Ecology, Biogeography & Conservation Article
by Euan John Edwards, Madagascar

Over the last two years I have been to Ehiopia two times, this is what I saw the last time.

I started off to South Africa from Madagascar, late to the airport with no issued ticket. Luckily the flight was late as usual so after being the last through I made the flight. Johannesburg was it's usual self, developed, but with the over-sheen of the underdeveloped mentality. The Ethiopian Embassy gave me the usual run around questions, and I gave the usual responses. Which meant that after a forty five minute discussion they agreed to give me a visa that day instead of the usual two day delay. The next stage was to get on that night's flight to Ethiopia. My ticket did not allow me to stop over in Addis Ababa, so the airline;s agent was waiting for approval. After waiting, and waiting, I decided to just go to the airport and try and bluff my way onto the plane, it worked.

Ethiopia was in the last stages of the rainy season, so it rained fairly heavily during the nights and afternoons. I arranged a trip to the Bale Mountains.

I have always wanted to go there, as there are a lot of endemic species there. I managed to photograph Ethiopian Wolves hunting, Wattled Cranes breeding, Abyssinian Geese with young, Mountain Nyala, Highland Guereza, Ethiopian Warthogs, Menelik's Bushbuck, plus a few other bird species. I saw but was unable to photograph Giant Forest Hogs, a long time wish.

Unfortunately in the reptile department I came up short. I was hoping to find Chamaeleo balebicornatus, and Chamaeleo (Trioceros) harennae. The night I spent in their area went down to 2ºC, not much fun when you are trying to sleep in the back of a car with no sleeping gear.

The Harenna encampment is where the last bit of forest is to be found. As can be seen from the photographs it ranges from Highland Heather through to true forest. It is always wet, and cold, the differences between seasons does not seem to be great.

The Katcha clearing is where the altitudal overlap occurs between the two species at 2,400M. Though I was unfortunate to find chameleons this time, there is always another time. At present there are no published photographs of the two chameleon species from there yet. But I did get photos of an earless toad from there, Nectopurynoides malcomi. I also saw and photographed Yellow-headed Parrots, and White-cheeked Turacos.

So after a couple of days travel and one morning of looking I had to return to Addis Ababa. I stopped in at a National Park on the way back, which was a near complete waste of time. I was showed some hot springs that were being used for cooking and bathing by the locals, just what you want to see in a national park. When I got to Addis Ababa one priority was to visit Stephan Spawls and re-photograph his animals.

My final couple of days in Addis Ababa was spent fighting with Ethiopian Airlines. They charged me for a past change in ticket dates, which annoyed me no end. So after harassing various people up their hierarchy I was upgraded on my flight to London. London was actually quite pleasant weather wise, for a change I was not half freezing to death.

After a couple of days trying to sort some things out, I was off to Amsterdam for the European Snake society's "Snake Day". Unfortunately it was quite boring, wish I had made it to Hamm instead. Though I did manage to meet up with some old friends. As to Amsterdam itself, well nothing changes, even the girls in the windows. Though there were a couple of new ones, one so large I do not know how she got through the door, and the other I am positive was a him. As per normal the whole red light district was full of drunken Englishmen to make me look better behaved.

From there back to London, onto Johannesburg for some supplies, plus a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and back here to Madagascar.

This page last updated on: Sunday, April 7, 2002

If you are interested in submitting articles or images for consideration, please forward the items to [email protected]

© 2002-2005
ADCHAM logo illustrated by Randy Douglas. Web site design by Look Design, Inc.
Do not reproduce or redistibute any of content of this web site without express written permission from the authors.