Trekking in the Bale Mountains
Lodge or camp?
If you are arriving without a guide, you'll need to head to the park HQ in Dinsho where tour guides and packhorses can be hired, and there are some basic accommodation options in Dinsho. The Bale Mountains Lodge makes for an excellent alternative base, and you can kick back with sun downers on your veranda and a cosy cabin with a fireplace after a hard day of hiking.
We recommend spending at least a few days in the Bale Mountains to do it justice. Most visitors spend 2-3 nights in the park, but it is possible to spend 7 days trekking across this incredible wilderness.
If you are staying at the Bale Mountains Lodge, you can take sorties into the park via road, stopping off at the best hiking spots and viewpoints. If you want the full trekking experience, you will need to camp in the mountains - hiking from camp to camp on a multi-day trek.
The Webb Valley
After flying in from Addis Ababa, the first stop on a multi-day trek is Webb Camp, situated in the scenic, grassy plains of Sanetti Plateau, where the magnificent Ethiopian Wolves are to be found, as well as the Mountain Nyala. It's a great introduction to the wildlife and landscapes of the park.
The following day you can head out in search for the wolves in the early morning. It's best to get an early start, as the wolves go out to patrol their territory and hunt for rodents early in the morning. We also have access to ponies which you can ride - this allows you to get much closer to the wolves, who don't recognise you as human when on horseback.
From your makeshift dining room overlooking the Finch Habera waterfall, you might get lucky with a wolf sighting.
The Gaysay Grasslands
The next morning, wake up to fresh coffee in the natural wilderness of the Bale Mountains. Today's trek takes you to the Gaysay Grasslands, which have a very high concentration of mammals, including mountain Nyalas, reedbuck, warthogs, servals, olive baboons, African golden wolves, Colobus monkeys, bushbuck, grey duiker and spotted hyenas.
You'll also pass along the Webb River, which is teeming with brown and rainbow trout.
The Sanetti Plateau, Wasamaa and Rafu
Continue your trekking through the Bale Mountains as you hike across the Sanetti Plateau, with horses carrying the bulk of the gear. Over the course of 6 hours hiking, you'll likely spot a few Ethiopian Wolves patrolling, keeping their distance. The trekking is not technical or particularly difficult, but you are at high altitude so even small inclines can become challenging. At this point you should be well acclimatised. Settle down for camp at Wasamaa Hiking Camp.
The next day, walk between Wasamaa and Rafu, a roughly 6 hour hike. Here you will see the area's volcanic influence, with its ridges and surreal rock formations of basalt pipes and granite boulders.
The Bale Mountains Lodge
The following day, you can hike across a section of the Sanetti Plateau until we meet with the vehicle/s that will take us down the escarpment and into Bale Mountain Lodge. This minimalist yet luxurious Lodge has an eco-friendly design and is beautifully set in a forest overlooking a grassy glade. In the surrounding forest, you can spot Bale monkeys and black-maned Lions, among other species.
The Harenna Forest
After a good night’s rest in the lodge, head to the south of the park to explore the Harenna Forest and bamboo forests in search for Bale Monkeys. You can also drive down to the local villages and see how coffee and honey is made, and get a taste of the local cuisine (the nearby village by the Harenna Cultural Lodge make an amazing local bread, potato and spinach dish with sweet tea!).
It's also worth exploring the local villages around Bale, and maybe stopping in for some Tej (Ethiopian honey wine) in the makeshift bars!
While it is technically feasible to go trekking by yourself, the Bale Mountains is rather hard to navigate for the inexperienced. With our network of local partners, many of whom know the area like the back of their hand, we can organise everything, be it tents, equipment or horses.
Ready to Explore the Bale Mountains?
Below is just some of what's possible - get in touch with us and we can help create a tailor-made holiday.
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