Bale Mountains

The Bale Mountains, which has incalculable international, National and regional value, is the best-Kept secret of Ethiopia.

It is a chain of mountains framed to the west ,north and east by an extensively farmed plateau of about 2500 meter. They rise to a high altitude plateau, the greater proportion of which is over 4000 meters and rapidly fall away to the south at the Harena Escarpment. People numbering in the hundreds of thousands, their livestock and the environment in the south east of Ethiopia and further in to Somalia are dependent on the water that originates from the Bale Massif.
The Bale Mountains is formed from lava outpourings between 37 and 38 million years ago. The land scape as we see it today is the lava outpouring much modified by over 20 million years of erosion by wate, wind and ice.

 

Climate
There is a huge variation in climate over the area of the Bale Mountains, primarily as a consequence of the great variation in altitude and by the bulk of the massif,  which attracts orographic rainfall.

Rain fall
In general the Bale mountains rainfall is characterized by one eight -month rainy season (March -October) with the greater bulk of the rain falling in April and then in August-October. This means that from May -July there are showers, usually in the afternoon, but it is rarely incapacitating. The rainy season is followed by a four -month dry season (November to February).

Temprature
As to be expected, the temprature falls with increasing altitude. At the higher altituides the lowest temprature occure at night in the clear skies of the dry season and the highest temprature during the day of the same season ( sofar recorded : -15 Degree centigrade during the night and +25 degree centigrade during the day ) In contrast the rainy season is warmer and the temprature shows much less daily fluctuation. It rarely freezes during the rainy season.

Flora and Fauna
The Bale mountains harbour unique and diverse fauna and flora. The area contains species that are Ethiopia endemics but there are also species that are found only with in the Bale Mountains themselves.

The Natural resources of the Bale Mountain includes:

· Bale Mountains National park has got the largest Afroalpine Habitat on the continent of Africa.

· The Southern part of the park (Harena Forest) contains the only cloud forest and the second largest remaining moist tropical forest in Ethiopia.

· It is the place of wild coffee (Coffee Arabica)

· Is home to half of the population of the afro alpine -habitat -centered Ethiopian Wolf and the largest population of the Mountain Nyala which are both endemic to Ethiopia.

· The entire population of the giant mole rat (endemic to Ethiopia) lives solely between 3100 and 4377 meters altitude of this park.

· 26% of the park’s recorded mammals, 6.1% of the birds in the area and several species of amphibians that conquered the habitat are endemic to Ethiopia.

· The wild flowers of Bale (which are described as large, colorful, minute, delicate, some present-year round, ephemeral and rarely seen) are too many to mention. The main flowering season is from May to September.

Generally the Bale Mountains National park, based on altitude, is classified in to five vegetation zones each of which having its own characteristic flora and fauna.They are the Northern Grasslands,Northern Woodlands,Heather Moorlands,Afroalpine Meadows and the Harenna Forest. 


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