Ethiopian Birding



Ethiopia is a paradise for ornithologists as well as for any bird enthusiasts. Its avifauna represents an interesting mixture of a variety of bird species with some strikingly unusual endemic components. Ethiopia has more than 800 species of birds, of which 16 are endemic, and more than 650 species are exclusively Ethiopian residents. The rest are migratory and winter visitors. Out of the 16 bird species restricted to Ethiopia, 3 are rare or accidental.

Ethiopia’s extraordinary range of bird species is a result of its wide variety of habitats and the vegetation at different altitudes that include high mountains, areas below sea level, deserts and lowland grasslands, forests, lakes, wetlands and riverine systems. Click here to read more about the bird species in Ethiopia.

Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights (Road)
Destinations: Addis Ababa–Central Northern Ethiopia-Central Western Ethiopia–Awash National Park-Central Rift Valley region and the lakes –Awassa-Wendo Genet–Dinsho/Bale Mountains National Park- Harenna Forest- Goba–Asela–Addis Ababa

Day 1: Arrive in Addis and be met by our representative and transferred to hotel. Later, have a Highlights tour of the Addis Ababa city-the view from Mount Entoto, the National and the Anthropological Museums, the Trinity Cathedral and Mercato. This evening we gather for an orientation in the hotel. Overnight at a reserved hotel.

Day 2: Today, we will have a day excursion from Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos and the Jema River Gorge through the Sululta wetlands. Small detour to the attractive Aleltu Waterfalls. Overnight at a reserved hotel in Addis Ababa.

Day 3: This morning, we drive from Addis Ababa on Ambo Road to the Menagesha State Forest. Hike to the top of Mount Wechecha. Return to Addis Ababa on the Jimma Road. Overnight at a reserved hotel in Addis Ababa.

Day 4: Leaving Addis, we drive eastwards to Awash National Park with stops at Debre Zeit for the Chalalklaka wetland and Lake Hora. We proceed to the Awash National Park, one of the best birding sites in Ethiopian Rift valley. The National Park shares the same habitats with grassland, savannah and wetlands. Over 460 species of bird have been recorded in this area. Overnight at Awash Falls Lodge.

Day 5: Whole day birding in the different habitats found in and out of the Awash National Park such as the plains, cliffs, wetlands and the riverine forest by the Awash River. Camel trekking can be arranged to some of these sites - one gets a great view from on top of a camel, and can also get closer to birds and wildlife. The Afar communities also offer another focus of interest. A large hot spring nearby is a great place to freshen up at the end of the day. Overnight at Awash Falls Lodge.

Day 6: En route, we view the abundance of stunning bird species in the Central Rift Valley Lakes region. Stopping off at Koka Dam, Lake Zway as well as at Lakes Shalla and Abiyata, which offer birding enthusiasts an experience of a life time when viewing at huge numbers of water birds congregated feeding, hovering, perching, swimming and hopping everywhere. Overnight at Bekele Mola beach resort.

Day 7: At leisure in the afternoon, followed by intensive birding at the Lake Shores of Awassa late in the afternoon and early in the morning. This fresh water lake is different from the alkaline lakes of Abiyata and Shalla. The black forest near the lake is an additional interesting birding site. Overnight at a reserved hotel.

Day 8: Whole day intensive birding in the dense juniper forest near the Spa Resort of Wondo Genet, which is famous for its naturally heated open air pool set among forested hills. The springs are said to have curative properties and the Emperor Haile Selassie had a lodge here, now part of the hotel. In the gardens of the hotel, we will see the Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, White-cheeked Turaco, Yellow-fronted Parrot, the Black-headed Forest Oriole, the Golden-backed Woodpecker, Redwing Starling, Grosbeak Weaver, Mountain Wagtail and Black-roughwing Swallow. We will also see Colobus monkey, Anubis baboon and bushbuck. Overnight at the resort.

Day 9: Today, we drive to Dinsho, HQ of the Bale Mountains National Park, and spend the rest of the day in the park, viewing various types of bird species as well as some endemic mammals such as Mountain Nyala and Menelik Bushbuck including Grey Duiker and Warthog as well as some bird species. Overnight camping at Dinsho.

Day 10: Whole day intensive birding on the 4000m asl Sanetti Plateau, with its striking Afro-Alpine flora, such as the Giant Lobelia and Red Hot Poker. We will also drive all the way up to Tullu Dimtu Mountain , 4377 m asl , the second highest mountain in Ethiopia .The park is the best place in Ethiopia to see the endemic Ethiopian Wolf, while the huge rodent population, including the endemic Giant Mole Rat, supports a variety of raptors. The rare Wattled Crane is often seen, while there are a good number of the Spot-breasted Plover. Overnight at a reserved hotel in Goba.

Day 11: Today, we descend from the Sanetti Plateau to the escarpment of the Harenna Forest, where at the southern boundary of the park the altitude is 1700 m asl. The Forest houses a woodland avi-fauna including the African Cuckoo Hawk, Yellow-fronted Parrot and Brown-backed Honeyguide. Wildlife includes Klipspringer, Serval, Bushpig, Giant Forest Hog, Grey Duiker, Colobus Monkey as well as other fierce mammals such as lions and leopards. Overnight at a reserved hotel in Goba.

Day 12: Our journey back starts today, en route viewing the Arsi Mountains and spotting various bird species, we will have a stop at the Dodola Community Conservation areas for picnic lunch, followed by some excursions there for bird watching. Overnight at a reserved hotel in Asela.

Day 13: With a stop at the Spa Resort of Sodere for lunch and bird spotting at the banks of River Awash and on the nearby trees, we will proceed to Addis Ababa. After lunch (on your own), the afternoon is free until we have a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant, followed by folkloric music and dances. Then it will be time for transfer to the airport to connect with the recommended flight home. Day rooms will be held for you at hotel.