Bale Mountain National Park “Land of Endemism”
The Bale Mountains were designated as a National Park in the 1960s primarily to protect the largest remaining population of the Ethiopian endemic Semien Wolf, the rarest canine in the world. The upper parts of the mountains form the Sanetti (Sun nothing ) Plateau at 4000m an area of wild alpine flora with the highest point at Mount Tullo Deemtu at 4,377m being the second highest summit in Ethiopia. And it is known by the largest area of Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of African continent.
At Bale mountains National Park The grate Rift valley lakes, with national parks and sanctuaries are home to a wealth of Fauna and Flora. They are paradise for natural lovers.
Location: The Bale Mountains National Park is located in Southeastern Ethiopia, 400 km southeast of Addis Ababa It belongs to the Bale-Arsi massif, which forms the western section of the southeastern highlands. The boundary of the BMNP lies within five woredas: Adaba (west), Dinsho (north), Goba (northeast), Delo-Mena-Angetu and Harena-Buluk (southeast). The park area is encompassed within geographical coordinates of 6º29' – 7º10'N and 39º28' – 39º57'E.
The Bale Mountains rise from the extensive surrounding farmlands at 2,500 m above sea level to the west, north and east. The National Park area is divided into two major parts by the spectacular Harenna escarpment that runs from east to west. North of this escarpment is a high altitude plateau area at 4,000 m altitude. The plateau is formed of ancient volcanic rocks (trachytes, basalts, agglomerates and tuffs) dissected by many Rivers and streams that have cut deep gorges into the edges over the centuries. In some places this has resulted in scenic waterfalls. From the plateau rise several mountain massifs of rounded and craggy peaks, including Tullu Deemtu the second-highest mountain in Ethiopia at 4,377 m above sea level. (Ras Dashen, near the Simien Mountains National Park in the north is the highest - 4,543 m). A major part of the central peaks area is covered by a capping of more recent lava flows, still mainly un vegetated, and forming spectacular rock ripples and pillars. Many shallow depressions on the plateau are filled with water in the wet season, forming small lakes that mirror the surrounding scenery. Larger lakes such as Garba Guracha ("black water"), Hora Bachay and Hala Weoz, contain water all year round. These many lakes provide habitat for water birds, especially m igrating ducks from Europe during the northern winter.
Best Time to Visit
November to March
The Bale Mountains are best visited from November to March when the days are generally clear, warm and dry – but beware as nights are often below freezing. Temperatures during this time can drop to as low as -15oC at night (but typically drop to around -5oC) and rise to as high as 25oC during the day (but only when the wind calms down). At this time of year, trekking conditions are more pleasant and the breathtaking views of Harenna forest escarpment from the Afroalpine plateau are clear and vast.
For visitors who are prepared to put up with the inevitable and frequent afternoon showers however, the period from May to July is also a spectacular time to visit the Bale Mountains. The days are relatively mild and the landscape below 3800 m asl is aglow with flowering red hot pokers. Wild flowers are in abundance throughout the mountains at this time and the hillsides appear lush and alive. Temperatures do not usually climb higher than 15oC during the day, however at night time temperatures don’t drop much below 5oC (although at the highest altitudes visitors should be prepared for very cold temperatures at night all year round).
If there is a time when traveling to the Bale Mountains is less appetizing for the average person it is in April (first heavy rains) and again in August to October. The rain, particularly during the latter months, can be oppressive – with almost constant mist and drizzle and temperatures similar to those in May-July (as above). For visitors prepared for this type of weather however, there is a heightened sense of being on the roof of Africa, sleeping in the clouds. The weather itself becomes part of the spectacular scenery, and the Bale Mountains become a very ‘moody’ place.
The early wet season lasts from March to June, and about two-thirds as much rain falls in this period, as in the wet season from July to October. Throughout these eight months, days are generally cooler and nights warmer than in the dry season. Despite the wetter weather, the area can still be enjoyed with adequate warm and weatherproof clothing. Bright sunny periods may be experienced at any time. Snow has been recorded, but does not lie around for very long.
South of the Harenna escarpment, the land falls precipitously to a large area of dense Podocarpus forest, that slopes gradually down to an altitude of 1 500 m at the southern Park boundary. A few kilometres further on the land changes.abruptly to open wooded grasslands, with higher temperatures and the surprising sight of camels in the area of Dolo-Mena.
Things to Do in BMNP
it is the place where visitor get opportunities for unsurpassed mountain walking, horse trekking, scenic driving and the chances to view many of Ethiopia's endemic mammals, in particular the Mountain Nyala , Semien Fox, and birds. Mostly we categorized things to do in this park into three parts, such as:-
Trekking: The Bale Mountains offer guided wilderness trekking amidst juniper woodlands, across Afroalpine moorlands, over rugged and breath-taking mountains, and through thick tropical forest.
Fishing: The Bale Mountains are also an ideal place for the angler who is looking for exciting wilderness trout fishing in one of Africa's most stunning mountain retreats. The Danka, the Web and the Shaya Rivers were stocked with fry from Kenya in the 1960s. Today they have flourishing populations of beautiful brown and rainbow trout and offer truly great fly fishing.
Birding: Birding in the Bale Mountains National Park is a rewarding and worthwhile experience.The Bale Mountains National Park is recognized by Birdlife International as the foremost Important Bird Area (IBA) in Ethiopia. Over 280 species have been recorded in the National Park, including 7 of the species endemic to Ethiopia.