06-Dec-2012 -- My first confluence visit in Africa...
...after 5 confluence visits in South America!
...after working almost 4 years in Ethiopia and Tansania!
...after trekking 5 days through the wild and beautiful landscape of Bale Mountains:
Bale Mountains contains a spectacularly diverse landscape ranging from 1500 to 4377 m asl. The high altitude Afroalpine plateau rises to over 4000 m and includes the highest peak in the southern highlands – Tulu Dīmtu (4377 m). This undulating plain is marked by numerous glacial lakes and swamps and surrounded by higher volcanic ridges and peaks. The southern slopes of this massif are covered by the lush and largely unexplored Harēna Forest (1400-2200 m asl). Situated between the Afroalpine plateau and the Harēna forest is a unique Ericaceous zone, where continuous Erica scrub and mystical giant Erica forests blanket the terrain as it rises sharply along the escarpment at 2200 to 3200 m.
These mountains are home for a diverse fauna and flora: The mountain Nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni) is not only endemic to Ethiopia, but has the distinction of being the last large antelope described in Africa (it was first discovered in 1908). Bale Mountains also host the largest population of the endemic and endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). With approximately 500 animals remaining throughout the country, the Ethiopian wolf is arguably the rarest and most imperiled wild canid in Africa, if not the world. Bale Mountains are considered Ethiopia’s most important bird area (IBA) with over 280 bird species recorded here, including seasonal concentrations of water birds and a diverse raptor assemblage. The varied array of bird habitats (including grasslands, woodlands, forests, moorlands, wetlands, and alpine lakes) in BMNP make it of extreme ornithological importance. Seven of Ethiopia’s seventeen endemic bird species are found in Bale.
After enjoying these magnificent landscapes between Dodola and Dīnsho, on St. Nicholas Day I started from Goba to reach my first African confluence. In the early morning I left from Goba village and the nice and warm bed in my small hotel to walk the last 3.5 km to the Confluence. Walking out of the village I passed the rural zones of Goba with their small houses, fields, and meadows. The Confluence (almost at 2700 m) lies in the middle of one of the meadows - bordered by the omnipresent Eucalyptus trees and the poisonous Euphorbia trees.