Bale Mountains and around
To the east of the Trans African Highway, you’ll find a beautiful area often overlooked by visitors: the Bale Mountains. Its natural beauty is not found anywhere else in Ethiopia and to some extent anywhere in Africa. This is the country of montane forest, (afro-alpine) moorlands, and an extensive cave system. Many of the endemic animals of Ethiopia are seen in this area.
Until recently accommodation in this area was limited to budget hotels, mountain huts, and camping. Now it is home to one of the best lodges in the country: the Bale Mountain Lodge.
Dodola – Adaba
The forest around Dodola and Adaba is the base of Baletrek, a community tourism project started with help of the German development organization GTZ. An extensive network of hiking trails is laid out making hiking possible from half a day up to 6 days. Mountain huts and tented camps are available to accommodate the visitor. Horses are available to make the hiking more easygoing and besides the natural beauty, you will meet the local people who live in and around the forest.
Bale Mountains National Park
The Bale Mountains National Park harbors a wide range of ecological zones with typical scenery, flora and fauna. It rises from the extensive surrounding farmlands at 2,500 meters to 4,377 meters at Tullu Deemtu, the second highest peak of Ethiopia after Ras Dashen in the Simien Mountains. Bale Mountains is home to many of the endemic species of Ethiopia, some are easily found. Exploration of the park is easily done by car but rewarding hiking, with or without the support of a horse, is available.
Sof Omar Caves
Not too far from the Bale Mountains the Sof Omar Caves have been carved out by the Web River. This extensive 15 kilometer long underground cave system is said to be the largest in Africa. Nature has worked out a marvel of architecture that is easily explored on a 1.7-kilometer walking trail. A more demanding exploration takes 3 to 4 hours and crosses the river 7 times. Only basic camping is available near the caves but it is a perfect round trip from your base near the Bale Mountains.