On the other end of the moisture spectrum is the East Langano Nature Reserve, a lush forest where the hot, heavy air of the Rift Valley gets forced upwards by the Bale Massif. With most rain coming from the Atlantic, orographic precipitation occurs as the air mass is pushed uphill, often releasing the first raindrops over the East Langano Reserve.
There are two eco lodges on the eastern shore of Lake Langano where it is possible to hike into the old growth forest right from the lodge. But, for a real treat, take the only (old) asphalt road east from Route 6 at the south end of Arsi Negele and head for Lepis at the south end of the reserve. After the road turns to gravel and then dirt, it ends at the Lepis Community Conservation Area. At the reception hut, drinks and snacks are available, and it is here that a guide can be arranged for a short day hike to Lepis Falls.
In addition to old growth and plantation forests, the birdlife is spectacular in the reserve, and two of Ethiopia’s most interesting endemic mammals – the colobus monkey and mountain nyala – are also present.