22 days of magnificent bird watching tour in Ghionhotel, Gefersa reservoir, Debre libanos, and other places.
Day 01: Ghion Hotel
Ghion hotel collections include Ruppell’s and Hooded Vultures, and the Peculiar endemic Thick-billed Ravens, plus such less obtrusive species as Brown -rumped Seed eaters, Grey-headed Sparrows, Baglafecht’s Weavers, Abyssinian Slaty and Dusky Flycatchers, Africa Rock Martins, Tacazze Sunbirds, Red-eyed and Dusky Turtle Doves, and endemic Wattled Ibises and White -collared pigeons
Day 02: Excursion to Gefersa Reservoir
Travel a short distance to Gafersa Reservoir, situated just outside Addis, a magnificent and rewarding habitat where a range of bush and wetland species can include as many as a quarter of Ethiopia’s 29 endemic birds. Blue -Winged Goose, Wattled Ibis, Rouget’s Rail, Abyssinian Long claw, Banded Barbet and Black-headed Siskin are amongst the endemics that may be seen.
Day 03: Excursion to the Debre Libanos
Drive on to the Gorge -carved deeply by a tributary of the Blue Nile- explore the forested escarpment above the monastery of Debre Libanos, where you will look for the endemic Ruppell’s chat, then walk along the lip of the gorge (a good Spot for a picnic with a spectacular view) where Lammergeiers, Ruppell’s Griffons, Lanner Falcons, Fan-tailled Ravens, Black Kites, and the endemic White-billed starling Soar. Lower down, on the lookout for the splendid Gelada Baboon, found in no other part of the world, and the endemic White-Winged Clift Chat.
Day 04: Excursion to Menagesha Forest and Addis Alem
Setoff on road to Mt. Wuchacha and the Menegasha forest and expect to see the Abyssinian Catbird, Banded Barbet, Golden-backed Woodpecker, Black-headed Forest Oriole, Wattled Ibis, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Crowned Eagle and Narina’s Trogan. Among the wildlife species recorded here are: Menelik’s Bushbuck, Leopard rarely seen), Colobus Monkey, Serval, Grey Duiker, Hyaena, Warthog, Porcupine and Civet Cat.
Day 05: Drive to Ankober
From the town of Anokober, there are marvellous views over the escarpment, and for ornithologists there is the chance of seeing the very rare Ankober Serin, and other species such as Smith’s Francolin, Yellow Throated Serin, White billed Starling, Black-winged Love Bird, Lammergeyer, Mountain Buzzard, Peregrine, Red-breasted Sparrow Hawk, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin and Blue Rock Thrush. Wildlife recorded in the area includes: Leopard (rarely seen), Colobus and Vervet Monkeys, Gelada Baboon, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Klipsringer and Rock Hyrax, which despite its small size is a distant relative of the elephant.
Day 06: Ankober to Bilen Lodge via Melka Gebdu
At Mhelka Gebdu, you will see many of the common acacia savanna birds of Ethiopia, including Red-bellied Parrot, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Rufous Chatterer, and Rueppell’s Weaver, Jameson’s Firefinch and a beautiful Half-collared Kingfisher.
Day 07: Drive slowly to the Awash National park, Augur Buzzards, Long-crested Eagles, Carmine Bee-eaters, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Ostriches, Buff-crested, White-billed Kori, and even Arabian Bustards, Lichtenstein’s and Chestnut-billed Sand grouse, Rosy-patched and other Shrikes, plus many species of hornbills, Weavers, Woodpeckers Vultures, doves, Pigeons, guinea fowl, glossy starlings, parrots, bee-eaters, barbets, mouse birds and finches, and the endemic Yellow throated seed eater, are to name but a few.
Day 08: Full day birding around Bilen, over 440 species of bird have been recorded in the Bilen area including rare species such as Yellow Throated Serin, Sombre Chat and Arabian Bustard.
Day 09: Head down to the lake shores of Ziway and then to Langano where huge numbers of water birds are congregated. African Pygmy Gees, Yellow – billed and marabou Storks, Lesser and Greater Jacanas, African Jacanas White Pelicans, Fish Eagles, Crowned and Common Cranes are some of the species to be seen here in impressive numbers.
Day 10: After breakfast visit Lake Abiata and Shalla, it is an enormous lake with enormous numbers of birds. Spend the morning enjoying this spectacle of color, and looking carefully amongst the flamingoes, pelicans, cormorants, storks, herons and waders for unusual vagrants in the distance, to the east and west, loom the great walls of the Rift valley. Then drive to Wondo Genet.
Day 11: Wondo Genet- home for sunbird, wood peckers, Silver-cheeked Hornbills, White-browed Robin Chats, Double-toothed Barbets, African Fire finches and a host of other species .In the forested valley close by, four endemics may be found: Black -headed Forest oriole, yellow-fronted parrot, white-winged Cliff Chat and Golden-backed Woodpecker, Whilst Half-collared Kingfishers, Spotted Creepers, African Hobbis, Crowned Eagles and Olive Pigeons are amongst other specialties of the region.
Day 12: Drive to the Bale Mountains National park, look for the endemic birds such as Abyssinian Long-eared owl, White-backed black Tit, Abyssinian catbird, Black-winged Lovebird, Golden-backed woodpecker and, if very fortunate, maybe even Black-headed Siskin. And amongst an interesting collection of upland birds you are likely to see eleven of Ethiopians 29 endemics: Blue winged Goose, Rouget’s Rail, Spot-breasted plover, white -collared pigeon, Black-winged Lovebird, Golden-backed woodpecker, Abyssinian Long claw, Abyssinian Catbird, White-backed Tit, Black-headed Siskin and Thick-billed Raven.
Day 13: Focus on the high altitude Sanetti plateau. The road is lined with the orange-blossomed Lenontis and in the wet season the “red hot pocker”(Knip hofia) is blooming beneath the trees and attracting the brilliant iridescent Tacazza and Malachite sunbirds.
Day 14: Drive to Sof Omar extensive underground cave system formed by the Web River as it changed its course in the distant past and carved a new channel through lime stone foot hills and look for some birds.
Day 15: Drive to Negele by crossing Sanetti plateau
En route look for Gray-headed Kingfisher and Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco
Day 16: Negle – Wadera – Liben Plains
Spot a roadside Coqui Francolin – a rare and localized bird in Ethiopia. Its powers of concealment rival those of the Sidamo Lark. At dusk savanna come alive with starlings. Flocks comprised of at least three species streamed overhead.
Day 17: Negele – Yabello
Between Negele and Yabello lies a rugged swatch of savanna punctuated by the slightly lush vegetation of the Dawa River valley. En route meet the flock of Magpie Starlings, White-winged Dove, Black-bellied Sunbird, and Salvadori’s Weaver, by Bare-eyed Thrushes and the more unexpected male Black Cuckooshrike. African Pied Wagtails hopped on the rocky banks of the river.
Approaching Yabello you enter the range of two of Ethiopia’s most sought-after species: Stresemann’s Bush-Crow and White-tailed Swallow. The first of these birds that you encounter is the Bush-Crow – a small flock. Moving slightly closer to Yabello, spot a small group of White-tailed Swallows – the last sighting of an excellent day in the wilds of southern Ethiopia.
Day 18: Yabello – Mega
Here you will find countless of birds including Red-naped Bush-Shrikes that sing from the tops of acacia bushes, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Rufous Chatterer, White-bellied Canary, White-tailed Swallows, Shelley’s Rufous Sparrow. A night drive revealed a correspondingly active nocturnal crowd. Incredible numbers of nightjars, Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjars and several African Scops-Owls.
Day 19: Yabello – Arba Minch
Drive to Arba Minch with a stop at a large local lake that holds Black Egret, White-headed Vulture, and African Cuckoo-Hawk. Arba Minch (Forty Springs) is the largest town in Southern Region of Ethiopia. Enjoy the boat trip Over Lake Chamo which offers the chance to see hippos and crocodiles at a close range.
Day 20: Visit the Nech Sar (this is to mean white grass) National Park. In the park 342, bird species’ have been recorded.
Day 21: Drive to Awassa. Amongst the lilies and great reed beds that encompass the lake you will find Black, Goliath and other herons, the ugly Marabou Stork, Hamerkops, Hadada Ibis, a variety of egrets, dainty Pygmy Geese, Fulvous and white-faced Whistling Duck, Knob-billed Duck, Black Crakes, African Jacans, Three-banded plovers Whiskered and white-winged Black Terns and Kingfishers, pied and Malachite, Grey-headed and Woodland Kingfishers, Red-breasted Wrynecks, Green Wood-hoopoes, Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrinkes, White-browed Robin chats, African Thrushes, Rufous Chatters, Swamp Warblers, Red-faced Crombeces, Wattle-eyes, Puffbacks, Spoted Creepers, and many other colorful species.
Day 22: Awassa –Addis Ababa via Lake Ziway
Take a morning lakeside walk to visit the Sidamo fisherman as they land their catches of Tilapia and catfish, and gut and fillet them by the lake. Here the air is alive with birds, their relationship with these fishermen being entirely harmonious. Then return back to Addis Ababa for the overnight stay.