Bale Mountain Lodge Fly-In
On this tour, access is a return flight from Addis Ababa to Bale Robe airstrip. Then a 90 minute scenic game drive to the lodge. It's also possible to drive to Bale Mountain Lodge from Addis, rather than flying. But note that it is a full day of virtually non-stop driving. Alternatively, you could drive via Lake Langano and stay at Sabana Beach Resort to break the journey.
Bale Mountain Lodge Location
Bale Mountain Lodge is set high in the mountains. On an 8 hectare plot within the cloud forest. With views overlooking a large clearing which is used by animals for grazing and foraging. The lodge is a superb location from which to explore the forest and the plateau. Both of which offer walking safaris in the company of a knowledgeable guide. Access to the Rift Valley, with its camel markets and dry dusty conditions is a mere 1 hour drive to the south and the Sof Omar caves. Africa’s largest limestone cave system is a return day trip to the North.
The Main Lodge
The main areas have traditional architecture with a high thatched roof lined with bamboo. A large sunken fireplace acts as the focal point. With fires laid on both the lounge and dining room sides of the hearth. Comfortable sofas and armchairs, Ethiopian rugs and friendly service create a sense of luxury and relaxation. And guests are encouraged to meet before dinner for sundowners around the external fire pit on the front deck. There is an additional ‘snug’ room set off the bar area with its own fireplace and with an emphasis on quiet contemplation and relaxation.
The lodge is also 100% eco-friendly with power coming from the lodge's own Micro-Hydro power plant.
A wide eucalyptus wood deck encircles the lodge and offers additional space for al fresco dining or taking tea and cakes in the afternoon. Walkways extend around the site to numerous attractions and a waterfall fed rock pool is ideal for cooling down on hot days. Secluded benches and pagodas are great spots from which to watch the wildlife, or simply get away from the pressures of modern life. There is a spa at the lodge offering massage treatments, manicures, facials and a hot tub in a location which straddles the mountain stream, adding the gentle sound of running water to the feel of seclusion and privacy.
All of the paths and decks permit views of the clearing, the stream, a wetland habitat (which harbours many endemic species of fogs and newts) or of the lodge pond, a 6000 m2 water feature which attracts migratory birds and local wildlife.
Bale Mountain Lodge is designed to accommodate 30 guests in 15 rooms. All offer comfortable beds, wonderful views from the private deck and wood burning stoves. All rooms are hidden from view from others to permit guests to feel totally isolated whilst being safe and warm.
Bale Mountain Lodge Fly-In at a glance
Take a scheduled flight from Addis Ababa to Bale Robe, a newly launched route to a new airport. Here you are met and driven on what must be one of the most stunning airport transfers in Africa, approximately 90 minutes across the Sanetti Plateau, to Bale Mountain Lodge.
Stay 4 nights at Bale Mountain Lodge, Fully Inclusive
Over the next three days you will be able to explore some of the varied habitats of the Bale Mountains National Park, either on foot or in a 4×4. The animal highlights here are the unique and endangered Ethiopian wolf, mountain nyala, giant molerat and Bale monkey. There are also black-maned lion and giant forest hogs.
Experience the largest tract of high Afro-alpine moorland in Africa, home to spectacular flora and huge numbers of endemic birds. Hike amongst volcanic plugs, sculpted lava pinacles, waterfalls and alpine lakes.
Close to the lodge, exploring the Harenna forest with a lodge guide may yield a sighting of the elusive animals that live there; the olive baboon, warthog, rock hyrax, Starck’s hare, klipspringer, grey duiker, African wild dog, giant forest hog, leopard, lion and birds of prey.
Bale Mountain Lodge organised activities include guided bird watching trips, game viewing, fly-fishing, walking or horse riding safaris and interaction with research and conservation teams which are operating in and around the lodge site.
Further afield, trips are on offer to Sof Omar, the largest limestone cave system in Africa, and to Dolo Mena and the Rift Valley.
- Bird Watching: The Bale Mountains are one of the top five bird watching sites in Africa. The National Park harbours some 18 endemic species along with large numbers of migratory birds and passage raptors alongside the resident populations. Key endemic species on the plateau include the Wattled Crane, Rouget’s Rail, Ruddy Shelduck, and Blue Winged Goose whilst the forest supports the endemic Ethiopian Cisticola, the Abyssinnian Slaty Flycatcher, the Black Headed Siskin and other colourful varieties such as the Yellow Fronted Parrot and Black Winged Lovebird. Within two hours of the lodge can also be found the rare Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco and the Libon Lark, of which only 36 breeding pairs are known to exist. Finally, the plateau hosts a small population of Golden Eagles and other rare varieties such as Lammergeiers and Long Eared Owls. All bird watching trips can be supported by expert guides who know the avifauna and the vegetation of the forest and who can offer you the best chance to spot those rare birds.
- Fly Fishing: The Web, Shire and Tegona rivers offer some of the best trout fishing in East Africa with the best months for fly fishing being Nov – Mar. Each of the rivers offers fast flowing water with abundant rock pools where fish can be stalked in the company of an experienced river guide. For guests who are new to fly-fishing, the guides provide expert instruction and assistance. Rods, tackle and flies are provided although enthusiasts may bring their own. All fishing is on a catch and release basis. Fly fishing is an extra $50 per person per day.
- Game viewing: The lodge is situated in a clearing that is used by a wide variety of game. Recent sightings include Giant Forest Hogs, Leopards, Black Maned Lions, Bale and Vervet Monkeys, Olive Baboons and Meneliks Bushbuck. On the plateau, a mere half an hour’s drive away, the Ethiopian Wolf can be found, the world’s most rare canid, with some 2/3 of the remaining population (350) situated on the plateau and seen most days by visitors. That said, apart from the wolf on the plateau and in spite of the variety of game in the area guests need to be patient as the forest vegetation provides excellent cover for animals and makes a sighting more difficult. With time you can rely on the guides to give you the best opportunity to see the rare and endemic mammals of the Bale Mountains, animals that are unique to Bale and Ethiopia.
- Further Afield: A day trip out from the lodge takes you to the Sof Omar caves. In the dry season you can take a hike through 16 miles of underground caverns, crossing the Wabe river three times during the trip. Alternatively, by choice or during the rains when the river is in spate, guests can stay around the entrance caves where the local population regularly holds religious ceremonies and services. To the south of the Lodge through the forest lies the town of Dolo Mena. Enroute you often pass through small temporary camps harvesting and drying wild coffee beside the road. On arrival, the town is small and dusty but has a vibrant market supported by camel trains and an enthusiastic population which, as yet, remains curious about foreigners.
Transfer back to Robe for the return flight to Addis Ababa.
Africa Travel Specialist