Located 400km southeast of Addis Ababa, the Bale Mountains National Park contains a spectacularly diverse landscape.The high altitude, afro-montane Sanetti Plateau rises to over 4,000m and includes the highest peak in the southern Ethiopia highlands.This undulating plateau is marked by numerous glacial lakes and swamps and surrounded by higher volcanic ridges and peaks. The southern slopes of the massif are covered by the lush and largely unexplored Harenna Forest.
Often called the “Rooftop of Africa,” the Bale Mountains forests harbour a wide variety of flora and fauna that evolved in isolation. In Bale visitors will see many species of mammals, birds, amphibians, and plants found only in Ethiopia and in some cases only in the Bale Mountains. With such a high diversity of wildlife, the Bale Mountains National Park is a crucial protected area for a significant portion of Ethiopia’s and the world’s biodiversity. Visitors to the area can see mountain nyala, the largest population of Ethiopia wolfs, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, bushbuck, and warthogs, among others animals. Lucky visitors might also get a glimpse of lions, leopards, the rare Bale monkey, or wild dogs.
The Bale Mountains are considered Ethiopia’s most important bird area with over 280 bird species. Visitors to the Bale Mountain National Park can explore the variety of bird habitats including grasslands, woodlands, forests, moorlands, wetlands, and alpine lakes. Six of Ethiopia’s 16 endemic bird species are found in Bale and 7 globally threatened bird species can be seen here including the greater spotted eagle, imperial eagle, lesser kestrel, and the wattled crane.
A Few Places to visit in Bale
- Gaysay Valley: Trips to the Gaysay Valley at the northern extreme of the park reveal numerous groups of mountain nyala along with warthogs, Bohor reedbuck, grey duiker, and Menelik’s bushbuck.
- Web Valley or Sanetti Platuea: Sightings of the handsome Ethiopia wolf are virtually guaranteed for those who visit the Web Valley or Sanetti Plateau.
- Harenna Forest: Discover the largely unexplored Harenna forest to see colobus monkeys, baboons, bushbuck, and warthogs.