Lake Abaya

Lake Abaya is a lake found in the Southern Nations Nationalities and peoples region of Ethiopia, it was named Lake Margherita by the Italian explorer Vittorio Bottego, the first European to visit the lake, to honor the wife of king Umberto I of Italy, Queen Margherita. This name appears in older publications, and currently is rarely used.

Lake Abaya is located in the Great Rift Valley, east of the Guge Mountains, the home for the Dorze tribe. It is fed on its northern shore by the Bilate River, which rises on the southern slopes of Mount Guge. The town of Arba Minch lies on its southwestern shore, and the southern shores are part of the Nechisar National Park. Lake Abaya is 60 kilometers long and 20 wide, with a surface area of 1160 square kilometers. It has a maximum depth of 13 meters and is at an elevation of 1268 meters and this make it the largest rift valley lake. There are a number of islands in this lake, the largest being Aruro; others include Gidicho, Welege, Galmaka and Alkali. The lake is red due to a high load of suspended sediments. Lake Abaya does not always have an outflow, but in some years it overflows into Lake Chamo.

Lake Abijata

Lake Abijata lies in Ethiopia south of Addis Ababa, in the Abijata – Shalla National Park; it has 17km long and 15km wide, with a surface area of 205 square kilometers. It has a maximum depth of 14 meters and located at an elevation of 1,573 meters. Along the northeastern corner of this lake, there are a number of hot springs, which are important both as a tourist attraction and to the local inhabitants. There is also a soda ash operation on the shores of this lake, which produces 20,000 tons of sodium carbonate.

 

 

 

Lake Chamo

Lake Chamo is located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region of southern Ethiopia; it is located in the Great Rift Valley at an elevation of 1,235 meters, just to the south of Lake Abaya and the city of Arba Minch, and east of the Guge Mountains. The lake’s northern end lies in the Nechisar National Park, measure 26 kilometers long and 22 wide, with a surface area of 551 square kilometers and a maximum depth of 10 meters. Lake Chamo does not always have an outflow, but in some years, it overflows into the Sagan River, and in some years, it is fed by overflow from Lake Abaya.

 

 

Lake HAWASSA

Lake Hawassa is an endothecia basin in Ethiopia, located in the Rift Valley south of Addis Ababa, this lake measure 16 km long and 9km wide, with a surface area of 129 square kilometers and has a maximum depth of 10 meters with an elevation of 1,708 meters. This lake is the most studied of the Rift Valley lakes in Ethiopia. According to William Taylor, a member of the African Lakes and Rivers Research group at the University of Waterloo, Lake Hawassa is, despite its lack of an outflow, “essentially a freshwater lake (conductivity is variable, but less than 1,000) indicating that it must have a subterranean outlet.

 

 

Lake Langano

Langano is a lake in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, exactly 200 km south of the capital; it is located in the Great Rift Valley at an elevation of 1,585 meters to the east of Lake Abijata. According to figures published by the Central Statistical Agency, Lake Langano is 18 kilometers long and 16 km wide, with a surface area of 330 square

kilometers and a maximum depth of 46 meters.

As it is free of Bilharzias (schistosomiasis), unlike all other freshwater lakes in Ethiopia, Lake Langano is popular with tourists and city dwellers for its swimming, water sport, horse riding, forest walking and mountain biking activities. The lake is brown in color and surrounded by number of resort hotels and lodges, as well as one can experience variety of wildlife around the lake, which includes hippos, monkeys, baboons, warthogs, and a huge variety of birds.

Lake Shalla

Lake Shalla lies in Ethiopia south of Addis Ababa, in the Abijata – Shalla National Park, this lake measure 28 kilometers long and 12 kilometers wide, with a surface area of 409 square kilometers, with a maximum depth of 250 meters, this makes it the deepest lake in Ethiopia and in Africa north of the equator and has an elevation of 1,567 meters.

Known for the Sulphur springs on the lake bed; its islands are inhabited by Great White Pelicans, one being known as Pelican Island. Lake Shalla is surrounded by hot springs filled with boiling water, and the earth surrounding the lake is filled with cracks due to erosion and earthquakes. Due to steam rising from the boiling water in the springs, the atmosphere around the lake is relatively foggy. At the southern end of the lake, there are various species of flamingoes and birds that frequent the lake.

LAKE ZIWAY

Lake Ziway is one of the freshwater Rift Valley lakes of Ethiopia. It is located about 167km (60 miles) south of Addis Ababa, on the border between the regions of Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples. The town of Ziway lies on the lake’s western shore. Lake Ziway measure 25 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide, with a surface area of 434 square kilometers. It has a maximum depth of 14 meters and located at an elevation of 1,846 meters. There are five islands which include Debre Sina, Galila, Bird Island and, perhaps most notably Tullu Gudo, home to a monastery said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant around the ninth century. The lake is fed primarily by two rivers, the Meki and the Katar, but does not always have an outflow. The lake is known for its population of birds and hippopotamuses as well as supports a fishing industry; according to the Ethiopian Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture 2,454 tons of fish are landed each year, which the department estimates is 83% of its sustainable amount.

Other Natural Attraction

Yellow Throat Seed Eater . . . Wing 64 – 70 mm

The Yellow Throated Seed Eater is known from a few isolated areas in acacia grass savanna in southern and southeastern Ethiopia. It is a species of questionable taxonomic status since it may be a hybrid between the Yellow Ramped Seed Eater (S. Atrogularis) and the White bellied Canary (S. Dorostritus). It has a grey back and is similar in size to the Yellow Ramped Seed Eater but has streaks on the back and a long tail like the White Bellied Canary.

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Yellow Fronted Parrot . . . Wing 160 – 188 mm

The Yellow Fronted Parrot occurs in Ethiopia from approximately 600 to 3,350 meters (2,000 – 1 1,000 feet) in the western and southeastern highlands, the Rift Valley and the western lowlands in forests and woodlands varying from Saint John’s Wort and Hagenia to olive, Podocarpus and juniper to fig and acacia.

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White Tailed Swallow . . . Wing 100 – 105 mm

The White Tailed Swallow was first introduced to science in 1942 when C. W. Bensoii reported it in southern Ethiopia from Yabello to Mega in short grass savanna with small acacia thorn bush. This endemic, related to the Pied Winged Swallow (Hirundo Leucosoma) of western Africa and the Pearl Breasted Swallow (H. Diniidiata) of southern Africa, is common but restricted to an area of about 4850 square kilometers (3000 square miles) between 1200 and 1350 meters (4000 – 4500 feet).

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White Winged Cliff Chat . . . Wing 106 – 122 mm

The White Winged Cliff Chat is a bird which is locally frequent too common in the highlands of most of Ethiopia where it lives in gorges, on cliffs, on scrubby mountain sides and in open country among rocks and grasslands; it is uncommon in the north. The Chat occurs usually above 2000 meters (6500 feet) and rarely below 1500 meters (5000 feet). Its preferred habitat in the country varies.

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White Billed Starling . . . Wing 151 – 165 mm

The White Billed Starling is frequent to locally abundant in the western and southeastern highlands, being most common in the north. Widely distributed in the country, it usually lives in association with cliffs and gorges near waterfalls.

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White Backed Black Tit . . . Wing 71 – 81 mm

The White Backed Black Tit, wholly black with a whitish mantle, is found in woodlands, thickets and forests in the western and southeastern highlands from 1800 – 3500 meters (6000 – 11,500 feet). It is locally frequent to occasionally common except in Eritrea, where it is uncommon.

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Wattled Ibis . . . Wing 325 – 380 mm

Because of its loud, raucous “haa – haa – haa – haa” call, the Wattled Ibis is easily recognized even from some distance away. A flock of these Ibises rising or flying overhead becomes especially noisy and obvious. In flight a white patch shows on the upper surface of the ibis’ wing, and at close range it’s tolerate wattle is visible.

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Thick Billed Raven . . . Wing 427 – 472 mm

The Thick Billed Raven, closely related to the White Necked Raven (Corvus Albicollis) of East and South Africa, is a bird which is common to abundant from about 1200 to at least 4100 meters (4000 – 13,500 feet). It visits many habitats including alpine screes, cliffs and gorges, giant lobelia, Chemilla, tussock grass, giant heath moorlands, highland grasslands, giant lieath, Saint John’s wort, bamboo, juniper, Podocarpus, olive and lowland subtropical humid forests. It is especially abundant at higher elevations where it is obvious and sometimes bold around camps, villages and cities including Addis Ababa.

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Spot Breasted Plover . . . Wing 234 -240 mm

The Spot Breasted Plover is an endemic usually found above 3050 meters (10,000 feet) in marshy grasslands and moorlands with giant health, giant lobelia, Alchemilla and tussock grass in both the western and southeastern highlands.

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Ruppll’s Chat . . . Wing 85 – 94 mm

The Ruppell’s Chat is one of the poorest known of all Ethiopian endemics and uncommon to locally frequent in the western highlands of Shoa, Gojjam, Gonder, Wollo, Tigray and Eritrea regions. It has not been recorded in the southeastern highlands or in the southern portion of the western highlands.

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Rouget’s Rail . . . Wing 125 – 135 mm

The Rouget’s Rail is common on the western and southeastern highlands, but its presence is not as obvious as that of some other endemics. Once one is able to recognize the bird’s calls, one well appreciates how common this rail is.

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Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco . . . Wing 180 – 184 mm

Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco is known in the literature from two areas in southern Ethiopia in juniper forests with dense evergreen undergrowth: one is at Arero and the other 80 kilometers north of Negele: both localities are 1800 meters (6000 feet) in elevation.

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Harwood’s Francolin . . . Wing 180 – 190 mm

Harwood’s Francolin has been reported from only three localities along about 160 kilometers of valleys and gorges within the upper Blue Nile system extending to the east and north of the Addis Ababa – Debre Marcos – Dejen Bridge; this francolin is a very poorly known Ethiopian endemic.

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Golden Backed Woodpecker . . . Wing 89 – 99 mm

The Golden Backed Woodpecker is a very uncommon, not often seen endemic of the Ethiopian highlands from about 1,500 – 2,400 meters although it has been seen up to approximately 3,200 meters (10,500 feet). It lives in western and southeastern highlands in forests, woodlands and savannas and seems to be more uncommon in the northern than in the southern parts of the country.

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Black Winged Love Bird . . . Wing 95 – 110 mm

The Black Winged Lovebird is the common, small green parrot of the Ethiopian plateau. It is widely distributed from about 1,500 – 3,200meter in the western and southeastern highlands and in the Rift Valley in forests and woodlands of Hagenia, juniper, Podocarpus, olive, acacia, candelabra euphorbia, combretum and fig.

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Endemic Birds of Ethiopia

The White Billed Starling is frequent to locally abundant in the western and southeastern highlands, being most common in the north. Widely distributed in the country, it usually lives in association with cliffs and gorges near waterfalls. It also inhabits moorlands with giant lobelia, Alchemilla, tussock grass and giant heath and highland grasslands: it rarely travels below 1800 meters (6000 feet). Its square tail and white bill distinguish the White Billed Starling from other Red Wing or Chestnut Wing Starlings. It feeds on the fruits of juniper and fig trees often in groups of five to 40 non breeding birds. It nests in June in crannies high up on sheer cliffs, sometimes in association with the White Collared Pigeon.

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Abyssinian Catbird . . . Wing 83 – 91 mm

The Abyssinian Catbird is one of the finest, if not the finest singer of all the birds of Africa, is frequent too common in the western and southern highlands between 1800 and 3500 meters (600 – 11,500 feet) in giant heath, Saint John’s wort, highland bamboo, juniper, Podocarpus and olive forests.

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Abyssinian Long Claw . . . Wing 83 – 95 mm

The Abyssinian Long Claw is very similar in both appearance and behavior to the Yellow Throated Long Claw (MacronyxCroceus) of other parts of Africa. They are common grassland bird of the western and southeastern highlands except in the extreme north where it does not occur.

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Banded Barbet . . . Wing 79 – 84 mm

The little known Banded Barbet is very widely distributed throughout Ethiopia between 300 and 2400 meters (1000 – 8000 feet). Although the numbers and abundance of this species have not been determined, it seems to vary from being uncommon in the northwest and cast to locally common elsewhere in the country, living singly or in pairs in trees near water.

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 Black Headed Forest Oriole . . . Wing 128 – 145 mm

The distribution, numbers, time of nesting and life history of the Black Headed Forest Oriole are not clearly understood because of the difficulty of distinguishing it from the Black Headed Oriole (Oriolus Larvatus). The two are separable by the color of parts of wings feathers, features that are not easy to see in the field.

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 Black Headed Siskin . . . Wing 74 – 80 mm

The Black Headed Siskin is common to locally abundant in tile western and southeastern highlands from 1800 – 4100 meters (6000 – 13,500 feet). Almost always in flocks, this little-known finch inhabits moorlands with giant lobelia, Alchemilla, tussock grass and giant heath, highland grasslands and the open areas of montane forests, especially St. John’s wort and Hagenia.

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Blue Winged Goose . . . Wing 325 – 376 mm

The Blue Winged Goose inhabits plateau marshes, streams and damp grasslands from about 1800 meters (6000 feet) upward. Pairs or small parties of three to five of these geese are common and easily seen at high elevations in small stream valleys and in pools and marshes in the moorlands where giant lobelia, Alchemilla and tussock grass predominate and where they nest in March, April, June and September.

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Western Highlands of Ethiopia

This region is known by its green forest area, more than any other part of the country, it is the lush western highlands, all rolling hills, neat cultivation and dense mountain forest, that subvert preconception about Ethiopia being known by a land of desert and famine.

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National Parks in Ethiopia

Here we will try to mention briefly, some of the most interesting Ethiopia’s national parks, those enable the visitors to enjoy the country’s scenery and wildlife, birds and mammals some which exist only in Ethiopia conserved natural habitats and offer opportunities for travel adventure.

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Ethiopian Coffee

Settled agriculture began in Ethiopia some 2,000 years ago. Since time immemorial, coffee Arabica has been grown in the wild forests of the southwestern massive highlands of the Kaffa and Buno district of the country. Ethiopia is the primary centre of origin and genetic diversity of the Arabica coffee plant, earlier known as jasminum arabicum laurifolia.

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Endemic Mammals of Ethiopia

Endemic to Ethiopia, Walia Ibex, formerly widespread in the northern mountain massifs, but now restricted to the Simien Mountains National Park, where it is uncommon but quite often seen by hikers.

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Walia Ibex

Endemic to Ethiopia, Walia Ibex, formerly widespread in the northern mountain massifs, but now restricted to the Simien Mountains National Park, where it is uncommon but quite often seen by hikers.

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Mountain Nyala

Ethiopia’s one fully endemic antelope species is the Mountain Nyala (Tragelaphus Buxtoni). The mountain Nyala is similar in size and shape to the Greater Kudu but it has smaller horns with only one twist as opposed to the greater Kudu’s two or three. The shaggy coat of the Mountain Nyala is brownish rather than plain grey, and the striping is indistinct. This elegant and handsome antelope live in herds of five to ten animals in juniper and hagenia forests in the southeast highland.

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Menelik’s Bushbuck

Belonging to the same family as the Mountain Nyala, the Bushbuck shares with them the family characteristic of shy and elusive behavior. Over forty races of Bushbuck have been identified, which vary considerably both from the point of view of...

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Ethiopian Wolf

This beautiful animal was once widespread over the Ethiopian plateau lands and was often observed by travelers with its fine red coat shining in the sun, making it easy to spot against the greens and browns of the grasslands. Its frightening decline in numbers is due not only to indiscriminate shooting, but also to outbreaks of rabies, which certainly decimated its numbers in the Simien area. In this part of Ethiopia it is now extremely rare, even rarer than the Walia Ibex, but it has another stronghold, in Bale, which the Walia doesn’t.

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Gelada Baboon

The striking and unmistakable most common of Ethiopia’s endemic large mammal species, with a population estimated by some to be as high as 700,000. The male Gelada is a spectacular handsome and unmistakable beast, possessed of an imposing golden mane and heart shaped red chest patch, which serve the same purpose as the colorful buttocks or testicles found on those African monkeys that don’t spend most of their lives sitting on their bums.

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Swayne’s HeartBeest

Swayne’s Hartebeest lives in open country, light bush, sometimes in tall savanna woodland. These are social animals and are normally seen in herds of 4 – 15, up to thirty. Each herd is under the leadership of the master bull which leads the females with their young. The territory is defended by the male; you may often see them grazing peacefully, with the bull on slightly higher ground acting as sentinel for his herd.

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Giant Mole Rat

Giant Mole rat (Tachyoryctes macrocephalus), also known as the giant root rat, plays a much more serious role in the ecology of the Afro alpine communities of Ethiopia. It is endemic to Ethiopia, where it is confined to high altitude shrub and grasslands in the Afro alpine habitat of the Bale Mountains (3000 – 4377 meter). Their present distribution may be only a fraction of their former range as a result of their specialization to montane habitats, which are shrinking, as well as to increased isolation between populations.

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