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Bale Mountain National Park {BMNP}

The national park covers an area slightly over 2,000km².  The elevation rises to  4,377m. Vegetational zones are clearly marked as you gain altitude. The forest covers the lower altitude of 1,700m to 3,000m asl.

Harenna forest – The forest covers the lower altitude of 1,700m to 3,000m asl. The bamboo belt in the northern part is under pressure from illegal harvesters. However, in the southern part, the largest extensive forest lies from the escarpment. The lower grounds are drier growing wild forest coffee (Arabica spp) but as you reach over 2,200m the slopes get gentler and wet. Fern pine {Podocarpus glacilior} and fig trees (Ficus spp} growing up to 30m form a closed canopy. Due to the forest density, it offers homage to the elusive wild game. If lucky, you will see lion, leopard, wild dog, monkey, bushbuck, forest hog and bush pig. Also, the nocturnal hyena, porcupine, civet and genet can be sighted. The birds are equally elusive but hill babbler, oriole, white-cheeked turaco, Crimson-wing, Ayre’s hawk eagle, yellow-fronted parrot and Narina trogon. Palearctic warblers and other migrant birds can be spotted

In the northern, the Gaysay grasslands rise from 3,000m to 3,500m asl. This area is relatively flat and dominated by swamp grasses and sledges. Shrubs of Artemesia, Helichrysum and wild fennel are common. The most spectacular flora sighting is the endangered mountain Nyala. Wild game includes reedbuck, warthog, duiker, serval, jackal and hyena. It is also a haven for birders with Abyssinian catbird, hornbill, longclaw, winding cisticola, marsh harrier, plover and rails among others.

The woodlands – The juniper woodlands cover the northern slopes of the Bale massif. The dominant fauna is Hagenia abyssinica, Juniperus procera, hypericum revolutum and rosa abyssinica. The animals sighted include mountain nyala, warthog, bushbuck, olive baboons and colobus monkey. Likewise, Wattled Ibis, white-backed black tit, Abyssinia ground thrush, thick-billed raven, gold-mantled woodpecker, red-breasted wryneck are some of the common birds.

Erica belt -Moorlands and the forest. This is just above the tree line about 3,400m to 3,800m asl. It consists of heather species of the Erica and Phillipa genera. The giant heather growing up to 5m dressed with moss and lichen similarly to the old man’s beard.

Afro-Alpine meadows (Sanetti plateau) – This is the world’s most extensive Afro-Alpine moorland. The main plant species is the giant lobelia growing up to the peaks 4,377m. Furthermore, the alpine rodents – mice, rats, hyrax, starcks hare and giant molerats persevere the cold weather. The Ethiopian wolf, buzzards, eagle, falcon, kestrel and the vulture prey on the rodents.

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