Bale Mountains National Park


Bale Mountains National Park is an area of high altitude plateau that is broken by numerous spectacular volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams that descend into deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands below.

Bale Mountains National Park is an area of high altitude plateau that is broken by numerous spectacular volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams that descend into deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands below.

As you ascend into the mountains you will experience changes in the vegetation with altitude, from juniper forests to heather moorlands and alpine meadows, which at various times of year exhibit an abundance of colorful wildflowers.

Bale Mountains National Park is the largest area of Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of the continent. It gives the visitor opportunities for unsurpassed mountain walking, horse trekking, scenic driving and the chances to view many of Ethiopia's endemic mammals, in particular the Mountain Nyala and Ethiopian Wolf, and birds, such as the Thick-billed Raven, Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, and Rouget's Rail.

The climate of the Bale Mountains, as is to be expected in a high altitude mountainous region, is characterized by a high rainfall and periods of damp cloudy weather, interspersed with periods of sparkling sunny weather with brilliant blue skies. The climatic year can be roughly divided into three seasons -the dry, early wet and wet seasons. The dry season is usually from November to February. Very little rain is experienced and temperatures on the clear sunny days may rise to as high as nearly 30 centigrade. Nights are star-filled, clear and cold, usually with heavy ground frosts. Temperatures may fall between minus 1? and minus 5? centigrade in the main peak area of the Park. This is the best period to visit the National Park, especially for walking and horse trekking in the high mountain area. The vegetation can get very dry in the dry season, and fires must then be very carefully tended.

The early wet season lasts from March to June, and about two-thirds as much rain falls in this period, as in the wet season from July to October. Throughout these eight months, days are generally cooler and nights warmer than in the dry season. Despite the wetter weather, the area can still be enjoyed with adequate warm and weatherproof clothing. Bright sunny periods may be experienced at any time. Snow has been recorded, but does not lie around for very long.

South of the Harenna escarpment, the land falls precipitously to a large area of dense Podocarpus forest, that slopes gradually down to an altitude of 1 500 m at the southern Park boundary. A few kilometres further on the land changes abruptly to open wooded grasslands, with higher temperatures and the surprising sight of camels in the area of Dolo-Mena.

The Mountains are most famous as home and refuge of the endemic Mountain Nyala and Ethiopian Wolf. Both these mammals occur in reasonable numbers, and visits to the Gaysay area, and the Sanetti plateau will ensure you see both. The Mountain Nyala is a large antelope in the spiral-horned antelope family. Males are a dark brown colour with a pair of gently spiraled horns with white tips. They bear handsome white markings on the face, neck and legs, together with usually at least one stripe and some white spots on each side. The hornless females are a lighter brown colour, and typically have the same white markings as the males, though less often have stripes, but normally have spots on the sides. Males can weigh as much as 280 kilos, stand one and a half metres at the shoulder, and have a mane of long erectile hairs along the spine. Females weigh less and have no mane.

Testimonials

Be sure that our travel was really enjoyable and we thank you a lot for the very nice organization and the well balancing of the tour. I promise you to travel back to Ethiopia in January 2015 for the Timkat festival in Lalibela and the Northern part. So, you can as soon as possible prepare our next tour! But as well balanced as the last one we did! Warm regards Véronique and Guy France, July 2013

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