Tourist Activities

Ethiopia being the paradise of natural and historical houses tourist activities ranging from walking and trekking to mountain climbing.

Walking and Trekking

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The Ethiopian highlands, blessed with a temperate climate and grand mountain scenery, offer superb trekking opportunities. The principal well-established areas for trekking are the Simien and Bale Mountains National Parks. The more recent arrival to this field of tourist activity is the remote South – West highlands east and west of the Omo valley, where strong and colourful cultures compliment the appeal of scenery, flora, and fauna.

Less strenuous and more relaxing are the pleasant local traits that flow the banks of Rift Valley lakes, or resort areas close to Addis Ababa, such as a walk through the vineyards of Ambo.

The rewards of a trek in the Simien mountains include spectacular views from the northern escarpment, the three endemic mammals – Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboon, and the Simien Fox as well as Ras Dashen, the country’s highest peak at 4620 meters.

Bale has a less inhabited, richer mosaic of high-altitude plateau, heather moorlands, and dense juniper forest with an easily seen population of Mountain Nyala and Simien Fox as well as some fabulous birds, many of them endemic.

Riding and Pony Trekking

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In such a rugged environment horses and mules play an important part in the transportation of people and goods. So it is not surprising that horse riding can be enjoyed in most parts of Ethiopia. A trek in the Simien Mountains on a surface-footed pony allows visitors to get to areas even 4 x 4 vehicles find difficult.

Mountain Climbing

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Much of Ethiopia is rugged mountainous country, and the opportunities to conquer demanding peaks and crag are endless. The Simien Mountains, the Bale Plateau and many other areas provide perfect climbs. Equipment is rarely available locally and should be brought with you.

Caving

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In many areas, particularly those with limestone, crag, underground caves and caverns may be discovered. Near Dire Dawa there is evidence of prehistoric habitation. Skilled expeditions will find great opportunities, but local guides are essential.

Bird-Watching

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With 861 bird species, out of which 16 are endemic, Ethiopia is a must for every bird enthusiast. Many of the National Parks provide areas less affected by human activities where a broader range of bird species can usually be seen.

According to their habitat, the most recommended sites for bird-watching are – the highland plateau, the lakes region, and the lowlands. Nearby sites include Entoto, Gefersa, Debre Zeit, and Menagesha forest.

The highland is called the land of endemism. Of the total endemic birds, over 60 percent of the species are found in the Bale Mountains National Park. Totally 161 bird species are recorded in this park. Some of the richest areas of bird life in highland plateau include small patches of natural forest on gorge edges, inaccessible valley bottoms, and sacred graves on hilltops and around churches.

Ethiopia’s lakes are famous for the sheer numbers of birds they harbor. The Lakes Region covers Lakes Ziway, Langano, Abijatta, Shalla, Awassa, Abaya, and Chamo. Over 50 percent of all bird species have been recorded in the Rift Valley because of the proximity of numerous aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Lake Abijatta is a feeding ground for numerous great white pelicans and greater and lesser flamingo as well as flocks of little grebes. An island in neighboring Lake Shalla is a regular breeding ground for great white pelicans and a nesting spot for the greater flamingo.

Lowlands too offer a great opportunity for bird-watchers. These areas are rich in seed-eating and insectivorous birds. This site covers areas in Borena Administrative Zone.

The main reasons behind the distribution of birds in various localities are the feed, altitude, climate, and cover factors. Accordingly, birds of prey and other scavengers are in plenty. To list some of the birds: Lammergeyer or the bone breaker is quite common in the Simien Mountains. Shoebill or Whale headed stork is also common in Gambella and Ethio-Sudan border. Ethiopian Bush Crow is a localized endemic bird distributed throughout Borena area up to Murle. Prince Ruspli’s Turaco too is considered as a localized bird found in Borena area alone.