Join us on a definitive bird photography tour in Ethiopia. You’ll visit Ethiopia’s finest birding spots over two weeks to capture spectacular photos of Ethiopia’s birds and wildlife. Bird photography is an art that demands patience, precision, and a keen eye. Our tour is tailored to this, offering a slower pace at each location. You’ll have ample time to capture diverse bird species, aiming for that perfect shot.
On arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, a Sustainable Birding representative will meet you at arrivals and do a quick meet and greet, before transferring you to your hotel in Addis Ababa, so you can relax and get some sleep ready for a great adventure ahead.
Where you will be staying: Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa
Over the next three days, our photography tour takes us to Awash National Park. Awash stands as a gem among Ethiopia’s wildlife reserves, renowned for its diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife. Nestled in the heart of the Rift Valley, this park offers a mesmerizing panorama ranging from savannah plains to acacia woodlands and volcanic landscapes. Its reputation as a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts stems from its rich biodiversity, housing iconic mammals like the besia oryx, hippo, aardvark, black-and-white colobus monkey, green Monkey, Hamadryas baboon, bat-eared fox, caracal, black-backed jackal, leopard, cheetah, and lion.
More than 450 bird species call this park home. Among them are the majestic Arabian Bustard, the vibrant Yellow-breasted Barbet, the lesser-known and restricted Gillett’s Lark, and the Nile Valley Sunbird. From the striking Somali Ostrich to the diminutive Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, the park offers sightings of varied and unique bird species.
Where you will be staying: Awash Falls Lodge
Our next destination takes us to Lake Langano. Nestled within Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, it stands as a tranquil oasis, offering a serene respite amidst stunning landscapes. Its shores provide a haven for a diverse array of birdlife and it’s simply brilliant for photography.
Our focus will be on photographing highlight species like the Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, White-rumped Babbler, Hemprich’s Hornbill, White-bellied Go-away-bird, and Northern White-faced Owl, among others, within this rich ecosystem. Additionally, we anticipate encountering numerous wetland species, adding to the diversity of birdlife in this remarkable location.
Where you will be staying: Hara Langano Lodge
In the heart of Ethiopia lies the awe-inspiring Bale Mountains National Park, a testament to natural wonder. This picturesque landscape boasts captivating scenery and diverse ecosystems, fostering a wealth of wildlife. The Ethiopian Wolf will certainly be a highlight of this destination, where we aim to get good photos.
This mountain range hosts nearly 300 bird species, including six endemics – Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird, Ethiopian Siskin. Bale Mountains National Park promises an enthralling experience for wildlife enthusiasts and passionate birdwatchers alike and is a favourite among our clients.
Where you will be staying: Bale Mountain Lodge
South of the Bale Mountains, near the southern Ethiopian town of Negele, lies an exceptional opportunity to spot one of Ethiopia’s most stunning endemic bird species— the Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco. In this region, we’ll also seek out other remarkable species such as the Bare-eyed Thrush, Boran Cisticola, Tiny Cisticola, Salvadori’s Seedeater, Banded Parisoma, the exceptionally rare Liben Lark, Pygmy Batis, Somali Short-toed Lark, White-crowned Starling, Shelley’s Sparrow, Scaly Chatterer, Acacia Tit, Pringle’s Puffback, and Bristle-crowned Starling, among others. This area is a must-visit for any avid birder visiting Ethiopia.
Where you will be staying: Wabe Shebelle Hotel
Over the next two days, you’ll immerse yourself in some of the finest birding in Ethiopia’s southern region. This captivating region of Ethiopia shares a broad avifauna resemblance with northern Kenya. However, it boasts two exceptional species exclusive to Sidamo province, making it a truly unique destination. The discovery of the extraordinary Stresemann’s Bush-crow in 1938 marked a momentous ornithological event, characterized by these peculiar birds that evoke both starlings and corvids in appearance. Another star attraction is the captivating White-tailed Swallow.
In addition to these prized endemics, the area boasts a wide range of other fascinating birds. We will be on the lookout for the White-headed Vulture, Coqui Francolin, Somali Courser, African Orange-bellied Parrot, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Foxy Lark, Tiny Cisticola, Banded Parisoma, Bare-eyed Thrush, Black-headed Oriole, the stunning Golden-breasted Starling, Grey-capped and Black-capped Social Weavers, Black-cheeked Waxbill, and White-bellied Canary.
This region promises an unforgettable bird photography experience, highlighting both the beauty of the landscapes and the rich diversity of birdlife.
Where you will be staying: Borena Lodge
Your next destination takes you westward from the Bale Mountains to the captivating Lake Awasa. This scenic destination welcomes you with picturesque traditional fishing boats, thriving hippo colonies, and impressive gatherings of Great White Pelicans. Other highlight species worth noting are the African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Jacana, Marabou Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, White-browed Robin-chat, Western-banded Snake-eagle, Hottentot Teal, Black Crake, African Fish-eagle, Hadada Ibis, Purple Heron, Common Sandpiper, White-backed Duck, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Slender-billed Starling, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Hooded Vulture, and more!
We’ll also be visiting the stunning Gibe Gorge, offering excellent opportunities to spot a variety of bird species. Here, sightings may include the Egyptian Goose, Helmeted Guineafowl, Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove, Vinaceous Dove, Laughing Dove, Dideric Cuckoo, Egyptian Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Bateleur, African Grey Hornbill, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Western Black-headed Batis, Ethiopian Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Green-backed Camaroptera, Red-headed Weaver, and more.
On our final day, we’ll leisurely travel back to Addis Ababa, making several birding stopovers along the way, and getting our final glimpses of Ethiopia’s impressive birdlife. You’ll have an overnight stay in Addis Ababa.
The next morning, we’ll transfer you to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport ready for your international flight back home.
Easy – the majority of birding will be done on foot and at high altitudes, but nothing too over-enduring.
Above price based on a group of 6. Please enquire if you’d like us to make this into a tailor-made tour.
Secure your spot on this trip with a 25% deposit. Your balance of 50% will be due 60 days prior to your arrival date.
Best time of year to visit:
April to September, birding remains favourable. During this period, resident birds transition into breeding plumage, becoming more vocal, easier to spot, and visually beautiful. However, heavy rainfall in July and August might affect sightings.
Expected bird count
300+ with plenty of endemic wildlife.
At Sustainable Birding, our goal is to ensure that every birding holiday we create contributes positively to bird conservation efforts and local communities. Our determination to promote sustainable travel led us to become founding members of Tourism Declares Climate Emergency. As part of this commitment, we have established the world’s pioneering carbon scoring and offsetting framework for tailor-made holidays. Feel free to request us to carbon score your individual trip!
A Few Highlighted Bird Species
• Ethiopia Boubou
• Blue-winged Goose
• Spot-breasted Lapwing
• Yellow-fronted Parrot
• Abyssinian Longclaw
• Abyssinian Catbird
• Ethiopian Siskin
• Variable Sunbird
• Fan-tailed Raven
• Crested Francolin
• Yellow-breasted Barbet
• Shining Sunbird
• Arabian Bustard
• Gillett’s Lark
• Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit
• Somali Ostrich
• Hemprich’s Hornbill
• White-bellied Go-away-bird
• Northern White-faced Owl
• Bare-eyed Thrush
• Boran Cisticola
• Tiny Cisticola
• Salvadori’s Seedeater
• Banded Parisoma
• Liben Lark
• Pygmy Batis
• Somali Short-toed Lark
• White-crowned Starling
• Shelley’s Sparrow
• Scaly Chatterer
• Acacia Tit
• Pringle’s Puffback
• Bristle-crowned Starling
• Foxy Lark
• Abyssinian Ground-hornbill
Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley boasts stunning national parks, serene rift valley lakes, and breath-taking highlands, making it a premier destination for birding enthusiasts.
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.