Trekking and wolf-spotting in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia

Trekking and wolf-spotting in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia

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10 Days From

$3399

$3246

Trekking and wolf-spotting in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia

10 Days Starting and ending in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Visiting: Addis Ababa, Dinsho, Bale Mountains National Park, Bale Mountains National Park, Sanetti Plateau, Mount Tulu Dimtu, Harenna Forest

Tour operator:

YellowWood Adventures

Tour code:

ETH-BM

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:

Medium, 6: Intermediate

Age range:

12-80

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
English
From:
$3399
$3246 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$153

NB: Prices correct on 20-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

The Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains is the Rooftop of Africa; averaging 4000m in altitude, it is the highest plateau on the continent.

On this incredible Ethiopia wildlife tour we will walk across it, viewing its beautiful and exotic wildlife including Mountain Nyala, Ethiopian Red Wolf, impala, warthogs and Colobus Monkeys; meeting the nomadic herders grazing their flocks on the plateau and learning about their culture.

Bale mountain trekking (with the option of some horse-riding), accompanied by our team of local guides, porters and horses, and often above the cloud line; we will traverse this region of immense landscapes and breath-taking natural beauty.

Highlights include the beautiful Lake Gebreguracha, the otherworldly, mind-bending ‘stone forest’ and the opportunity to hike up Ethiopia’s second highest summit, Mt. Tuludimtu (4389m).



On our drive down to the ancient lichen-covered Harenna Forest, where waterfalls plummet between bamboo groves, we will visit villages where the local people live in thatched houses, and whose way of life has not changed for a millennium.



After the adventure of camping we treat ourselves with a 2 night stay at the exquisite Bale Mountain Eco Lodge; an exceptional wilderness retreat and the ideal base from which to explore. This is travel in its purest form.

Please note:

The UK Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently advise against travel to Ethiopia. As such, the dates showing for this adventure are dependent on a change to the situation and Ethiopia being assessed as safe to visit. We are happy to keep you updated on when this is the case so please do let us know if you are interested in this wonderful itinerary.

Highlights

  • View the rare Ethiopian wolf

  • Hike through ancient cloud forest

  • Cross the highest plateau in Africa

  • Explore the incredible 'Stone Forest'

Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrival In Addis Ababa

Location: Addis Ababa

Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel

Meals Included: Lunch

With group members arriving during the afternoon and evening, today is a 'free' day for you to arrive, be transferred to the start hotel, and to shake off any travel fatigue before the start of your adventure in earnest, tomorrow.  Your YellowWood guide will be on hand to welcome you in the evening with an adventure briefing, and advice on where to grab a bite to eat. If you would like us to help you organise any free time you have today, then do just ask.

Day 2: City Tour Of Addis Ababa

Location: Addis Ababa

Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Our adventure begins with a tour of the highlights of this liveliest of cities including the Ethnographic & Red Terror Museums, and the magnificent panoramic views of the city, from Entoto Mountain. We offer an optional (but highly recommended) visit to Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis, run by the charity Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, our linked charity for this adventure, where you can learn more about the challenges faced by women living in remote Ethiopian villages. In the evening we will watch traditional musicians and dancers performing different tribal dances in a culture house before dinner at a restaurant and a jazz club or two for any interested parties.

Day 3: Addis Ababa To Dinsho

Location: Dinsho, Bale Mountains National Park

Accommodation Name: Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Making an early start we will drive south to the town of Dinsho (around 380kms), in the Bale zone of the Oromia region, and in the heart of the Bale Mountains. We take our time, pausing as required to stretch our legs, take photos and eat, enjoying travelling through the incredible and striking southern Ethiopian countryside. Our campsite is situated inside the Bale Mountains National Park, and affords beautiful views of the endemic Mountain Nyalas, huge warthogs and Redback and Bushback deer who all drop past to say hello, as well as an abundance of local birdlife for which the park is famous. In nominating the mountain park as a World Heritage site, the UN noted that more mammal species would go extinct if the Bale Mountains habitat disappeared, than any equivalent parcel of land on the planet!

Day 4: Begin Bale Mountains Trek

Location: Bale Mountains National Park

Accommodation Name: Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

An introductory walk for around 4-5hours at a gentle pace, today we will trek from Dinsho, east, along to Sodota camp, through farmsteads and vast plains. The camp and tents will be constructed for us.The terrain is at times uneven but we are walking along fairly well-trodden paths. Our belongings are transported by horses so we need only carry a day pack, and as well as your YellowWood guide, we are accompanied by our local walking guide and Bale Mountains expert, Ayuba.This is the natural habitat of the endemic Ethiopian Red Wolf, and we will keep a sharp eye out for either solitary hunters or small packs with their young, here, in their hunting grounds. 

Day 5: Sodotato Waaswma Camp Walk

Location: Sanetti Plateau

Accommodation Name: Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we climb right up onto the Sanetti plateau, through beautiful landscapes of silvery everlasting flowers, to camp near the base of the stunning Mt. Waaswma. From the plains, we gain some real height and are rewarded with fantastic views of the pyramid mountain as well as the sensation of being in a remote and magical place that very few people will have had the opportunity of seeing. We take the trek gently as usual, walking for around 5 hours today, up at 3900m.

Day 6: Waaswma To Rafu Camp

Location: Sanetti Plateau

Accommodation Name: Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We enjoy a slightly shorter day today (walking for around 4 hours) across the Rooftop of Africa, with views of Mt Waaswma, to Rafu camp situated in the incredible mind-bending natural ‘stone forest’ of the plateau. Formed by the uneven erosion of an ancient lava flow, what is left is a field of towering rock pinnacles, some over 10m high. Our camp will be set up, nestled in between the stones in this surreal and beautiful setting. For the more energetic there is the option to ascend a small peak from camp, affording incredible views of the Harenna Forest to the south, which we will soon be exploring.

Day 7: Rafu To Mount Tulu Dimtu

Location: Mount Tulu Dimtu

Accommodation Name: Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On the final day of our trek, we walk along the windswept plains with the advisable option of a short hike on a rough gravel road up to the summit of Mt. Tulu Dimtu (4377m), Ethiopia’s 2nd highest mountain. The 360° views from the top are undoubtedly one of the highlights of this adventure and well worth the effort involved! After descending, we are met with private transport and driven through beautiful villages and barley fields into the mountain bamboo groves and lichen-covered Harenna Cloud Forest. Here we celebrate the day’s achievements with the first of a 2-night stay in the exceptional and memorable Bale Mountain Lodge, offering us a wonderful treat after our camping and trekking experiences.

Day 8: Explore Harenna Forest

Location: Harenna Forest

Accommodation Name: Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Knowing we can return this afternoon to the comfort and stunning surroundings of the mountain lodge, the goal this morning is to explore and enjoy the beauty of the Harenna Forest on foot; the hidden natural waterfalls cascading down into rock pools as well as the exotic looking Colobus monkeys. 

Day 9: Harenna To Addis Ababa

Location: Addis Ababa

Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Reluctantly leaving the tranquillity of the Harenna Cloud Forest (and Bale Mountain Lodge!) behind us, we have a long (around 9 hours) but scenic car journey back to Addis today, giving us the opportunity to absorb and commit to memory, more of the scenery of Africa. Being back in the hustle and bustle of Addis will offer a strong contrast to the incredible and natural experience we have just had in Bale Mountains National Park, but we make the most of it, taking our dinner as a group in a vibrant restaurant in town, before our final night in Ethiopia.

Day 10: Travel Home

Location: Addis Ababa

Meals Included: Breakfast

We transfer you to the airport for flights out of Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Leaving the beauty of Ethiopia is going to feel all wrong but ‘normal life’ awaits you. It must be time to plan your next escape!

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as detailed

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    Yes

  • Fully Guided

    Supporting you on your holiday will be an experienced member of the YellowWood Guiding team. They will be joined by local city guides in Addis and Ayuba, our local hiking guide in the Bale Mountains, will join the team for the duration of the trek.

  • Meals

    Meals as detailed

What's Not Included

  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • International Travel

Accommodation

We fully believe in, and practice Responsible Tourism, using local hotels, owned and run by locals. We put time and effort into building our relationship with them to ensure you have a a great trip.

We choose hotels based on cleanliness, comfort, safety, proximity to our route (to avoid unnecessary extra road travel), and a warm client welcome, as well as reliability in their service to us. Some hotels will be basic, in modern buildings or in town centres. Wherever we can, we will choose smaller more characterful, individual hotels, but in areas where tourism is still developing, this may not be available. An aspect of our adventures is to escape the ‘trappings’ of modern Western lifestyles and to experience new things which are exciting and memorable, and reflects the countries we are visiting.

This is adventure travel and on occasion the advertised services at a hotel (eg wifi, or hot showers, or continuous power) may not be functional on our arrival. This tends to occur in the smaller, more remote hotels. Very rarely a hotel lets us down and we are required to find alternative suitable accommodation that might not be our first choice. This trip involves hotels, a wilderness lodge and camping.

The list below gives information on our first choice of accommodation for this adventure; where hotels and hostels are fully booked or unavailable, we will use an alternative of a similar standard, and equally well situated. We will provide you with an accurate list of accommodation, with contact information to leave with relatives, prior to departure on your adventure.

Addis Adaba (Day 1,2 & 9): Monarch Hotel (www.monarchaddis.com). Address: Cameroon Street near Edna Mall, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Phone: +251 116672480 (Wifi & Pool)

Camping (Day 3-6): We wild camp in the heart of the wilderness on this adventure, in 2 man tents. We have horses to carry all our camp equipment and our guides will assist with setting up, but please be aware that camping facilities are basic. There are no toilet facilities - you may need to find a suitable spot away from the group and waterways to dig a small hole in order to manage your toileting in a hygienic and environmentally responsible way. You will need to carry your own toilet paper, burning it after use. Washing is done in mountain streams or using camp water. However, believe us when we say that the views from your chosen ‘wild bathrooms’ will be totally incredible!

Bale Mountain Lodge (Day 7 & 8): Bale Mountain Lodge (http://balemountainlodge.com). Phone: +251 912790802. Wilderness lodge - this is something very special indeed as a once in a lifetime stay!

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes, Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa) has reassuringly tight security measures and for this reason they do not allow any non passengers into the airport. Fortunately, the Monarch Hotel has a small booth inside the airport so all you need to do is head to the booth and tell them you are a hotel guest, with YellowWood, and they will organise your shuttle transfer straight to the hotel (transfer of 20mins).

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, Supporting you on your holiday will be an experienced member of the YellowWood Guiding team. They will be joined by local city guides in Addis and Ayuba, our local hiking guide in the Bale Mountains, will join the team for the duration of the trek.

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    You are visiting the mountainous areas of Ethiopia and this is one of our more challenging itineraries involves hiking/trekking in the heat, at altitude and over some rough terrain. The camping is wild camping with only basic facilities. The hiking is at the natural pace of the group, with regular stops. As horses will be moving all your luggage and belongings, you will be carrying just a day pack and your water bottle. We highly recommend a filtration water bottle such as Aquapure Traveller. To get the most of out of this adventure, you need to be a regular walker and in good physical condition so that you can enjoy consecutive days of hiking. You do not need to be experienced in trekking, however. Horses will walk with the group so riding is an option if you are tired or feeling unwell.



    Training:As with all active holidays, the fitter you are the more you can relax and enjoy the stunning route, and the better you can cope with challenges such as the outside elements. Clients are advised to get in as much regular walking/ short runs before the trip as is convenient.

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    As detailed in Itinerary.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No, Flights are not included in the cost of your holiday, and whilst we are happy to help advise you, responsibility for booking the correct flights rests with you. We recommend that you use a comparison tool such as www.momondo.co.uk or www.skyscanner.net when searching for flights.

  • Are vaccinations required for this tour?

    It is not compulsory but Taking a prescription anti-malarial drug (atovaquone/proguanil aka Malarone, doxycycline and mefloquine are recommended; chloroquine is NOT an effective anti-malarial in Ethiopia).

  • What is the maximum group size?

    The max group size is 12 people.

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in Itinerary.

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    Before you head to the Monarch desk however, you have a couple of jobs to do!

    1. Purchase your Visa on arrival, if you haven’t already got an e-visa: the visa desk is clearly signposted.

    2. Exchange Currency: The easiest option is probably to use the ATM in the arrivals lounge, however there is also a bank to change money near immigration and baggage claim (see information on Currency Exchange within the Country page on Ethiopia). For convenience, we would recommend changing currency at the airport rather than doing this in Addis Ababa.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2015

  • Risk Assessment

    YellowWood operates a Safety Management System which encompasses a planned, researched, implemented and reviewed approach to your Health & Safety. A risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm (hazards) and the assessment of likelihood of hazards occuring, as well as the severity of the outcome of a hazard.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for our latest Covid-19 policies

  • Experienced Leaders

    On all of our adventures you will benefit from the daily presence of an experienced, English speaking local guide. You will also have additional guides at various points during the trip (see itineraries for details).

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    As a visitor to a foreign country, we inevitably leave our mark. At YellowWood Adventures, we are determined that this ‘mark’ will be a positive one. Tourism is not always beneficial and we are conscious of treading lightly in the lands we explore.

Reviews of this operator

Ruth  

FANTASTIC TRIP TO EITHIOPIA!!

2020

From guiding us through the crowded alleys of Lalibela at Genna to clambering up the dizzy heights of Abuna Yemata this was a trip that surpassed all expectations! Yellowwood hits the right balance of organised small group travel with adventurous, 'off the beaten track' experiences all the while making you feel as if you've travelling with a small group of your friends. Ethiopia is truly a beautiful country with wonderful friendly and generous people throughout. I highly recommend this trip and am already planning for my next Yellowwood adventure!

Ethiopia Adventure, 2020
Sophie  

Absolute trip of a lifetime

2019

This trip was one of the best I've ever done. Getting into the Tian Shan mountains was really quite magical; experiencing the scenery and feeling isolated from the rest of the world, thanks to the personalised feel of the trek, was unrivalled. The quality of the food was also a highlight, and I was catered for as a vegetarian (in a very non-vegetarian place!). Kyrgyzstan is a relatively undiscovered gem, and it was lovely to do a road-less-travelled style trip. Thanks to Sam and YellowWood for taking us on a genuine adventure with a fantastic itinerary. I look forward to joining some more non-traditional trips when possible!"

Kyrgyzstan Adventure, 2019
Ken  

People and Landscapes of Oman Adventure

2022

Every day was a highlight for me, no specific favourite. Oman deserves all the superlatives it gets -magnificent scenery, safe, friendly environment, welcoming and engaging people. YellowWood delivers a winner on this trip! Kudos to all.

Oman Adventure, 2022

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  • Low Deposit

    YellowWood Adventures requires a minimum deposit of 400 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of yellowwood adventures charges.

    Up to 57 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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