Ethiopia to Cape Town 2013

8 months - with Gitane - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Bale Mountains

December 24, 2013  —  Ethiopia 2
Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia

We spent Christmas time in the Bale Mountains in the end. The park has been a great surprise since the landscapes are wonderful, the fauna is interesting and moreover, it is possible to go around the park without a guide or a scout (something impossible in other park of Ethiopia). In brief, we were free to do whatever we wanted at the speed that we chose.

The Bale Mountains are at altitude from about 2000 to more than 4000 meters. The scenery is very different according to the area. I am showing the main areas of the park where we went.

The Bale Mountains and the park that protects it are made up of several exceptional ecosystems... Here are a few reasons...

the Harenna Forest is the 2nd largest of Ethiopia
some animal and vegetal species are endemic to the park (they are not found anywhere else in Ethiopia or in the world)
the park shelters 50% of the world population of nyalas
the parks also shelters 50% of the Ethiopian Wolves endemic to the country
the Ethiopian Wolf is considered the rarest canine species in the world
it is the only place in the world where to find the giant mole-rat
there are very rare species of batrachians
16 species of birds are endemic
11 species of rodents are endemic

The next blog will be about the fauna of the Bale Mountains.

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Web Valley

Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Yes, on Christmas day, we felt a bit like we were at home in Quebec. During the night, the temperature went below the freezing point. At dawn, the valley was covered with frost and the temperate was around 5 degrees below zero.
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Frost on the ground.
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Gitane admiring the scenery along the track.
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Gitane in the distance...
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Web Valley - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
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Sanetti Plateau

Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
At an altitude above 4000 meters, the nights are very cold. We had sub zero temperatures during the two nights we spent in the area.
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia

We climbed to this altitude with the car... Yes, we are a bit lazy, but we have done other treks in the Bale.

The sign says that it's is the 2nd highest point of Ethiopia... However, Bwahit and Ras Dashen Mountains in the Simiens are both higher.

Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
The wind is freezing cold in the evening and night. Thus, we tried to shelter ourselves from the wind by stopping the car as close as possible to the small house.
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Cloud belt around the mountain.
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Sanetti Plateau - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
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Harenna Escarpment

Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia

The Harenna Escarpment, on the north side of the mountains, provides shelter to the identically named forest located between 3000 and 3400 meters. The forest is beautiful, but it is badly under threat from farmers that slowly have started to move in the park.

From the Sanetti Plateau, we are going down under the cloud to reach the forest.

Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Harenna Escarpment - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
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Dinsho area

Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia

This region is in fact a small forested zone around the headquarters of the park.

Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Dinsho area - Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Camping in the park... with a great view.
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On the road towards the mountains

Some landscapes around the Bale Mountains...

Bale Mountains - Ethiopia
Bale Mountains - Ethiopia