Senkelle Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary

Wildlife Reserve in Southern Ethiopia

Senkelle was established to protect Ethiopia’s endemic Swayne’s hartebeest, and though the population of around 700 is a far cry from the huge herds of the past, it’s large enough to make a visit enjoyable. A typical visit, whether driving or walking, goes through the savannah, where Swayne’s and oribi antelope are sure to be seen, and then up to Borena Hill, 6km from the headquarters, for views of Lake Awasa and likely wildlife encounters with warthogs, olive baboons, vervet monkeys and bushbuck.

Don’t count on seeing any of the few remaining leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas or caracals. The globally threatened greater spotted eagle is one of 191 bird species documented, and swallow-tailed kites are often seen. There are lakes and hot springs deeper into the 57-sq-km park. Wherever you go, a park guide is mandatory.

Camping is permitted, though there are no facilities or food.

The road towards the park lies 2km west of Aje and then the turn-off is after 10.3km at Debu, from where you follow the signs 4.6km to the headquarters.