11 days of bird watching tour to Ghion Hotel, Debre Libanos, Awash National park, Bilen and other places.
Day 01: Ghion Hotel
Ghion hotel collections include Ruppell’s and Hooded Vultures, and the Peculiar endemic Thick-billed Ravens, plus such less obtrusive species as Brown -rumped Seed eaters, Grey-headed Sparrows, Baglafecht’s Weavers, Abyssinian Slaty and Dusky Flycatchers, Africa Rock Martins, Tacazze Sunbirds, Red-eyed and Dusky Turtle Doves, and endemic Wattled Ibises and White -collared pigeons.
Day 02: Excursion to the Debre Libanos
Drive on to the Gorge -carved deeply by a tributary of the Blue Nile- explore the forested escarpment above the monastery of Debre Libanos, where you will look for the endemic Ruppell’s chat, then walk along the lip of the gorge (a good Spot for a picnic with a spectacular view) where Lammergeiers, Ruppell’s Griffons, Lanner Falcons, Fan-tailled Ravens, Black Kites, and the endemic White-billed starling Soar. Lower down, on the lookout for the splendid Gelada Baboon, found in no other part of the world, and the endemic White-Winged Clift Chat.
Day 03: Drive slowly to the Awash National park, Augur Buzzards, Long-crested Eagles, Carmine Bee-eaters, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Ostriches, Buff-crested, White-billed Kori, and even Arabian Bustards, Lichtenstein’s and Chestnut-billed Sand grouse, Rosy-patched and other Shrikes, plus many species of hornbills, Weavers, Woodpeckers Vultures, doves, Pigeons, guinea fowl, glossy starlings, parrots, bee-eaters, barbets, mouse birds and finches, and the endemic Yellow throated seed eater, are to name but a few.
Day 04: Full day birding around Bilen, over 440 species of bird have been recorded in the Bilen area including rare species such as Yellow Throated Serin, Sombre Chat and Arabian Bustard.
Day 05: Head down to the lake shores of Ziway and then to Langano where huge numbers of water birds are congregated. African Pygmy Gees, Yellow – billed and marabou Storks, 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.
Day 06: After breakfast visit Lake Abiata and Shalla, it is an enormous lake with enormous numbers of birds. Spend the morning enjoying this spectacle of color, and looking carefully amongst the flamingoes, pelicans, cormorants, storks, herons and waders for unusual vagrants in the distance, to the east and west, loom the great walls of the Rift valley. Then drive back to Langano.
Day 07: Drive to the Bale Mountains National park, look for the endemic birds such as Abyssinian Long-eared owl, White-backed black Tit, Abyssinian catbird, Black-winged Lovebird, Golden-backed woodpecker and, if very fortunate, maybe even Black-headed Siskin. And amongst an interesting collection of upland birds you are likely to see eleven of Ethiopians 29 endemics: Blue winged Goose, Rouget’s Rail, Spot-breasted plover, white -collared pigeon, Black-winged Lovebird, Golden-backed woodpecker, Abyssinian Long claw, Abyssinian Catbird, White-backed Tit, Black-headed Siskin and Thick-billed Raven.
Day 08: Full day with picnic lunch on the 4000 asl Sanetti Plateau, with its striking Afro-Alpine flora, such as the Giant Lobelia and Red Hot Poker. It is the best place in Ethiopia to see the Simien Wolf, the rarest canid in the world, while the huge rodent population, including the endemic Giant Mole Rat, supports a variety of raptors. The rare Wattled Crane is often seen, while there are a good number of the Spot-breasted Plover. Tullu Dimtu at 4377 m is the second highest mountain in Ethiopia and we can drive all the way to the top
Day 09: We set off back to the Lakes region, via Dinsho and arrive at Wondo Genet mid afternoon. Wondo Genet is a hot spring resort (there is a naturally heated open air pool) set among forested hills. The springs are said to have curative properties and the Emperor Haile Selassie had a lodge here, now part of the hotel. In the gardens of the hotel we will see the Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, White-cheeked Turaco, and Yellow-fronted Parrot. Before dinner we will explore the juniper forests behind the hotel, where we can see the Black-headed Forest Oriole, the Golden-backed Woodpecker, Redwing Starling, Grosbeak Weaver, Mountain Wagtail and Black-roughwing Swallow. We will also see Colobus monkey, Anubis baboon and bushbuck.
Day 10: Drive to Awassa. Amongst the lilies and great reed beds that encompass the lake you will find Black, Goliath and other herons, the ugly Marabou Stork, Hamerkops, Hadada Ibis, a variety of egrets, dainty Pygmy Geese, Fulvous and white-faced Whistling Duck, Knob-billed Duck, Black Crakes, African Jacans, Three-banded plovers Whiskered and white-winged Black Terns and Kingfishers, pied and Malachite, Grey-headed and Woodland Kingfishers, Red-breasted Wrynecks, Green Wood-hoopoes, Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrinkes, White-browed Robin chats, African Thrushes, Rufous Chatters, Swamp Warblers, Red-faced Crombeces, Wattle-eyes, Puffbacks, Spoted Creepers, and many other colorful species.
Day 11: Awassa –Addis Ababa via Lake Ziway
Take a morning lakeside walk to visit the Sidamo fisherman as they land their catches of Tilapia and catfish, and gut and fillet them by the lake. Here the air is alive with birds, their relationship with these fishermen being entirely harmonious. Then return back to Addis Ababa for the overnight stay.