BALE MOUNTAINS

Bale Mountains National Park is an area of high altitude plateau with spectacular volcanic peaks, alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams. It is devided into 2 parts by the spectacular Harenna escarpment. The central region is a high plateau including Tullu Deemto, the highest peak in southern Ethiopia, while the southern area is monotone forest. To the north the reverie plains and woodlands are home to most of the game in the park, as well as to many species of birds. The mountains rise above the surrounding farmlands at 2500 meter above sea level. A big part is covered by lava flows, witch formed spectacular rock ripples and pillars. There are many small lakes that mirror the surrounded area. They attract many waterbirds.



Bale National Park is also known for its distinctive flora and its fishing. The mountain streams teem with brown and rainbow trout for the fly fisherman. Amongst the spectacular flora found in the region are the giant St John's Wort, stately red-hot pokers and the Giant Lobelia.
Exploring the park requires a 4x4 vehicle, and walking or pony trekking is preferred. The Gaysay area, watered by the Gaysay river, provides some of the best game viewing with considerable numbers of Menelik's Bushbuck, Duiker, Warthog and Mountain Nyala. Leopard and Simien Fox can be spotted also.

Red fox
Mountain Nyala
The vegetation here is graded according to altitude. Around Dinsho, in the north, there are grass riverine plains, ticularly Artemisia afra (Sagebrush) and Hypericum revolutum (St. John's wort). Wild flowers such as Lobelia, Geranium, Kniphofia foliosa, and Alchemilla form carpets of colour. Fringing the hills are stands of Hagenia abyssinica and Juniperus procera and above them are montane grasslands. Higher up the mountains heather (Erica) grows, either as small bushes or as mature trees. The high Sanetti plateau at 4000 metres is characterized by Afro-alpine plants, some coping with the extreme temperatures by becoming small and others by becoming large. The best example of the latter is the giant lobelia (Lobelia rhynchopetalum), whose stems stand high against the skyline.
Wild flowers are many and various, but the dominant plants are the Helichcrysum, or 'everlasting' flowers. The everlastings can be seen in many forms, but the grey bushes of H. splendidum are most striking, especially when covered with their yellow flowers. Also attractive are the silver greygreen cushions of H. citrispinum - but be warned, these cushions are full of fine spines.
SOF OMAR CAVE

One spectacular cave in is the Sof Omar cave,  found between Gobba in Bale. The caves are formed by the Web River, which vanishes into this giant underground world with its arched portals, high, eroded ceilings, and deep, vaulted echoing chambers.

The caves constitute an important Islamic shrines named after the saintly Sheikh Sof Omar. He escaped to here long time ago. The caves is a wonder of architecture, where one can see soaring pillars of stone twenty meter) high, flying buttresses, fluted archways, and tall airy vaults. The large central hall of Sof Omar, the "Chamber of Columns"  is something you have to see here..
In the caves live bats, fish and crustaceans.

landscape in bale area
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