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30-Day Birdwatching Itinerary

30-Day Birdwatching Itinerary

Lungo Local Tour Ethiopia
Summary: Birdwatching
Duration: 30 days 29 nights

Day 1
Arrive at Bole International Airport. A Lungo Local Tour Ethiopia representative will meet you and take you to your Hotel in Addis Abba.

Day 2
Today, we start our trip to northern Ethiopia’s natural and cultural sites. We cross panoramic views of the Blue Nile River, which drains into the Mediterranean Sea through Sudan and Egypt. Leaving early, we drive up to the Sululta Plain, an important short grassland with a seasonal wetland that is home to unique birds such as Blue-winged Goose, Wattled Ibis, Ethiopian Black-headed Siskin, and White-collared Pigeon.

We stop at the Jemmu Valley escarpment and pilgrimage center established in the 13th century with magnificent artistic murals and apostils. The nearby gorge attracts such birds as: Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture, Thick-billed Raven, Little Rock Thrush, Banded Barbet and Vareaux’s Eagle. We will stop at the so called “Portuguese Bridge,” similar to an old fortified stone bridge that is next to Blue Nile Waterfalls. We will look for White-winged Cliff-chat, Ruppell’s Black-chat, Erckel’s Francolin and more. Overnight Hotel at Debre Markos  town.

Day 3
Driving to the town of Bahir-Dar, one of the main tourist destinations in the northwestern part of the country, which is situated on the southern bank of Lake Tana (3600 km area). It is famous for its islands holding ancient churches with their treasures and manuscripts dating back to the thirteenth century. Lake Tana itself is home to water birds such as Pelicans, Darters, Egrets, Herons, Kingfishers and Grebes. Overnight hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 4
We will take a boat excursion to the famous Kibran Gabreal and Ura Kidanemihret island monasteries, and in the afternoon we will drive to the Blue Nile Waterfalls with its scenery and birds in route. Tis-issat Waterfalls on the Blue Nile and its islands supports Ethiopian Oriole, White-billed Starling, Bruce’s Green Pigeon and many woodland birds. Overnight hotel or lodge.

Day 5
Driving further north to Gondar, we visit the Fassiladas Castles and Debre-Birhan Sillasie(Light of the Trinity) church built during King Fassiledas reign with its painted angels and frescoes on the ceiling and walls. Overnight hotel or lodge in Gondar.

Day 6
Today we drive to the jagged panorama of the Simien Mountains National Park, famed for its exclusive landscape, afro-alpine vegetation and unique wildlife. You may spot the endemic Walya Ibex, Ghwelada Baboon troops, Bushbuck, Klipspringer. Chestnut-napped Francolin, Mountain Thrush, Thick-billed Raven, Lammergeyer, White-collared Pigeon and Ankober Serin just to name a few. Overnight camp or lodge.

Day 7
Continuing on to Axum, the capital of the Axumite Kingdom, which accepted Christianity at the beginning of 4th century, and where the Moses’ Ark of Covenant is found. Driving the zigzag roads to Adaarkay village leading into the Tacazze Valley with its Baobab trees, we will hope to see birds such as: Hunter’s Sunbird, Nile Valley Sunbird, Rock Buntings, Superb Starling and more. Overnight hotel in Axum.

Day 8
You will have a whole day for excursions to the Axum Stelae sites, Church of Saint Mary of Tsion, Queen Sheba’s ruined palaces, underground cavern burials of the kings of the Axumite dynasty with its inscription, bronze and crafts displayed. Overnight hotel in Axum.

Day 9
Today we drive to Mekele, the capital of the province of Tigray, stopping on the way at Adwa historic mountains, Debredamo Monastery, Adigrat, Abreha-Woatsibaha Rock Hewn church and the Negashi Mosque, oldest and considered the first in Ethiopia. At Myshinkurti it may be possible to spot the endemic Harwood’s Francolin, Erlanger’s Lark, Cisticolas, Fiscals and more. Overnight Hotel in Mekele.

Day 10
We drive to Lalibela to visit its famous Rock-Hewn Churches via the towns of Korem and Alamat. Lalibela churches are among the “Eight Wonders of the World” and one can add other equally important monasteries including Asheten Mariam, Yimrahane Christos and Na’akutole’ab churches if you are prepared to add an extra day to this tour. Overnight hotel or lodge in Lalibella.

Day 11
We will start the morning with visits to the first part of the Lalibela rock-hewn churches including Bet Medihane Alem, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskal, Bet Michael, Bet Denagle and Bet Golgolta. We will also visit the remarkable church of Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lallibela structures. In the afternoon we visit the remaining second part including Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufael. Overnight hotel or lodge in Lalibela.

Day 12
Driving southwards to Kombolcha town via the Weldia and Dessie scenic mountainous countryside, while birding along the route. We will stop at the Hike Estifanos Monastery, which earlier was used by scholars of the other monasteries and religious leaders in the country. Overnight hotel in Kombolcha.

Day 13
Returning to Addis through Kemise and Senbete, the local towns where Ammhara, Oromo and Afar people get together on market days. We will also explore the underground tunnels of the Debresina Mountains and stop at Tarmaber viewpoint to locate the endemic Ankober Serin, Brown-rumped Seedeater, Stripe-breasted Seedeater and Yellow-crowned Canary. Overnight hotel in Addis Abba.

Day 14
Leaving Addis early morning, we drive east towards the Great Rift Valley via Bushoftu Crate Lakes and Nazaret town to visit Awash Park with its volcano landscapes and savannah grassland habitat for a variety of bird species. On the way we detour to Lake Basaka’s saline water which is good habitat for water birds such as Flamingoes, Pelicans, Storks, Herons, Plovers, Lapwings, Sandpipers and Stints. Overnight hotel or lodge in Awash.

Day 15
Full day excursion in the park including Ilala Sala Plain (Oryx Plain), Awash River Waterfalls and acacia thickets for birds such as Grey Hornbill, Somali Fiscal, Helmeted Guineafowl, Blue-napped Mousebird, Kori Bustard, Yellow-necked Francolin, Drongo, Red-winged Lark, Woodland and Striped Kingfishers, Robins and birds of prey such as Tawny Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Yellow-billed Kite and Dark Chanting Goshawk. Awash National Park is also home to mammals such as Oryx, Lesser Kudu, Hammadryas Baboon and Olive Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Salt’s Dick-dick and more. Overnight lodge or hotel at Awash.

Day 16
Today we drive to Lake Langano and Abiata with stop at Koka/Awash Bridge and Ziway. Spectacular Rift scenery, stunning view of colorful birdlife such as; Banded Barbet, Masked Weaver, Spur-winged Plover, Malachite and Pygmy Kingfishers, Little Bee-eater, Ruppell’s and Superb Starlings, Seed-eaters, Sunbirds and many birds of prey. Overnight Hotel or lodge on the bank of Lake Langano.

Day 17
Dawn birding and after breakfast proceed to ‘Bishangari’ meaning “Blessed water,” located on the eastern bank of Lake Langano. Adjacent to the Chilalo chain of mountains on the southern edge of the Great Rift Valley with it’s tropical rain forest. Enroute we search the secondary forest for Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Nubian Woodpecker, Speckled Mousebird, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Mourning Dove and many more colorful forest birds. Overnight lodge or hotel on the banks of Lake Langano.

Day 18
Today we explore the riverine forest and adjacent lake for birds such as Yellow-Fronted Parrot, White Cheeked Turaco, Orange-bellied Parrot, African Paradise Flycatcher, Bare-faced Go-Away Bird, African Fish-eagle, Cuckoo Shrikes, Kingfishers, Weavers and water birds including Egrets, Herons, Cormorants, Gulls, Geese, Ducks and Shanks. Overnight hotel or lodge at Lake Langano.

Day 19
Today we drive to Lake Awassa. On arrival we search the grounds for Spotted Creeper, Senegal Coucal, Dusky Flycatcher, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Ruppell’s Starling and numbers of Marabous Storks and Pelicans. Overnight hotel or lodge in Awassa.

Day 20
We walk around Lake Awassa’s shoreline looking for African Pygmy Goose, Hottentot Teal, Black Crake, African Fish-eagle, Hadeda Ibis, Purple Heron, Common Sandpiper, White-backed Duck, Reed and Sedge Warblers, African Jacana. We end at the traditional fish market, where many birds feed on fish left-over. Then we drive to Wendogenet with birding en route. On arrival we search the grounds for Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Slender-billed Starling, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Hooded Vulture.

In the afternoon, we drive to the Bale Mountains National Park and meet with park guide. Arrive at the park headquarters in the afternoon, in time for a leisurely afternoon hike, possibly spotting two endemic mammals that frequent the area: Menelik’s Bushbuck and the Mountain Nyala. Birds in this area include the Blue-Winged Goose, the Spot-Breasted Lapwing, the Abyssinian Long Claw, the Wattled Ibis, the Black-Headed Siskin, Rouget’s Rail, and numerous other species. Overnight Hotel in Goba.

Day 21

In Bale National Park, we hope to view  Simien Red Wolves and other endemic mammals. Spot birds such as Chestnut-naped Francolin, Ground Thrush (of the distinctive, endemic race Simensis), the secretive Abyssinia Ground- thrush, the vocal Abyssinian Catbird, and the endemic White-backed Black-Tit. If we are very fortunate, we will see a pair of the endangered Wattled Crane in the moist grasslands or spot a Cape Eagle- Lapwing, Thekla Lark, Red-breasted Wheatear, and Moorland chats. Overnight Hotel in Goba.

Day 22

In Bale Mountains National Park, we drive to Negelle via Harena Forest. En route  we look for the Turaco and outstanding Golden-breasted Starling. We will also seek the endemic Sidamo Lark and the Somali Short-toed Lark and possibly Heuglin’s Bustard on the Negele Plains. The Sidamo lark is quite secretive and like many Ethiopian endemics inhabits a very small area. Overnight Hotel – Negeli Borena.

Day 23   Negeli Borena to Yabello Borena

We search for the endemic White-tailed Swallow and Stresemann’s Bushcrow. You should spot the Swallow threading its way through the termite chimneys and groups of Bushcrows in the thorn bushes. For the entire day we explore the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve. The species to look for include: Somalian Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Martial Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Pygmy Falcon, Vulturine Guineafowl, Kori Bustard, Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar, Star- spotted Nightjar, Yellow-bill

Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, Rufous- crowned Roller, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Red and Yellow Barbet, Short- tailed Lark, Northern Grey Tit, Shelley’s and White-crowned Starlings, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped Social Weaver, Grey-headed Silverbill, Taita Fiscal, and Somali Golden- breasted Bunting. Other possibilities include: Coqui Francolin, Somali Courser, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Little Spotted Woodpecker, Pringle’s Puffback, Little Tawny Pipit, Fawn-coloured Lark. Mammals that inhabit the park include: Burchell’s Zebra, Aardvark, Grant’s Gazelle, Thompson’s Gazelle, and Lesser-spotted Genet. Overnight Hotel – Yabello Borena

Day 24    Yabello Borena to Nechisar Park

Pre-breakfast walk along the hot springs thicket looking for Yellow Fronted Parrot, Half-collared Kingfisher, Mountain Wagtail, Double-toothed Barbet, White-cheeked Turaco, Narina Trogon, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrike, Hill Babbler, Tambourine Dove, African Harrierhawk, Steppe Buzzard, Great Sparrowhawk and Crowned Eagle.

After breakfast, we drive south through savannah terrain towards Arba Minch meaning “Forty Springs” to Nechsar National Park, which holds a diversity of fauna and flora. Overnight Swaynes Hotel with its spectacular view.

Day 25

Excursion to Nechsar Park through Lake Chamo and Abaya’s land of barrier called the “Bridge of God.”  Interesting wild animals in the Park are the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest, Burchell’s Zebra, Lesser and Greater Kudu, Grant’s and Thomson’s Gazelle and number of birds including Secretarybird, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Abyssinian Roller, African Fish-eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Kingfisher, Weavers, Seed-eaters and many more.

After lunch we take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to the “Crocodiles Market,”  where large numbers of Crocodile (some up to 6 meters long) gather to sunbathe and to the Hippos pool. Overnight Swaynes Hotel.

Day 26

Today we continue driving south to Jinka via the Konso peoples land, renowned for their traditional terrace farming. En route we visit the Keyafer weekly market, where the Hamer, Bena, Tsemay and Arri tribes with their interesting ornamental hide dressings and hair buntings. Over night Jinka Resort.

Day 27

Driving further south to Mago Park looking for Greater and Lesser Kudu, Difasa Water buck, Bushbuck, Gerenuk, Hartebeest and Oribi. Of course, Mago Park is also home to many birds such as Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Giant Kingfisher, Northern Brownbul, Hartlaub’s Bustard, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Woodpeckers, Shrikes and more. Overnight at hotel or lodge.

Day 28
Drive to Turmi for the Hamar villages and markets. There are many birds around here. If we are there at the right time, we may witness the Jumping of the Bulls ceremony. Overnight camping, hotel or lodge.

Day 29
We go to Omorate to visit a Daasanach village and the market. After that via Konso, we return to Arba Minch. Overnight Arba Minch hotel.

Day 30
Today we drive back to Addis via Sodo, Butajira and Tiya enjoying the beautiful landscape and rural peoples’ lifestyle with many photo stops. Of course, we will not forget the birds along the roadside’s many habitats. Arriving in Addis in the late afternoon, we will have a farewell dinner before departing for the airport.

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Posted on

May 25, 2019