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Tourism > English > Attractions > National Parks

 National Parks

Millions of years of isolation of extensive areas with unusual conditions in the highlands of Ethiopia have led to the evolution of unique species at all levels, especially those smaller species less able to travel or to be carried across in a hospitable habitat. Endemism is rife, particularly amongst large and small mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish.

SIMIEN MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

The Simien Mountain massif is a broad plateau, cut off to the north and west by an enormous single crag over 60 kilometres long. The tableland is divided by gorges 1,000 metres deep that can take more than two days to cross. Here live the Walia (Abyssinian) ibex, Simien red wolf and Gelada baboon - all endemic to Ethiopia - as well as the Hamadryas baboon, klipspringer and bushbuck. The lammergeyer, Augur buzzard, Verreaux's eagle, kestrel and falcon also soar above this mountain retreat.

Chilada Baboons in Semien Mountains National Park150 kilometres north-east of Gondar, the Simien Mountains National Park covers 179 square kilometres of highland area at an average elevation of 3,300 metres. Ethiopia's highest peak, 4,620-metre Ras Dashen, stands adjacent to the park. The scenery is spectacular. The vegetation is principally Afro-alpine, montane savannah and heather. Temperatures drop below freezing at night.

Ethiopia, in fact, has a recorded list of 242 land mammals, of which 28 are endemic. The Simien wolf is endemic and confined to mountain plateaux with dense tree heather and thickets, intermixed with bogs and swamps with sedge grass and giant lobelias.

AWASH NATIONAL PARK

Leopard in Awash National ParkAwash National Park is the oldest and most developed wildlife reserve in Ethiopia. Featuring the 1,800 metre high Fantalle Volcano, mineral hot-springs, and extraordinary volcanic formations, this natural treasure is bordered by the Awash River and lies 225 kilometres east of Addis Ababa. Oryx, bat-eared fox, caracal, aardvark, colobus and green monkeys, Anubis and Hamadryas baboons, klipspringer, leopard, bush-buck, hippopotamus, Soemmering's gazelle, cheetah, kudu and 450 species of bird all live within the park's 720 square kilometres.

Another feature of the park is the hot springs, or Filwoha. The water of these springs and rivers is in the region of 36°C. The unbelieveably clear blue pools. Surrounded by doum palms, invite the traveler to wash off the dust.

YANGUDI RASSA NATIONAL PARK

Kudu in Yangudi Rasa National ParkLying 350 kilometres north-east of Addis Ababa, this 4,700-square kilometre park is in the arid northern Rift lowlands with vegetation that ranges from semi desert and scrub to savannah and open woodland. The park is traversed by the Awash River and among its unusual animals is the Somali wild ass - ancestor of the domestic donkey. The 36 mammals within the park are typical of the arid Horn of Africa and include Grevy's zebra, greater and lesser kudu, geranuk and the cheetah.

NECHISAR NATIONAL PARK

The park was established as a sanctuary for the endemic (and endangered) Swayne's hartebeest. The 514-square kilometre park is in the Rift Valley, 2,000 metres above sea-level between lakes Abaya and Chamo in south-central Ethiopia. Although mainly open grassland, it also contains areas of savannah woodland and highland forest. The park's 84 mammal species include hippo, zebra, buffalo, greater kudu, reedbuck, Grant's gazelle, lion and leopard. Seventy-eight square kilometers of the park is water - parts of lakes Chamo and Abaya. The lakes support many species of fish including Nile perch and tiger fish, as well as hordes of hippos and crocodiles. The best point from which to explore the national part of lakes Abaya and Chamo, is from Arba Minch. Much of the Nechisar National Park can be enjoyed in a full day’s drive.

ABIJATTA - SHALLA NATIONAL PARK
 
215 kilometres from Addis Ababa, the park covers 887 square kilometres, of which more than half is water. Lake Shala is thought to be the deepest lake in Africa north of the Equator. Lake Abijatta is circled by 60 kilometres of white shoreline. Both lakes are saline and several hot springs bubble up by the shore and flow into Lake Shalla.

Despite their natural beauty, these lakes are best known for their bird life. At Abijatta, never more than 10 metres deep, greater and lesser flamingos abound, along with white-necked cormorants, herons, storks, spoonbills, ibises, African ducks, gulls and terns. During the northern winter thousands of Asiatic and European ducks and waders migrate to Abijatta's shores. Lake Shala is well known for its large colony of great white pelicans - the most important breeding colony for this species in Africa.

MAGO NATIONAL PARK

Buffalo in Mago National ParkEast of the Omo River, and stretching south towards the Chew Bahir basin, Mago National Park is rich in wildlife with few human inhabitants. The vegetation is mainly savannah grassland and savannah bush, extending across an area of 2, 160 square kilometres. Mammal species total 81, including hartebeest, giraffe, roan antelope, elephant, lion, leopard and perhaps even a rare black rhino. Temperatures swing between 14°C and 41°C and rainfall is low.

OMO NATIONAL PARK

The largest park in the country, this is 4,068 square kilometres of true wilderness situated in remote south-western Ethiopia. Adjacent to the Omo River, which flows into Lake Turkana, it is one of the richest and least visited wildlife sanctuaries in eastern Africa. Eland, oryx, Burchell's zebra, Lelwel hartebeest, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, waterbuck, kudu, lion, leopard and cheetah roam within the park's boundaries. Features include belts of forest along the Omo and Mui rivers and hot springs. Temperatures can be high and rainfall is low.

BALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Nyala in Bale Mountains National PArkWith their vast moorlands, extensive heath, virgin woodlands, pristine mountain streams and alpine climate, the Bale Mountains remain an untouched and beautiful world. Rising to a height of more than 4,000 metres, the range borders the southern highlands of Ethiopia. The establishment of the 2,400 square kilometres park was crucial to the survival of the mountain nyala, Menelik's bushbuck and Simien red wolf. The Bale Mountains offer some fine high-altitude horse and foot trekking, and the streams of the park are well stocked with rainbow and brown trout. The park contains the highest peak in southern Ethiopia, Tullu Deemtu. The centre of the park is the high Saneti plateau of 4,000 metres, which is crossed by the highest all-weather road in Africa.

A good area to explore first is Gaysay, which provides a good wildlife watching. The area derives its name from the little Gaysay River. Colobus monkeys are often seen in the Hagenia forest. The area guarantees views of the endemic nyala, grey duiker, warthog and Menelik's bushbuck. Occasionally leopards can also be sighted.

National Parks and Sanctuaries to be administered by the federal government

Name of the National Parks(NP) or Sanctuaries(S)

Year of Establishment.

Area in sq. km.

Distance from A.A(Km) & Locaton

Key Species

Unique Physical Feature

Awash NP

1966

756

180,

Afar & Roomies

Region

Beisa Oryx, Lesser Kudu, Waterbuck, Soemmerring's Gazelle, Hamadryas & Anubis Baboon

Waterfall, Hotsprings, Doumpalm forest, Fantale crater

Simien

Mountains NP

1966

412

800,

Amhara Region

Walia Ibex, Ethiopian Wolf, Gelada Baboon

Mt.Ras- Dashen, Ethiopia's highest peak, 4543mts asl

Omo NP

1967

3566

867,

SNNP Region

Common Eland Buffalo, Elephant, Cheetah, Lion, Giraffe, Topi, Brazza's Monkey

Omo and Mui rivers

Bale Mountains

NP

1970

2200

400,

Oromia Region

Mountain Nyala, Menelik's bushbuck, Ethiopian Wolf, Bohor Reedbuck, Bale Monkey

Mt. Batu, Sanate Platteau (the largest Afro-alpine habitat in Africa) and Harena Forest

Babile Elephant

S.

1970

6982

557,

Oromia & Somali

Region

Elephant(Loxodonta Africana)

Gobele & Erer Valleys, Jurassic limestone rocky appearances

Abijata Shala

LakesNP

1970

887

220,

Oromia Region

White Pelican, Greater and Lesser Flamingoes, African Fish Eagle

Abijita, Shala(the deepest in Africa) and Chitu lakes, hot springs bubbling around Lake Shala

Senkele

Swayne's

Hartebeest S.

1972

54

300,

Oromia & SNNP

Region

Swayne's Hartebeest, Bohor reedbuck, Oribi, Greater Kudu

Spectacular view on the Lalima /Borena hills

Nech Sar NP

1974

514

502,

SNNP Region

Burchell's Zebra, Greater and Lesser Kudus, Swayne's Hartebeest, Grant's Gazelle, Nile Crocodile

Lake Abaya & Chamo, Nechisar Plain, Riftvalley escarpment, Nearby 40 springs

Gambella NP

1974

5061

777,

Gambella Region

Nile Lechwe, Buffallo Elephant, White Eared Kob, Roan Antelope

Largest low laying wet Ian in the country including 4 big rivers

Yangudi Rasa NP

(by delegation )

1977

4731

430,

Afar Region

Somrnerring's & Dorcas Gazelles

Awash River, MtYangudi

Alatish Np

2005

2666

1025,

Amhara Region

Elephant, Greater Kudu, Lesser Kudu

Dinder\Hayma and Gelegu rivers, Sudan Guinea Savana Biome

Geralle NP

2006

3858

890,

Somali

Elephant, Greater Kudu Lesser Kudu

Arid low land

Kafta Shiraro NP

2007

5000

400(Via mekelle)or

10 15(Via gonder),

Tigray Region

Greater Kudu, Elephant

Arid low land

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