Ethiopia’s wildlife & Tribes Photography Tours
It is early morning on the high Sanetti Plateau in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains. A mild ground frost has enhanced the already largely white vegetation that cloaks the spectacularly beautiful Afro-alpine moorlands, punctuated by rocky peaks and the tall, charismatic flowering spikes of Giant Lobelias.
Suddenly there is movement. A tawny-colored Ethiopian Wolf appears from behind a ridge and climbs up onto the summit rocks. It turns and howls, and soon after is joined by three others. The wolves greet each other and then trot right past us. As they disappear towards the rising sun a noisy party of Blue-winged Geese flights overhead and a Steppe Eagle, a winter visitor from Central Asia, glides towards us, on the lookout for the ubiquitous grass rats that are already warming themselves in the sun’s rays after the long, cold night. This then is “The Roof of Africa’, a truly unique place for the wildlife photographer.
There is no other place in sub-Saharan Africa where one can enjoy great wildlife and landscape photography and combine it with extraordinary cultural experiences. Ethiopia has all of this and more: the awesome landscapes and wildlife of the Bale and Simien Mountains, the spectacular cranes and other waterbirds of the Rift Valley Lakes and the palaces of Gondar, home of many of Ethiopia’s kings and emperors. Our special Ethiopia wildlife photography tours combine all of these wonders. See them for yourself!
Ethiopia’s highlands embrace the central part of the country like a necklace. The extraordinary Bale and Simien Mountains are home to some of Africa’s rarest wildlife, including the Walia Ibex, the Ethiopian (or Simien) Wolf and the gentle, vegetarian Gelada Baboon. It is a high altitude wonderland filled with wonderful wildlife, soaring cliffs, tussock grasses and stands of iconic Giant Lobelias. While we explore the dramatic scenery of these mountains, we will also be looking for Mountain Nyala, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Ethiopian Klipspringer, a variety of birds of prey (including the huge Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier), the iconic Thick-billed Raven, the lovely Spot-breasted Plover and the strange-looking Wattled Ibis, to mention just a few of our targets.
The wildlife highlight of the Simien is undoubtedly the encounters we are going to have with huge troupes of Gelada Baboons. These large but gentle monkeys are vegetarian and here in Simien they are usually quite accustomed to, and tolerant of, close approach by humans. Even the big males will feed right next to you, provided you keep low and still. When we find a troupe, we will simply sit or lie among the feeding animals or walk with them as they move across a mountain meadow to graze on grasses and shrubs, while baby baboons play near our feet. As the sun goes lower in the sky we will search for them on the cliff edges as they return to their cliff nests to sleep after a day of grazing on the Simien plateau.
During the optional extension, we continue our Ethiopian adventure by heading east to the arid bush lands of Awash and the historic city of Harar.
Awash is strikingly different from anything we will have seen up to now. Situated close to the huge Danakil Depression, its hot and arid landscapes are home to beautiful Beisa Oryx, Soemmering’s Gazelles, Northern Gerenuks, Sacred (or Hamadryas) Baboons, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse and Arabian, Kori and White-bellied Bustards. If we are in luck we will see and photograph a Northern Carmine Bee-eater riding along on a Kori or Arabian Bustard’s back! In order to do photo safari of tribes in Ethiopia, he lower Omo River valley in south Ethiopia is one of the last unspoiled wilderness regions in Africa. Beside of that, the lower Omo is home to an astonishing mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups uniquely known for their natural artistic impulses and it is the best location to capture different magnificent pictures of Omo Valley Tribes…
Tour code = MET 20
Length of stay = 11 days/10 nights
Means of transport = Surface
Day 1 Addis Ababa
Arrive at Bole International Airport and transfer to Hotel and then, you will have a full day city tour of Addis, visiting the National Museum of Addis Ababa, trinity cathedral church, panoramic view of the capital from mount Entoto where was the former capital of Emperor Menelik II and Merkato, the largest open air market in Africa. Over night at Jupiter Hotel
Day 2 Addis – Alaba
After breakfast, drive 250 km south to Alaba kulito to take some pictures of the tribal people of Halaba. O/N – Sera Lodge Day 3 Alaba Kulito – Konso
After breakfast, drive to Arba Minch getting some pictures of Wolita, and Konso communites. O/N kanta Lodge
Day 4 Konso – Turmi
This day’s route takes you to take pictures of Tsemai, Benna and Hamer People. O/N at Turmi Lodge
Day 5 Turmi
The entire day is dedicated to photograph the hamer tribes in their different villages. The Hamer people whose women are noted for their typical hairdressing, and leather skirts O/N at Turmi Lodge
Day 6 Turmi – Omorate
In the morning, you will have an excursion to Omo Rate to visit and take pictures of Dasenech people who are the southernmost people of the country and are known for their scarification, and then in the late afternoon, drive back to Turmi. O/N – Turmi Lodge
Day 7 Turmi – Karo
After break fast, drive to Karo village to take photos of the Karo people. And in the late afternoon drive back to Turmi O/N at Turmi Lodge
Day 8 Turmi – Jinka
Drive to Jinka (If the day is Thursday, stop on your way at Key Afer to visit the most colourful multicultural market in the Lower Omo Valley, which is attended, by the tribal groups of Ari, Benna, Hamer and Tsemai and get pictures of them. O/N – Jinka Resort
Day 9 Jinka – Mursi Villages
Today, you will have an excursion to the Mago National Park and visit the people of Mursi who are typically known for the clay lip plates of the women. Then, in the after noon drive back to Jinka to get some pictures of Ari People O/N – Jinka Resort
Day 10 Jinka – Arbore
Drive back to Arbaminch with a photograph stop at the villages of the nomadic people of Erbore who are one of the tribes found in the southern part of Ethiopia and the typical people who build their houses in papyrus. O/N – Paradise Lodge
Day 11 – Arbaminch – Addis Drive back to Addis through Debre Zeyit and crossing some of the Lakes which are found in the great east African Rift Valley and looking at the Oromo People, In the evening before departure, you will have a fare well dinner party at one of the best traditional restaurants where you will see the folkloric dance of the people of Ethiopia. Then, be transferred to the airport for your departure
Rift Valley Lakes
Day 1: Arrive at Bole International Airport ( Addis Ababa) and transfer to the Hotel.
Day 2: After breakfast, drive to Awassa visiting some crater lakes of Debrizet, Lake Ziway, and Abijata – shalla lakes National park. Overnight Awassa.
Day 3: After breakfast visit the fish market on the short of Lake Awassa. Continue drive to Arbaminch for overnight.
Day 4: After breakfast drive to Nechisar national park to spot mammals and various species of birds with a good scenic view of the two lakes. In the Afternoon drive to lake Chamo to observe the natural crocodile market, and various species of water birds with some hippos. Overnight Arbaminch.
Day 5: After breakfast drive 27 km to visit the Dorze tribal village with the people’s life style and their bee hive shaped hut. And continue driving to Wondo Genet to enjoy swimming in a pool of Natural hot water. Overnight Hotel in Wondo Genet.
Day 6: Drive back to Addis. Overnight Hotel.
Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Addis and departure back to home
Bale’s Mountain wild life
Day 1: Arrival at Addis Ababa. O/N – Hotel.
Day 2: Drive from Addis – via Ethiopian Great Rift Valley Region to Awassa. O/N – Hotel.
Day 3: Visit Lake Awassa and drive to Arbaminch visiting the Dorze tribal village. O/N – Hotel.
Day 4: Arbaminch (Nechisar National park & Boat excursion on Lake Chamo). O/N –Hotel
Day 5: Drive from Arbaminch to Abiyatta – Shalla Lakes National Park and then to Langano. O/N – Hotel.
Day 6: Drive from Langano to Bale Mountain National Park (the home of endemism) for game viewing. O/N – Camping/ Lodge
Day 7: Drive from Bale Mountain National park to Sanette Plateau to see mammals and for the 2 nd highest peak in Ethiopia- Mount Tulu Dimtu. Back to Goba. O/N – Hotel
Day 8: Drive from Bale Goba via Asella to Awash. O/N – Hotel.
Day 9: Morning game drive in Awash National Park to see mammals, birds and the spectacular Awash River Falls. Proceed to Nazareth for lunch and drive back to Addis. O/N – Hotel.
Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Addis, farewell dinner party and Departure.