23-29 December 2019
From Bale National Park, it takes not less than 250 km towards Kenya and Somalia to reach the vast region of Negele and Yabelo. On the way, we discover a surprising savannah with ball-shaped acacia trees.
Negele is the first stop in the South. As much as the city itself has no interest, the surrounding plains and savannahs are very interesting from an ornithological point of view: endemics and species characteristic of the South. One of the targets reached is the Sidamo Lark discovered in 1968, which is only found in a plain south-east of Negele!
Yabelo, South East of Negele, is also a dusty town which has the advantage of being close to the National Park of the same name and where it is possible to stay in the only motel in the area.
Yabelo National Park is a 2 500 km pearl of savannah, home to many endemic bird species and mammals. The Stresemann’s Bushcrow, close to our starlings and the white-tailed swallow are the two flagship endemics. We were also very fortunate to spot the Somali Courser which is only found here in Ethiopia. A brown wader in the dry grass of the savannah, that was not a given!
South of Yabelo, along the road to Kenya, a stop around Mega allowed us to see the black-fronted Spurfowl, an endemic recently defined as a species in its own right. Then, towards the Kenyan border, after crossing beautiful mountains and valleys on a bumpy road, we crossed a savannah « at the end of the world“ under the burning heat where we were completely alone. It was a unique moment in Ethiopia where being alone is almost impossible.
We can say that the Yabelo region, for its beautiful landscapes, its rich biodiversity, its people more discreet than elsewhere, the absent tourists, seemed to us very pleasant and it is really worth spending a long time there if you have time.
Leaving Yabelo, on the road to Arba Minch, Abiy, our guide, insisted on making a diversion into a small savannah to observe some very shy Gerenuk or giraffe gazelles. We saw them but the big surprise was to see two young Caracals with their mother on the road. The latter, after having carefully hidden her young, observed us for a long time and we were able to immortalize her. Five Caracals observed during one trip, that seems incredible to us and it confirms that Ethiopia reserves beautiful gifts at any time!
The other visited regions :
-Rift Valley 1 (lakes and lots of birds)
- Harenna forest (tropical-style atmosphere)
- Rift Valley 2 (back to big lakes)
- Gibe gorge, Jema valley and Ankober (great rivers and Geladas)
- Awash (beautiful savannah and heat)