A New Ethiopian Lodge With a Focus on Conservation

Mount Gujuralle

The first resort in Ethiopia’s wildlife-rich Bale Mountains National Park, Bale Mountain Lodge, opening Nov. 1, is poised to expand the African safari checklist beyond the Big Five.

Located about 250 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, the 15-room lodge lies within the 1,367-square-mile park of mountains, plateau and forests.

The nonprofit environmental organization Conservational International considers Bale Mountain a biodiversity hot spot based on its rare species, including Ethiopian wolves and Bale monkeys, plus endemic mountain nyala (a kind of antelope), black-maned lions and giant forest hogs.

Overlooking a mountain stream at an elevation of 7,800 feet, the eco-lodge was designed with such features as hydropower and biogas for cooking to be carbon positive. Rooms include private decks and wood-burning stoves, and common areas include a waterfall-fed pool and spa.

The lodge employs a resident naturalist and is working with universities from Mississippi to Stockholm to encourage research in the remote area.

The goal, according to the lodge owner Guy Levene, a former British Army colonel, is to use tourism to conservation ends. “We really believe that we can make a difference by raising the standards of service available in Ethiopia, highlighting the numbers of rare endemic species within the park and by reducing man’s negative impact upon the environment through reducing illegal grazing, deforestation and cultivation,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Rooms start at $220 per person, double occupancy, including meals, drinks and one activity — like a game drive or fly fishing — daily.

Original article: New York Times