Clear days don’t happen all that often in the capital city of Ethiopia. The pollution can be very bad on most days in Addis Ababa. When we drove to the top of Entoto Natural Park on our visit there last December, we were fortunate to have a relatively clear day. The view from near the church at the top of the mountain is quite spectacular. My photos on this post don’t really do the scene justice.
Although it was a clear day with lovely sunshine, the air was very crisp and even cold. Not surprising, really, seeing the altitude is about 3200 metres. Fortunately there was very little breeze, so we were able to enjoy our wandering around the beautiful church grounds as well as inspecting the old kings’ palace next door. Photos of both will follow in a few days’ time.
During our two week stay in Addis Ababa last December, we hired a driver to take us to Mount Entoto Natural Park. Much of the city is at an altitude of about 2500 metres and is ringed by a chain of mountains reaching up to about 3100 metres.
When we left the school campus where our daughter was teaching last year it was a pleasantly mild day, probably about 20C with a clear sky. As we drove to the top of the mountain over the next hour, the temperature progressively dropped and was quite chilly at the top.
Along the way we drove through a dense eucalyptus forest. It was a bizarre feeling, almost as if we were driving through the Adelaide Hills here in South Australia – yet we were in Ethiopia. These trees were planted in the late 1800s as firewood became scarcer in the surrounding hills. More were planted over the next 50 or so years and they remain the dominant tree in the greater Addis Ababa area. They are ideally suited to the soil and climate, and provide much needed safeguards against erosion. They also provide much needed supplies of firewood and building materials for local people.
Sydney Trip June 2011
At this stage our two week holiday was rapidly drawing to a close. It was the last afternoon of our trip and it turned out to be the best weather of the whole time away. The sky was clear and bright, the sun warm on our backs and we even took off our jumpers despite it being mid-winter. For the last activity of our holiday we did the 45 minute Nature Walk near the entrance to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in NW Victoria.
This short easy walk takes you through a variety of flora types, including mallee (eucalyptus species), native pines (Callitris species) and spinifex ( the low spiky plants shown in the photos above and below. We found a few plants flowering and were able to get several nice photos. The birding was a little slow and I didn’t get any good shots.
After a quick drink and bite to eat we headed off on the last 3 hours of our trip home. At Ouyen we stopped at the nationally famous bakery to buy something to eat along the way, knowing it would be quite late when we arrived home. At Murrayville we stopped briefly to have a cup of tea and enjoy the treats bought at the bakery. We arrived home in the dark, tired yet pleased to be heading off to our own bed again.
Sydney Trip June 2011
In recent days I have written about our short stay in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in north west Victoria earlier this year. This was on the last day of our holiday staying with family in Sydney.
We had lunch on the shore of Lake Hattah. This park, and the lake in particular, is one of our favourite places. We’ve had many wonderful weeks camping here. This included many hours canoeing the network of lakes which fill when the nearby River Murray is in flood. Sadly this area, and the catchment area for the river system has been in drought for many years. The lakes have suffered terribly as a result of this lack of water.
This is a Ramsar site – you can read some details on the photo of one of the signs near Lake Hattah. The managers of the national parks can do little about a drought, that I will grant. But to allow the lakes, camping grounds, picnic areas and other amenities to deteriorate like they are at present is a deplorable state of affairs. At best, I would describe it as environmental neglect. I could be really nasty and call it more like environmental vandalism. Lack of governmental funding is probably an element as well.
Sure – the whole region suffered during the drought, and the irrigators would have been demanding all the water they could get. But if we are to have sites like this listed as Ramsar sites – international agreements on environmental protection – then it has to backed up with action – not mere tokenism, posturing and hollow words.
Sydney Trip June 2011
On the last day of our trip home from Sydney in June this year, we stopped at Lake Hattah for lunch. We found a convenient log on which to sit and enjoyed a quiet, peaceful time. We reminisced about the many times we’d been camping here over the years. This area still holds a special place in the memories of our children too, now long since grown up.
We’ve also enjoyed many hours of canoeing on the system of lakes which fill from the nearby River Murray when it’s in flood. Sadly, the lakes have suffered over the last decade due to severe drought. Now they are once again full there is some hope for the future of this wonderful environment.