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  1. 1. Bale Mountains National Park Bale Mountains National Park is 2,400 sq km (1,488 square miles) in area, covering a wide range of habitats and ranging in altitude from 1,500 to 4,377 meters (4,920 to 14,357 feet) and is the highest point in southern Ethiopia. Bale is less inhabited, on a high- altitude plateau, heather moorlands, and dense juniper forest with an easily seen population of Mountain Nyala and Simien Fox as well as some fabulous birds, many of them endemic. Bale Mountains National Park Simien Fox The Bale Mountains National Park is The second highest peak in home to a multitude of unique flora and Ethiopia at 4,377m above sea level. fauna which are endemic either to the park or to the country. Mountain Nyala, Bale Mountains National Park gives the visitor opportunities for Semien fox and Ethiopian wolfs is someunsurpassed mountain hiking, horse trekking, scenic driving and of the endemic animals. The park isthe chances to view many of Ethiopias endemic mammals, in dominated by Tullu Deemtu - the secondparticular the Mountain Nyala and Semien Fox, and birds, such highest peak in Ethiopia at 4,377mas the thick-billed raven, Wattled Ibis, blue-winged goose, and above sea level. At lower altitude, theRougets Rail. forest is home to different species: lion, leopards, spotted hyenas, African hunting dogs and many others. There are also 16 endemic bird species in the Bale Mountains National Park. The park has some of the most accessible walking areas in the country from which it is easy to see several endemic and common species up close.
  2. 2. Erta Ale is one of the spectacular and unique places in Afar- Ethiopia (May be in the world). It is the most active isolated shield Volcano in Ethiopia famed for its long-standing lava lake Arta Ale activity. This volcano is situated in the Danakil depression of Northern Afar. Erta Ales Lava Lake has been active for at least the last 90 years making it one of the longest known historic eruptions. It is also more interesting to know that large amounts of heat are released by the volcano while the amount of lava that actually erupts is relatively small. WhyThe Danakil is an area of singular geological fascination: was that? This is because, as suggested bya strange lunar landscape studded with active volcanoes, some, a higher magma density which came as amalodorous sulfur-caked hot springs, solidified black lava result of the cooling of the lava lake blockedflows, and vast salt-encrusted basins. Much of this vast the eruptions. It is believed that the Northern pit ofand practically unpopulated region lies below sea level - Erta Ale stayed active (contained lava lake)116 m at Dallol one of the driest and most tectonically possibly between 1906 and 1988 for about 80active areas on the planet. years. At the moment this pit contains only a It is some measure of the Danakils geological activity rising steam. An over view of the north pit usingthat more than 30 active or dormant volcanoes – roughly fish-eye-lens revealed strange fumarolica quarter of the African total – is listed there. deposits along the northern rim of this pit. Also on the north eastern rim of the same pit is seen a remarkable hornito formed by fluid lava. On the southern rim a small pit only a few meters in diameter is found. Dallol volcano is located in the Danakil Depression in NE Ethiopia, in a remote area subject to the highest average temperatures on the planet. The volcano encompasses Dallol Mountain. Dallol Mountain is thought to have been formed as the result of intrusion of a basaltic magma body underneath. The circular depression near the center of Dallol Mountain is presumably a collapse crater, although neither its age nor the exact process fromCurrently, activity is in the form of hot brine springs. which it resulted are known. The SW flank ofSalts washed out of the underlying layers are Dallol Mountain harbours impressive salttransported to the surface by geothermal heated water canyons formed by erosion processes.and rapidly crystallize as the water evaporates.
  3. 3. The Afar Regional State, where the depression is found, is well known as one of the cradles of hominids, containing the Middle Awash, site of many fossil hominid discoveries such as Ardi, (ardipithecus ramidus); Gona (Gawis cranium), site of the worlds oldest stone tools; and Hadar, site of Lucy, the fossilized specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. Many fossils have been found in the awash region, not only hominids but also elephantoids, crocodiles and hippopotamus. Australopithicus afarensis is a recently discovered Hominid species which lived in north east Africa, in the Hadar region of Ethiopia). Until 1995, this species was the earliest known member of the Hominid family. Australopithicus afarensis lived from approximately 4 to 2.7 million years ago along the northern Rift valley of east Africa, and perhaps even earlier. Fragments of more than 300 individuals of Australopithicus afarensis have been discovered so far, including a remarkably complete skeleton of an adult female (nick- named "Lucy") shown above and to the right. "Lucy" was found in 1974 near Hadar in Ethiopia. Her skeleton has provided a wealth of information about the ancestral line of human beings, some of it quite surprising. The illustration on the right shows "Lucy" in comparison with a modern human female. She was only about 3Australopithecus feet, 8 inches tall. Males were somewhat taller and twice as robust. afarensis