Ethiopia Bird Watching- Birding for East Africa endemic birds
Ethiopia is most productive birding destinations in East Africa. Our Ethiopia bird watching itinerary takes you to the main birding sites and provides a good selection of endemic, near-endemic, localized and less often found bird species. One will find over 40 lifers despite extensive previous travel in Africa.


Departure Day: Daily Guaranteed Departure with 3 participants minimum

This Ethiopia bird watching itinerary takes you to most of the bird watching sites in the country. It will enable you in search of all of Ethiopia’s endemic birds and east African endemic birds. It takes you to   Debre Libanos, north of Addis Ababa, Awash National park, the rift valley lakes, Wondo Genet, Bale and the road south through the Harenna forest to Negele, the area near the border with Somalia near Bogal Manyo, west from there to Yabello, the Jemma River valley the escarpment north west of Addis Ababa, around Debre Berhan and Ankober.  This would take a minimum of 3 weeks, but shorter tour of about 10-15 days which would guarantee seeing most of the endemics and several hundred other species could be set up covering Awash National park, the rift-valley lakes and Bale Mountains.

Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa
On arrival in Addis Ababa our representatives will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfers to Ambassador Hotel. An overview of the program and itineraries will be given. We spend some time birding around Ghion Hotel. The Hotel has very extensive grounds for birding. Among the species spotted here are the White-backed Black Tit and the brown Tit Warbler. After lunch in the hotel, we leave for Geferssa Reservoir, some 20 kms west of Addis Ababa, where one can see the Blue-winged Goose, black-headed Siskin, Abyssinian Long Claw and Wattled Ibis. Return to Addis Ababa early evening.  Overnight Ghion Hotel.

Day 2: Excursion trip to Debre Libanos from Addis Ababa
Leave early and drive north through the Sululta plain to Debre Libanos and the Jemma River Gorge, about 110 km. from the capital. For keen birders the journey can take up to 6 hours, as we pass through the Solulta Plain where we will see Black winged plovers, Wattled ibis, Blue winged geese, common cranes and wheatears.
On arrival at Debre Libanos, we will first stop at the Jemma River gorge. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of nearly 1000 meters to the valley below. Here at the gorge, and in the forest around the church we can expect to see the Banded Barbet, the Black headed forest oriole, the White billed starling, the Red Billed starling, the White winged cliff chat, the White backed black tit, white cheeked Turaco and Hemp Rich's hornbill. We will also see one of Ethiopia’s endemic mammals, the Gelada or bleeding heart baboon. (In the gorge we will see a variety of vultures - Lammergeyer's Rupell's and Lappet faced vultures.) We will leave Debre Libanos around 5.00 pm, returning to Addis Ababa early evening. Overnight Ghion Hotel.

Day 3:  Langano:
We leave Addis Ababa early in the morning, heading south for the main Ethiopian Rift. We will be birding along the main road, stopping off at Koka Dam and the Awash river and then at Lake Zway for lunch. After lunch, we head down to the lakeshore where huge numbers of water birds are congregated. African pygmy Geese, Yellow billed storks, Collared Pratincoles, 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. We leave Zway mid-afternoon, continuing to Lake Langano for an overnight in the Wabe Shebelle Hotel, situated on the shores of the lake.

Day 4: Bale Mountains:
After early breakfast leave the valley and start the ascent of the Bale Mountains.  you continue  drive to Bale mountains National Park and it is here you will visit many of the endemics like Blue-winged goose, Spot-breasted lapwing, Abyssinian long claw, Wattled ibis, Black-headed siskin, Rouget’s rail, Banded barbet and of course other species, too. Overnight Wabishebele hotel.

Day 5: Drive to Senete plateau Camping:
Leave Goba early in the morning towards Sanete Plateau. While crossing a lush green forest, you will enjoy the Semien Wolves, endemic mammals. Then you will take another hike to the right hand side of the road to reach the highest peak, 4377 meters above sea level. It is here where you will highly experience the chilly wind. Then you will walk slightly down and down across a moorland landscape dotted with white and yellow cushions of flowers, colorful lichen-covered rocks and sparse Giant Lobelias. You will visit many water birds in the small ponds. In particular search the trails of Bale Mountains for Chestnut-napped Francolin, Ground scarper Thrush (of the distinctive, endemic race Simensis), the secretive Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, vocal Abyssinian Catbird, and the endemic White-backed Black-Tit on the high moorlands, if we are very fortunate, we will see a pair of the endangered Wattled Crane striding through the moist grassland or spot a Cape Eagle-Owl sunning on a rocky perch. We will also search for Moorland Francolin, the endemic Spot-breasted Lapwing, others like Thekla Lark, Red-breasted Wheatear and dumpy Moorland Chats; Ethiopian Wolf is also highly prized here. Overnight camping at Katcha Camp near Harena Forest.

Day 6: Negelle:
after Early breakfast drive to Negelle via Harena Forest. En route we will be  looking for the   Turaco and outstanding Golden-breasted Starling, later we will also seek the endemic Sidamo Lark together with Somali Short-toed Lark and possibly Heuglin’s Bustard on the Negele Plains. The Sidamo lark is quite secretive and like many Ethiopian endemics inhabits a very small area.  Overnight: Local Hotel in Negele.

Day 7: Bogol Myno: 
A long drive takes us to a little known area of great importance because of the wealth of endemic plants in the region; however, it is the Degodi Lark we shall be seeking here after a night spent in the village near to the areas the bird inhabits. Birding en-route we will look for: Pygmy Batis, Short-billed Crombec, Somali Crombec. Overnight: Camp

Day 8: Negele: 
We shall spend the morning in the area seeking the Degodi Lark, if not seen the day before, together with the White-winged Dove and Juba Weaver two specialties of the area plus Black-faced Sandgrouse, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark, Scaly Chatterer, we then we return to Negele, birding along the way. We will stay overnight at Negele before pushing on to Yabello the following day. Overnight: Local Hotel in Negele 

Day 9: Yabello: 
Today we will enter the region of the endemic White-tailed Swallow and Streseman’s Bushcrow, after some searching we should find the Swallow threading its way through the termite chimneys and some groups of Bushcrows in the thorn bush. All day will be used to explore the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary & Reserve, species we could see include: Somalian Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Rueppell’s Griffon Vulture, Martial Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Pygmy Falcon, Vulturine Guineafowl, Kori Bustard, Donaldson Smith’s Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Yellow-billed Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, Rufous-crowned Roller, d’Arnoud’s Barbet, Red & Yellow Barbet, Short-tailed Lark, Northern Grey Tit, Shelley’s and White-crowned Starlings, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped Social Weaver, Grey-headed Silverbill, Taita Fiscal, Somali Golden-breasted Bunting with possibilities of: Coqui Francolin, Somali Courser, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Little-spotted Woodpecker, Pringle’s Puffback, Little Tawny Pipit, Fawn-coloured Lark. Mammals that inhabit the park include: Burchell’s Zebra, Aardvark, Grant’s Gazelle, Thompson’s Gazelle, Lesser-spotted Genet.   Overnight Yabello Motel.

Day 10: In Yabello:
The day will be spent in the Yabello area including the wildlife reserve. We will look again at Streseman’s Bushcrow and White-tailed Swallow and it is possible to encounter other specialities including: Somali Courser, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Little-spotted Woodpecker, Pringle’s Puffback, Little Tawny Pipit, Short-tailed Lark, Fawn-coloured Lark. Mammals that inhabit the reserve include: Burchell’s Zebra, Aardvark, Grant’s Gazelle, Thompson’s Gazelle, Lesser-spotted Genet. Overnight  Yabello Motel.

Day 11: Awassa:
On leaving the area we head back up the Rift valley to Awassa, birding the acacia bush and areas of highlands as we go. Overnight: Hotel in Awassa Wabi Shebelle Hotel

Day 12: Addis Ababa-evening Departure
Today we travel back to Addis Ababa birding along the Great Rift Valley looking for additional species.   Afternoon, drive to Addis Ababa: evening fare well dinner party then transfer to airport for departure. End

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