National Parks of Ethiopia
The Semien National Park
The natural event which took place million years ago created an extraordinary landscape, deep gorges and peaks, providing the Semien Mountains the most magnificent View. The high peaks including Ras Dashen (4439 mts), which is the highest mountain in Ethiopia, the deep gorges and valleys in addition with the barley field gives the most marvelous landscape.
The roads which are hardly possible to be crossed with 4WDs makes the Semien Mountain the most ideal place for trekking. Here, it’s possible to trek for days with high probability of encountering the Gelada Baboons, Walias and the Simien fox, though with less frequency.
The Bale Mountains
The Bale Mountains, which lie over 2,400 Square kilometers, is a home for various flora and fauna species. The park which comprises riverine plains, woodlands and bush land, is a home for several endemic species like Mountain Nyala and Semien fox, where the park is believed to be established to protect these two animals. The park is home to high mountains with a peak of 4,377 meter above sea level, which is the second largest in the country.
The forest is also a home for different pig species, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, African hunting dogs and many others. More over the Bale Mountains are home for 16 endemic bird species.
The park is among the most suitable walking areas in the country with a chance to see several endemic and common species at a closer distance
Awash National Park
The park is found in the lowlands to the east, 211 Kms from the capital. With total area of 827 square kilometers, it’s bounded with Awash River in the south. The Fantale volcano, where one can see the dark scar of the latest lava flow, is among the main features of the park.
The plains of the park are excellent for game viewing and admiring the spectacular Awash Gorge.
Awash is home for numerous bird species and endemic animals like Swayne’s hartebeest
Mago National Park
The park, which is home for a wide range of people, is found on the east bank of the Omo River.
With a total area of 2162 square Kilometers, it’s the place where the most fascinating tribes including the Mursi, Karo, Banna, Hammer, Bodi and Dizi still live in the most primitive way.
Omo National Park
It’s found in the West bank of the Omo River which runs along the Sudan border. The park is home for several wild animals. The park provides an opportunity for trekking where one can visit the Suma people, who are almost similar with Mursi where the women wear a clay disk on their lip.
Gambella National Park
With total real of 5, 060 square kilometers, it’s located in the town of Gambella and the Akobo River system. Though it’s less visited, the park contains many endemic species such as white- eared kob, lechwe. The park is also famous for whale-headed stork, antelope, topi, elephant, buffalo and giraffe.
Nech Sar National Park
The broad grass plains of Nechi Sar National Park lie 510km south of Addis near the town of Arba Minch, in between Lakes Abaya and chamo. A wide variety of plains game roams freely amongst 514m2 of savannah, dry bush and groundwater forest, which are also the habitat of 188 recorded species of birds.
In the far eastern part of the park hot springs bubble to the surface. A backdrop of hills and mountains combine to make this one of the most attractive national parks in Ethiopia, and its location makes it very accessible. Accommodation is available at Wendo Genet, Arba Minch and Awasa, while there are camping sites in the park.
Nech Sar National Park is home to several animals and bird species. Such as, Bushbuck, Grant’s gazelle, Anubis Baboon, Guenther’s Dik-dik, Swayne’s, Greater Kudu, Hartebeest, Crocodile, Burchell’s Zebra, Hippopotamus, Red-billed Hornbill, Fish Eagle, Grey Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill etc…
Yangudi Rassa National Park
With total area of 4730sqkm, it is characterized by semi-desert trees and shurbs, savannah, open wood land vegitaion and six species of mammals including wild ass, Gravy’s, Zebra, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, and other endemic animals are available.
Gambella National Park
Located about 600 kilometres from Addis Ababa on the river Baro, Gambela has a strange history. From 1902 until it was captured by the Italians in the Second World War, it was administered by the British, the only part of Ethiopia to be so governed.
The reason for this is that the British opened a port there on the wide and navigable Baro River, which during four months of the rainy season is navigable and provides direct access to the sea via the Nile through Khartoum. Ethiopian coffee was exported via this route, up to 1940. Now the port has fallen into disrepair, though remains of the warehouses and jetty can be seen. At its peak, up to 40 ships would be in dock at any one time. Gambela (sometimes spelt Gambella) gives access to the GambeIa National Park.
Beyond Gambela towards the Sudanese border, the Anuak cultivators give way to the nomadic Nuer. These pastoralists herd their long-horned cattle into huge camps when they stop for the night.
In the river are to be found huge Nile perch, up to 100 kilograms, crocodiles and hippos. Other wildlife includes buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, Roan antelope, zebra, bushbuck, Abyssinian reedbuck, warthog, hartebeest, hyena, lion and elephant. Unfortunately, there are very few animals to be seen in the park, but the birds are many and varied, the olive baboon and the local race of the vervet, with its white whiskers, are the very common, as is the black and white colobus monkey.
Abjiata-Shalla National Park
Abyata-Shala Lakes National Park is formed by the twin lakes of Abyata and Shala. It has a total area of 887 square kilometers (550 square miles) in size, of which 482 square kilometer (300 square miles) is water.
Both lakes are terminal lakes but very different in nature. The park was created for the many aquatic bird species that use the lakes, particularly Great White Pelicans and Greater and Lesser Flamingos. The surrounding area is mainly acacia woodland, some of which is very degraded by man.
Lake Abyata is a shallow pan, only 14 meters (46 feet) deep and its level fluctuates periodically. The beaches are unstable and saline, which creates a very real danger of sinking on the vehicles that venture too close. The lake provides the main source of food for the colonies of great while pelicans on the nearby Lake Shala.
Lake Shala by contrast, is, at 260 meters (853 feet), Ethiopia’s deepest rift valley lake, possibly the deepest lake in Africa north of the Equator. Shalla’s islands are used as breeding sites by many birds, and are home to the continent’s most important breeding colony of Great White Pelicans. The color of the water is like cold tea and there is a high concentration f salts, making it feel soapy. Few fish are found in this lake. It is also one of the seven nesting sites of the bird in the whole of Africa.
Apart from the above mentioned birds, some others include White-necked Cormorant, African Fish Eagle, Egyptian Geese, various Plover species, and Herons. Local mammals are not numerous but include Grant’s gazelle, Greater Kudu, Oribi, Warthog and Golden Jackal. Besides, some of the scenery is very beautiful, especially at dusk; the sight of Pelicans dipping into the silver waters of Lake Abyata is unforgettable.