Harenna Forest

  • Meadow and escarpment from Bale Mts Lodge - © William Mackesy
  • Stately forest trees - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Never got used to ibis in trees - © William Mackesy
  • Colobus tail - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy

Key information: Harenna Forest

  • Fabulous nature walking in this intact damp forest: superb trees and vegetation, a thrilling array of birds and beasts.
  • A must if in the area. 

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating79
  • Beauty30
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating79

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,800?m
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Colobus tail - © William Mackesy


The Harenna Forest, Ethiopia's second-largest tract of surviving forest,  hugs the lower southern slopes of the Bale Mountains, under the magnificent Harenna Escarpment and below belts of heathers and interesting farmland. 

The forest is a rich, damp cloud forest, its trees dripping moss and ferns at higher levels. Around the one road there is quite a lot of cattle and goat depredation, but further in it is so remote that new species still get discovered. Even in the accessible areas the jungle is lovely and fascinating, and you have a good chance of seeing colobus and Bale monkeys, giant forest hogs and a vast selection of birds both beautiful and rare. Nyalas, various types of buck and even lions and panthers also lurk within.

Early morning walking is best for birdwatching. Late afternoon is also beautiful and interesting. 

The Harenna is a must if you are coming to the Bale, but you will need a strong car as there is one basically excellent but in places rough and steep dirt road across the high Sanetti Plateau and down the southern side to the Harenna. You will need to make a long day of it, as the Sanetti Plateau is unmissable while you are at it. Better stay a night or two on the southern side, although accommodation is sparse.

A guide is required to explore here, but worth every birr, as he will spot birds and animals you wouldn't have missed.

For more information, including practicalities, and photos, see our Bale Mountains page.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

© William Mackesy

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Never got used to ibis in trees - © William Mackesy...

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