Ethiopia

Despite it’s buzzing cities, Ethiopia is rich in history and home to some of the world’s most enchanting landscapes made up of highlands, canyons, deserts and savannas.

Ethiopia is by far one of Africa’s most unknown and underrated wildlife destinations with a large number of endemic species. The Ethiopian wolf is the highlight and can be found in the Simein Mountains, Menz-Guassa and Bale Mountains. The Gelada monkeys are also a special sighting and can be found in  the northern plateau along with other primates.

Bird watching ranks among the best in Africa and Ethiopia is fast becoming Africa’s leading birding destination. Birding is relatively easy and the birds here don not seem to have much fear of humans and are exceptionally co-operative allowing for good views and photographic opportunity.  It holds a total of 860+ bird species of which about 18+ are endemic depending on which taxonomy you use. Difficult families like Greenbuls and Ploceus weavers are minimal so not much head scratching on ID’s. Most of the altitudinal endemics are easy to come by and are in good number. Some of the lowland, dry habitat specials can be a little more challenging.

Unfortunately due to a high population, at 100 million people, most of the natural habitat has been destroyed for agricultural purposes and very little natural primary forest is still intact. That being said the bird concentrations are good within the remaining habitat. Photo opportunities are abundant and there is a deep rich culturally diverse background unlike anywhere else in Africa.

Ethiopia is a relatively easy country to travel in. Guides and drivers are essential due to the chaotic roads. You cannot drive and bird at the same time, not in Ethiopia, so standard procedure is to hire a designated driver and a guide.  Road conditions have improved significantly due to Chinese influence and industry but in the same breath the going is slow due to the roads being used by not only vehicles and trucks but donkey/horse carts and horseback riders on the main roads which slows things down considerably.

Food is quite one dimensional and if you are adventurous enough to eat the local cuisine you wont be disappointed as everything is freshly prepared and none of our group had any issues as a result.  Most of the local meals are accompanied by a local sour dough spongy flatbread called ‘injira’ or rice and pasta.

Thought to be the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia’s traditional Jabena coffee is second to none. Many little coffee shops are spread all over the roadsides.

 

Trip Report Ethiopia

 

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