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Atravelynn posted a topic in EthiopiaBale Mountains The title is compliments of the alliteratively talented @AndMic. Heading above the clouds last March along with @AndMic were @Michael-ibk and myself. We settled on the travel company, Ethiopian Quadrants, after some independent research and reaching out to other Safaritalk members who have gone to Ethiopia and have posted some great reports here. A key factor in choosing Ethiopian Quadrants was securing the guide @Nature Traveler had, Abiy Dagne. Red Jackal was also a company we considered and they provided timely, informative, and professional information. Traditional meal with injera bread After Ethiopia experienced some security problems in Oct 2016, we were cognizant of safety issues. Our investigations, contacts and especially our visit allayed any concerns. Absolutely nothing, even the least little bit unsettling occurred. As more time passes without incident, as more people heed Lonely Planet’s 2017 “Ten destinations you cannot afford to miss” (Ethiopia’s on the list), and as more accounts of successful travels to Ethiopia are shared, visitors are going to flock to Ethiopia. Geladas in Guassa, led by male Four safety anecdotes: 1) A hotel employee in Addis proudly described to me the beauty, wonder, and security of Ethiopia. He explained that the grass outside the city was so green and soft, it just beckoned you to lie down upon it. And when you did, he explained, “You can fall sound asleep on the grass and not one single animal or person will harm you.” 2) A longtime resident of Ethiopia from the UK explained he had no qualms walking around the city and heading home on foot at night. He added that he would not feel so safe in other African cities. (Or American cities, I might add, from my own experience.) 3) An NGO worker who had been all over Ethiopia for the past 3 years stated: “I could tape money to my naked body and walk the streets any time of day or night and nothing would happen to me.” None of us put that suggestion to the test. 4) At the end of our trip we were a few hours outside of Addis Ababa when we noticed several men approaching the street and waving machetes over their heads. They were making obvious eye contact and gestures toward our vehicle. Alarmed, I asked our guide and driver what was going on. “This is the town where they make knives and they are selling them.” Oh, nothing to fear, just free enterprise at work. Scenery bordering Guassa Ethiopian Endemic--Black-winged Lovebird, Addis Ababa, Ghion Garden ITINERARY, and some notable wildlife MARCH 2017 10 Met upon arrival and transferred to Jupiter International Hotel. Visa upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, no hassle. 20 minutes drive to Jupiter Hotel. I had arranged for a morning check-in. Day at rest. Ethiopian Quadrants owner,Tony Hickey, offered to host me for dinner that evening at his restaurant, but I was asleep when the invitation was granted and needed the recuperation time. 11 Depart Addis Ababa to Menz Guassa 7:10 – 7:30 Gentlemen arrived on early flight, drive to Ghion Unity House and Gardens 7:30 – 9:00 Birding at Ghion Unity House in Addis Ababa 9:00 – 11:00 Drive 11:00 –12:00 Birding at ponds/lakes between Addis and Debre Birhan 12:00 – 12:40 Drive to Debre Birhan 12:40 –1:50 Lunch at Eva Restaurant, Debre Birhan 1:50 – 5:30 Drive to Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Some Notable Endemic Birds Seen in/around Addis: Black-winged Lovebird, Black-headed Siskin, Abbyssinian Long-claw, Blue-winged Goose 12 Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Mostly walking 13 Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Mostly walking Some Notable Guassa Wildlife Seen: Wolves, Gelada, Blick’s Grass Rat, Serval, Klipspringer, Mountain/Gray/Common Duiker, Abyssinian Hyrax, Rouget’s Rail, White Collared Pigeons, Abyssinian Long-claw, and other Birds 14 Menz Guassa to Awash National Park 7:00 – 12:40 Drive to Addis, stopping about 15 minutes for Gelada 12:40 – 1:40 Lunch at Road Runner, same owner as Ethiopian Quadrants 1:40 – 4:50 Arrive at Awash Park Gate 4:50 – 6:30 Drive in park, arrive Awash Lodge 15 Awash National Park, Evening at Harar Hyena Den, Awash Lodge Walk and drive during the day 5:30 – 8:30 pm Drive, then walk to Harar Hyena Den 16 Depart Awash Lodge to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, Doho Lodge 6:45 – 9:00 Drive Awash to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, wildlife enroute 9:00 – 10:00 Game drive in Ali Deghe 10:00 –11:00 Drive to Doho Lodge, wildlife enroute 3:30 – 4:30 Drive Doho Lodge to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, wildlife enroute 4:30 – 6:30 Game Drive in Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve 6:30 – 7:30 pm Drive Ali Deghe to Doho Lodge, wildlife asleep 10:00 pm Night walk for Defassa Waterbuck Some Notable Awash & Ali Deghe Wildlife Seen: Soemmerring's Gazelle, Gerenuk, Grivet Monkey, Abyssinian Hare, Beisa Oryx, Hamadryas Baboon, Olive Baboon, Bat-eared Fox, Hyena, Salt’s Dik dik, Crocs, Somali Ostrich, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Arabian Bustard 17 Depart Doho Lodge for Lake Langano, Hara Lodge 6:30 – 7:30 Bird walk around lodge 8:45 – 2:10 Drive Doho Lodge to town of Ziway, wildlife enroute 2:10 –3:10 Lunch at Bethlehem Restaurant, Ziway 3:15 – 3:30 Tree Hyrax walk and viewing in Ziway 3:30 – 4:30 Drive Ziway to Abijatta- Shalla National Park, wildlife enroute 4:30 – 6:00 Walk in Abijatta- Shalla National Park 6:00 – 7:00 pm Drive to Lake Langano, Hara Lodge 18 Lake Langano, Hara Lodge Walking Some Notable Lake Langano Wildlife Seen: Banded Barbet, Black-winged Lovebird, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Double-toothed Barbet, , Colobus Monkeys, Gambian Sun Squirrel, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern Carmine Bee Eater, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, White-cheeked Turacao 19 Drive Lake Langano to Bale Mountain Lodge 8:00 –9:20 Bird walk, Bishangari at Lake Langano 9:20 – 2:30 Drive Lake Langano to Gaysay Grasslands of Bale National Park 2:30 – 2:55 Game drive Gaysay Grasslands 2:55 – 3:15 Drive to Park Headquarters, Dinsho 3:30 – 6:45 pm Game Drive through Sanetti Plateau and reach Bale Mountain Lodge 20, 21, 22, 23 Bale Mountain Lodge Forest walks, drives to Sanetti Plateau, drive to Gaysay Grassland, grassland and owl walk Some Noteable Bale Wildlife Seen: Ethiopian Wolf, Giant/Big-headed Mole Rat, Blick's Grass Rat, Bale Monkey, Starck's Hare, Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Colobus Monkey, Abyssinian Catbird, Blue-winged Goose, Lammergeier, Rouget's Rail, Spot-breasted Plover, Thick-billed Raven, Wattled Ibis, White-cheeked Turacao 24 Drive Bale Mountain Lodge to Hawasa, Halile Resort 7:35 –12:15 Depart Bale, mostly game drive 12: 15 – 1:35 Lunch Meeboon Restaurant 1:35 – 6:00 pm Complete drive to Hawassa, Halile Resort 25 Drive Hawassa to Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa. Fish Market & Senkelle Sanctuary 7:00 – 7:15 Drive Halile Resort to Fish Market 7:15 – 8:15 At Fish Market 8:15 – 9:50 Drive to Senkelle Sanctuary 9:50 – 11:15 Walk through Senkelle Sanctuary 11:15 – 4:30 pm Arrive Jupiter Hotel 6:00 – 6:15 Drive from Jupiter Hotel to Roadrunner Restaurant for farewell dinner 6:15 – 8:30 Farewell Dinner, joined by Tony Hickey, owner of Ethiopian Quadrants 8:30 – 8:50 Drive from Roadrunner Restaurant to airport Some Notable Fish Market Wildlife Seen: Marabou Storks, Black Crake, Grivits Monkey Some Notable Senkelle Sanctuary Wildlife Seen: Oribi, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Northern Carmine Bee-eater Yellow-billed Ducks, outside of Addis Ababa Me at Awash Falls
Good news for those planning trips to Ethiopia - the country with ancient monuments has taken another step into the future. we are talking about Online Visas! https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/home Bale or Guassa, anyone? courtesy of @Sangeeta Editing to add - I rejoiced too early... sadly the online visa is not available for Singapore! Darn.
Sangeeta: You know how it goes – the very day after you learn a new word (like risible), you spot it immediately in the next thing you read. Or if you’ve just discovered that you’re allergic to peanuts, then all of a sudden you find yourself surrounded by people who are also allergic to peanuts? Guassa was something like that for us. The very day after Kit and I came back from our visit to this little-known home of the gelada monkeys in Ethiopia, National Geographic published a full-blown article on Menz-Guassa… http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/04/gelada-monkeys-grass-eating-guassa-ethiopia-bleeding-heart/ Where had they been when we were researching our trip? Kit & I had had been looking for a short add-on to our trip to Zakouma. Since we were both flying Ethiopian Airways, it was logical to look for something in Ethiopia. But since we only had 4 nights on the ground, we decided that Bale was too far (although we both wanted to see wolves) and getting to the Simiens was just too complicated (the flights and transfers would have eaten up a substantial chunk of our time). Guassa, as it turned out, was our Goldilocks destination. Not too far, not too complicated and with at least a theoretical chance at seeing both wolves and geladas. And so, Guassa it would be. A quick look back at ST shows that none other than @GameWarden talked about Guassa on ST as early as 2012: http://safaritalk.net/topic/9346-guassa-community-conservation-area-two-ethiopian-wolf-pups/ even though nobody seems to have visited at the time. @TomKellie then linked through to some interesting papers here http://safaritalk.net/topic/14587-ethiopian-wolf-and-gelada-interaction-to-increase-foraging-success/ which resulted in an animated discussion on ST as well as an attempt by @@SafariChick to visit Guassa on her recent trip to Ethiopia (though sadly, that did not work out due to time constraints). Then in May 2016, new member @@Alyson described her trip to Guassa here: http://safaritalk.net/topic/16340-hi-from-new-zealand/ I mention all these antecedents simply to reinforce what a wonderful learning tool this community can be because of the generosity of those who have shared their knowledge so freely on this forum. I also want to add that although we may get a certain secret thrill about being one of the ‘first’ to do something or go to a place that is relatively unknown, we’re all really walking in the footsteps of those who have gone there before us. The beauty of exploring new and remote places lies in the privilege we have of talking about our experiences with others who share the passion. Planning @@SafariChick’s aborted trip to Guassa helped me learn about the logistics involved. So I knew it would be a 5-6 hour road trip to Guassa, that we would stay at Frankfurt Zoological Society’s rustic self-catering lodge there, that it would be rather cold & breathlessness-inducing at an altitude of more than 3000m, and that with some luck, we would we would see both geladas and wolves there. Neither Kit nor I wanted to spend any time in the kitchen, so we took a chef with us. Turned out to be the best decision we could have made. Addis, our chef, whipped up a staggering variety of delicious meals for us day after day, and we got out of Guassa with no tales of upset tummies at all.
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