SMNP has spectacular land
features, endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna.
As a result it receives international attention and listed as
natural world heritage site in 1978 by UNESCO WHC due to its
high, important biodiversity, numerous endemic species
(criteria iv) and outstanding physical features and exceptional
natural beauty (Criteria iii). SMNP in one of the most attractive
tourist sites and is an essential economic base for the tourism
industry which supports the livelihood of thousands of
Ethiopians engaged in various tourist related activities.
Location - Simien Mountains Natioanal Park
The SMNP is located, in the Amhara regional Government state,
North Gondar Zonal, 886-km distance from the capital, Addis
Ababa and 123 km from Gondar 13Nl,38 E lies between the
altitudinal range of 1900 masl to 4430 masl at Bwahit in
northern west of Ethiopia. More importantly, it is also located
on the northern edge of the Great Rift Valley, which passes
through Ethiopia and down to Mozambique, stretching over
6000 km. The mountain nature of the park together with its
surrounding high peaks gives rise to the name theRoof of
Africa The SMNP is endowed with unique landscape and
endemic animals, plants found only in the Ethiopian Highlands.
Climate - Simien Mountains Natioanal Park
The Climatic of SMNP is dependent on great altitudinal
variation and mountains landscape categorized by6 wet, cool,
and cold seasons. These climatic conditions are traditionally
classified in four major climate zones as Woina Dega
(1900-2400masl sub tropical climate) Dega (2400-3400masl
temperate climate) High Dega (3400-3700masl cool climate)
Wurch zone (>3700masl alpine).
Wildlife - Simien Mountains
There are 22 large mammals, 13 small mammals and 182 bird
species currently living in the mountains, of which 3 large
mammals, 8 small mammals and 6 bird species are endemic to
Simien Mountains - Walia ibex
The Walia Ibex is found solely in the Simien Mountains, usually
between 2,500 and 3,000m. They tend to live in groups and
they forage in opean spaces. The first record of the Walia was
in 1835 by the explorer Rupell. Local legend states that the
Walia came to the park with the saint Kidus Yared who used
them to carry his holy books.
Simien Mountains - Ethiopian wolf
The Ethiopian wolf is one of the rarest animals in the world. It
is also Africa?s most threatened carnivore. The closet living
relatives of the Ethiopian wolf are grey wolves and coyotes.
The Ethiopian wolf ancestor crossed over from Eurasia during
the Pleistocene period about 100,000 years ago, when sea levels
were lower and Africa / the Middle East were connected.
Simien Mountains Ethiopia - Gelada baboon
The Gelada is an old world monkey; not a baboon despite
previous naming conventions. It is the only living member of
the once widespread genus Theropithecus, and is only found in
the highland of Ethiopia. The present day distribution of the
gelada is limited to the steep escarpments and gorges that
border the eastern side of the central highlands and the
northwestern highlands of Ethiopia
Simien Mountains - Birds
Well known bird species include:
Watt led libs (bostrychia carunculata)
The thick -billed raven (corves crassirostris)
The tawny eagle (Aquila rapax).
Bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus)
Simien National Parks - Plants
Plant composition diversity refers to vegetation richness of the
SMNP. More than 1,200 plant species with diversified floristic
composition in wide range of altitudes are believed exist in
SMNP. About 507 species are identified and described of which
about 57 tree species are identified in and around SMNP and
over 20 plant species estimated are endangered. Out of 52
species of grasses 10 are endemic to Ethiopia and only 3 are
endemic to the Simien.
Simien National Parks - Rainfall
The type of rainfall in the park area is characterized as 1 long
eight month rainy season and a ideal hiking condition four-
month dry season. The big rains begin in June and last through
to September, after decreases with sporadic rainfall and fog. In
the SMNP there is a relationship between rainfall and altitude.
Rain increases with altitude up to 3,500-m altitude and begins
to fall again. This is because the condensation usually fails to
ascend up to the highest peak.
Simien National Parks - Temperature
The maximum temperature in the mountains is 15C during the
day and usually drops between -3 and 5C at night with the
coldest months being October, November, December, and
January. In the dry season temperatures can drop as low as
-30C at night at the higher altitudes with occasional snowfalls.
Between June and late September is considered rainy season in
What to bring whilest traveling?
From the beginning of December to the end of January, the
temperature drops from -1 up to -3 during the night while
during the day temperatures can reach as high as 25+; as a
result, we recommend you bring:
Sunscreen, Sleeping bag (three season at the very least),
Gloves, A long jacket, Other warm clothing, Thermal layers,
The temperature during the rainy season of June and July is the
other way round. It gets cold during the day because of the
rain and fog, whereas during the night it gets warmer as clouds
keep the temperature higher.Light and waterproof materials
are recommended at this time of the year since rain is highly
expected and besides this it is very important to have with you
those individual kits which listed below:
Torch with spare batteries, Small travel alarm/reliable watch,
Earplugs, Dark sunglasses, Spare spectacles (or lens
prescription), Detergent, Polythene bags Sewing kit/String
(clothes line/repairs etc.), water purification tablets, and any
Personal medication desired. Some hikers with minimal
experience occasionally pack altitude sickness pills if they plan
on summiting Ras Dashen.
Bale Mountains National park
The Bale Mountain National Park is located in southeast
Ethiopia and covers about 2,200 square kilometers. It is gate
way for thrilling wildlife and stunning scenery.
The park has areas that are covered with St. John's Wort, heath
land, virgin woodlands, and breath-taking mountain streams.
Mount Tullu Deemtu, the highest peak in the Bale Mountains
stands at 4, 377 meters.
The establishment of the 2,400-square-kilometer Bale
Mountains National Park helped ensure the survival of the
mountain Nyala, Menelik's bush buck and the endangered
Ethiopian wolf. This wolf is one of the most colorful members
of the dog family and more abundant here than anywhere else
All three endemic animals thrive in this environment, the
Nyala in particular often being seen in large numbers. The Bale
Mountains offer some fine high-altitude horse and foot
trekking, and the streams of the park - which become
important rivers further downstream - are well-stocked with
rainbow and brown trout.
Awash National Park
Located in the lowlands 225 km east of Addis Ababa, the south
boundary of the park is formed by the Awash river which swings
North soon after leaving the park and eventually disappears into
the Afar (Danakil) region. The Park covers an area of 827 square
kilometers, most of it lies at an altitude of 900 meters. In the
middle of the park is the dormant volcano of Fantale, reaching a
height of 2007 meters at its top.
Temperatures in the park are hot and can reach as high as 42
degrees Celsius. Nights are cooler with temperatures between 10
and 22 degrees Celsius. Rain falls between February and August
with an average of 619 mm. The terrain is mainly acacia
woodland and grassland.
The wildlife of Awash reflects its dry nature, at all places and all
times it is possible to see its population of mammals such as the
Beisa Oryx, Soemmerrings Gazelle and Wild Pigs are common.
Slightly less frequent are the furry waterbuck which tend to
appear near the river in the late afternoon. The tiny Salts Dik-Dik,
not easy to spot in the speckled shade of the acacia thorn, Zebra
grazing the plains to the west of Fantale, Cheetah, Serval and
Leopard are also there but it is not easy to spot them; Baboons,
both Anubis and Hamadryas, Kudus, lesser and greater, the Giant
Tortoise, Reedbuck, Aardvark and Caracal are also represented.
Klipspringer inhabit the higher slopes of the mountain and curious
Hyrax peer at you curiously from behind their rocks. In the bottom
of the gorge you can spot the black and white Colobus Monkey.
Crocodile and Hippopotamus are seen both in the Awash river and
in the cooler parts of the hot springs and rivers in the north.
The birds of Awash are numerous, over 350 species are recorded
for the park: (The check list is available at the museum at park
Head quarters). They range from the great ostrich, frequently and
easily observed, and the less common Secretary Bird and
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, to the flashes of brilliant pink which
are the Carmine Bee-eaters, and the Abyssinian Roller with
turquoise and purple, wings. And between these two extremes,
birds of the riverine forest, Coucal, Turaco, Go-away Birds; birds
of prey; and birds of the savannah.
The park itself is traversed by a series of well-maintained tracks,
which take in the most spectacular of the many scenic
attractions. It is possible, and perhaps advisable, to hire a park
guide. To the north at Filwoha lies the hot springs oasis in its
groves of palm trees. It is reached by either one of two scenic
tracks which start opposite the main gate on the far side of the
road and bearing right, progress either along the floor of the
Awash Falls lower Valley or along the top of the ridge. The Awash
river gorge in the south of the park has some spectacular
waterfalls near the park headquarters. Rafting is also a possibility,
one or two days rafting trips can be organized on the Awash river,
with its spirited rapids, wildlife, and impressive rugged cliffs and
OMO and MAGO NATIONAL PARKS (SOUTH)
Located at the southernmost part of Ethiopia, Omo National Park
extends along the banks of the Omo River. Unlike the other national
parks, this park has a rich wild animal reserve of big game such as
elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, etc. This park is
also home to the Mursi people, who are regarded as the most
interesting in the Omo Valley. Wearers of clay lip plates, this tribe
settled by the banks of the Omo River. The park offers wildlife and
virgin culture in one package.
Mago National Park is situated in the same corner as Omo National
Park and the two are separated by the Omo River, which drains into
Kenya. This park features the same wildlife as Omo National Park.
However, Mago National Park is not inhabited by Omotic tribes as
in the Omo National Park. The two adjacent parks can be seen in
the same tour package and are East African treasures.
Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Parks
Situated in the Great Rift Valley, only 200 kilometers (124 miles)
south of Addis Ababa, and in the Lake Langano recreational areas,
the Abijatta Shalla lakes National Park attracts numerous visitors.
Using Lake Langano as your base, it is an easy trip to visit the
National Park, which is 887 square kilometers in size, 482 of
these being water.
The altitude of the park ranges from 1540 to 2075 meters, the
highest peak being mount Fike, situated between the two lakes.
The network of tracks in this park is always developing. At present
you can enter at four different points, three of which are inter
connected. Approaching from Addis you first reach the Horakello
entrance, where the small Horakello stream flows between lakes
Langano and Abijatta.
It was created primarily for its aquatic bird life, particularly those
that feed and breed on lakes Abijatta and Shalla in Large
numbers. The park compresses the two lakes, the isthmus
between them and a thin strip of land along the shorelines of
each. Developments have been limited to a number of tracks on
land, and the construction of seven outposts. While attention is
focused on the water birds, the land area does contain a
reasonable amount of other wildlife.
Two different lakes in one park, the two lakes are both terminal
lakes and their beaches are unstable and saline, but they are very
different in character. Abijatta is shallow at about 14 meters with
a mysterious fluctuating water level. Fresh water flows into it
trough the small Horakello stream. The steam mouth is a source
of relatively fresh water, much frequented by water birds for
drinking and bathing. The Lake is surrounded by gentle, grass
covered slopes and acacia woodlands.
by contrast , surrounded as it is by steep, black cliffs and peaks
that reflect in its waters, is the deepest lake of the Rift Valley
(260 meters (853 feet). , It is exceptionally beautiful, with shores
that give a scent of mystery with their hot sulphurous springs that
bubble up and flow into the lake.
There are over 400 bird species recorded here, almost half the
number recorded for the whole country. Although the islands in
Lake Shalla are a real birds paradise, the birds fly to Lake Abijatta
to feed. Abijatta itself is very alkaline but shallow, so flamingoes
can be seen scattered over most of its surface, and especially
along the windward edge where their algal food source
concentrates. You can approach quite closely, but beware of
treacherous deep and mud if the lake is low. Large numbers of
flamingos gather here, together with great white pelicans and a
wide variety of other water birds.
Besides of the rich Bird life, some mammals can be spotted at
the Lake Abijatta-Shalla National Park, especially Grant's gazelle,
Oribi warthog and the Golden Jackal.
Hot springs: The headquarters houses a small museum, which
gives an excellent idea of the wealth of bird life in the park. A
further track leads on from Dole to the shores of Lake Shalla
where hot steam, mud and water bubble to the earth's surface.
Revered locally for their medicinal properties, the hot springs
have a sense of primeval mystery about hem, especially in the
cooler early mornings. They are relics of the massive volcanic
activity that has formed this amazing country and landscape
Other Attractions in the region
Other Attractions In association with the Abijatta Shalla Lakes
National Park is Senkello Swayne's hartebeest Sanctuary, some 70
kilometers (43 miles) from the town of Shashemene, and close to
the Chitu entrance of the park. The sanctuary was established for
this endemic subspecies of the hartebeest (Alcelaphus
buselaphus swaynei) which once roamed the plans of Somalia
and Ethiopia in thousands, but is now restricted to four small
localities in Ethiopia. The sanctuary is small but well worth a
visit. Set beneath a small rounded hill, over 2,000 of these rich,
chocolate colored hartebeest are packed into this area of wooded
grassland, along with bohor reedbuck (Redunca Redunca), Oribi
Warthog and many different species of birds.
NETCH SAR NATIONAL PARK (SOUTH)
This park is found near the southern end of the Rift Valley system.
Bordering the two beautiful Rift Valley lakes, Abaya and Chamo, it
possesses extraordinary landscapes as well as exotic flora and
fauna. The endemic mammal Swayne's hartebeest is exceptionally
found in this park. Lion, leopard, gazelle, baboon and other
mammals are also commonly sighted here. The two lakes in the
park are also home to exotic marine life. Hippos and crocodiles
live here in colonies.