Bale Mountains

An alluring destination for walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and birders - The Bale Mountains offers largest area of Afro-alpine terrain in Ethiopia.

Overview

The Bale Mountains is an alluring destination for walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and birders alike. In a country with so much history and culture, the Bale Mountains allow you time to enjoy Ethiopia’s natural beauty, wildlife and diversity. Here there’s not a church in sight!

This diversity is truly staggering. The high Sanetti plateau ranges from 3,600m to well over 4,000m and is home to the highly endangered Ethiopian wolf, giant mole-rats, as well as 18 endemic bird species. It is a heather-covered wild and windswept moorland. Here daytime temperatures head downwards from chilly to absolutely freezing.

However when you head down off the plateau, via a series of dramatic switchbacks into the less well-known half of the park, your world changes. The Harenna forest lies some 2000 metres below. This magical cloud forest with moss covered trees and bamboo is home to completely different wildlife.

staff image

Natasha Jantjies

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Stunning walking opportunities both on the high moorland and in the Harenna forest.
  • Chance to see the rare Ethiopian wolf, Bale monkey and other endemic species.
  • Harenna specials include the rare bamboo-loving Bale monkey, packs of Columbus monkeys, bushbuck, warthog, leopard and even occasionally, lion.
  • One of very few examples of Afro-alpine terrain in Africa.
  • The Harenna forest offers some of the best birding in Africa with 280 species recorded here including many endemic species.
  • Authentic and un-touristy coffee ceremonies in local village.
  • Visiting the colourful local markets nearby.

Explore the Bale Mountains map

When to visit Bale Mountains

February to May

Cold but clear

Bale Mountains have a unique climate in Ethiopia, dictated by its high altitude. It is always cold on the high plateau and so warm clothing is appreciated. Daytime temperatures hover around 5C with strong winds at times. Above 3000m night-time frosts are common. Even in the Harissa cloud forest, the night-time temperatures are noticeably cold, though the daytime temperatures are several degrees warmer because of the much lower altitude.
AVG RAINFALL 55 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 9 hours
MAX TEMP 17 °C / 63 °F
MIN TEMP 2°C / 36 °F

May to September

Start of the rainy season

This is the start of the rainy season in the Bale Mountains and it rains most days during this time, mostly in the afternoons. However May to early July are still good times to visit as most of the day is warm and sunny. June is the best time for spring flowers with red-hot pokers covering the moorland injecting some flame red colour into the landscape.
AVG RAINFALL 129 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 hours
MAX TEMP 14 °C / 57 °F
MIN TEMP 4 °C / 39 °F

Mid-July to September

Rainy and cooler

This is not the ideal time to visit. The rainy season continues with afternoon showers on most days during this time. The heaviest rain is in July and August so often the mountains are cloaked in mist. So this brings down daytime temperatures even more.
AVG RAINFALL 171 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 5.5 hours
MAX TEMP 14 °C / 57 °F
MIN TEMP 4 °C / 38 °F

October to April

Best time to visit

The rain suddenly departs in October and this is the start of the dry season which is a great time to visit. The days and sunny and relatively warm and the night skies are filled with stars. This is certainly the best time for trekking.
AVG RAINFALL 121 mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 hours
MAX TEMP 14 °C / 57 °F
MIN TEMP 3 °C / 37 °F

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Stunning park

"It was great to see some of the very different wildlife that Ethiopia has to offer highlights being Ethiopian Wolf, Walia Ibex, Giant Molerat, Mountain Nyala and Bale Monkey." Mr Tim Flesher, UK

Stunning Location

"Bale Mountain Lodge has a lovely location. Our room, whilst in a good location, needed a little bit of maintenance. The bathroom and the room was very cold in the evening until the fire was lit and again in the morning. So come with warm clothes!" Mr Tim Flesher, UK

We loved Ethiopia!

"We loved Ethiopia – great people, scenery, culture, food & wildlife. Immanuel, our guide, was excellent in every way – very friendly, informative, knowledgeable, helpful and went out of his way to try to get us “under the surface” in experiencing Ethiopia, visiting his family for a meal, buying us gifts and introducing us to many Ethiopians. Henok our driver was the best driver we have ever had – safe but quick, very friendly and helpful. The two of them created a great atmosphere over the 23 day trip. We can’t recommend Ethiopia enough, however, as we expected, travel was not always easy and the accommodation was not always of the same standard of other parts of Africa." Mr Tim Flesher, UK

Interesting wildlife

"It was great to see some of the very different wildlife that Ethiopia and the Bale Mountains has to offer. Highlights being Ethiopian Wolf, Walia Ibex, Giant Molerat, Mountain Nyala and Bale Monkey" Mr Tim Flesher, UK
 
Did you know
  • SizeLargest area of Afro-alpine terrain in East Africa
  • BirdingSome of the best birding in Africa