​Overview – Senkele Sanctuary

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.

As the name suggests, Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary was established to protect the endangered, endemic Swayne’s hartebeest. The open grassland makes sightings almost guaranteed. A standard visit takes two to three hours; you pick up a local guide to take you around the limited road circuit, but you can leave your vehicle at any time.

Best Time to Go October to March (Little rainfall)
High Season October to January (It is never busy)
Size 58km² / 22mi²
Altitude 1,937-2,136m / 6,355-7,106ft

Pros & Cons

  • Stronghold for the endemic Swayne’s hartebeest
  • Easy day trip from Shashamene
  • Small driving circuit
  • Little variety of wildlife
  • No accommodation or facilities

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Wildlife

There are more than 500 Swayne’s hartebeest in the small sanctuary, and you’ll be able to see several herds during your visit. Also common is the oribi, which is usually seen in pairs. Warthog, defassa waterbuck, and bushbuck are all present as well, and you might see a golden jackal trotting across the savannah.

Scenery

The sanctuary consists mainly of open savannah with patches of acacia woodland. Take a short drive up Borena Hill for views over the surrounding plains and you might see Lake Awassa shimmering in the distance on a very clear day.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Senkele is comparable to that of Ethiopia in general. More info:

Best Time to Visit

Senkele Swayne's Hartebeest Sanctuary can be visited at any time. The wildlife is quite confined and sightings of Swayne’s hartebeest are likely. The best time to visit the general area is in the Dry season months from October to March. July to September are the wettest months and at this time rain can interfere with activities.

Getting There

Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary is usually visited from Shashamene town and the distance is about 45km/28mi. Shashamene lies 250km/155mi from Addis Ababa and can be reached on a good tar road.

Health & Safety

Please read our vaccinations and malaria page for Ethiopia, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Senkele Sanctuary?

Senkele Sanctuary Safari Reviews

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Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

A safe haven for the endemic Swayne’s hartebeest
3/5

This sanctuary was set up to help protect the Swayne’s hartebeest, an endangered antelope endemic to a handful of locations in southern Ethiopia. Today, there is thought to be a healthy population of about 500 hartebeest in the park’s...

Full Review