Bale Mountains National Park – Self Drive Trips : Car Rental Ethiopia
The Bale mountains National Park is located next to the Bales Mountain making it one of the top tourist destinations in Ethiopia. It has been on the list of becoming a UNESCO heritage since 2009 because of the unique scenery it gives to all the people who visit the area. The Bale National park has over 1300 species and there are almost 23 of those that are endemic to the Park.
Tourist attractions & activities in the Bale National Park
There are several attractions in the Bales National Park and most of them are carried out depending on the weather and what the tourist want to do on their visit to the Park. Some of the tourist attractions that are found within the Bales Mountain National Park include the following:
Hiking through the Bales National Park
Due to the presence of the mountain and the Rift Valley, the Park has several trekking routes that you can use for your trekking. When you look at the different statistics it is believed that 200 people trek through the National Park per year which means it is a top destination for those that love trekking.
Wild animals in Bales National Park
The Bales National Park has a variety of animals that habituate in the park and these can be viewed properly during the dry season. When it comes to the dry season the animals in Bales move around in search of water and food which makes it easy for them to be spotted unlike during the rainy season. Some of the animals that are in Bales National Park include Menelik’s bushbuck, the Ethiopian wolf, Rouget’s rail and many more others. Many people visit the Bale to see the rare Ethiopian wolf which is the only wolf that can be seen on the African continent and the only place to find them is in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Wolf
The Bale Mountains are the best place in Ethiopia to spot the majestic and enigmatic Ethiopian Wolf, which is sadly an endangered species due to the expansion of agriculture in the country, with less than 400 surviving in the wild. It is the world’s rarest canid. The wolf is endemic to Ethiopia, so found nowhere else in the world.
Approximately the same size as a coyote, this rare animal’s red and white fur coat and narrow, elongated face give it a very distinctive appearance. They can often be seen in the early morning patrolling the grassy plains of the Sanetti Plateau, alone or in a pack, looking for giant mole-rats to hunt.
Waterfalls and the Harenna Forest
The beautiful Harenna Forest has two waterfalls located very near one another. They can be reached in around an hour from the park’s sub-HQ just south of the Bale Mountains Lodge. If you’re coming directly from the lodge, it is a 5-6 hour trek, but gravel roads that run the park mean you can take sorties down to the forest and get out and hike from there.
One of the waterfalls has a pool at the bottom, whose cool, clean water is perfect for a dip! While in the Harenna Forest, keep your eyes peeled for Colobus and Bale monkeys, as well as the numerous colorful bird species found here.
Visiting the Villages, African Cultural Experience
Previously there was a bit of settlement near the national park but at the moment there are permanent villages that surround the Park. Their settlement has led to the reduction of the Park because they keep on encroaching the park and cutting down the trees so that they create room for farming and settlement. This has reduced on the wild life that lives in the park since they no longer have habitats where to stay. This does not mean that the locals living in the villages have a lot to offer from their diverse culture, food and their way of life.
Visit the villages and get to know more about their cultural practices, their local delicious food and enjoy your stay in the evening as you listen to the different stories that are told by the old people in the villages. There are also several shops located in these villages where you can buy the various decorated items that are made by locals and these will act as souvenirs for you and your family.
The Sof Omar limestone caves
The Sof Omar caves are considered to be the largest Islamic site in Ethiopia. Many people go there to worship and explore them and also get to know more about the caves and get to know more about the caves through the different stories that are told by the tour guides.
Explore the Great Rift Valley
The Bales Mountain National Park is located in the Rift valley which gives most people a chance to visit it and enjoy all that the Great Rift Valley has to offer from lakes, rivers, Mountains, wild life and not forgetting the escarpments that provide a good backdrop for photos. And you can also pack a picnic basket which you can enjoy with your family or friends.
When to visit the Bale Mountains
The best time to visit the Bale Mountains is between October and March. The rainy season runs from June to September, although there can be heavy showers in April and May. October to March is the best time to visit for optimal trekking conditions and wildlife sightings.
How to get to the Park
By air means
In most cases, the best way to get the Bale Mountains is via domestic flight. Ethiopian Airlines run a comprehensive domestic flight network across the country, connecting the major tourist destinations. If you’re coming in from the north, you will need to fly into Addis Ababa and catch a second flight to Robe, the nearest airport town to the Bale Mountains. From Robe, it is a 2-hour drive into the national park.
By road means
If you are coming from the south, it is usually better to drive. By Private Vehicle Direct from Addis Ababa (6-7 hours).
Accommodation in Bale Mountains National Park
Bale Mountains Lodge
Wabe Shebelle Lodge
Harenna Forest hotel and Cultural lodge