Destination country: Ethiopia. Start and finish in Addis
Szabolcs Safian, Lajos Nemeth-Boka.
is the second ever butterfly tour organized to Ethiopia,
based on the field experience with the late dr. Torben Larsen.
We will visiting some of the least explored corners of the
country, incl. Harenna Forests, and easily can happen that
we will discover new taxa for the science. On earlier trips
we bagged 180+ butterfly species, not to mention the usual
fantastic birdlife and many superb mammals, incl. a dozen
Simien Wolf, and all the rest of charismatic megafauna.
Nechisar NP was especially memorable, as Dr. Larsen said:
"-This day was one of the most amazing experience
I ever had in african entomology!"
...+ ...GBP single suplpement. Price
includes: accommodations and meals (lunch is typically
picnic!), drinking water, vehicle hire with fuel and driver
guide, park entrance fees and ranger guides. The price
exclude: bank transfer loss, domestic and international
flights, visa, tips, drinks, personal travel insurance and
any other activities of personal request e.g. laundry, toalet
fees, phone calls, etc.
Three-star hotels with all rooms en suite. Some of the best
lodges of the country included.
Min. 6, max. 12 person + 2guide.
Toyota Coaster and 4WDs when required (eg. in Nechisar NP).
To see the full list of Ethiopian butterflies, please click
here (and click on "species list")!
literature: "Collins' Field Guide to the
Butterflies of East Africa" by Carcasson. Torben
Larsen’s "Butterflies of Kenya"
(really hard to find and expensive, but the best). Terry
Stevenson's "Birds of The Horn of Africa".
"The Kingdon Fieldguide to African Mammals"
by Jonathan Kingdon. We will carry a series of other butterfly
books which will be available throughout the trip. Please
note, that identification of butterflies is sometimes really
difficult (if not impossible...) in the field and a limited
number of specimens will be taken for further ID especially
ones with scientific interest under permission by the wildlife
authorities of Ethiopia. Please, be sure that collecting
a few specimens in a rainforest ecosystem would not damage
the population of any species.
"...Culturally, historically and scenically it
is one of the most extraordinary land of all Africa, the
land of superlatives, extremities, where Simien Wolf roams
the mountains and Lammergeier rules the skies. Dominated
by the heartbeating highlands and fullfilled with the richest
historical heritage of the all continent, Ethiopia always
was and still one of the most sought-after and enigmatic
destination in Africa. Zillions of Butterflies, Blue Nile,
endless swamps, the oldest christian culture, ancient lip-plate
tribes, unmolested and tame birds, unique big games, afro-alpine
moorlands, dry endless deserts, lakes deep in the Rift Valley,
Erta Ale, Danakils... this is all Ethiopia. A welcoming,
enjoyable, rewarding and attractive butterfly destination.
A country which confounds every expectation! There are 8
families, 93 genera and 324 species to be found in Ethiopia.
Please note, this is the first butterfly tour ever organised
to Ethiopia, to a country which boasts a completely unique
variation of afro-tropical and afro-alpine fauna, with relations
to the Palearctic..."
Day 1: Arrival
day. Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik
II, it is located at 2,500 m (8202 ft) above sea level in
one of the highest parts of the Entoto Mountain chain (3,000
m/9842 ft above sea level). After our gathering and first
butterfly-glimpses in the extensive garden of our Hotel,
we enjoy one of the best local restaurant, Yod Abyssinia
where we also can see some fiery abissinian dances/dancers
as well. Overnight: Addis Ababa.
Day 2: Full
day at Menegasha State forest. After breakfast
we drive out for the lush vegetation of the Menegasha State
Forest. Apart of butterflies the area is famous about the
shy and neglectic Giant Forest Hog, discvered only in 1904
by the famous explorer and fraud, Col. Richard Meinertzhagen.
Day 3: Fly
to Bahir Dar. Exploring the surroundings of Tissisat Fall.
Leave early for Bahir Dar with airplane. Check the habitats
and wetlands around the Blue Nile’ Bridge and than
we visit to the famous Blue Nile Falls. Overnight: Gondar.
4: Full day on Lake Tana and visit the Islands.
There are 37 islands on the lake and 30 of them have churches
and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural
interest. All the monastery compounds are having luxurious
vegatation, they are one of the best butterfly habitats
of the country. A short drive from our hotel, we visit a
Woyito Village, where we will see the production of the
papyrus boats known as tankwas. After lunch we do a boat
trip to the Zeghie peninsula, which is known for its 14th
century, round, grass-roofed churches and magnificent old
paintings. Around the compound of Betremariam Monastery,
and to Ura Kidanemehret Monastery, it is a one hour walk
through a thick forest, with good butterflying en route.
Day 5: Fly
back to Addis, drive to Lake Langano & Bishan-gari Forest.
We fly to Addis early in the morning, and than heading south
for the main Ethiopian Rift. The rift contains a marvelous
series of lakes, which are teeming with fish and provide
a habitat for hundreds of species of butterflies and birds.
En route to Lake Langano we will stop at Chelekleka Marsh
and at the crater lake, Lake Hora. The area is unequivocally
African and very reminescents of the central Kenyan lake
area. Late arrival to Bishangari Forest and Ecolodge at
the remote southeastern shore of Lake Langano, one of the
very best places of the country for nature lovers and alike.
Combines five unique ecological zones, a secluded setting
that is host to over 150 butterfly species, 400 bird species,
a diverse range of wildlife, spectacular array of plant
life and unspoilt biodiversity. Bishangari's secret has
been safe thanks to its inaccessibility. Overnight: Lake
Day 6: Full
day at Bishangari Forest. Today we will
butterflying on the southern shores of Lake Langano, which
is a freswater member of the series of the Rift' Lakes.
We also going to explore in details the famous Bishangari
forest, just right around our beautiful lodge, a combination
of three butterfly habitats, wetland and forest - more than
150 species have been along the shore, by the wetland and
in the forest. Bishangari is an eco-tourist project run
by Farm Africa and the Munessa Shashemene State Forest,
with profits going to forest protection and health and educational
facilities for the local community. Overnight: Lake Langano/Bishangari
Day 7: Drive
to Goba, visiting Dinsho Park. After breakfast
we drive a short distance to the viewpoint and the shores
of the Shalla-Abiyata National Park for the myriad of tame
water birds, incl. 200.000 flamingos. Atfer driving upward
to the highlands, to the magnificent Bale Mountains National
Park (BMNP). The NP covers about 2200 km2, and the main
attraction is the wild alpine scenery, and the Sanetti Plateau
where Africas's highest all-weather road exist. Apart from
butterflies 16 endemic birds of the 31 total have been recorded
here, plus plenty of endemic or rare mammals like the huge
and sought-after Mountain Nyala, or the very dark, almost
blackish Menelik's Bushbuck. The nyala was discovered only
in 1908, it was the last great findings among the African
big games, even after the famous case of the okapi or the
Giant Forest Hog. The latter also occurs here. After seeing
the nyala and the bushbuck, or main goal would be today
to find the - of course... - endemic and rare Bale monkey.
The Bale NP is undoubtely the best part of Ethiopia for
palearctic-related endemics and other rarely seen animals.
The NP has a very unique vegetation of Juniper- and Hagenia
woodlands, high-altitude heathlands and different foothill
forests. Overnight: Goba.
Day 8: Full
day at Sanetti Plateau. Full day excursion
to the amazing Afro-Alpine setting of the Sanetti plateau,
considered as a small Tibet in the heart if the wildest
Africa, an unforgottable settings! We will go up early morning
on the highest road of Africa, our highest point will be
a bit over 4300 meter. Here the alpine moorland of the plateau
is covered with heath-like vegetation, broken by heather
plants, and stands with gorgeous giant lobelia which grove
up to six meters. We guarantedly will see Simien Wolf, which
is the rarest wolf of the world with a estimated 400 specimen
as a total... a very impressive predator in the most unusual
environment! We must mention, this is really one of the
most rich area of Africa by endemics, and definitely the
most unique as well, since it has many zoogeographical connecton
with the Eurasian mountain chains. This area is usually
cold, wet and windy, while supportive clothes is a must!
9: Full day at Harenna
Forest. After our visit on the Plateau,
we will have a full day on the southern escarpment of the
Sanetti plateau, which is covered with one of the most extensive
and least explored intact forest of Eastern Africa, called
the Harena Forest. From the Escarpent we will have a astonishing
view over the extensive forest area bellow us, covered with
a very few pioneering expeditions, and virtually completely
unknown by science. The forest has a very vivid life of
animals naturally. Giant Forest Hog, discovered only in
1904 lives here, and Wild Dog and Lions reported as well.
Day 10: Drive
to Wondo Genet. A long drive take us today
to another great area, the Wondo Genet forest again, which
always offer a good number of interesting butterflies and
possibly the greatest number of Colobus monkeys on the whole
trip. The butterfly species recorded in Wondo Genet area
equal to one third of the total European fauna! Tonight,
we have a special treat, participating in The Coffee Ceremony,
a ceremony of hospitality in Ethiopia. Overnight: Wondo
Day 11: Wondo
Genet Forests. After breakfast we will climb
through juniper plantations to the Wondo Genet forest, which
has a naturally heated swimming pool in a mountain setting
- the waters are supposed to have curative properties. The
site itself is an ancient and inactive crater, surrounded
by a forest populated by baboons and lots of butterflies.
You may choose to have a dip or follow the springs upstream
to their source, where the water is so hot, local people
often cook their lunch! Apart from the butterflies the area
has many bird goodies, Colobus monkeys are common and with
some luck we might see the elusive and local Powell's bushbuck
as well. Overnight: Wondo Genet.
Day 12: To
Arba Minch, visit Senkele Game Sanctuary.
Drive to Arba Minch, en route we visit the Shankele Game
Sanctuary, which protect the largest concentration of the
endemic and critically endengared Swayne's hartebeest, considered
as the most attractive and rarest among the antelopes of
the Horn of Africa. The setting of the reserve is superb
with some rolling hills, great lookout points and classic
african savannah, a kind of a last place in Ethiopia of
its kind. We pass by the Rift Valley lakes before arriving
to town, situated beautifully between the Rift Valley, Lake
Abaya and Lake Chamo. Tonight we have dinner in the Soma
Restaurant, famous for its fresh fish dishes. Overnight
in Arba Minch.
Day 13: Visit
Dorze village and boat trip over Lake Chamo.
After breakfast we drive up to the village of Cheencha,
high in the mountains, where we will visit the Dorze people
and the surrounding forests for butterflies. The dorze are
famous for their spontaneous dancing, beautiful textiles
and uniquely beehive-shaped huts, made of leaves. They can
be 15 meters high and used for generations. The drive up
to the area interesting itself, since dramatically raising
from the lowlands up to 1600 meters in the Gugu mountains.
The afternoon is for visiting the famoues hot springs and
the crocodiles of Lake Abaya. Around the lake there is a
excellent patch of dense forest, offers superb butterflies,
and also monkeys and baboons are abundant. Overnight in
Nechisar National Park.
Full day visit Nechisar NP, which covers about 750km2, and
mentioned among the most beautiful game reserves of the
all continent. The name "Nechisar" means white
grass, which covers the big central plane, and even recogniseable
from satellite images too. There is a big variety of different
habitats, including savannah with knotted acacia shrub,
wide-open grasslands, and dense riparian forests. About
200 butterflies (15 endemic), many dragonflies (8 endemic),
70 mammals and 350 bird species recorded here. Wild scenery,
splendid view and great big game-watching makes our life
interesting today. Overnight in Arba Minch.
Drive backward to Addis. En route butterflying. Overnight
at Lake Awassa.
Day 16: Arrive
to Addis. Arrival around 3PM to Addis.
Late departures from Addis are possible. For those who are
staying: overnight in Ghion Hotel.
Day 17: Departure
Tribal Extension –
In order to fully experience and explore this incredibly
diverse, yet sometimes isolated area, we really get “off-the-beaten-track”.
Sometimes the road is in rough condition (if there is a
road at all), and you should be prepared for some bumpy
drives. Accommodation in small towns is modest. We have
3 nights of camping in a row, 1 in Mago National Park, 1
in Murile and 1 in Turmi. The tents are from Europe, designed
to sleep three people (used for two) and sleeping mats are
provided. It will not always be easy to wash, even though
there are always sources of water near the campsites. We
will have a mobile shower and toilets and in Murile, there
will be a bungalow with a toilet and shower available to
use. A certain spirit of adventure is required for this
journey and any travel hardship will certainly be made up
for in experience!
Begin Omo Valley Adventure.
An early start for our travel today, as we head off in 4
x 4 vehicles. We pass by the Rift Valley lakes before arriving
into Arba Minch. This town is the largest in southern Ethiopia;
it is situated between the Rift Valley, Lake Abaya and Lake
Chamo. Tonight we have dinner in the Soma Restaurant, famous
for its fresh fish dishes. Overnight in Arba Minch.
Lake Chamo, Konso Village,
Jinka. In the morning we take a boat trip
on Lake Chamo, which is populated by crocodiles and hippos,
before heading off to Jinka. The scenery is beautiful; soft
rolling hills with dark red soil and plentiful crops and
forests. We visit a Konso village to meet the locals who
are excellent farmers. The Konso are a pagan society, who
erect totem poles on the tombs of their dead. To the southeast
of the Konso village are the Borena, who are semi-nomadic
shepherds; we may see some of the Borena as we drive. Overnight
stay and dinner in Jinka, a large town on the edge of the
National Park. Mago National Park is located
on the east bank of the Omo River and ranges in altitude
from 450 m (1467 flt) to 2,528 m (8294 ft) above sea level.
After about 2 hours of rough road, we arrive at our camp.
In the park, we may see buffalo, waterbuck, greater and
lesser kudu and zebra. In the past, lions, elephants, leopards
and giraffes have also been spotted. We visit a Mursi village,
whose women have the custom of expanding their lower lips
using disks that gradually get larger and larger. These
are people who farm the land and breed livestock; they live
in almost complete isolation from the rest of the world.
Our campsite tonight is in a beautiful clearing among towering
trees, which provide shade and is near the Neri River. Overnight
The Beaten Track to Murile.
We head off on our day of “off-roading”, as
there is no real track! We travel through the savannah in
a typically African landscape, frequently meeting herds
of Oryx and gazelle. We arrive at Murile located right on
the River Omo and surrounded by huge trees. This is the
land of the Caro tribe and it is possible to meet them along
the river. We camp overnight.
Murile — Omorate, Turmi.
We continue through the savannah, along tracks that are
barely visible, passing through a vast meadowland with shrubs
and umbellifers (“umbrella”acacia trees). We
pass through the Omo River. We encounter the Galeb people
in the countryside, in the river people bath and wash their
clothes. When we arrive to Omorate, we take a walk along
the Omo River to observe local life. Overnight and dinner
will be in a camp, in a square under mango trees in Turmi.
The Hamer people gather water from a well nearby our campsite
and carry it off to their villages; our campsite is an excellent
location to observe these colorful people. We camp overnight.
20: Hamer Market, Konso.
Every monday morning there is a spectacular Hamer market
in Turmi. The Hamers are one of the most beautiful and dignified
people of the Omo Basin. The women color their hair with
red earth and butter and wear elegant leather skirts festooned
with tiny pearls. After the market, we continue on to Konso.
The road continues into the savannah, running alongside
the mountains of Men, then raises up the Karkerte Mountains
— providing splendid panoramic views — until
it reaches the soft, terraced hills of Konso. Should the
Chief of Konso be in residence, we may be granted an audience
with him. Overnight in Konso.
21: Nechisar Park —
Arba Minch. Today we start returning northwards,
towards the lakes of the Rift Valley. The Rift Valley is
a deep fission that extends for over 6,000 km from the Middle
East to Mozambique — testimony to the (most recent)
violent and massive shifting of the earth’s tectonic
plates. The rift contains a marvelous series of lakes, which
are teeming with fish and provide a habitat for hundreds
of species of birds. We travel along the side of Lake Chamo
and arrive to Arba Minch towards lunchtime. In the afternoon,
we visit the park of Nechisar, located between lakes Chamo
and Abaya, where we may see gazelles and zebras. Tonight,
we have a special treat, participating in The Coffee Ceremony,
a ceremony of hospitality in Ethiopia. Overnight in Arba
Dorze Village — Awasa.
This morning we return to Nechisar National Park before
returning to the road that leads back up the Rift Valley.
We cross fertile land planted with bananas, cereals and
tobacco — inhabited first by the Oromo people and
then by the Sidamo. All kinds of fruit are sold along the
roadside. On the way, we will visit a Dorze village. The
Dorze people are famous for their textiles. We arrive into
Awasa, located on the edge of Lake Awasa. The lake surrounded
by mountains and populated by countless species of birds.
There is a beautiful track running along the lakeside, perfect
for a walk. We overnight in Awasa.
Wondo Genet Hot Springs to
short drive across very fertile areas cultivated with all
kinds of tropical fruits, takes us to the hot springs of
Wondo Genet, where there is also a charming swimming pool.
The site is an ancient and inactive crater, surrounded by
a forest populated by baboons and lots of birdlife. You
may choose to have a dip or follow the springs upstream
to their source, where the water is so hot, local people
often cook their lunch! After a long stay in Wondo Genet
we continue our drive to Lake Langano. We arrive at Lake
Langano early evening. We spend the next two nights in bungalows
on Lake Langano.
National Park. This morning we take a boat
ride on the scenic Lake Lanago. This afternoon, we visit
Abiyata-Shalla National Park. The park provides beautiful
vistas over the two lakes (Lake Abiyata and Lake Shalla)
and the valley covered in acacia trees. Numerous birds live
on the shores, including the pink flamingo. Lake Abiyata
also provides food for a nearby colony of Great White Pelicans.
There is also time to enjoy the resort, the waters of Lake
Lanago are almost pinkish in color and the beach is a good
place to relax. At the afternoon we walk in the beautiful
forests of Bushangeri, searching for rare birds, and monkeys.
We return to the capital of Addis Ababa this morning, to
arrive around lunchtime. The afternoon is free for last
minute shopping or resting before meeting with the group
again for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Addis Ababa.
Depart Addis Ababa.
We say farewell to this remarkably varied country with a
transfer to the airport for your departure flight.