In February 2014, we took our daughters back to Ethiopia for the first time, since their adoption in 2009. This is one of many blog posts we have written about our family’s homeland trip. I also go to Ethiopia every year with our charity, Vulnerable Children Society, so there are additional blogposts from my trips to Ethiopia to enjoy!
We had four lovely days at Bishangari Lodge at Lake Langano. There is lots to do at the lodge, nestled in the ecological reserve. When our daughters told us their priorities for their first trip back to Ethiopia, second on the list was to spend some time in the bush. We returned to the cabins we had visited five years before, when the girls were three years old.
The girls and I went horseback riding the first full day we were there… And had a blast. These are literally the largest horses in Ethiopia… I don’t think I’ve ever seen larger ones. So I actually felt comfortable riding on one without killing it. We walked through the woods and the fields, causing to stop and chat with some of the locals. There were amazing birds to see, and it was just lovely to have that quiet time we’ve from the city.
Back five years ago, the girls were terrified of the warthogs, and found the baboons amusing. Jason actually was grateful to the warthogs, because the only time the girls would come to him back then was if they were more afraid of the warthogs in the bush, than they were of daddy. The first time he really got to hold them was when he was “rescuing” them from warthogs.
This time, they were delighted by the warthogs, and we spent several hours stalking them in the bush to take pictures. They are so neat, as they graze on their knees and the little ones follow them through the grasses.
The girls were slightly afraid of the baboons, as the baboons have become a little bit more aggressive. Perhaps a lot more reasonable feelings around the wild animals! One time, Jason and Sugar had going off for a walk, leaving Spice in the hammock outside our cabin and me inside. I came out of the bathroom to hear “mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” I looked outside and saw the hammock rolled up into a sausage, and three baboons sitting around on all sides of the hammock. I chased them away with a stick and pulled my quivering, scared daughter out of the hammock and into the cabin. The poor thing. Another time, a big male actually came after Jason, growling and aggressive. I am told that the baboons are over populating, and the forestry service occasionally “removes ” a few of them.
The girls spend copious amounts of time in the water, swimming and splashing around, and building castles and other architectural masterpieces on the beach.
My parents went a little over the deep end birding… And took my husband with them. There were some Brits at the lodge, who had come specifically for the birding… They saw 120 species in one day, and a total of 190 in two days. We didn’t see as many as that… We aren’t so serious about the birds. But with a little guidebook and a little help from the Brits, we still saw enumerable amounts of birds. They came in all shapes and sizes, and you didn’t have to hunt for them very much. Just sit on a lounge chair by the beach, and 30 some odd different birds would fly or walk by. Just up into the bush, and you could hear their calls in the trees, and see them printing from branch to branch. It’s quite amazing. Even if you are not into birds, can’t help but be amazed by the variety of wildlife at Langano.
The only downside to our trip was that I got very sick the third day. I actually have never been sick like that in Ethiopia… And was grateful that I had a private cabin, with a private bathroom, to be miserable in. I didn’t leave bed for 30 hours straight. That was sick!
But there is a silver lining to everything, and because of my absence, Jason actually went with the girls horseback riding on the third day. I still have never seen him on a horse to this day! But there is photographic proof that this actually happened.
To any families that enjoy wild places and peace and quiet, I can’t recommend Bishangari Lodge at Langano enough. The service is amazing… The people are super nice and accommodating. The food is good, and the cabins are delightful. Simple, but clean and amazingly privately situated. There are few wild places left in Ethiopia… And this is an amazing, safe, and family-friendly way to experience a real Ethiopian forest.