On day 29, rather than heading west towards Lake Tana, continue north to Adrigat, Asmera and Massawa. Return via Asmera and then to Axum, through Simien to Gonder.
Additional distance: 1000 km
Additional time: 4 days (or 6 days if Dahlak Islands included)
Additional species: No Endemics, but more likely to see many of the Palearctic migrants and other “northern” species such as Little Green Bee-eater, Ring-necked Parakeet, etc. Also a second chance at seabirds, especially if you can get to the Dahlak islands, where you may find White-collared Kingfisher, et al.
On day 34 spend whole day at Gonder, and spend the next day driving what is probably a very bad road to the Sudanese border. My original plan was to then drive to Gedaref, and up north through Kassala to Erkowit, Suakin and Port Sudan. From there, if practical to go west to Atbara, and then south down the Nile to Khartoum. It may be possible to visit a wide variety of Nilotic historical sites both north and south of Atbara which are said to be comparable to the Egyptian sites - but without the tourists or infrastructure. Alternatively to retrace my route to Gedaref, then west to Khartoum. Spend a couple of days birding there before return to Gedaref and Gonder.
Additional distance: between 2800 a& 3200 km
Additional time: between 10 and 14 days
Additional species: Endemic: Cinnamon Weaver. Many Palearctic migrants not found in Ethiopia could be found around Port Sudan, as well as a variety of desert species around Khartoum – approximately 50 species possible
On day 39, leave from Gambela back east to Bedele, then further east to Jima. Rejoin the trip at the start of day 44.
Distance saving: 560 km
Time saving: 4 days
Lost species: No endemics. Will miss approximately 5-10 species which are only found here within Ethiopia.
On day 36, leave early and drive straight through to Addis Ababa, spending any spare time birding around the Nile valley. The next day, continue south through Debre Zeit to Shashamene, then east to Sodo and then south to Arba Minch and Nechisar NP. Rejoin the trip at the start of day 45.
Distance saving: 1400 km
Time saving: 7 days
Lost species: No endemics. Will miss all the soudian lowland species of the west African avifauna – approximately 10-30 species.
Simply skip days 46 & 47.
Distance saving: 540 km
Time saving: 2 days
Lost species: No endemics. 3 species are supposedly easier to find here than elsewhere.
Simply skip days 55, 56 & 57
Distance saving: 600 km
Time saving: 3 days
Lost species: Endemics: 1 – Degodi Lark. Many other specials of the area also missed – approximately 10-20 species in total.
An Ethiopian trip: 27/11/1999 to 17/01/2000Giles Mulholland 31 January 2000