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Skip Djibouti

On day 21, continue as per plan through the Yangudi-Rassa NP, but turn left at Mille and camp at Lake Heyk.  Continue on the next day to Lalibela. Rejoin the trip at the start of day 27.

Distance saving: 1200 km

Time saving: 4 days

Lost species: Endemics: 1 - Djibouti Francolin.  However, many desert species & all coastal species – approximately 40 species in total – will be missed.

Skip historical sites

This assumes that you will bird Jemmu Valley and Sanetti Plateau intensively & successfully, as all bird species from this area can be seen in the central and south.  On this basis, the Simien Mountains are a long drive, and the only endemic to the area is the Walia Ibex.

On day 17, do not return to Addis Ababa, but continue north-east to camp at the Total garage near Logia, rejoining the trip at the start of day 22.  Continue through the Djibouti route, returning to the Total garage on day 25.  Continue to Mille, but turn left towards Awash NP, and spend the three days (days 18 to 20) in Awash NP.  Then, leaving Awash NP early in the morning, drive to Addis Ababa and then continue to Nekempte, rejoining the trip at the start of day 36.

Distance saving: 1100 km

Time saving: 14 days

Lost species: Endemics: none.  However, many opportunities for seeing highland species will be missed, but no species need be missed.

Short trips on good roads

This section is a bit of a contradiction in terms.  This report is based on taking your own vehicle.  Since the two currently open roads (from Kenya and from Djibouti if you ship the vehicle in by sea) are in a very bad state, you can’t get into Ethiopia.  Unless, of course, you fly your vehicle in – but then why not fly in a 4x4? Anyway, this will be based on short trips (staying in hotels) from Addis Ababa.

Day trips from Addis Ababa


Gefersa Reservoir & Menagesha-Suba Forest Reserve

It only takes around 1 hour to drive out to Gefersa Reservoir, leaving Addis Ababa on the Nekempte road.  You can walk around the northern edge of the reservoir, and expect to find Blue-winged Goose, Wattled Ibis & White-collared Pigeon.  The waterfowl is predominantly composed of Egyptian Geese with some Yellow-billed Duck.  On the three occasions I passed here, it had very few other species, and those seen on one visit weren't there for the next, so I guess it really is pot-luck.  Continue along the road to the west for a further 5 or so km, and turn left at the signpost to the Forestry College.  This road is a bit potholed but quite easy to drive, and will take you south to a turning to the left just after the college  This will take about an hour.  The road to the park HQ is OK, as is the road up to the mountain – although it is quite steep.  If you were stay till dusk (or camp here), you should find Yellow-fronted Parrots coming in to roost. On your return, it is an easier road to turn left and continue south to join the Jima road for your return to Addis Ababa, another hours drive.


Solulta Plain & Jemmu escarpment

See the description of Saturday 11th December above.  Do not attempt to drive down the escarpment, but return the same way you came..


Ankober & Melka Ghebdu

When I travelled it, the road from the Jemmu escarpment to Debre Birhan was a very good gravel road, and not likely to damage an ordinary car travelling at reasonable speeds of around 30 to 40 km/h.  This would mean the journey would take around 3 hours. For the remainder of the information, see the latter part of Sunday 12th December, and the first section of Monday 13th December.

Alternatively, this would make a relatively easy day trip from Addis Ababa.

An Ethiopian trip: 27/11/1999 to 17/01/2000Giles Mulholland 31 January 2000

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