Jump to content

Ethiopia - The roof of Africa


Recommended Posts



28 Sep – 04 Oct 2019




How much can you see in Ethiopia in only 6 days?


Well, the answer is: Pretty much!


I had a week at my disposal and contacted the well known company http://www.ethiopianquadrants.com to arrange a mammalwatching tour. They were very fast in setting up a trip for me that would cover much of my targets and before I knew it I had a tour in Ethiopia booked…


I had one of the very best birding and mammals-guide in Ethiopia, Abiye Dagne: abiybird@gmail.com


A more or less standard tour to well known places. Maybe you have seen trip reports from those places before but maybe there is some additional interesting information.


I visited Debre Libanos, Awash, Allideghe, Sanetti Plateau, Gaysay grassland (Dinsho) and Harenna forest. With the most important targets of Ethiopian wolf, Grevy´s Zebra, Soemmerring´s Gazelle, Bale monkey, Giant forest hog, Bushpig and to take a better photo of a Serval cat…


First some words about those places. Number one lesson in Ethiopia is that there are people everywhere! And I mean everywhere! Behind every bush, behind every stone. If you think you are alone, you are not, there is always anyone watching you. The national parks are infested with people and their livestock, Camels, Cows and Goats. In fact it´s a sad sight and not worthy.


Having said that – Ethiopia is still home to some very good wildlife and interesting endemic species and I got 35 species in 6 days.


Debre Libanos


Home of the Geladas. The scenery is beautiful. It´s more or less the only mammal you will see here but it´s a good one.










One of the parks who is infested with livestock. But at late evenings and at night there is some good wildlife here. The livestock is gone and the wild take over. It is a bit pathetic though, that I had to have a park ranger with me in the car to see that I follow the park rules or something, I don´t know. You can´t visit without a park ranger and at the same time there is ALOT of illegal grazing going on and people is everywhere which no one cares about.






Awash falls lodge




Awash falls lodge




The place in Ethiopia where I visited with least people. Some 130km from Awash I did it on a day tour. This is the place with around 35 Grevy´s Zebras still roaming.



Where are those Zebras?


Gaysay grassland (Dinsho)


A fairly small protected area on the way to Bale Mountains (Sanetti plateau). I only spent around 1 ½ hour here in search for Servals.


Sanetti plateau


4000 mas high plateau. Home to Ethiopian Wolves. Sadly, the livestock have found their way to this remote place as well. And maybe even worse… dogs!











Harenna forest


On the “other side” of the plateau a forest spreads out – Harenna forest. Still very much unexplored. Here you also find the lovely Bale mountain lodge which is pricey but in a perfect location to explore this forest.









Harenna forest seen from my room in the lovely Bale mountain lodge


My species list


1. Gelada --- Easily found in Debre Libanos.























2. Salts Dik-Dik --- Very common in Awash. Also one seen in Alledeghe.





3. Caracal --- Two different individuals seen within 1½ hour in Gaysay grasslands (Dinsho) in broad daylight! Amazing!


I only stayed here 2 hours in total in search for Servals but got heavily rewarded with Caracals instead. My guide Abiye told me that the cats usually start moving around 17:00 and he was obviously right. Could be a very reliable place to tick of Caracals on your list if you don´t have it. You can also spotlight here if you want. The closest hotel is some 50 minutes away.














Not only mammals, here is a couple of other creatures from the first part.



White-bellied bustard (male)



White-bellied bustard (female)



Leopard tortoise - Common in Awash



Leopard tortoise



To be continued...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Antee- great to see another Ethopia report

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick - Gamewatchers

Thank you for sharing! I need to spend some time in Ethiopia!! Every year I think about it, and it gets put off for something else.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this trip report @Antee   Very neat that you found such a good place for Caracal.


Too bad about humans intruding everywhere in Ethiopia.


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

Thanks for this trip report @Antee   Very neat that you found such a good place for Caracal.


Too bad about humans intruding everywhere in Ethiopia.


With everywhere, I really mean e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e-!
Yes, it´s a shame. With such extraordinary wildlife with alot of endemics, it doesn´t look good for Ethiopia. 

You can have 100´s of farmers inside a park without anyone cares but you... as a visitor MUST have a guard with you all the time so that you behave well :) 
It´s really frustrating but still... Ethiopia have a great amount of wildlife. For a couple of years more... 

Link to post
Share on other sites


4. Abyssinian hare --- Very common in Awash.









5. Ethiopian wolf --- 4 different individuals seen on Sanetti plateau. Two the first day and two the second day. Three of them some distance away but one close view. I do recommend at least two days on the plateau if you want to make sure to have a good look at one.















Why is there domestic cows inside the park with the most endangered canid on earth?

However, the Wolves do take benefit of this mismanagement and follow the cows step for more easy prey as the cows scare rodents away.



6. Bat eared fox --- 3 seen in Awash and 1 in Alledeghe. Quite skittish all of them.





7. Bushbuck (Menelik´s bushbuck) --- Very common in Harenna forest. When you take a walk in the forest you will both see and hear them. Also crossing the road every now and then.





8. Aardwolf --- A very nice surprise in Awash just before sunset. He was running as hell towards it´s burrow when he saw us. A quick look at us before entering the hole allowed me to take a photo.








9. Hamadryas baboon --- Very common along a stretch of the road between Awash and Allideghe where they use to hang around at the truck stops for food. Didn´t see them anywhere else.











10. Soemmerring´s gazelle --- Common and easy to see in both Awash and Allideghe. Big groups in Allideghe but also much more skittish than in Awash. The latter is more use to people as there is a lot of illegal grazing in Awash.














11. Rock hyrax --- Seen on Sanetti plateau. My guide knew a reliable place for them among a pile of rocks.







Not only mammals. Here is some noticeable birds as well.




Somali ostrich running around on Allideghe plains




Kori bustard - Awash




Wattled Starling - Allideghe



To be continued...



Link to post
Share on other sites

This brings back very fond memories, loved Ethiopia. Wow, Caracal - missed them there. And very lucky with the Aardwolf!

Link to post
Share on other sites



12. African golden wolf --- A couple of them seen in Awash during spotlighting.









13. Common warthog --- Very common in Harenna forest and Gaysay grasslands (Dinsho). Also seen in Awash.








14. Aardvark --- Excellent sighting when spotlighting in Awash. Just a couple of meters from our car. In fact it was too close for a photo and when the camera triggered, he was almost gone. Aardvark and Aardwolf on the same evening in Awash was a jackpot.




Close up with an Aardvark



15. Black backed jackal --- Only one seen in Allideghe. Taking a bath in the middle of the day.








16. Black and white colobus --- Very common in Harenna forest and easily seen. A little shy to come close.








17. Beisa oryx --- Very common in Allideghe with big groups seen. Only a few individuals in Awash where it seems they soon will be gone because of the illegal grazing push them out.








18. Common genet --- One seen while spotlighting in Awash. The rings on the tail went all the way to the tip and therefore we identified it as a common genet.









19. Rusty spotted genet --- One seen while spotlighting in Harenna forest. Unlike the Common genet this one had a fairly large black tip on it´s tail. Therefore we identified it as a Rusty spotted genet.




You can clearly see the black tip on it´s tail






20. Gerenuk --- 4 individuals seen in Allideghe. Not very cooperative. They stayed at a distance.








And as usual some noticeable birds in the end of the post...



Secretary bird from Allideghe plains



Yellow-throated sandgrouse - Allideghe plains




Slender billed starlings and White-collared pigeon - Dinsho grasslands

The latter is endemic to the highlands of Eritrea and Ethiopia.



Ethiopian siskin - Dinsho grasslands

Endemic to Ethiopia.



To be continued...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...



21. Common duiker --- Easily seen in Gaysay grasslands (Dinsho) where they hide, eat and (I guess) live their life in the high grass.






22. Starck´s hare --- Common on the Sanetti plateau. You just have to look very close. If you take a walk you will notice that some of the rocks aren´t rocks… they suddenly start to move.



Starck´s hare, Endemic to Ethiopian highlands




Nice camouflage. Two Hares in the picture.






23. Lesser Kudu --- 3 individuals seen in Awash. Two when spotlighting and this baby Kudu.






24. Olive baboon --- Seen in Harenna forest and on the road between Awash and Allideghe. Also in Gaysay grasslands (Dinsho).






25. Mountain nyala --- Easily seen in Gaysay grasslands (Dinsho) but there is also a few of them roaming the Sanetti plateau. Like this male which we encountered on the plateau.







Mountain Nyala - Endemic to Ethiopia.



Mountain Nyala´s in Dinsho Grasslands



26. Spotted hyena --- Common during spotlighting in Harenna forest and Awash. In Harenna forest a dead horse along the road had attracted some of them an early morning.












27. Bohor reedbuck --- Common and easy to see in Gaysay grasslands (Dinsho).








28. Bale monkey --- My most sought after species on this trip as it´s distribution range is narrowed down to only Harenna forest in the whole world. We struggled quite hard to get them. First afternoon, none. But on the second – just before dark – after involving five people in a “Bale monkey”-search we finally got close contact with a group eating bamboo.







Bale monkey - Not only endemic to Ethiopia but also only lives in this patch of forest.






29. Big-headed African mole rat --- Common on the Sanetti plateau but hard to see properly. I just have to sit and wait for it´s head to pop up.







Endemic to Ethiopia and Bale mountains



30. Black-clawed brush furred rat --- It´s suppose to be at least 8 different rodents on the Sanetti plateu. And yes, there is ALOT of them! We could identify three of them. This is the most common one.



Blick´s grass rat - Endemic to Ethiopia



31. Blick´s grass rat --- This one is more gray and bigger and the third one we could identify on the Sanetti plateu.




Black-clawed brush furred rat - Endemic to Ethiopia



32. Sundevall´s roundleaf bat --- My guide Abiye knew of a building in Awash, close to Awash falls lodge where we stayed overnight, where some bats usually spend their time. Sometimes there is also more bat species are here but this time, only one.






33. Grivet monkey --- I don´t know why I didn´t photo them. Always thinking I would have a better opportunity and like so many times before when you think like this you end up with nothing. Seen on the road between Awash and Allideghe and also one was seen in Awash falls lodge area.



34. Bush hyrax (Yellow spotted rock hyrax) --- Two of them seen in Harenna forest. Quickly running away and hiding.



35. Spiny mouse?? --- A rodent, very similar to Cairo spiny mouse ran along the road in Awash.



Some noticeable birds at the end...




Blue winged goose - Endemic to Ethiopia and the only member in the genus cyanochen




Blue-winged goose with a rodent in the background. Bale mountains




Cape eagle owl - Bale mountains




Chestnut-naped spurlfowl - Found in Ethiopia and northern Somalia. 




Wattled crane - Bale mountains. Very distant.




Augur buzzard




Ethiopian oriole - Harenna forest. found in Etihopia and Eritrea



Stuff I missed


The most notable miss was the Grevy´s Zebra in Alledeghe. They were seen the day before I visited but despite a lot of effort we went empty on them.

Klipspringer used to be easy on Sanetti plateau but not anymore. After some manmade fire for livestock (what else?) all the Klipspringers seems to have disappeared. Maybe they come back one day.

Giant forest hog and Bushpig. You need some luck in Harenna forest for them. The luck I didn´t have.

 Lions were seen a couple of months ago in Harenna forest.

No Servals for me on Gaysay grasslands but only spent short time here.


This was pretty much my week in Ethiopia. Alot of time on the road but if you plan well you can see alot in just a week. 


Thank you.

Edited by Antee
Link to post
Share on other sites

A very impressive species total for such a short trip, well done! We also were with Abiy on our trip, a really good guide. Would go back in a heartbeat, so much to discover in Ethiopia. Thanks for sharing this, really enjoyed it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

A very impressive species total for such a short trip, well done! We also were with Abiy on our trip, a really good guide. Would go back in a heartbeat, so much to discover in Ethiopia. Thanks for sharing this, really enjoyed it.

@michael-ibkProbably the best guide in Ethiopia for mammals and birds. 
Yes, still much to explore in Ethiopia and I would also like to return some day. If there will be any wildlife left... 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy