The Bale Mountains and Sof Omer
The Bale Mountains National Park is more than 4000 meters of an untouched beautiful world. This spectacular park is situated 400 kilometers from Addis Ababa; 150 Kilometers from Shashamane; 310 Kilometers from Nazareth; and 175 Kilometers from Awassa.
Bale Mountains National Park was created originally in 1971 as a protection to the then dwindling numbers of mountain Nyala .It is 2470 square kilometers of alpine plateau, forest and woodland, and boasts the highest all-weather road in Africa, going over 4000 meters. The highest peak in southern Ethiopia, Tullu Deemtu at 4377 meters, is within the park.
There is a main road running through the length of the park, and a few other tracks. A most enjoyable and peaceful way to see the area is on horseback. Local ponies and saddles may be hired either for day trips around Dinsho or for more ambitious camping trips up in the mountains.
The highland plateau is home to many endemic species. Bale Mountains National Park harbors sixteen of Ethiopia's 25 endemic bird species. There are over 200 species recorded for the park so far.
Sof Omar, a tiny Muslim village in Bale, is the site of an amazing complex of natural caves, cut by the Weyb River as it finds its way into the nearby mountains. The settlement, which is a religious site, is named after a local Sheikh.
Visitors to Sof Omar make their way, armed with torches and official underground map, far into the bowels of the earth. Besides a subterranean stream, one can see an extraordinary number of arched portals, high eroded ceilings and deep echoing chambers.