My oldest and best friend Phil came out to visit for almost the whole month of February. Here are some of the photos I took during his trip. You can click through to see the full-size photos.
The Gelada Monkey is endemic to a few small highland patches of Ethiopia. They're pretty rad.
Warthogs are among the creepiest, ugliest creatures I've ever encountered.
Another endemic species, the mountain nyala. We stumbled into this family (dad, kiddo, and mom from back to front) in Bale Mountains National Park. They're between the size elk and moose back in the States.
Two Dikers, an antelop-like little guy found in BMNP.
Stone houses in Amhara in Northern Ethiopia.
This is what gelada monkeys do pretty much all day: eat, groom, and lounge. Come to think of it, they and I lead eerily similar lives. Except I groom less.
A bad photo, but it's cool to see. These are Bale Monkeys. They are found only in a few patches of land in Bale Mountains NP, a park only about twice the size of Rocky Mountain NP in the States.
Endemic Mountain Nyala eating Sodom's Apples
So Ethiopia is roughly 97 percent deforested. I would guess that it is about tied with Madagascar, Haiti, and a few other countries for the most severe land degradation in the world. But the pastoral highlands are nevertheless quite beautiful.
This is the Ethiopian Red Wolf--the most endangered canine species in the world. There are less than 500 in the world. Spotting one is extremely rare. The photo quality is lousy because we were about 500 meters away and all I have is a 300mm lens with a 7mp camera. But it's cool nevertheless.
A mom and daughter enjoying lunch outside a cafe in Rira, Ethiopia.
Another Gelada monkey.
Little baby gelada about to enjoy some lunch.
This is how gelada babies (and many other species of monkeys and baboons) get around.
The geladas let us get pretty close. Phil practically waded though a troupe here.
Tracy and Phil at a cafe in Rira, Ethiopia.
This is the view from a primitive campsite in Ketcha, in BMNP. Sadly, when we were there, they were a few days from starting construction on an "exclusive ecolodge." We could be the last hikers to ever see this place undeveloped. Sigh.
Reason #4,761 why you should visit Ethiopia while I'm here in the next year.
Brian, another PCV, walks us through the Enchanted Forest.
Another super cool shot of Ethiopian red wolves. This photo represents probably 1 percent of the whole global population. You can see a pup in the left racing up to join mom and two siblings. We had the totally amazing experience of watching these guys feed and play all afternoon--a super rare and unforgettable experience. Again, the photo quality sucks, as we were far away, there was low light, I had no tripod, and I was shivering (this is at 13,000 feet at dusk). But I think you get the picture.
Lake Awasa. This is my home away from home. When Arsi Negele gets me down, I head down to relax here and drink (cold!) beer on the lake. It's a little slice of paradise in the middle of the dusty, rough-and-tumble Great Rift Valley.
My favorite photo from our trip: a mom and baby gelada in the Amhara highlands. Cool, eh?
Shitty photo quality. But it's the only one I managed to get of Olive Baboons in BMNP.
This is a typical in Ethiopia; you often have to hire a guard to accompany you on hikes. According to what we were told, this guy works as a bounty hunter in his spare time tracking down thieves. The bounty is about US$100, a new (mud) house, and a gun. Which is probably a good thing for our guy here, as his gun is literally a WWI issue.
Phil and another PCV, Tracy, hike above Rira. Or is this a still from Lord of the Rings?
Another stone village in the north.
One final shot of the red wolves.
Tracy and Ramona's (fellow PCV's) kitchen.
A diker with thorns and debris on her face.
Warthogs. I bet they taste delicious.
Phil checking out some waterfalls in a bamboo forest near Rira.
Women walking towards the Senetti Plateau near Rira.
Gelada monkey yawning while he gets groomed by a buddy.