Overview – Bale Mountains NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Ethiopia.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Ethiopia.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Ethiopia.

The Sanetti Plateau in Bale Mountains National Park, located at 4,000m/13,123ft altitude, protects the world’s largest tract of Afro-alpine moorland. Surprisingly, you won’t have to climb a mountain to experience this otherworldly environment. Instead, you’re able to drive up on the world’s highest all-weather road. Keep an eye out for the endemic Ethiopian wolf trotting around looking for the giant mole-rats on which it preys.

Best Time to Go Nov to Feb (Little rain)
High Season Oct to Jan (Park is never busy)
Size 412km² / 159mi²
Altitude 1,462-4,288m / 4,797-14,068ft

Pros & Cons

  • Spectacular mountain setting
  • Great hiking opportunities
  • Rare high-altitude mountain habitat
  • Home to several Ethiopian endemics
  • Excellent birding with many endemics
  • Limited accommodation options
  • Sections of the park are spread out and hard to cover from one base

Bale Mountains NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Bale Mountains NP is the best place in the country to see a good range of endemic mammals and birds. Although highly endangered, the Ethiopian wolf is remarkably easy to spot. Their social nature is best appreciated when you see them regroup at a den site. Mountain nyala and Menelik's bushbuck are endemic antelope you can expect to see on a guided hike from Dinsho Headquarters.

Scenery

Bale Mountains NP protects several different habitats. Most spectacular is the vast, 250km²/97mi², high-altitude Sanetti Plateau, covered in heath and dotted with giant lobelia plants. South of the plateau, the Harenna escarpment offers never-ending views before the road drops down to the mysterious cloud forest with its trees draped in old man’s beard (plants with a white feather-like appearance) shrouded in mist. The most accessible section of the park, at Dinsho Headquarters, protects a beautiful juniper-hagenia woodland.

Weather & Climate

The weather in Bale Mountains National Park is generally wet and mild. It rains regularly in the Wet season from April to October but the Dry season, from November to March, only sees sporadic rain. Days see temperatures of about 18°C/64°F, but nights are generally cold and frost is not unusual.

Best Time to Visit

November to February is generally considered the best time to visit Bale Mountains National Park. This is the Dry season and conditions are ideal for hiking. Traveling in the Wet season months can be a bit more of an adventure as downpours can interrupt activities. Lush vegetation, clear views and wildflowers are characteristic of this time.

Want to Visit Bale Mountains NP?

Bale Mountains NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
The land of the wolf…
4/5

Bale (pronounced Bar-lay) is best known as the home of the world’s rarest canid, the Ethiopian wolf. It’s an elegant creature that looks more like a fox, but with long, thin legs. Only around 400 survive and they’re extremely...