Babile Elephant Sanctuary

Markos National Park Aug 17, 2021

The 698,200ha Babile Elephant Sanctuary is located 560km east of Addis Ababa and 25km south of the city of Harar. In part it encompasses a plateau, as well as the lowlands of the valleys of the Erer, Daketa, Fafen, Gobele and Borale Rivers; all being tributaries of the Shabelle River. Elevations range from 1000masl in the south to 1750masl in the north.

The Sanctuary was originally gazetted protect a supposed elephant sub-species, Loxodonta africana oleansie, but recent DNA tests showed that it is the regular African Elephant. Nonetheless, it is the most Northeastern population Elephant populations and with about 400 animals the largest and most visible herd of the about 1000 animals remaining in Ethiopia and the population has been slowly increasing over the last decade.

Elephants can live in almost any habitat with sufficient food and water, but in the reserve, they prefer to stay in the Erer valley, where there is a lot of encroachment of Prickled Pear Cactus, an invasive species whose succulent leaves contain lots of water and food for the Elephants. They often spend a lot of time in the gallery forest along the river, as food is more plentiful and the river provides them with water, which in the dry season, they dig up from the sandy riverbed. For some years, a few animals have been equipped with a teletracking devise, but these have been active on and off, the latter for lack of funding. When functional, the park staff is always happy to help visitors find the elephants, but of course, a sighting can never be guaranteed.

Large parts of the park's lowlands have shrub and tree savannah, which is often very dense with both shrubs and cactus bushes. In the highlands, along the slopes of the ravines one often finds a very interesting dwarf Euphorbia, while the more commonly found Euphorbia trees grow native on the plateau of the reserve.

Other mammals living in the park are the Black-maned lion, Leopard, Cheetah, the Hamadryas Baboon, Papio hamadryas, Soemmerring's Gazelle, and greater and lesser kudu. The bird list of 227 species includes the endemic Salvadori's serine. Of the reptiles, noteworthy are enormous tortoises and other animals.

Babille is also home to the hot thermal springs, used to supply much of eastern Ethiopia with bottled mineral water. Just beyond the main entrance road into the park is the interesting geologic rock formations at Dakata's Rock Valley with a wonderful balancing rock as well as lower hoodoos. Other nearby attractions are the Prison House of Lij Eyasu in the Gara Mulleta Mountains, the Harar UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Kondudo mountain, which hosts a population of feral horses and a stalactite cave which rates among the 5 finest of Africa, locally know as the Gursum Pearl Cave.


Related Stories
Card image cap

History & Culture

Oromo have a very rich culture defined by...

Card image cap

Nature & Map

Oromia is a regional state in Ethiopia and the homeland...

Card image cap

Sites & Attractions

Culture, Heritage, Wildlife, Nature, Entartainment Park...

Card image cap

Trips & Tours

If you want the highest Pleasure, Visit Oromia....

Card image cap

National Parks

Nowhere else in the world can you see a place like...

Card image cap

Oromo Dish

Butter is added to most porridge and soup dishes...

© 2022 MMG, Designed by Markos Mulat G