Birding tour are a feast of birdwatching. Our Ethiopia birding tour has the most comprehensive itinerary and targets every available Ethiopian endemic, including such great birds as Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, Rouget’s Rail, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Ruspoli’s Turaco, Banded Barbet, Stresemann’s Bush Crow and Thick-billed Raven.
The endemics are not the only attraction, however, for this remarkable Ethiopia birding tour. Ethiopia, the ‘Roof of Africa’, is a rugged and ancient land that is home to around 50 endemic and near-endemic bird species (many shared with Eritrea, and the precise number depending on which taxonomic treatments you prefer and on whether or not one believes that ‘Nechisar Nightjar’, known only from a wing, is valid or not). Ethiopia is one of the most fascinating African countries for birding, with new and exciting discoveries being made every year, and is surely also one of the most enjoyable, what with its wonderful light, diverse habitats, amazing scenery and very rich and often colourful avifauna.
Indeed Ethiopia is an absolutely ‘core’ birding destination for anyone wanting to see the birds of Africa, having two major advantages over many other destinations on the continent. In the first place it has a much greater concentration of regional specialities than almost any other part of Africa and in the second place birding here is simply wonderful. Habitats are mostly open and there is no need to stay in the vehicles anywhere on the tour, so one can walk at will and follow any of the more secretive species.
Mewael Ethiopia birding tour is the most comprehensive bird tour of Ethiopia available. The primary aim of this special tour is to find the complete set of the country’s endemic bird species (not counting that controversial nightjar) and virtually every other speciality of the country, something which involves a bit more time. Accommodations, and even some of the roads, are now much improved in Ethiopia, making for easier travelling conditions than was the case in the past.
Birds pass unmolested lives in Ethiopia, with the result that the birdlife is not only spectacularly abundant but also remarkably tame. During the northern winter large numbers of Palearctic migrants enrich an already impressive avifauna, with the result that over 840 species of birds have been recorded from the country.
Mewael Ethiopia birding tour starts at Addis Ababa, the capital city. Close to ‘Addis’, ringed by the peaks of the western highlands, we shall drive through the rolling grasslands of the high plateau where shimmering silver tarns are thronged with birds. Even on the doorstep of the capital, we will find endemic and restricted-range birds, Around Debre Birhan and in the Jemma Valley the landscape will be completely different as we gaze across a vast panorama of arid gorges and rugged mountain ranges that stretch endlessly away towards the horizon. Here we will search for such endemics and near-endemics.
Below the spectacular, cloud-wreathed Ankober escarpment, overlooking the forbidding Danakil Depression, we shall track down the extremely localized endemic Yellow-throated Seedeater.
Next we will descend into the Great Rift Valley to savour the rich birdlife of the Bilen region and Awash National Park, which includes such (mostly restricted-range). Continuing through the Rift Valley, we shall visit Lake Zwai, Lake Langano and possibly Lake Abiata. Each of Ethiopia’s chain of Rift Valley lakes is different in character, but several are teeming with waterbirds.
From the Rift Valley we will climb up into the southeastern highlands to the Bale Mountains National Park, where the remaining juniper forests and rocky valleys gifted Owl.
Later, on Africa’s highest road, we will marvel at the stark beauty of these wild uplands with their spectacular Afro-alpine vegetation and unique collection of endemic birds,
Our Ethiopia birding tour then heads southwards through the wild and extensive Harenna Forest deep into the acacia bushland in the Boran region of Sidamo. Here in this remote part of Ethiopia, around the town of Negelle.
Turning back north, we will visit Lake Awassa, a superb freshwater lake in the Rift Valley that holds numerous waterbirds, and another wetland area.