Awash national park

Awash npThe Awash national park is 190 km from Addis Ababa, a drive of one and a half hours from Nazareth.

It is advisable to engage a park guide for a modest fee and to start the visit from the point where the Awash River falls in to a gigantic gorge.

Seeing and hearing the thunderous muddy waters smoking as they fall over the basalt is a memorable experience.

To the left to the park the rolling Fantalle mountain rises to 600m above the valley floor. Oryx, soemmering’s gazelle, and wild pig can be seen at any time of day, while the tiny dik-dik, zebra, cheetah, servile and leopards are spotted only after strenuous effort.

Anubis and hamadryas baboons, lesser and greater kudus and the giant tortoise can be identified easily in the field or under sycamore trees.  Colobus monkeys, in the black and white coats, are also common along stretches of the Awash river.

The park also boasts some 300 species of birds a list of these is available in the park museum. The Abyssinian horn bill, secretary birds, carmine bee eaters, ostriches and some of the birds which are endemic to Ethiopia can be spotted in the park.

In front of the water falls there is an excellent lodge with a restaurant. To the north of Game Park some graceful palm trees rim the natural hot spring that bubbles out to fill a deep pool. This translucent water is reputed to have therapeutic properties.

Lake Zeway

The Road to the south- from Mojo a turn to the west leads to the southern rift valley lakes. The first major feature on the road is the bridge over the awash river.

Besides the Koka dam birds wade in the shallows of the lake the sparse acacia trees add to the enchanting views.

Some 160 km from the capital is the lake shore town of Zeway, the largest of the four northern rift valley lakes.

It is oval in shape covering 447 and is up to 15m deep. Sheep, cattle, and goats graze under the shade of the skycamore trees which surrounded the lake.

Birds such as storks. Pelicans geese and the African fishing eagle frequent the lake shore. The best way to see the blue water and the swampy reed edges of the lake is by boat.

At the far end of the lake are series of islands. The largest of these Tulu gudo is inhabited by farmers who practice terrace cultivation. Ancient reed boats are used by residents to get from island to island.

Lake Langano

The resort area of lake Langano is a three hour drive from Addis Ababa. Langano is admired by many nature lovers, best known for its beaches camping, sailing, skiing and swimming facilities.

Sabanna Lodge, African Vacation, Bekele Mola, and Wabe-shebelle hotels are on the lake shore, reached by sign posted turnings on the left.

Local people sell artifacts at the entrance to the Bekele Mola hotel, including milk pots decorated with cowry shells.

The chain  mountains of Arsi give a beautiful background to the irregular basin of lake Langano. The lake has a perimeter of 82 km and a depth of up to 30m and the water is light brown because of its mineral content.

The multi coloured sands make the sloping beach a perfect spot on which to bask in the blazing sun.

It is also ideal place for water sports.The hotels rent motor boats and water skiing equipments. A few kilometers beyond the hotels, some 215 km from Addis is the harakollo bridge.

Lakes Shala and Abyata

A right turn to the far side of the bridge leads to lakes Shala and Abyata. On the way to the lakes there is a small hill which serves as a view point.

A little further down the escarpment different species of birds with varied colors flit through the branches of the acacia trees, creating the scene of unique beauty.

Many verities of migrant birds spend the winter on the shores of the lakes, enjoying Ethiopian sunny climate.

Lake Shala a mysterious place full of dramatic beauty, lies in a deep, basine serves as a mating ground while Abyata is favored as a feeding sanctuary. It is the deepest of all the rift valley lakes with a maximum depth of 266m.

There are two islands of lumina in the north west corner of the lake. These are inaccessible and so create favorable conditions for pelicans to breed. At the eastern end of the lake, very hot springs gush out, forming clouds of steam.

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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