EQST 006 Menagesha Forest and Addis Alem – 1 day
We set off at 7.00, heading west on the Jimma road. We pass potters’ markets and take a turn left after the town of Sebeta to mount Wuchacha and the Menegasha forest – the 50 km journey takes about 1 ½ hours. The Emperor Zera Yacob (1434-1468), noticing the degradation of the forest around Mount Wechecha, initiated what was the first reforestation and conservation measure in Africa by having Juniper trees planted. We will take a picnic lunch, making our way up through the forest towards the top of Mount Wechecha. We can expect to see the Abyssinian Catbird, Banded Barbet, Golden-backed Woodpecker, Black-headed Forest Oriole, Wattled Ibis, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Crowned Eagle and Narina’s Trogan. Among the wildlife species recorded here are: Menelik’s Bushbuck, Leopard rarely seen), Colobus Monkey, Serval, Grey Duiker, Hyaena, Warthog, Porcupine and Civet Cat.
After a picnic lunch in the forest, we will return to Addis Ababa by the Ambo road, stopping off at the small town of Addis Alem. Towards the end of the 19th century, faced with a chronic wood shortage around Addis Ababa (ultimately solved through the importation and planting of the fast growing Eucalyptus), Emperor Menelik II thought of transferring his capital here, and one can see today the imperial compound, Menelik’s residence, a dining hall, kitchen and the church of Mariam, which was planned to be the counterpart of Mariamtsion Church in Axum. The church has some interesting paintings and a small museum nearby contains clothes and decorations of former Ethiopian rulers.
We then set off for Addis Ababa, passing Gefersa reservoir (good for birds) and arriving early evening.