Mountains National Park is an area of high altitude
plateau that is broken by numerous spectacular
volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and
rushing mountain streams that descend into deep rocky
gorges on their way to the lowlands below.
National Park is an area of high altitude plateau that is
broken by numerous spectacular volcanic plugs and peaks,
beautiful alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams that
descend into deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands
As you ascend
into the mountains you will experience changes in the
vegetation with altitude, from juniper forests to heather
moorlands and alpine meadows, which at various times of year
exhibit an abundance of colorful wildflowers.
Bale Mountains National Park is the largest area of
Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of the continent. It gives
the visitor opportunities for unsurpassed mountain walking,
horse trekking, scenic driving and the chances to view many of
Ethiopia's endemic mammals, in particular the Mountain Nyala
and Ethiopian Wolf, and birds, such as the Thick-billed Raven,
Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, and Rouget's Rail.
The climate of the Bale Mountains, as is to be expected in a
high altitude mountainous region, is characterized by a high
rainfall and periods of damp cloudy weather, interspersed with
periods of sparkling sunny weather with brilliant blue skies.
The climatic year can be roughly divided into three seasons
-the dry, early wet and wet seasons. The dry season is usually
from November to February. Very little rain is experienced and
temperatures on the clear sunny days may rise to as high as
nearly 30 centigrade. Nights are star-filled, clear and cold,
usually with heavy ground frosts. Temperatures may fall
between minus 1? and minus 5? centigrade in the main peak area
of the Park. This is the best period to visit the National
Park, especially for walking and horse trekking in the high
mountain area. The vegetation can get very dry in the dry
season, and fires must then be very carefully tended.
The early wet season lasts from March to June, and about
two-thirds as much rain falls in this period, as in the wet
season from July to October. Throughout these eight months,
days are generally cooler and nights warmer than in the dry
season. Despite the wetter weather, the area can still be
enjoyed with adequate warm and weatherproof clothing. Bright
sunny periods may be experienced at any time. Snow has been
recorded, but does not lie around for very long.
South of the Harenna escarpment, the land falls precipitously
to a large area of dense Podocarpus forest, that slopes
gradually down to an altitude of 1 500 m at the southern Park
boundary. A few kilometres further on the land changes
abruptly to open wooded grasslands, with higher temperatures
and the surprising sight of camels in the area of Dolo-Mena.
The Mountains are most famous as home and refuge of the
endemic Mountain Nyala and Ethiopian Wolf. Both these mammals
occur in reasonable numbers, and visits to the Gaysay area,
and the Sanetti plateau will ensure you see both. The Mountain
Nyala is a large antelope in the spiral-horned antelope
family. Males are a dark brown colour with a pair of gently
spiraled horns with white tips. They bear handsome white
markings on the face, neck and legs, together with usually at
least one stripe and some white spots on each side. The
hornless females are a lighter brown colour, and typically
have the same white markings as the males, though less often
have stripes, but normally have spots on the sides. Males can
weigh as much as 280 kilos, stand one and a half metres at the
shoulder, and have a mane of long erectile hairs along the
spine. Females weigh less and have no mane.