Protected areas

1. Abijatta-Shalla National Park

Abijatta-Shalla National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Oromia Region 200 kilometers south of Addis Ababa to the east of the ZiwayShashamene highway, it contains 887 square kilometers including the Rift Valley lakes of Abijatta and Shalla. The two lakes are separated by three kilometers of hilly land.

Although its intent was to protect wildlife, few wild animals can be viewed there. During the tumultuous period as the Derg regime was coming to a close, large numbers of nomads took advantage of weakened central authority to move into the Park and set up residence with their livestock. Park personnel reported in 2005 that these nomads had some 15,000 cattle in the restricted confines of the Park. One nyala and several ostriches were kept in a fenced enclosure near the gate house, but outside of this enclosure no grass longer than an inch was observed. There were, nevertheless, quite a few bird species in evidence. Park personnel said the national government was working on a plan to resettle the nomads somewhere outside the park, but this plan seemed rather indefinite. Besides the two lakes, the primary attraction of this national park are a number of hot springs on the northeast corner of Lake Abijatta, and large numbers of flamingoes on the lake. Care must be exercised in driving vehicles out to the edge of this lake, as the thin crust of dried mud on the surface can give way without warning.

Coordinates: 7°30’N, 38°30’E

2. Awash National Park

Location: Ethiopia
Nearest city: Awash
Area: 756 km²
Established: 1966

Awash National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located at the southern tip of the Afar Region, this park is 225 kilometers east of Addis Ababa (and a few kilometers west of Awash), with its southern boundary along the Awash River, and covers at least 756 square kilometers of acacia woodland and grassland. The Addis Ababa – Dire Dawa highway passes through this park, separating the Illala Saha Plains to the south from the Kudu Valley to the north.

The Awash National Park was established in 1966, although the act authorizing its existence was not completely passed for another three years. Wildlife in this park include the East African Oryx, Soemmerring’s Gazelle, Dik-dik, and the lesser and greater Kudus, as well as over 350 species of native birds. In the upper Kudu Valley at Filwoha are hot springs amid groves of palm trees.

Coordinates: 9°20’N, 40°20’E

3. Bale Mountains National Park

The Bale Mountains National Park is a national park in the Oromia region of southeast Ethiopia. Created in 1970, this park covers about 2,200 square kilometers of the Bale Mountains to the west and southwest of Goba.

Bale Mountains contains three distinct ecoregions: the northern plains, bush and woods; the central Sanetti Plateau lying at over 4000 meters ; and the southern Harenna Forest, known for its mammals, amphibians and birds including many endemic species. The central Sanetti Plateau is home to the largest population of the rare and endangered Ethiopian wolves.

Coordinates: 6°40’N, 39°40’E

4. Mago National Park

IUCN Category II (National Park)
Location: Ethiopia
Area: 2162 km²
Established: 1979

Mago National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region about 782 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, the 2162 square kilometers of this park are divided by the Mago River, a tributary of the Omo River, into two parts. The park is 115 kilometers north of Murele and 40 kilometers southwest of Jinka. All roads to and from the park are unpaved.

The Mago National Park was established in 1979, making it the newest of Ethiopia’s several National Parks. Its territory embraces savanna, acacia forest, and the Neri Swamp. Its highest point is Mount Mago. The park’s perhaps best known attraction are the Mursi people, who inhabit villages along the Omo, known for piercing their lips and inserting disks made of clay.

Coordinates: 5°40’N, 36°10’E

5. Nechisar National Park

IUCN Category II (National Park)
Location: Ethiopia
Nearest city: Arba Minch
Area: 514 km²
Established: 1974

Nechisar National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region immediately to the east of Arba Minch, its 514 square kilometers of territory include the “Bridge of God” (an isthmus between Lakes Abaya and Chamo), the Nechisar plains to the east of the lakes.

Nechisar National Park was established in 1974. Wildlife in the park include Hartebeest, Plains Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Dik-dik, and the Greater Kudu. A stretch of the northwest shore of Lake Chamo is known as Crocodile Market, where hundreds of Crocodiles gather to sun themselves.

6. Omo National Park

Omo National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region on the west bank of the Omo River, the park covers approximately 4,068 square kilometers. About 870 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa, this park is not easily reachable, although an airstrip was recently built near the park headquarters on the Mui River.

The lower reaches of the Omo river were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1980, after the discovery of the earliest known fossil fragments of Homo Sapiens that have been dated at circa 190,000 years old.

Coordinates: 6°00’N, 35°50’E

7. Semien Mountains National Park

IUCN Category II (National Park)
Location: Ethiopia
Coordinates: 13°11??N, 38°4??E
Area: 220 km²
Established: 1969

Semien Mountains National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, its territory covers the Semien Mountains and includes Ras Dashan, the highest point in Ethiopia and fourth-highest in Africa.

It is home to a number of species, including the Ethiopian wolf, Gelada Baboon, and the Walia Ibex.

It was one of the first sites to be made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1978); however, due to serious population declines of the characteristic native species, in 1996 it was also added to the List of World Heritage Sites in danger.

8. Yangudi Rassa National Park

Yangudi Rassa National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Afar Region, its 5000 square kilometers of territory include Mount Yangudi and the surrounding Rassa Plains.

This national park was proposed in 1977. The AwashAsseb highway crosses the Yangudi Rassa National Park, as does the Awash River.

Coordinates: 11°00’N, 40°50’E

Source: Wikipedia

Compiled for this website by Abiyot Berhanu

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