Bale Mountain Lodge will be a 15 bedroom eco- safari lodge in the Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP) of south central Ethiopia. Building has commenced and it is anticipated that the lodge will be open for business by late October 2013. The location of the lodge has been selected to provide guests with an excellent opportunity to experience a pristine wilderness that incorporates the largest tract of Afro-alpine moorland remaining on the continent, the majority being over 3800m above sea level, whilst living in a stunning cloud forest which offers access to the rift valley and wider local attractions.
This amazing mix of habitats supports a myriad of rare species, many endemic to Ethiopia and some found only within the park. 60% of the remaining Ethiopian Wolves, the world’s most rare carnivore, are found within the park; other species include the endemic Mountain Nyala, Menelik’s Bushbuck and various rodent species, plus lions, rare Giant Forest Hogs and significant numbers of endemic or rare bird species.
In the immediate vicinity of the lodge can be found a number of mapped and marked tracks that take guests into forest, out to a hot springs location or up onto the plateau. The forest teems with wildlife of all types but of particular note are the endemic Bale Monkeys, which can routinely be seen in and around the lodge site, alongside the spectacular birdlife of the forest. Other primates, rare cats and spectacular plants can be seen and every trip into the trees provides a different experience.
The Bale Mountain National Park is a protected area of approximately 2,200 km2 and is located around 400 km southeast of Addis Ababa. Its high mountains, sweeping valleys, dramatic escarpment and wide expanses of forest provide visitors with a diversity of vistas unique to the Ethiopian highlands. UNESCO has estimated that more mammal species would go extinct were the habitats of the Bale Mountains to decline than if the any other area of equivalent size on the globe were to disappear and, when this is combined with rare amphibian species, endemic birds and spectacular flora, it is easy to see why the park is designated as a ‘Biodiversity Hotspot’ by Conservation International.
No trip to Bale would be complete without spending time on the Sanetti Plateau. Most trips up to the heights result in a sighting of the rare Ethiopian Wolf but even those trips that do not get a sighting can be sure of amazing bird watching, stunning views and, at 4000m above sea level, a truly ‘breathtaking’ experience.
All lodge rooms will be large and comfortable and will have a wood burning stove in each room to provide warmth and a cosy atmosphere. Furniture is being manufactured locally using sustainable wood and furnishings will be of the highest quality with an emphasis on comfort.
Conservation is fundamental to the founders of Bale Mountain Lodge who are setting new standards for Ethiopia. BML have created their own concession document and lease, both of which have now been adopted as the standard for others to match if they wish to operate within Ethiopian National Parks in the future. They have also voluntarily adopted additional conservation and HR covenants as part of their funding agreements. It is BML’s long term goal to have a direct impact upon the management of the Bale Mountains National Park at a tactical level and all of their activities are geared to reducing deforestation, educating locals and guests about the unique nature of Bale, its role as a ‘water tower’ for 12M downstream users and its unique wildlife, providing alternative employment for the villagers in the only legal village within the park and managing the lodge and resource chain in a responsible and ecologically sound manner.
Prices start at $220 pppn and a four night stay at Bale Mountain Lodge with Red Savannah costs from £1,555 per person based on two sharing, flights with Ethiopian Airways in economy class, return airport transfers and four night’s accommodation at Bale Mountain Lodge, including all meals, local beer and wine.