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Ethiopia Feb 2020 independent budget

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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 07:48   #151
halftwo
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Thanks again, Temmie, excellent points made.

Where did you stay in Dinsho? And did you stay at the Ethio-German hotel in Debra Libranos?

My only concern about not booking anywhere in advance is that in certain places - such as those I mention above - might mean not being able to stay at any given place. (I know there is other accommodation in Debra Libranos, but trip reports mention Owls in/around the grounds, eg.)

I'm tempted by the camping thing, but would require the ground agents to supply all that extra stuff & for it to be carried everywhere.

R
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 08:24   #152
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All: see Temmie's & my post above.

See my concerns regarding not booking versus some certain bookings.

We could be more flexible if nothing is booked. However I have major reservations if we allow ourselves too much leeway; namely that there will be arguments about staying or leaving a particular site because someone wants more time for a specific species - bird or mammal, then the entire timetable goes out of the window.

As Temmie has pointed out: the itinerary allows a good mix for everyone, and while some might be concentrating on birds and another on mammals at any given place, as a lot of the sites have both, it just comes down to timing, which is the most difficult thing to get right.

I feel we could go on trying to tweak the trip forever!

But, let me have your thoughts on greater flexibility.

There is still plenty of time for fine tuning - so inputs always welcome.

Richard
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 09:02   #153
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I couldn't agree more with Temmie's comments. We did the same trip in 2012, and I think there is some over-analysing going on here. The standard birding circuit is very well-worn in Ethiopia, so there's really not much need to re-invent the wheel. There's also a great bird finding guide.

We didn't pre-book a single night's accommodation, and the only place we had an issue finding a hotel was in Yabello, which was quickly sorted. There isn't really much point in stressing about potential tribal conflicts affecting your itinerary, when these things can flare-up and disappear literally overnight. You have a plan, and if something happens, you discuss your options and change your plan. The world isn't going to end!

If you book your vehicles through one of the usual agencies used by birders, it's highly likely that your driver will know all the birding sites, even if he doesn't know much about birds. He will also almost certainly have contacts for local guides and hotels in the towns. Our driver just phoned ahead as we were driving and made arrangements for the night, and this worked perfectly.

Having complete flexibility allowed us to change our itinerary on the fly. For example, we missed Harwood's Francolin because we followed the advice from some crappy Belgian trip report , but were able to re-arrange the last few days of our trip and visit the site recommended in the birdfinder, where it was easy. In fact, we made quite a few changes on the fly - we spent an extra day at Dinsho because Spot-breasted Lapwing was nowhere to be found at the usual sites, and we had to go exploring to find some; we spent a day less at one of the traditional woodland sites (forget which, maybe Wondo Genet?) as it was badly trashed and the locals were horrendous, and a day less at Harenna Forest as it was utterly dead.
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 09:09   #154
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Thanks, for that, DMW (David?), very useful comments.

Yes, perhaps we're getting a bit bogged down in tweaking etc.! It seems flexibility within a framework is the way to go.

R
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 09:21   #155
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I'm open to the idea of camping if that helps.
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 11:32   #156
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David or better: Duncan (dmw), I sometimes include a fake site for a good bird, to get an advantage when comparing world lists ��
@ Halftwo: we stayed at the forest rest house in Dinsho. I don’t know if that is still possible. The guy tracking the roost of abyssinian owl works there (abdullah was his name I thought).
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 11:49   #157
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David or better: Duncan (dmw), I sometimes include a fake site for a good bird, to get an advantage when comparing world lists ��
@ Halftwo: we stayed at the forest rest house in Dinsho. I dont know if that is still possible. The guy tracking the roost of abyssinian owl works there (abdullah was his name I thought).
Last September the forest rest house in Dinsho was closed, I have no idea whether it might have re-opened since, but it seemed as if the lease of the last owner ended... The guy who did the Owl tracking stopped working at the lodge a few years ago already, but he was still tracking owls, the National Park guides know him .

This would mean there is no proper accomodation anymore in Dinsho, which means staying in Robe or Goba is the only option....
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 11:56   #158
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David or better: Duncan (dmw), I sometimes include a fake site for a good bird, to get an advantage when comparing world lists ��
@ Halftwo: we stayed at the forest rest house in Dinsho. I dont know if that is still possible. The guy tracking the roost of abyssinian owl works there (abdullah was his name I thought).
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 13:00   #159
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Sorry, Duncan!

Right. Good news folks: I've just had a conversation with Mrs. Halftwo and she is happy for me to extend the trip.

If we had 2 or 3 further days would everyone be happy with that?

Edit: would have to extend at the beginning - gotta be back by 2nd.

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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 08:28   #160
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Sorry, Duncan!

Right. Good news folks: I've just had a conversation with Mrs. Halftwo and she is happy for me to extend the trip.

If we had 2 or 3 further days would everyone be happy with that?

Edit: would have to extend at the beginning - gotta be back by 2nd.

R
Hi Richard,
Whilst longer is always better (titter ye not ), there will still, undoubtedly be a conversation as to how those extra days are utilised?

No doubt Joe will want more time at Bale whilst others, may, want to go after the Babbler as it's the only, realistic opportunity to get it safely?

I could be talking out of a place where the sun doesn't shine as I haven't looked exactly where the Babbler is, it may be totally impractical anyway, even with the extra days but it would be a pity to lose the single opportunity that most of us will have, to see it?

As Temmie says..........

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C'mon guys, you have enough time and a good itinerary to give most if not all of the birds and mammals a shot.
It's a very comprehensive itinerary, and while there is still a lot of driving, Ethiopia is not the country to stick in one site for days and days, almost all birding is roadside and mammals are best found by driving around as well, either along roads or inside the parks on dirt tracks.
If Temmie says it's a good itinerary as is, would it not be a waste of the extra days if we just sauntered around and didn't utilise them fully?

Has anyone perhaps, Temmie, got any idea how to best use the extra days, is the Babbler (or even the Bustard) a viable option?
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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 10:12   #161
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Obviously the situation may have changed, but when we visited in 2012, the agency we used to hire the vehicle told us that the area in which Heuglin's Bustard and Somali Wheatear are found was not safe, and they would not allow their vehicle to be taken there. I would be surprised if the situation had improved here - I believe it wasn't a local tribal conflict, but related to Somali insurgency.
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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 16:58   #162
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Obviously the situation may have changed, but when we visited in 2012, the agency we used to hire the vehicle told us that the area in which Heuglin's Bustard and Somali Wheatear are found was not safe, and they would not allow their vehicle to be taken there. I would be surprised if the situation had improved here - I believe it wasn't a local tribal conflict, but related to Somali insurgency.
Thanks, so that's the Bustard and Wheatear out, probably.
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Old Sunday 18th August 2019, 13:43   #163
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Last September the forest rest house in Dinsho was closed, I have no idea whether it might have re-opened since, but it seemed as if the lease of the last owner ended... The guy who did the Owl tracking stopped working at the lodge a few years ago already, but he was still tracking owls, the National Park guides know him .

This would mean there is no proper accomodation anymore in Dinsho, which means staying in Robe or Goba is the only option....
Re Dinsho: the Forest Rest house was still closed in February - there was a rumour that the lease had been purchased and it would reopen - no idea when. A group was camping by the main entrance.

There is some 'local' style accommodation in Dinsho - no idea on the quality (I suspect very basic) and plenty of choice in Robe.

Abdullah was doing the owl roosts - I had been there 11 years previously and followed the same routine.
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