Short & Tours
EQST 010 Mount Zuquala
Pick up is at 7.30 and we take the south east road, heading for Mount Zuquala, which can easily be seen from Addis Ababa. Zuquala is a volcanic cone which rises to 3000 m asl, some 1000 m higher than the surrounding countryside, the crater is 2 km across and some 60 m deep, with a shallow lake at the bottom.
We turn of the main road just before entering Debre Zeit, some 48 km from Addis Ababa. It used to be possible to drive straight to the top but in recent years there has not been maintenance after the rains and it is now necessary to park the car and walk for an hour or so.
On the north east of the caldera is a monastery, part of which was destroyed by Mohammed Gragn in the 16th century, but which was later restored. The monastery is dedicated to Abba Gebre Menfes Qiddus, an Ethiopian saint renowned for his love of animals and wild life – he is frequently shown in paintings surrounded by lions and other wild beasts. A common story is that he allowed a bird to drink water from his eye.
The crater slopes are covered by dry montane forest, mainly made up of Juniper trees. The forest has a high bio-diversity – 217 species of flowering plants and ferns have been recorded. A number of endemic birds and mammals can be seen here, including: Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, Black-winged lovebird, Banded Barbet, Abyssinian Woodpecker, White-winged Cliff Chat, Abyssinian Catbird, White-backed Black Tit, and the Colobus Monkey.
Other birds of interest include : White-cheeked Turaco, Slender-billed Chestnut-winged Starling, Sharpe’s Starling, Verreaux’s Eagle and Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture, while of animal species Grey Duiker and Klipspringer can be seen.
We will take a picnic lunch in the crater (it is forbidden to enter the lake, which is said to be blessed), and pay a short visit to Bishoftu town (formerly Debre Zeit) before returning to Addis Ababa late afternoon.