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Gheralta Mountains in Ethiopia

Experiences

The Tribes and Mountains of Ethiopia

Head far off the beaten track with a trip to one of the most culturally and topographically diverse regions of the world. Experience Ethiopia’s dramatic and rugged mountains, or the stunning woodlands filled with rare, endemic wildlife.

When to go:
November – March & June – September

After arriving in Ethiopia, take a charter plane to Bale Mountains National Park. This stunning national park is made up of distinct and unique habitats from the Sanetti plateau – the largest continuous area of such altitude on the entire continent – to the serene and unexplored Harenna forest, the Gaysay grasslands, and juniper woodlands. Here you will be given the opportunity to track Africa’s rarest canid, the critically endangered Ethiopian wolf. The Sanetti plateau is the best place in the world to find and track this enigmatic species. As the sun slips behind the sky, stay in the wild forest with spectacular views towards the mountains in a boutique lodge.

The Ethiopian wolf is not the only spectacular wildlife that the National Park has to offer. Spend the day choosing your own walking routes through the gorges and forests. Swim beneath remote waterfalls and fly fish for wild trout in the web of rivers that run through the national park. As you explore the beauty of the national park you may see the endangered mountain nyala, Bale monkey, and the many endemic bird species that the vast national park is home to. As darkness falls, head deep into the Hareena forest to join the honey harvesters, the indigenous people who possess extensive knowledge of the tree species and their value for beekeeping. This is a unique and fascinating process to be part of. The honey, harvested at night, is collected wearing no protective clothing. Enduring a number of stings, the beekeeper climbs the trunk of trees with a single rope and harvests the honey from the hive. You will then be given the chance to sample the gathered honey, fresh from the hive.

Instead of having breakfast at the lodge, head straight out into the park and journey to the wild coffee forest. A local guide will teach you how to pick the beans and make your own coffee before being treated to a coffee ceremony, a truly unique way to start the day. Later spend time with the Oromo people, the largest, single ethnic group in Africa. Witness the life they carved out in this wild region of Ethiopia, following a traditional transhumance system known as the Godantu system. In the evening enjoy eating in a secret spot in the forest lit only by candlelight with the sounds of the forest echoing around you.

Catch a charter plane to Condar and travel to Simien lodge. Sitting on the edge of an escarpment, Simien Lodge is the highest lodge in Africa and the scenery is some of the most spectacular in the world. Head into the Simien Mountains to encounter the unique Gelada monkeys. Explore the park’s gullies and pinnacles which offer tough but immensely rewarding trekking and marvel at the park’s dramatic scenery. From here, head off on the road to Tigray, a scenic route that takes in much of the cultures and sights of northern Ethiopia. Arrive at the incredible Korkor Lodge in Tigray and surround yourself by the stunning natural beauty of the Gheralta mountains. Explore the cliff churches in Tigray and discover extraordinary and ancient monuments. The rock-hewn churches are carved from cliff faces, built into pre-existing caves, or perched high among the mountains. Just trying to reach these ancient monuments can be an adventure in itself. You can cover more ground by exploring from a helicopter and appreciate the spectacular vistas from above.

Journey on to the cauldron of the Danakil Desert, one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. Set up camp on the Saba River and take a trip to the salt harvesters. Watch camels, bearing loads of salt from the flats, wind their way towards the distant highlands. Head across the lake to the Sulphur pools and see the incredible sculptures and colours in this constantly growing hillock. See salt pillars grown out of the lakebed and watch hot springs bubble in crystal clear pools. Explore the Danakil and witness how the Afar make a living in this hostile environment. Head to a fly-camp by a remote river and spend the night sleeping under the breath-taking desert stars for the night.