7-10 January 2020
The last stage of the trip was the Awash region, located in Afar territory, about 250km east of Addis Ababa. The Afar, who are mainly Muslim, are traditionally nomadic herders. Reduced grazing for their livestock and environmental degradation have led some to turn to agriculture, migrant labour and trade. Their traditional half-sphere dwellings are like savannah yurts. Like yurts, they are nomadic structures. We do not have any photos to support this, as tourists with large lenses and foreigners in general are frowned upon.
Indeed, among the Afars, a visitor crossing their country is always on the territory of a family or a tribe. This is probably why the national parks and nature reserves are very open to herders and their cattle, because they are basically at home. This is ethically understandable, but the wildlife suffers as it competes with the domestic animals.
Doho lodge and Awash Falls lodge are two beautiful Ethiopian owned hotels with a perfect location to explore the area.
Between Ankober and the Doho Lodge, we crossed a river valley where breathtaking landscapes awaited us again and an endemic bird not easy to see, the Yellow-throated Serin.
The Doho lodge is situated in the middle of the savannah, on the edge of a small lake, which already makes the surroundings very interesting in terms of birdlife, such as the observation of Liechtenstein's Sandgrouse at a few meters and other dryland birds.
It is also a starting point to explore the "Aledeghi" or "Halaideghe Wildlife Reserve", which is a huge plain of exceptional diversity, so much so that we didn't know which way to look!
Among others, a large number of Montagus and Pallid Harriers, Steppe Eagles, Arabian Bustard, Hartlaub's Bustards, Ostriches and the famous Secretarybird, this raptor which is an excellent walker and hunts exclusively on the ground. First very intense observation for the girl bectrotter.
In terms of mammals, this reserve is home to, among others, the African Golden wolf and Grevy's Zebra. The latter is the largest of the zebras and the most endangered. This reserve is, in a word: fa-bu-lous.
Awash Lodge offers a spectacular view of the Awash River, which is full of crocodiles and waterfalls. It is the starting point for Awash National Park, the oldest national park in Ethiopia (1966). This national park is one of the best places to see the East African Oryx, where it is still very present. The birds are not to be outdone: Buff-crested Bustard, Double-banded Cursew, Pygmy Falcon, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and the list could go on and on. As always in Ethiopia, the birds were easily approached and it is a pleasure to observe and photograph them.
Awash blew us away before returning to Addis and then to Switzerland in the middle of winter...
The other visited regions :