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Ethiopia is a magical land of myth andlegend. It was perhaps the earliesthome to man, and later to PresterJohn and a dynasty originating from QueenSheba and concluding with the EmperorHaile Selassie in 1974. It is a land of mixedrace and mixed religion, of countlesselegant tribes and even more languages,mingled and matured by time and history. Itcontains Africa's most magnificentmountain scenery and its wildlife isoutstanding. Over 830 birds have beenrecorded - 29 of them endemic - whilst80 species of larger mammals survive,albeit with mixed fortunes, seven of whichare also endemic. This tour will focus onboth the mammals and birds, with a specialemphasis on the very rare Ethiopian Wolf.Regarded as one of the most endangeredmammal species in Africa, this extremelyhandsome predator is under pressure in itsBale Mountains stronghold, from bothdisease and the loss of genetic integritythrough interbreeding with village dogs ashuman settlements encroach into themontane habitats. Various conservationbodies are urgently attempting tosafeguard the remaining population andthankfully it is still possible to observethese magnificent creatures hunting theirfavourite rodent prey on the mountainplateaux.We begin our holiday with a flight to AddisAbaba and, on arrival, will immediately setout on the 4-hour drive eastwards to AwashNational Park. Here we will stay for threenights in a comfortable tourist lodge,situated in an area holding an abundantbirdlife and plenty of interesting mammals.Awash National Park itself spans 905square kilometres, became Ethiopia's firstsanctuary in 1966 and, with its rollinggrasslands, acacia scrub and the volcanoMount Fantalle, resembles a classical eastAfrican game reserve. Beisa Oryx, bothGreater and Lesser Kudu, Waterbuck,Soemmering's Gazelle, Warthog, Swayne'sHartebeest and Salt's Dik-dik all occur insmall numbers, and graze the acacia-dotted grasslands alongside Ostriches andboth Kori and the rarer Arabian Bustards.Lion, Leopard, Caracal, Serval and othermammals have all been seen on our tours,but they are both infrequent and hard tofind. Amongst the larger acacias along theAwash River, hornbills, parrots, finches anddoves feed. During our stay in the area, wewill spend a day exploring by vehicle, andin some places on foot; on our second day,we will enjoy the wildlife in the vicinity of our lodge.Leaving Awash, we follow the Great RiftValley southwards to the lush, forested hillsof Wondo Guenet. Our lodge, with itsnearby hot springs, was once a favouritehome of Haile Selassie's daughter, itsgarden still ablaze with floweringbougainvilleas, jacarandas and amaryllis,its large figs and acacias the homes ofColobus Monkeys and Silvery-cheekedHornbills, plus a number of Ethiopia'sendemic birds. It is, indeed, a relaxing spotin which to stay and we will spend our timelooking for birds and mammals in thesurrounding forests.A patchwork landscape unfolds before usas we drive to the beautiful Bale MountainsNational Park, a huge and remote area ofgrassy uplands, towering outcrops,hanging forests, rocky peaks, and exposedmoorlands dotted with giant lobelias, red-hot pokers, and with peaty pools and lakes.This is the last refuge of the endemicMountain Nyala, and of three otherendemic mammals, Menelik's Bushbuck,the peculiar Giant Molerat, and themagnificent Ethiopian Wolf. It is the latterspecies that we are particularly hoping tofind and watch on this tour, for it is acritically endangered species that occursonly in a handful of isolated pockets of theEthiopian highlands. Threatened by theloss of its high altitude habitat, disease andpersecution, its numbers are now down toaround 500, making it one of the mostendangered of the world's larger mammals.During two full days in the field, we will lookfor it in its strongholds, the Bale Mountains'Web Valley and Sanetti Plateau. We willalso hope to see some of the commonermammal species of the area which includeKlippspringer, Grey Duiker, BohorReedbuck, Warthog, Rock Hyrax and OliveBaboon, as well as a rich flora and specialrange of birds which includes a staggering14 endemics! Finally, we transfer our focus to thebeautiful Rift Valley Lakes. These lieamongst acacia woods and farmlandbetween the distant valley walls, each onewith a different depth, salinity andcharacter. Lake Awassa offers the greatestabundance of waterbirds, plus the colourand bustle of the local fishermen. At LakeShalla the views are tremendous and thebushland birds and mammals oftennoteworthy; Lake Abiata, a vast andshallow soda lake, is Ethiopia's Nakuru -its margins thick with flamingoes, pelicans,cormorants, storks, herons and waders.Our last stop is Lake Langano, where wewill spend two nights in a lakeside lodge.Here we have plenty of time to enjoy thetranquil surroundings and, with a veryrealistic chance of sighting the elusiveAardvark by night, this lovely lodge makesa fitting finale to our holiday. Ethiopian WolvesA 13-day safari in Ethiopia visiting Awash National Park, the Rift Valley Lakes, Wondo GuenetForest, and the beautiful Bale Mountains in search of the endangered Ethiopian Wolf.Friday 16th November - Wednesday 28th November 2012 Cost: £2,495Friday 15th November - Wednesday 27th November 2013 Cost: £2,595Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Addis Ababa. Day 2/4Awash National Park. Day 5Wondo Guenet.Day 6/8Bale Mountains.Day 9Lake Awassa.Day 10/11Lake Langano.Day 12 Depart Addis Ababa.Day 13Arrive London.AccommodationSimple but comfortable lodges; allrooms with private facilities.FoodAll included in the price, except fordinners in Addis. Allow £15.GradingGrade A/B. A combination oftraditional African safari (withwildlife-viewing from our vehicle)and some walking. FocusMammals (especially EthiopianWolves) and birds.LeaderRoy Taylor, plus local guides.Single room supplement£275.Web quick search: ETH04162Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryKENYASOMALIAADDIS ABABASOMALIAAWASHNATIONAL PARKLAKE LANGANOGOBABALE MOUNTAINSWONDO GUENETLAKE AWASSARIFT VALLEY LAKESETHIOPIAEthiopian WolfBeisa OryxGuereza ColobusMonkeys

There is no doubt that Kenya is amagical country. Bearing a functionalveneer of Westernisation, it isbustling and colourful, and packed withvariety: a melting pot of everything African.Despite pressure from tourism and agrowing population, this country remainsthe naturalist's first choice in Africa ... andperhaps the world. The reasons are clear.Game in the reserves is abundant; both itand the birdlife-a staggering thousandspecies, unrivalled by any other Africanarea of similar size-are exceptionallycolourful, approachable, and easilyphotographed. From arid deserts toverdant rainforests, from rolling grasslandsto snow-capped equatorial peaks, fromlush green hills and cultivated plains to theindividual lakes and spectacularescarpments of the Great Rift Valley,Kenya has a variety of scenery andhabitats unrivalled in Africa. All this isserviced by a good network of roads, andby standards of accommodation andcuisine as high as any on this greatcontinent. Few visitors may complain!We begin our holiday with a very scenicdrive north to Samburu, perhaps the mostattractive of Kenyan game reserves.Situated in the 'arid north', Samburu's mixof crocodile-filled rivers, dry grasslands and acacia woodlands, together with itsbeautiful Dom Palms and Baobab Trees,provide us with a great range of birds andsome unusual mammals that includeReticulated Giraffe, Grevy's Zebra, BeisaOryx and Gerenuk.Next we move south once more for a 2-night stay at Mountain Lodge, situated atan elevation of 2,190 metres on theforested slopes of Mount Kenya. Here, onguided walks, we should see a wonderfulvariety of montane and forest birds,including such species as Red-frontedParrot, Hartlaub's Turaco, White-starredForest Robin and Montane Oriole. Mostexciting of all, though, is the anticipation atdusk, dawn and during the night as suchelusive mammals as Bush Pig, GiantForest Hog, Large-spotted Genet andperhaps even a Black Rhinoceros mayemerge from the forest to drink at thewaterhole beside the lodge.Leaving Mount Kenya we visit three verydifferent Rift Valley lakes. The birdlife ateach is outstanding. At Nakuru we explorethe salty mudflats and hilly woodlandaround this flamingo-laden soda lake. Thisbeautiful park is home to a large numberof White Rhino and Leopard. At LakeBogoria we search for Greater Kudu andvisit hot springs, and at Lake Baringo wehave plenty of time to explore a beautifullyunspoilt freshwater lake, set amidst arugged dry land of cliffs, plateaux andboulder-strewn acacia woodland, whereVerreaux's Eagles and Hemprich'sHornbills are amongst many other unusualbirds to be seen.Weconcludeourholiday in the MasaiMara, travelling over the Rift Valley andviewing the spectacular Longonot volcanoas we cross the cultivated plains of thevalley towards the rolling grasslands of'the Mara', where we spend three nights.This is the finest of Kenya's reserves, andteems with animals, especialIy in July,August and September when huge herdsof Blue Wildebeest, pursued by theirpredators, are migrating into the Marafrom the adjacent Serengeti in search offresh pastures. Topi, Hartebeest, gazelles,Burchell's Zebra, Giraffe, Elephant andAfrican Buffalo feed with them on theplains, and attendant Lions, Cheetahs,jackals and Spotted Hyenas. The birdlifemay take second place, but is nonethelessabundant. Vultures, Martial Eagles,Secretary Birds, Ostriches, GroundHornbills, and colourful barbets, weaversand finches litter the grasslands andacacias.For those wishing for a more completeoverview of Kenya's highlights, we shouldbe delighted to offer a tailormadeextension to Amboseli, Tsavo and thecoast (or to any other country in eastAfrica). These areas, sitting beneathsnow-capped Kilimanjaro, present finephotographic opportunities, and a habitatof dry, rolling grassland where yet morebird and mammal species may be found.Finally, at Turtle Bay, in the heart ofKenya's Marine National Park, you maychoose to snorkel on the coral reef,explore the bird-rich coastal forest ofSokoke, and the mudflats and mangrovesof Mida Creek.Kenya HighlightsA 14-day birdwatching and wildlife safari to the Masai Mara, Rift Valley Lakes, Mount Kenya and Samburu, plus an optional extension to Amboseli, Tsavo and the coast.Thursday 7th February - Wednesday 20th February Cost: £4,195*Thursday 5th September - Wednesday 18th September Cost: £4,295(*This tour can be combined with our 'Tanzania Highlights' holiday outlined on Page 175)Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationETHIOPIA SUDAN UGANDA TANZANIA SOMALIA LAKE TURKANA LAKE BARINGO LAKE BOGORIA SAMBURU GAME RESERVE Mt. KENYA LAKE NAKURU LAKE NAIVASHA MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE LAKE VICTORIA NAIROBI AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK TSAVO WEST MOMBASA TURTLE BAY TSAVO EAST INDIAN OCEAN KENYA Outline itineraryDay 1 Depart London. Day 2/3Samburu.Day 4/5Mountain Lodge, MountKenya.Day 6/7 Lake Baringo. Day 8/9Lake Nakuru. Day 10/12Masai Mara. Day 13 Depart Nairobi. Day 14 Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable lodges with privatefacilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingGrade A. Gentle walks, except in theMasai Mara and Samburu where allgame-viewing and birdwatchingmust be done from the vehicle.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderAndy Smith (February) and ZulBhatia (September), plus localguide(s).Single room supplementFrom £695. Web quick search: KEN03163Wildebeest migration, Masai MaraGrey Crowned CranesGerenuk