The Bale Mountains are Ethiopia’s best-kept secret. It has been estimated that the Bale Mountains are home to more locally endemic species of mammals than any other area of equivalent size on the planet. The Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP) is located 400km southeast of Addis Abeba and 150km east of Shashemene on the road to Goba in the Oromia Regional National State. It belongs to the Bale-Arsi massif, which forms the western section of the Southeastern Ethiopian highlands. A large part of the park is above 3000 m a.s.l. and in fact this is the largest area at this altitude in Africa. The highest peak in the park (and the second highest in Ethiopia) is Tulu Dimtu (the Red mountain) with an altitude of 4,377 metresBale Mountains is an area of paramount importance for numerous reasons.
The mountains provide habitat and sustain life of many endemic and endangered species. Furthermore, over 12 million people in the southeast of Ethiopia, together with their livestock and the environment, rely on the water that originates form the Bale massif.
Bale Mountains offers opportunities for Mountain trekking, horse riding, forest walk and scenic driving. It is home to the “Unique 5” mammals -which refer to five distinctive and endemic large mammals found only in Ethiopia: Ethiopian Wolf, Mountain Nyala, Bale Monkey, Giant Mole Rat and Menelik’s Bushbuck.
Bale Mountains National Park is an important bird area. Over 280 species have been recorded in BMNP, including seven of the 16 species endemic to Ethiopia: Spot-breasted lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian wood-pecker, Abyssinian long claw, Abyssinian cat bird, Black-headed siskin and Bale Parisoma .The areas with ample rodent communities are very important for rare large eagles, vultures and other raptors. It is also ranked the fourth most important birding site in Africa by the African Bird Club.
The Bale Mountains National Park offers opportunities for unsurpassed mountain walking, horse trekking, forest walk, bird watching and scenic driving. It also presents the chance to view many of the endemic mammals that reside within the park, specifically the mountain Nyala and Ethiopian wolf, as well as birds such as the Wattled Crane and Bearded Vulture. However, perhaps the primary attraction of the Bale Mountains is the simple escape it offers from city life; into peace, serenity and beauty