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douglaswise

Bale Mountains NP - Bale Mountain Lodge - March 2015

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optig

I must say that having a fire lit in your lodge every night not only makes it warmer,but also increases makes it more charming and cozy. I'm looking forward to reading more of your trip report.

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SafariChick

Have really enjoyed this report thus far and have stayed up too late reading it, but couldn't stop! Like some others here, visiting Bale Mountain Lodge is also on my list to do sooner rather than later, so all the detailed information is very helpful.

 

I'm a little confused on one point: you mention having your own driver is required but that the lodge has guides that they can provide one for each group. Does that mean that you have a driver you hire separately - the one who drove you from when you landed at the start - who then also drives you around on game drives but your guide comes along in that driver's vehicle? Or is the own driver thing only for getting you to and from the Lodge?

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douglaswise

@SafariChick: Sorry if I was confusing.

 

Basically, yes, you have to hire a vehicle and driver to get you to the Lodge and to stay with you whole time - the cost of so doing is approx US$130/day, which includes vehicle hire, driver pay and fuel. When you get to the Lodge, you can expect to be provided with a guide (who doesn't drive) at a price already included in the Lodge's rack rate. The guide is likely to be a different one on different days.

 

In our case, I booked directly with the Lodge and paid for the whole package with a single bank transfer. Guy Levene did everything for us from the moment of arrival in Addis. This included the independent vehicle/driver hire, Park fees (trivial by Kenyan standards) and final night in Addis hotel. We actually got a driver/vehicle combo that Guy hadn't used before and it proved unsatisfactory, mainly because the vehicle kept giving trouble. Guy dismissed the driver half way through the week and provided us with one of his own vehicles and drivers, but we were fortunate in this respect. He certainly doesn't have enough of his own vehicles for everyone staying and it is not his policy to offer one to anyone as a matter of course.

 

Hope this helps.

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kittykat23uk

Was it an open vehicle that you had or just a regular car?

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douglaswise

@kittykat23uk:

 

Not open. Regular 4WD Toyota Landcruiser.

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SafariChick

@@douglaswise yes, thank you for the clarifications, I understand now. From looking at their website, the rack rate ranges from $150 to $290 per person per night and includes accomodation, meals and "one daily activity on foot" - they don't mention it including the guide being with you for drives but from what you've said, the use of the guide for drives or whatever you want is included. They seem to have a high, low and mid-season. Do you know if this is based on weather or the ease of viewing wildlife, or something else?

Edited by SafariChick

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douglaswise

@safarichick: As far as I know, the guides will either walk with you or drive. Most who were there when we were walked as an option. As I mentioned, I think we were the only ones fixated on the plateau. I think we went at the very end of the season and we were certainly offered attractive rates because of length of stay. I don't think they operate at the peak of the rainy season because road transport across the plateau cannot be guaranteed at that time.

 

If you are seriously contemplating a visit, I suggest you e-mail Guy who will fill you in more accurately.

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Marks

@@douglaswise

Thanks for sharing this very interesting TR. The wolves and nyala were the highlights for me. It looks like a wonderful destination, even if you don't factor in the complimentary drinks. ;)

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Tom Kellie

~ @douglaswise:

 

After having read your fine trip report for the third time, I need to thank you for having included so many helpful details.

Your experience makes Bale Mountain NP sound very interesting.

After looking at many of your photos, I'm impressed with the beauty of what you saw.

Many thanks for the photos!

Tom K.

post-49296-0-43400300-1429036834_thumb.png

I didn't realize that they might be photographed in daylight.

post-49296-0-13664300-1429036896_thumb.png

I really like the silhouette and vivid colors.

post-49296-0-57637300-1429036942_thumb.png

What a sight! Such a fine-looking animal.

post-49296-0-80203000-1429036996_thumb.png

Thank you for including these, which are bright.

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TonyQ

@@douglaswise

Thank you for a very enjoyable and informative report. Your writing is very engaging and the practical detail really helpful.

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pault

@@douglaswise. Excellent report. Everything I would have wanted to know, some things I didn't know I wanted to know but did, and excellent photographs of it all. Thank you for posting this.

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Atravelynn

"they are also easy to see from a vehicle at close quarters, providing one is on the plateau between, say, 10.00 and 15.00h. At this time, they are spread out and hunting individually, thereby covering a lot of ground. The pack assembles as dusk approaches, spend the night together and, after morning greetings, they deposit their cubs, usually protected from the strong winds that obtain in this environment, before setting off in different directions to hunt. Thus, in the early mornings and late afternoons, one will generally get only distant sightings from the road of more than one wolf at a time."

 

This is very helpful and instructive. Midday is not when you usually think of maximizing sightings. You mentioned that you were "fixated" on the plateau. How many visits did you make to the wolves? Are there limits to wolf visits within a week?

 

You have some beautiful pictures, and not just of the canines!

 

The fires must have been disconcerting and I hope the opinion that the fire-setters overplayed their hand and that more resources will result is accurate.

 

Thanks for some great info!

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Treepol

@@douglaswise thank you so much for posting on this little known destination.

 

Tons of useful information and varied wildlife - wolves, mole rats and all of those raptors. Sad to hear of one more incidence of habitat destruction, however if the Ethiopian Wolf is saved a 'by-product' of rainfall catchment preservation that can only be positive.

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Carol Baldock

I wanted to say thank you so much, Douglas, for sharing this trip report with us.

 

I first read it several weeks ago and have read it again, for a second time, this morning.

 

On each occasion I found your writing style very engaging and witty.

 

I found the level of detail in your report incredibly helpful and informative and your additional replies to people's various queries also very enlightening and helpful.

 

Through your words and images, you paint a very vivid picture of the trip, through which we can all live vicariously.

 

I was sorry to read that your wife was poorly during the trip.

 

I was also very sorry and saddened to read about the fires, their devastation and the loss of life which they caused.

 

However, your beautiful words and images of the trip have left a very lasting image and impression, for which I can only thank you, again.

 

Best wishes, Carol

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douglaswise

@@Carol Baldock: I appreciate your kind words

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jeremie

Thank for this really nice TR, with plenty of details about the different areas of the park.

 

I have taken a couple of hours reading different things about Bale and decided to post this brochure here, which provides very valuable information for visitors trying to plan a trip over there.

 

http://balemountains.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/bale-travel-guidebook-web.pdf

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SafariChick

@@jeremie wow, thanks for that brochure - very comprehensive!

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kittykat23uk

Yes I also found this a few weeks ago and found it to be really helpful information. I am still really keen to visit this area so if anyone else is interested in teaming up perhaps for next autumn, please drop me a line. We haven't totally ruled out the option of going this December but to be honest it is proving difficult to try and organise in a short time span now as it is peak time for the guides and so they are difficult to communicate with.

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