Bale Mountains National Park

Top choice in Southern Ethiopia

More than any other park in Ethiopia, this national park is known for its wildlife, but it’s a very beautiful place, too. As you approach from Dodola, ridges to the east are punctuated with fortress-like escarpments, standing out from the gentler, rounded rock pinnacles to the north, and the great wildlife watching commences right from the start when the road cuts through the Gaysay Grassland in the valley between them, which is home to the densest concentration of large mammals in Ethiopia.

Up in the hills, accessible by footpath and road, are deep gorges, alpine lakes, rushing streams, several waterfalls, lava flows and views that go on almost forever. If it wasn’t located in such a remote corner of the country it would probably be as popular as the Simien Mountains.

Trekking is the number-one activity in the park. Most trekking is fairly gentle and undemanding, following well-trodden paths. But don’t forget to factor in the altitude. Various routes, from one-day hikes to multiday treks, can be arranged – just ask your guide, who can put together a trek of any length to any place.