How do I get to the Bale Mountains?
In most cases, the best way to get the Bale Mountains is via domestic flight. Ethiopian Airlines run a comprehensive domestic flight network across the country, connecting the major tourist destinations. If you're coming in from the north, you will need to fly into Addis Ababa and catch a second flight to Robe, the nearest airport town to the Bale Mountains. From Robe, it is a 2-hour drive into the national park.
If you are coming from the south, it is usually better to drive.
The quickest way to get to the Bale Mountains from Addis is via a one hour domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Robe airport. From here, it is a one hour drive into the national park near Robe, so you don't have a long drive after the domestic flight before you can relax and enjoy the views!
If you are planning on camping in the mountains, you can first stop at Bale Mountain Lodge for a night, or head straight to Dinsho for the first night camping. It is a 40 minute drive from Robe airport to Dinsho.
It is also possible to reach the Bale Mountain from Addis via the Rift Valley. You will need to stop along the way and spend the night by the Rift Valley lakes. Driving through the Rift Valley is an experience in itself, so well worth it if you have more time to play with.
From Gondar, you will need to take two domestic flights to reach the Bale Mountains. The first is a one hour flight from Gondar to Addis Ababa. From Addis, you will take a second flight to Robe airport and drive into the park from here.
It is also possible to reach the Bale Mountains from Addis via the Rift Valley, with overnights at lakeside lodges en route.
The best way to get to the Bale Mountains from Bahir Dar is via a domestic flight to Addis Ababa (one hour), and a second flight to Robe airport. From here, it is a one hour drive into the park.
The best way to get to the Bale Mountains from Lalibela is via a domestic flight to Addis Ababa (one hour), and a second flight to Robe airport. From here, it is a one hour drive into the park.
There is no direct flight form Mekele to Addis Ababa, so if you are coming form here you will first need to fly to Lalibela, and then on to Addis Ababa and down towards the Bale Mountains. You are better off structuring your trip so that you don't have to travel from Mekele to the Bale Mountains, as there is a lot of travelling involved and you would need to spend a night in either Lalibela or Addis Ababa anyway (it's not possible, and certainly not enjoyable, to take 3 domestic flights in one day).
If you're in the far northern town of Axum, the best way to reach the Bale Mountains is by domestic flight. There is usually a direct domestic flight from Axum to Addis Ababa (1.5 hours). From here, you will need to catch a second domestic flight into Robe airport, and then drive for about an hour into the Bale Mountains.
It is usally better to sequence your itinerary so that you don't have to make long cross-country connecting flights.
To get to the Bale Mountains from Harar, you will first need to drive for about 75 minutes to the nearby airport town of Dire Dawa. From here, you can catch a domestic flight to Addis Ababa, and connect with a second domestic flight to Robe airport. It is then a one hour drive into the national park.
The best way to get to the Bale Mountains from the Omo Valley is to drive. From Arba Minch (the gateway town to the Omo Valley), it is a 4 hour drive to the Rift Valley town of Hawassa (just east of Bale Mountains National Park). From Hawassa to the entrance town of the park, Goba, it is a 4 hour drive. If you are staying at the Bale Mountain Lodge, it will take an extra 1.5 hours.
It is also possible to fly from Jinka or Arba Minch to Robe, but you have to go via Addis Ababa and will need an overnight in the capital before flying on to Robe.
You can also fly from Hawassa to Robe, but flights only run on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.
While the most common route into the Bale Mountains is via commercial flight or road, it is possible to take charter flights into the mountains. If you are combining the Bale Mountains with other frontier destinations like Gambella National Park, then charter aircraft can be a great option - although it comes with a price tag!
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