In Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, BBC Features Beekeepers of the Harenna Forest

In Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, beehives sit high atop the tree canopies – and reaching them can be a dangerous business. (BBC)

BBC News

The last beekeepers of Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest

The sun was beginning its evening dip as I set off into the Harenna Forest. Strange tubular shapes glowed in the treetops, catching the pale golden light.

Wedged between branches, they looked like elongated wine barrels or giant cocoons.

I was en route to witness a unique honey harvest in the forest. Here, on the southern slopes of Bale Mountains National Park in south-east Ethiopia, hand-carved beehives are placed high in the tree canopies. Reaching them to retrieve the sweet, sticky nectar is arduous – and often dangerous.

Local guide Ziyad and I followed beekeeper Said over a flower-strewn meadow before being swallowed into a tangle of trees.

Residents of Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest practice an ancient form of beekeeping (Photo: Alamy)

Using a rope, beekeeper Said scales the trees to harvest honey from hives 20m above the ground (Credit: Ella Buchan)

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