|Ethiopia - National Parks
The Rift Valley and its shimmering lakes offer unique scenic attraction. It contains exotic flora and fauna, and several thermal springs and spas which are known for their curative and relaxing qualities. The seven lakes that dangle lustrously like shining beads are Zeway, Langano, Awassa, Abiyata, Shala, Abaya and Chamo. Zcway is noted for is aquatic vegetation and the island monasteries, the golden Langano for its swimming and camping facilities. Abiyata and Shala are famous for their white sand and colourful army of birds. Beautiful scenery, a chain of sparkling lakes, abundant wildlife and bird life, and a kaleidoscope of colourful cultures all combine to make the Rift Valley a memorable experience. Lake Shala has a depth of 250 metres and is considered the deepest lake in Africa. Lake Awassa lies 270 kilometres south of Addis Ababa and glitters like a ruby.
Thr Southern lakes, Abaya and Chamo teem with crocodiles and different types of fish including the famous Nile Perch knwon for its delicacy. The two are separated by a chunk of land which local people fondly refer to as Ye Egzer Dildiy or the Bridge of God.
Omo National Park is situated on the west bank of the Omo River, and many of the river's tributaries and other rivers run through the park. The park is large at 4,068 square kilometers and is best suited for weeklong camping excursions.
Prolific wildlife of the park Include practically every common species of wildlife of Africa as well as 306 species of birds. Lions are most commonly seen near Lilibai hot springs, where many animals come to drink in the dry season.
Parts of the park area are populated by interesting small tribal groups.
Mayo National Park is bisected by the Mayo River and its tributaries and consists mainly of savannah and grassland near the rivers. The park was set up to preserve the large numbers of plains animals in it midst, particularly buffalo, giraffe, and elephant Among other species of mammal are lion, cheetah, leopard, Burchell's /.zebra and kudu. Bird life is typical of the dry savannah habitat, featuring bustards, hornbills. weavers, and starlings.
Awash National Park is situated in the low lands to the east of Addis Ababa on the main Addis-Assab highway, which bisects the park. Besides many wild animals and birds the park is the home of Swayne's hartebeest an endemic subspecies.
Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park was
established for the many species of aquatic birds that use its lakes, particularly the great white pelicans and great and lesser flamingo. Other species include white-necked cormorant, African fish eagle, Egyptian geese, various plover species and heron,
Mammals are not seen in great numbers, but include Grant's gazelle, greater kudu, oribi, warthog and golden jackal.
Nechisar National Park links two of the Rift Valley
lakes, Abaya - the longest and largest of the valley - and Chamo. As well as their crocodiles and bird life, Lakes Abaya and Chamo are famous for their sport fishing, especially for Nile perch - often weighing more than 100 kilos - and for the fighting tiger fish.
Lake Chamo in particular has an excellent viewing point for crocodiles known as azo gabaya - the Crocodile Market. Another interesting attraction on the lakes are the people traversing their surfaces in precarious-looking ambatch boats made from reeds.