The tarred road from Addis Ababa to the Gibe Valley is approximately 160 km. The first 20 km from Addis Ababa is badly potholed, while last 10 km from Welkite to the valley is excellent tar. I did not travel the intervening road, but I expect that the vast majority would be excellent tar. The valley is reputed to hold some of the western and soudian species, as this is the eastern extremity that they can find the right habitat. I did not bird this area, so I cannot confirm this. However, this is the best chance to see soudian species without travelling to Gambela in the west. This should be an easy day trip.
Although I did not travel along this road, it is supposedly tar all the way, so should be a viable day trip. Similar birds as can be found on the Jemmu escarpment can be expected.
The road to Awash NP is excellent tar, except for an area of road-works over Lake Beseka. The track into the park is suitable for any car, whether you stay in the caravans at the Lodge, or at the campsite. Any car can travel around the southern part of the park. However, the northern portion cannot be accessed without a more rugged vehicle. Don't think of driving up to the Fantalle Crater. For most details, see Tuesday 14th December and Wednesday 15th December above.
Although the whole road from Addis Ababa is tarred, the quality of the road decreases, such that the final section should not be taken at more than 30 km/h. You could stay at either of the two hotels and/or campsites on the lake. There is plenty of areas to bird on foot in the vicinity of either hotel. The Abiata-Shala NP is not for cars.
This venue would be an excellent week-end trip, leaving mid-afternoon on Friday and returning on Sunday evening. It could be also include a visit to Lake Ziway - see details on Monday 6th December to Wednesday 8th December.
Alternatively, it could be used as a stop-over on the way to Goba and the Bale Mountains.
The road is reasonable gravel, but should be taken at a reasonable speed. I would be a comfortable drive to make in a day from Lake Langano and reach the government hotel in Goba, where it is also possible to camp.
From there, a day trip to the Sof Omar valley is quite practical, so long as no attempt is made to drive down into the valley. Another easy day trip would be from Goba up to the Sanetti plateau, though care should be exercised on the road down to the Harrena Forest. The road should be quite passable in the dry, but wet conditions could make it treacherous in a car.
For further details, see Thursday 6th & Friday 7th January. After spending three nights at Goba, either return to Lake Langano, or follow this itinerary further. Spending time at Dinsho on the way in or out would also be productive.
This is a good place to stay after visiting Goba, and is reached by returning to Shashamene, and then driving south-east on a rough gravel road for 20 km. In this case, stay 2 nights at the hotel (camping possible), spending time in the forest above the hotel, and in the hotel grounds.
An Ethiopian trip: 27/11/1999 to 17/01/2000Giles Mulholland 31 January 2000