Having just returned from a trip to the Bale Mountains (February 2015) with a couple of friends, I want everyone to be able to get there – it’s just fantastic! So…here’s what we did!
We went by public transport from Addis which is perfectly possible…you just need to allow time. We left Bole at 7am on a Sunday, caught a bus to Meskel Square where we got a bus to Kality. We had to wait a long time at Kality for a bus to Shashemene to fill up, so didn’t leave until 9.15 and unfortunately picked a slow bus that stopped for 30mins in Ziway. Made it to Shashemene around 2pm and got straight on a bus to Dinsho – arrived at 4.30pm. Total cost, c. 200 Birr per person. Ask the Dinsho bus to let you off at the park headquarters – this means going through the town of Dinsho, and start heading up the hill out of town. You’ll quickly see a sign on your right for the National Park. Get off here, and walk up the road to the right. As you turn the corner you’ll see the HQ Office. We paid 890 Birr to the Park HQ for three days in the park with one tent.
We stayed the night at Dinsho Lodge which is like a Bunkhouse. Basic but a fine base before you start trekking. It’s $20 for a dorm room – this doesn’t include breakfast which I think they should change. The power was off while we were there (freezing showers and no light, power or heating) and they’d claimed to have run out of fire wood to make a fire, so we asked for breakfast and dinner (tibs and shiro) to be free. After some negotiating, they agreed.
Our guide was called Awol – would highly recommend him. He met us at the Park HQ when we arrived, talked us through everything, organised a pan and stove so we could cook while camping as well as the horses, horse men and water for the trek. He met us 9 am the next morning ready to trek and did a fantastic three day route (Monday am – Wednesday 2pm) which we loved. Scenery is spectacular. It’s very cold at night, so wrap up warm, and the camp sites don’t have facilities other than a long drop toilet. Awol was very knowledgeable and made the trek good fun. We took our own food for the three days. Horses carry everything apart from your day pack. Our trek ended back in Dinsho town where we could get a bus to Robe.
We flew back to Addis from Robe-Goba airport on the Wednesday afternoon (c.50 mins to get there from Dinsho by bus and then bhajaj), but think we were on the last flight for a couple of years as the airport closes to be tarmacked – it’s a runway in a field at the moment! Alternatives could be to head on to Robe or Goba for a night at the end of your trek, where you can then travel onwards or back to Addis. The trek (excluding transport there and back and tips) for three of us was c.4300 Birr. This included 18 litres of water and hiring the pan and stove.
Would recommend everyone goes if you can – it was beautifully peaceful, we didn’t see another tourist the whole length of the trek and saw Ethiopian wolves, eagles, hyena, nyala, warthogs, kestrels, buzzards and beautiful scenery.