Birds heard or seen on waking up - always a good way to start a day:
Ross’s Turaco – at Riverside campsite, Iringa, Tanzania
Djibouti Francolin – on escarpment next to camp at Dittilou, Djibouti
Stone Partridge – at least 5 individuals woke me up on 1 January 2000
Yellow-fronted Parrot – very noisy over the campsite at Wondo Genet
Mountain Nightjar – in the bush near Robe
Simien Fox – noisily scuffling around my Landrover in the middle of the night on Sanetti Plateau
Views of animals and birds that I will remember for a long time:
General - the tameness of almost all birds due to the fact that Ethiopians rarely eat any birds other than chickens, so hunting is rare
Lammergeier - While I was watching over the escarpment of the Jemmu Valley, a Lammergeier approached me from behind and passed over only feet above my head. It then soared round nearby - I presume hoping that it's "attack" on me had pushed me over the edge!
Djibouti harbour - the shear number of birds that were lifers to me
Walia Ibex - one of the rarest species in Ethiopia. We saw one sleeping on its side on the ground, but after a few minutes it got up and then wandered off. Although it was nearly a kilometre away, it seemed much nearer - probably because it was only 100m aware horizontally - and about 1000m below the ridge where we were watching from
Simien Fox - four animals seen just after dawn on the Sanetti Plateau were of such a beautiful colour in the frosted landscape
Ruspoli’s Turaco - after a long search, it was such somehow the most memorable lifer that I saw on the whole trip
Elephant - not what one normally expects to meet when leaving the Zimbabwe customs office!
Scenic views that are hard to forget:
Jemmu Valley - walking along the top of the escarpment gave amazing views, comparable to the Fish River Canyon (Namibia) and Grand Canyon (US)
Fantalle Crater - although I arrived after dawn, the lava flows, the crater itself and the greenness of the vegetation were an unusual sight
Gulf of Tadjoura - the vegetation-free black lava flows reaching right down to the azure blue sea was unlike anything I have seen before
Blue Nile Falls - after a short walk, they were impressive, but not somehow not equal to the more accessible Victoria Falls, or the powerful Murchison Falls on the White Nile
Simien Mountains - it is impossible to describe the eroded escarpments - the road passed along a narrow col only a 100 metres wide.
Bale Mountains - the opportunity to drive up to a elevation of 4350 metres was something I wasn't going to miss. The vegetation changes were quite extraordinary
People who will be remembered:
General - the Ethiopian people are incredibly friendly and pleasant as individuals, but soon becoming very wearing when in groups
Steve Spawls - letting me stay for three nights, even though we had never met before, and providing me with a huge amount of information on the country, its people, fauna & flora
Guard at Jemmu - this person, who was watching over my Landrover when I camped in the Jemmu Valley typified the rural peoples' attitude. He was armed with a rifle, with plenty of ammunition slung over his shoulder, but when I emerged from my tent, all he did was to walk down, shake me by the had, and then vanished off into the bush - we were unable to exchange a word due to our language differences
Truck drivers from Djibouti - who assisted me when I ran out of fuel
Eshetu Bedane - proved to be an absolute mine of information on the local history, and made my visit to Lalibela such a wonderful experience
Farmers at Negele - who wouldn't allow me to camp in the bush on the edge of their farm, but insisted I stay at their farmstead so they could guard me and the vehicle, while refusing any form of payment or gift.
Dave Moyer - who was prepared to lend me a considerable sum of cash to get me out of Tanzania (perhaps that was his motivation?) and on to Zambia where I could use my credit card
An Ethiopian trip: 27/11/1999 to 17/01/2000Giles Mulholland 31 January 2000