home to the impressive Simien and Bale Mountain ranges, the Martian like landscape of the Danakil Depression, the plains of Awash and the stunning Lake Tana, Ethiopia offers a wide range of eco-systems which house an array of endemic wildlife species.
Perhaps the most dramatic mountain scenery Africa has to offer, the Simien Mountains boasts peaks of up to 4,543 metres. It is the perfect place for trekking and wildlife and is made up of breath-taking crags, pinnacles, and flat topped mountains. Formed over 40 million years ago, this is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include seeing the endemic Gelada baboon, Walia Ibex, and the Simien Wolf, and there are also 8 endemic bird species to spot. Ascents of Africa’s fourth highest peak – Ras Dashen – can be arranged, but you should allow around six days.
Bale Mountains is a remote and exciting area of Ethiopia. It is home to the most varied of landscapes such as Sumeti Plateau, Harena Forest, and the Sof Omar caves. Whilst in Bale, you could spot up to 78 mammals species and more than 300 bird species, and it is arguably one of Africa’s top five birding destinations. The presence of Ethiopian wolves and other species such as Mountain nyala and Bale monkeys makes this a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise. And… new species are being discovered all the time here!
To the East of Addis Ababa is Awash National Park, which can be found within the Great Rift Valley. This national park features the impressive Awash Falls and hot springs, as well as 756 square kilometres of grassland and Acacia Woodland. There is also a good range of wildlife to see here including the oryx, dik dik, warthogs, baboons, gazelles and kudu. In addition to this, with more than 350 species of native birds occupying the area, making this a fantastic place for bird enthusiasts. Horse-rides, walks, and game drives through the varied landscapes of the Sumeti Plateau and Harena Forest make this area a joy to explore.
The town of Bahir Dar is situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Tana. The lake itself houses a number of monasteries built precariously on top of rocky islands. Many of these monasteries can be visited by boat, which is also a great way of spotting the diverse birdlife which occupies the lake and its surrounds. Also nearby is the Blue Nile Falls which are situated close to the small village of Tis Isat (which means “smoking water” in Amharic). Recently the river was reverted upstream for a hydroelectric power station, so whilst they are not as spectacular as they once were they are still a very impressive sight to see and are surrounded by beautiful scenery. With many hotels occupying a lake-side position, this area is a great place to relax a bit during your journey through Ethiopia.