There are a number of community associations in the Bale Mountains National Park that provide services to tourists. The following associations are accredited to work inside the park. Members of each of these associations are from the local community, being brought up in and around the national park. Visitors should hire only certified association members to ensure that benefits are directed into the community.
Nyala Guides Association: Named after the mountain nyala which is unique to Bale, this association was established in 2006. Guides work on a rotational basis. All members have participated in English language classes, bird and wildlife identification courses, mountain guiding technique training, as well as customer service training. Guides can be hired at the reception gate of the park in Dinsho.
Walin Jirana Wood Sellers Association was re-established in 2013 and is accredited to sell dry, neatly-packaged firewood sourced from privately-grown Eucalyptus trees. During your stay in the Bale Mountains National Park, both at the headquarters and while camping, you are only permitted to use the non-native, purpose grown firewood. Firewood can be purchased from the Walin Jirana group at the reception gate of the park in Dinsho.
Keyrensa Horse Providers Association: The Keyrensa (Oromifa for leopard) Horse Providers Association was founded in 2007. Its members provide pack horses and well- conditioned riding horses to visitors for a daily fee. Members of the association have participated in horse care training and customer service training. Horses are hired through the association with the assistance of a Nyala Guide.
Borofa Porters Association: Named after the Oromifa word for Menelik’s bushbuck, this association was established in 2007. Members of the association assist with loading and unloading horses, watering and feeding horses, as well as protecting horses from wildlife (hyena & leopard) on overnight treks, providing and maintaining horse-related equipment. They have also participated in horse care and horse use training as well as customer service training. Porters can be arranged with the help of a Nyala Guide.
Key Kebero Cook Association: Named after the Amharic word for Ethiopian wolf, this association was established in 2011. All members have received cooking and food safety training. Members of this association can be hired as cooks, both for camping in the park headquarters and while trekking in the mountains. A cook can be arranged with the help of a Nyala Guide.
The Barre Women’s Handicraft Association: Established in 2010 by women from the local community, they have participated in product development and market readiness training. Their products are on sale at the park headquarters in Dinsho.
Sankate Association: Founded in 2015, the Sankate Association is located in the village of Manyate along the southern boundary of BMNP. The association is composed of Manyate residents to promote local tourism and provide better services and products for visitors. Within the association are several groups, which all specialize in providing a specific product or service. Each group has received and in depth training regarding the quality production of their related good which includes, local guiding services, coffee ceremony services, green coffee for sale, wild honey and artisan crafts. In addition, the association manages a coffee house with bathroom facilities, a campground and a nature trail.