Located 400km southeast of Addis Ababa in the rugged and green Oromo region, the Bale Mountains are one of Ethiopia’s most scenic, lush and undiscovered national park areas - an ultimate destination for hikers, wildlife watchers, birders and nature enthusiasts. The Bale Mountains National Park is open year-round and the most popular time to visit is November through April when it’s less wet. There are three diverse ecologies to explore; grasslands, afro-alpine and tropical forest. Yared Tour & Travel Ethiopia work together with local guides and organise unparalleled opportunities for trekking in the Bale Mountains - by horseback or on foot. Treks range from one to 12 nights. We can also drive through the park by car.
The highest road in Africa
If you’d prefer not to walk, you can visit the park entirely by car (recommended 2 days) and go for a drive on the highest all-weather road in Africa. The route takes you through the park and over the Sanetti Plateau where there is abundant wildlife including the Ethiopian wolf - almost guaranteed to see if you set-off early enough.
Visit the Sof Omar caves
Sof Omar is the longest cave in Ethiopia (15.1km) and a marvel to see. The cave was named after an Islamic saint who lived in the Bale Mountains area and sacred to both Muslims and local Oromo people. Accompanied by a guide and a good torch, you can walk through the cave’s wonderful passages and galleries of polished white stone. In the large central hall, more than 20 massive pillars soar towards the high-arched roof with a river flowing silently and cold around the great pedestals. From Sof Omar it is not far (via a scenic route) to visit Sheikh Hussein, Ethiopia's most important centre of Muslim pilgrimage.
Bale Mountains trekking & horse-riding
Bale Mountains National Park offers some of the finest high-altitude horse riding and trekking routes in the world. The park is a giant wilderness with rugged peaks (some more than 4000m, the highest in the southern Ethiopia highlands!), rolling emerald-green moorlands laced with heather, densely vegetated forests, lakes, waterfalls and rivers teeming with brown and rainbow trout. Bale Mountains are a paradise for anglers, there is extraordinary flora with giant heath and the spectacular giant lobelia and abundant with birds and wildlife to spot and enjoy in the park. 78 mammal species, and 260 different types of birds have made their home in the Bale Mountains. Among the endemic species are the Ethiopian wolf, mountain nyala and Menelik's bushbuck can easily be observed. Thirteen of Ethiopia's endemic bird species inhabit the Bale Mountains.