by AdminSoa
July 19, 2017

The Wildlife of Ethiopia

Safaris might not spring immediately to mind when you think about Ethiopia.

For a long time, the Ethiopian famine was perhaps the most enduring image of the nation, and today it is better known for its ancient monasteries and unique landscapes than its wildlife experiences.

But Ethiopia is a nation with some truly unique wildlife that you'll find nowhere else in the world. For wildlife enthusiasts, an Ethiopian safari is an absolute must.

10 Animals You Can Only Find in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has recently joined the impressive list of destinations we offer at Shadows of Africa, and Jessica from our Ethiopian office has written this piece on the unique wildlife you can find only in her native land.

1. Gelada Baboons

gelada baboon ethiopia wildlife Image courtesy of A. Davey

Gelada Baboons can be found in several places in Ethiopia, but you’re most likely to see them in the Semien Mountains, where 20,000 of them roam in large herds.

Gelada baboons are not actually true baboons, although they look very similar and are easily recognisable by the patches of hairless skin on their chest, which turns crimson when females are in oestrus. They are in fact, the last surviving species of a once widespread group of grass-grazing primates. Geladas live in large groups of as many as 600 members. Such a complex society requires clear communication, and Geladas use visual signals, such as facial expressions and body posture, to interact.

walia ibex ethiopian wildlife Image courtesy of Leonard Floyd

2. The Walia Ibex

Perched on the most inaccessible cliffs of the Semien Mountains are the last surviving Walia Ibex. Living high-up, on and near really steep cliffs, the ibex give birth to their young about five months after conception. The “kids” are protected for their first few days of life on isolated cliff-top places. However, they do not have access to food and water near their birthing area.

To survive, the ibex - including week-old kids, have to descend from the safety of the high cliffs to the gorge below. There they will find food, water, and ... predators!

ethiopian wolf wildlife Image courtesy of Laika AC

3. Ethiopian Wolf

The Ethiopian Wolf, also called the Red Fox, is the rarest canid on the surface of the planet, and the only representative of the wolf family in Africa. The largest population can be found in the Bale Mountains, with a population of just 500 individuals in Ethiopia.

Its adaptation to high altitudes (3,000 m to 4,100 m) is exceptional. It lives in family groups, although it hunts alone (hunting mainly rodents), which sets this wolf apart from other wolves which hunt larger prey in groups

mountain nyala ethiopian wildlife Image courtesy of Rod Waddington

4. Mountain Nyala

The Mountain Nyala is a magnificent antelope endemic to the Ethiopian highlands, east of the Rift Valley. The Mountain Nyala is a member of the Bovidae family, commonly known as the spiral-horned antelopes of Africa.

Mountain Nyala are known to inhabit three major mountain ranges that form a chain along the east side of the Rift Valley: the Checher, Arussi and Bale Mountains. The majority of Mountain Nyala are found in the Bale Mountains, where most of the southern slopes are densely forested.

menelik bushbuck ethiopian wildlife Image courtesy of Halle F

5. Menelik's Bushbuck

Menelik's Bushbucks are shy, tiny little deer standing only 35 inches tall.

Among the forty races of Bushbuck, the Menelik's bushbuck holds a special place probably because of its coloration. The bushbuck is an antelope related to the Nyala and the Eland. It is fairly common in Ethiopia, occurring in the Bale Mountain, in the cedar forests in Menagesha and the eucalyptus groves of the Entoto range. But their common habitat is the dense bush in the highland forests up to 4,000 meters.

hartebeest ethiopia wildlife

6. Swayne's Hartebeest

Swayne’s Hartebeest are said to be in “imminent danger of extinction.” You can spot their last remaining herds in the Senkela plain near Shashemane, or in Nech Sar National Park, near Arba Minch.

somali wild ass ethiopia wildlife

7. Somali Wild Ass

Although the Somali Wild Ass used to be found in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, the last living herd is thought to live in the Afar Plains of Ethiopia. The Somali Wild Ass is one of the most endangered mammals on earth with fewer than 600 surviving in the wild.

 8. Bale Mountain Vervet

The Bale Mountain Vervet is a small, white-chested monkey found in the bamboo forests of the Bale Mountains

9. Yellow-Fronted Parrot

The Yellow-Fronted Parrot has a bright green body and a yellow head and can be spotted on the highlands near Lake Tana.

black mane lion ethiopia wildlife Image courtesy of Tambako the Jaguar

 10. Black-Maned Lion

Named for its distinctive black mane, the Black Mane Lion is genetically distinct from all other lions in Africa. They live in the Harenna Forest and in the Alatish National Park. This is a huge region that very few people have visited, though lions are thought to have been present there for centuries.

As you can see, Ethiopia's wildlife is something completely different to what you'd find on safari in Tanzania, Kenya, or South Africa.

While game driving might not be your first reason for visiting Ethiopia, there's certainly plenty of good reasons to include an Ethiopian safari in your trip.



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