The closest tract of significant indigenous forest to Addis Ababa, 20km west of the capital, Menagesha incorporates 25 square kilometers of juniper, African redwood and yellowwood trees, as well as Mount Wechecha, an extinct volcano that rises to 3385m. The forest can be explored along a network of hiking and 4×4 trails (ranging from a few hundred meters to almost 10km in length) that fan out from the forestry headquarters 15km from the small town of Sebeta. Wildlife includes the striking guereza monkey, endemic Menelik’s bushbuck and bold Anubis baboon, all frequently seen by hikers, and predators include leopard and serval cat. Menagesha is also a particularly important site for endemic forest birds such as the yellow-fronted parrot, Abyssinian woodpecker and Abyssinian catbird, as well as the colorfulNarina-Trogon and white-cheeked turaco, which are also likely to be seen.
The forest has been accorded some sort of protection since the fifteenth century, initially by imperial decree, more recently through formal legislation. It was established by Emperor Zara Yaqob, who ordered seedlings to be planted on Wechecha’s denuded southwestern slopes.
Menagesha National Forest
The intention of this post is to guide you through your trip to Suba Menagesha, the oldest forest in Africa (at least that’s what they say at the entrance! Who knows?!)
Menagesha National Forest is a vast extension of green area, 40 km or one and a half hour away from Addis (depending on traffic), that offers a beautiful scape from the noisy capital and where, if lucky, you can enjoy many things at once: waterfalls, ancient trees, camping, sight of birds and other animals, a small exhibition center, hiking, among others. For me it was a good discovery and I plan to come back with more time during the rainy season, when I’m sure it will be even greener.
There are 2 ways to arrive to the forest: through Holleta (Ambo Road) or Sebeta (Jimma Road). We tried both to see which one is better and I recommend the second one, which, even being 2km longer, has a better road (both are not asphalted) and more life. Whatever way you choose, make sure to ask around once you reach the main towns (Sebeta or Holleta) not to miss the exit to the rural road that will lead you to the park.
END OF YOUR TOUR