The world’s premier nature travel company, Natural Habitat Adventures (Nat Hab – http://www.nathab.com/), presents the drama of a stunning, seldom-visited landscape and its rare wildlife on a new 12-day nature odyssey, Wild Ethiopia: The Roof of Africa (http://www.nathab.com/africa/wild-ethiopia-tour).
Ethiopia, located in northeast Africa, remains largely undiscovered by nature travelers who usually focus on safari excursions to the south in Kenya, Tanzania and beyond. Now Nat Hab guests have the opportunity to encounter rare and endemic wildlife in the Ethiopian Highlands (the “Roof of Africa”), a high-altitude region of volcanic peaks and deep gorges, much of which lies above 13,000 feet. The adventure also includes lower-altitude nature highlights and a sampler of Ethiopia’s rich cultural treasures.
Departures are Oct. 25 and Nov. 6, 2016, and Oct. 24 and Nov. 5, 2017. The per-person double rate is from $7,795. Included are accommodations, all meals from dinner on Day 1 to dinner on final day, non-alcoholic beverages with meals and in vehicles, services of Nat Hab Expedition Leader, local guides and lodge staff, some gratuities, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, permits and entrance fees, and all taxes. Internal air at approximately $500 is not included in this rate.
Ethiopia’s alpine moors and grasslands harbor endangered species native only to this region, such as Ethiopian wolf, walia ibex, mountain nyala and gelada baboon. The itinerary embraces three national parks including the spectacular Simien Mountains. The highlands comprise some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet, with soaring crags and pinnacles that have been described as “the chess pieces of the gods.” Where the escarpment falls away, the gash of the Rift Valley, which runs from Lebanon to Mozambique, is revealed far below.
Nat Hab’s Ethiopia itinerary offers a mix of vehicle-based and walking tours to discover wildlife as well as ancient monuments, early churches and ruins that commemorate what once was one of the greatest kingdoms on Earth.
Boutique lodges provide an immersion in nature while offering all necessary creature comforts. An example is thatch-roofed Simien Lodge, a collection of brick and wattle dwellings in Simien Mountains National Park accessed by a flight to nearby Gondar from Addis Ababa, the gateway city. Nearby is Ras Dashen, Ethiopia’s highest peak at 15,157 feet. Precipitous cliffs, deep canyons, Afro-alpine steppe and tree-studded grasslands inhabited by unusual wildlife define the sense-stunning terrain that surrounds the lodge.
Other nature highlights include Lake Langano, surrounded by five ecological zones; Bale Mountains National Park, protecting one of the richest habitats in Ethiopia’s alpine heights with Ethiopian wolf, rare mountain nyala, giant forest hog, cape hyrax, colobus and vervet monkey and 16 endemic bird species; and the Sanneti Plateau, the world’s largest expanse of Afro-alpine moorland dominated by East Africa’s tallest mountains and renowned for supporting the most substantial remaining population of Ethiopian wolf. Also included are the Harenna Escarpment, deeper than the Grand Canyon and with dense juniper woodlands sheltering rarely seen lions, and Abidjatta-Shalla National Park, home to greater kudu, Grant’s gazelle, warthog, spotted hyena, and common and golden jackals, plus abundant bird life around Lake Abidjatta.
Shifting to culture, guests will explore Gondar’s 17th-century stone castles and fortresses that evoke an African Camelot. Guests also visit Lalibela, Ethiopia’s cultural crown jewel and the cradle of Ethiopian Christianity, with magnificent ancient churches dating to the 1st century AD. Often called the eighth wonder of the world, Lalibela’s mystical rock-hewn subterranean churches evoke a profound sense of awe. Guests will also enjoy a coffee ceremony in a local home, recognizing the important place that coffee has long held in Ethiopian culture.
The tour begins and ends in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s geographic, political and cultural hub. Located here is the National Museum of Ethiopia housing the remains of “Lucy,” a bipedal hominid that lived 3.2 million years ago and was discovered in 1974.
About Natural Habitat Adventures
Natural Habitat Adventures is a world leader in responsible adventure travel and nature-based ecotourism. Since its founding in 1985, the company has offered eco-conscious expeditions and wildlife-focused small-group tours to the planet’s most remarkable nature destinations. Inspired and created from years of scouring the planet for the singular and extraordinary, Nat Hab’s itineraries are artfully crafted experiences that are far from “typical.” Trips are guided by professional naturalist Expedition Leaders, and Nat Hab enjoys a longstanding reputation for hiring some of the world’s best guides. Conservation is at the forefront of everything NHA does, and its philosophy is simple: tourism must work with and benefit local communities, which will in turn find value in protecting natural resources and wildlife. NHA is proud to be the travel partner of World Wildlife Fund, sharing a mutual commitment to travel as a means of helping to protect the world’s wondrous natural places.