As we leave, we soon reach nice stands of Juniper-Hagenia forest that is home to the endemic Abyssinian Woodpecker, White-backed Black Tit, Abyssinian Catbird, and Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, plus Abyssinian Ground Thrush. Driving further, stands of Hypericum trees host the endemic griseiventris subspecies of Brown Parisoma. Moorland and Chestnut-naped Francolins and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler frequent dense shrubbery, and Ethiopian Cisticola prefer the more open areas.
Then we will be driving on Africa’s highest road, passing close to the summit of Ethiopia’s second-highest mountain. Here on the Sanetti Plateau, an island of tundra in the tropics, the habitat is classified as “Afro-alpine moorland”, characterized by a fascinating range of unique plants, including giant lobelias, which tower like monolithic giants over the rich tussock grasslands, and extensive cushions of yellow everlasting flowers. The grasslands are estimated to support incredible biomass of 8,800 pounds of rodents per hectare. Amazing! This obviously attracts a rich array of raptors, and we should see Steppe and Golden Eagles, Augur Buzzard, and the elegant Pallid Harrier circling over this verdant floral sea. They share this abundant food source with the plateau’s most celebrated resident, the Ethiopian wolf, crowned with the unenviable title of “the world’s rarest canid.” Watching these vibrantly colored animals, most closely related to the European Timber Wolf, exhibiting their hunting prowess while bouncing on giant mole-rats (another endemic to the Sanetti Plateau) is surely among Africa’s greatest wildlife experiences. The plateau also holds the only Afrotropical breeding populations of Ruddy Shelduck, Golden Eagle, and Red-billed Chough. We will also search for Black Stork, Wattled Ibis, Rouget’s Rail (particularly common and confiding here), the endemic Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Wattled Crane, Thekla Lark, migratory flocks of Red-throated Pipit, Abyssinian Longclaw, Red-breasted Wheatear,the dumpy Moorland Chat, and flocks of the endemic Black-headed Siskins.
Overnight stay in Wabe Shebelle Hotel, Goba. Extra USD 300.00 per pax-per night to upgrade to the luxury Bale Mountain Lodge.