Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
At a Glance
Spot endemic mammal species such as the endangered Ethiopian wolf on the Senette Plateau. There are only 450 left worldwide
Endemic bird species including the Hibans lark
Fabulous views of the mountains from all rooms
Explore the diverse areas and different vegetation types which make up the Bale Mountain National Park
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The best time to visit Ethiopia is from mid to late October until May. During this time the highlands are ideal for hiking especially after the rainy season has just finished as the landscape bursts into life.
Due to the high altitude of the country in comparison to its location conditions get quite cool at night. Temperatures generally can reach above 30°C in lowland areas, whereas the highland temperature can dip below 20°C. Addis Ababa has a relatively even temperature year-round.
To start planning your vacation to Bale Mountain Lodge
Bale Mountain Lodge opened in 2014 and was created by a British couple that are somewhat paving the way for Ethiopian eco-luxury accommodation. Excellent food and service await you during your stay in the awe-inspiring Bale Mountain National Park.
Located in the mysterious Harenna Forest, the thatch, stone and wood cottages of Bale Mountain Lodge are in-keeping with the local aesthetic but also high quality and reminiscent of a mountain chalet. One cottage is also fully accessible for wheelchair users.
The lodge is keen to reduce its carbon footprint through as many eco-friendly means as possible, diverting a portion of the local river to power the lodge through hydro-electric power which is filtered as a source of water for guests.
The Mountain Lodge is an ideal base from which to embark on guided walks, cultural and historical visits, bird watching, fishing and game drives to catch a glimpse of some native wildlife including the endangered Ethiopian wolf. The lodge are also able to arrange day trips to the southern part of the National Park so that guests can visit villages which very rarely see tourists. We recommend spending at least two nights here to fully appreciate your spectacular surroundings.
There are eight cottages in total at Bale Mountain Lodge, three are wheelchair friendly, one is fully accessible for those with a disability. There are a further five cottages in the forest along a slightly uneven path. Most rooms are East facing so you can appreciate the sunrise, double sinks, a shower but no bath, a safe and all rooms have a wood burning stove. Extra beds can be added for families.
There are no child care facilities at this property.
During your stay everything is included, counting most drinks. Although there is no mobile phone reception at the Lodge due to its location there will be WiFi. The owners have also built a micro-hydro plant to generate all the electricity for the lodge, a fascinating eco project.
- Honey collecting from the hives
- Riding local horses
- Going on a night drive where you can see porcupines, black leopards, giant forest hog, hyena, jackals, black maned lion (both day and night), wild dogs, honey badger, civet, jennet and servals
- There is only one main road in the park so activities are mostly trekking based rather than game drives
- There are also black and white Colobus monkeys, the endemic Bale monkey and vervet monkeys can be found in the bamboo forest
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Bale Mountain Lodge, is the best lodge we stayed in in Ethiopia by miles and is owned and run by a lovely British couple, Guy and Yvonne. It has been built with traditional materials and has been designed to be as low impact as possible, to the standards on a par with the other good lodges in Africa. The ultimate aim is for the lodge to be carbon neutral. The rooms have been built in natural clearings and have all be beautifully finished with fabulous views over the trees to Mount Gushuralle. There is a choice of lodge rooms which are close to the main area and are great for families or the cottages in the forest which are a little further away down a windy path in the forest. All the meals were just delicious, from homemade pumpkin soup served with freshly baked bread for lunch and a delicious lamb stew and amazing sticky toffee pudding for dinner, of course finished with thick Ethiopian coffee.
There is so much to do at Bale Mountain Lodge, we spent about 2 hours climbing Mount Gushuralle, with our guide Ibrahim, who was excellent at telling us about the birds and plants as we went, which I would highly recommend as the views from the top were spectacular, pony trekking, watching a local man scale a tree to collect the honey from a hive and drives on the Senette Plateau, where the endemic Ethiopian Wolves are found. There is fabulous birding, and it is relatively easy to spot rare endemic bird species including the Rougets Rail, the Abysinian Cat Bird and the wattled Ibis. Sadly we only stayed at Bale Mountain Lodge for a couple of nights but I wished we had had about five nights as there is so much to do in the area. The lodge are able to do day trips to the southern part of the National Park so guests can visit villages which very rarely see tourists. There are also some stunning walks and you might be lucky enough to see black and white Colobus monkeys, the endemic Bale Monkey and vervet monkeys on the way.
Bale Mountain Lodge was without doubt one of the highlights of my visit to Ethiopia.
Into Ethiopias wilds
The Bale Mountains National Park in central Ethiopia remains relatively undiscovered by even the most adventurous travelers, who tend to explore the Simien Mountains in the north and the Rift Valley Lakes in the south. This is in part due to poor access and limited accommodation. Now, a new road has cut the journey time from the Rift Valley Road from 10 hours to one, and at the end of it the first high-end lodge will open this October.
Bale Mountain Lodge is in a clearing surrounded by wild coffee plants within the Harenna Forest. Thatched rooms are all in stone and mahogany, with wood burning fires and private terraces. The glass-walled restaurant's chef trained at The Savoy in London. And magnificent views can be had from the glass-bottomed spa, which sits above a river by the lodge; a natural waterfall spills into a plunge pool surrounded by decking.
The stream also brings rich wildlife-watching: 240 species of bird, mountain nyala (antelope), warthogs and Bale monkeys are in abundance. There's a research center with a naturalist and ornithologist who spends the day studying the park's endemic species, and gives talks to guests in the evenings. Not far away is the Sanetti Plateau, where endangered Ethiopian wolves - 300 of the 500 left in the wild - can sometimes be spotted hunting rodents in the snow.
A New Ethiopian Lodge With a Focus on Conservation
The first resort in Ethiopia's wildlife-rich Bale Mountains National Park, Bale Mountain Lodge, opening 1st November 2013, 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 mans 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.
Location & directions
Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
Bale Mountain Lodge is located in the picturesque Bale Mountains National Park a 7-8-hour drive or 1-hour flight from Addis Ababa.
How to get there
To get to Bale Mountain Lodge from Bole International Airport (Addis), take a private chartered flight (lasts 1-hour) to the Robe Airstrip followed by a 2-hour 30-minute drive over the plateau. The other option is a 7 to 8-hour drive across the stunning Ethiopian landscape. Both options have outstanding views - we recommend one route out and another on your return.