Simien Mountains national park 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 Ethiopia.

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 Ethiopia. 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, Head beanie 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 in Ethiopia.
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 side canyons.


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.
Lake Abijatta
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.
Lake Shalla 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.