Bale Mountains, second highest mountain range in Ethiopia
Wild and rugged landscape, and magnificent vegetation typical of African mountains
The Bale Mountains are located in the southern part of Ethiopia, about 400km from Addis Ababa.
This is one of the greenest areas of Ethiopia with an abundant supply of water, vast pasturelands and forests of incomparable beauty that alternate with moors of heather and juniper.
At an altitude of 4 000 metres above sea level stands the vast Sanetti Plateau, itself overlooked by the majestic Mount Tullo Dimtuu (which translates literally as “red mountain”), Ethiopia’s second highest mountain, its peak rising 4 377 metres above sea level.
The region is well worth seeing, particularly in the autumn, when wide colourful flowers dominate the landscape.
To the south of the Sanetti Plateau is the Harenna Forest, a lower-lying area covered with dense forests. The landscapes are many and varied : fens and forests around Dinsho, steppes on the Sanetti Plateau, wet forests and bamboo forests around Herenn.
The main towns in the area are Dinsho and Goba, in which basic hotels can be found.
Bale Mountains’ unique endemic fauna
The Bale Mountains are ancient volcanos and bird nesting places that delight birdwatchers and amateur photographers alike.
Besides, they are home to many rare and endemic species such as the Ethiopian wolf, the Mountain Nyala and the Menelik’s bushbuck.
It is even possible to see lions and leopards, however, they are rare and difficult to catch sight of.
Trekking in the Bale Mountains
The Bale Mountains are a protected area. Few tourists yet take advantage of the opportunity to hike or ride through the National Park.
The best way to explore the mountains’ wildlife is trekking with an experienced guide and staying overnight in camping for some nights.
It is also possible to rent horses and to explore the area on horseback.
An absolute must-do is Africa’s highest road link, which links up Goba to the Sanetti Plateau and is open to traffic throughout the year.
Although the Sanetti Plateau is easy to access by road, its climate and height of 4 000 metres above sea level must not be taken lightly. Travellers should be weary of the effects of cold weather and high altitude.
Sof Omar Cave, one of Africa’s largest caves
Not far from the Bale Mountains, it is well possible to explore the cave on a day excursion from Goba.
The cave area is typically characterized by flat topography and deep gorges cut by the river Web which formed the cave. The beauty of the caves consists of the untouched and wild aspects of the huge main passages, the shape of the galleries and the white color of the lime stone basalt forming the walls.
The caves are also an important Muslim worship place.