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Nechsar National Park

Nechsar National Park

Ethiopia Trip To Nechsar National Park

Nechisar National Park (also spelled as Nech Sar meaning white grass) is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia.  Your Ethiopia trip to Nech Sar is takes you on a journey to the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) immediately to the east of Arba Minch, its 514 square kilometers of territory, includes the “Bridge of God” (an isthmus between Lakes Abaya and Chamo), and the Nechisar plains east of the lakes.

Park elevations range between 1108 and 1650 meters above sea level.[1] Nechisar National Park was established in 1974. The  Ethiopia Trip to Nech Sar is ideal for nature lovers and those who seek adventure! To learn more about this National Park  visit the links below.

History and management

As part of an UNESCO plan to protect and conserve nature and natural resources inside Ethiopia, a two man team of UNESCO consultants spent three months surveying most major wildlife areas in Ethiopia, and officially submitted to the Wildlife Conservation Board in 1965 their recommendations, which included a game reserve to the east of Lake Chamo to provide protection for the population of Swayne’s Hartebeest and other local wildlife. The Nechsar National Park was proposed in 1967, then officially established in 1974. Since then it has not legally been gazetted, but has functioned as de facto national park.[3] Following the recommendations of the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture recommendation, in 1982 the local Guji, who had been living as pastoralists in the lowlands beside Lake Abaya and Chamo “were forcibly evicted from the park at gun point”.[4]

In the lawless period at the end of the Derg rule and immediately afterwards, Nechisar suffered much damage. Park buildings located far from the headquarters were looted and damaged. At the same time, the local Guji returned to their traditional grazing areas. According to one source, they fled there from the attacks of the Borena Oromo, who in turn were victimized by neighboring ethnic groups, their presence degrading the environment and contributing to the local extinction of many species. The Guji also acquired firearms during this period, and used them to resist eviction from the Park afterwards.[5] In 2004/05, Refugees International criticized their eviction.[6]

In 2005, the management responsibility for Nechisar National Park was handed over to APN.[7] In consultation with the Ethiopian government and the SNNPR government they began attempting to address the problems with illegal operations in the park including the illegal cutting down of trees for firewood for Arba Minch, illegal fishing, illegal human settlement and cattle grazing inside the park. APN assigned a group of scouts to improve the protection of the area.

One of the major environmental concerns facing the park is illegal fishing operations on Lake Abaya and Chamo. According to Abera Adnew, deputy manager of Arba Minch Fishermen Cooperatives, “There are over 3000 illegal fishermen working on Lake Abaya,”.[2] The Arba Minch Fishermen Cooperative has attempted to address the problem but has faced much hostility from the illegal fisherman who depend on the fish stocks for their livelihoods. The problem is enhanced by water recession from the shore during the dry seasons and the volume has been diminishing in the last few years as tributary rivers were diverted for irrigation. A tributary, the Kulfo River, which once had an abundant fish population has dried out considerably during dry season. Some farmers in the park have taken advantage of the dry land on the shores and have begun banana cultivation in recent years referred to the locals as “soke”.

The fishermens’ association is licensed to work on Lake Chamo as well, but aside from conflicts with the fishermen, they have also faced hostility from Guji pastoralists. APN attempted to directly negotiate with the Guji communities in the park and according to the manager of APN, “We managed to have an agreement with the Guji people by the end of September 2004,” John Mark said. The federal government requested a formal letter from the SNNPR government approving the negotiation between the Guji communities and African Parks. But the regional government would not approve the negotiation. That is the main reason why they are pulling out” [2]

While Tourism has increased in the park in recent years, doubling each year from 5300 tourists in 2005 to 20,500 in 2007, in October 2008 APN announced that they were ending management of Nechisar National Park. In a magazine article reprinted on their website, APN claims that sustainable management of the Ethiopian parks is incompatible with “the irresponsible way of living of some of the ethnic groups”. African Parks added that the emphasis for resettling inhabitants out of the Park, rather than educating them to work with them, came from the Ethiopian government. APN was told that the Guji were an Oromo people, and “they belong in the adjoining Oromiya province, not among the Gamo and Gofa peoples of the Southern District, where the park is”.[8]

Geography and landscape

The important regional centre to the park is Arba Minch in the Main Ethiopian Rift. Approximately 15% of the park consists of lakes including Lake Abaya in the north and Lake Chamo in the south. Part of the habitat consists of the groundwater forest and shoreline of the lakes, but there are dry grassy plains, and most of the park is covered in thick bushland and the wooded valleys and foothills of the Amaro Mountains. The altitude ranges from 1,108 meters above sea level at the shore of Lake Chamo to 1,650 meters on Mount Tabala in the north-east, renowned for its hot springs.[9]

The forest between the two lakes and by the Kulfo river is dominated by Ficus sycamorus which can grow up to 30m tall. Extensive areas to the west of Lake Abaya were cleared in the 1960s and 1970s to establish large-scale mechanized farms for cotton and other crops.

The freshwater swamps at the mouth of the Kulfo River and in Lake Chamo are dominated by Typha angustifolia, tall waterside grasses and the small leguminous trees, such as Aeschynomene elaphroxylon and Sesbania sesban. Taller trees found in the park include Dichrostachys cinerea, Acacia tortilis, Balanites aegyptiaca and less common Acacia nilotica. The southern part of the park is domainated by edaphic grassland and a calcareous black clay soil underneath with Dobera glabra, Acacia tortilis and the grass Chrysopogon aucheri forming much of the landscape.[9]

Both Lake Abaya and Chamo have substantial fish populations, notably Nile perch, which forms the basis of the local fishing industry. Crocodiles inhabit both lakes and there is a crocodile farm near Lake Abaya. At Chamo crocodiles are exploited for their skins.


The park has a notable population of Grant’s Gazelle

Wildlife in the park include Plains Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Dik-dik, and the Greater Kudu as well as one of the last three populations of the endangered Swayne’s Hartebeest, endemic to Ethiopia.[7] A stretch of the northwest shore of Lake Chamo is known as Crocodile Market, where hundreds of Crocodiles gather to sun themselves. The park also has populations of bushbuck, bushpig, Anubis baboon, vervet monkeys, black-backed jackal and Burchell’s zebra. The endangered Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus once existed in the Park (with last sightings at Fincha), but may now be extirpated due to human population pressures in this region.[10]

Nechisar National Park is considered an important habitat for bird populations particularly those migrating. It has a noted population of kingfishers, storks, pelicans, flamingos and fish eagles.[11]

Other birds include Falco naumanni and Circus macrourus, which are fairly common on passage, while small numbers of Phoenicopterus minor have been reported on Lakes Chamo and Abaya. Species typical of bushland habitats include Phoeniculus somaliensis, Lanius dorsalis and Cisticola bodessa and the open plains support three species that are very unknown elsewhere in Ethiopia: an isolated population of Mirafra albicauda, the endemic Caprimulgus solalaand the rare C. stellatus.[9] The south-western corner of Lake Abaya supports one of only two Ethiopian populations of Myrmecocichla albifrons. Other species of note include Accipiter ovampensis, Aviceda cuculoides, Gypaetus barbatus, Macheiramphus alcinus, Chelictinia riocourii, Francolinus levaillantii, Podica senegalensis, Serinus reichardi, Schoutedenapus myoptilus, and Coracina caesia.

Bale Mountain National Park

Bale Mountain National Park

Bale Mountain National Park | Trekking Ethiopia | Balehageru Tours Ethiopia | Tour Ethiopia | Ethiopia Tour Operators | Ethiopia Travel Guide

Bale Mountain National Park

The Bale Mountains, with their vast moorlands – the lower reaches covered with St. John’s wort- and their extensive heathland, virgin woodlands, pristine mountain streams and alpine climate remain an untouched and beautiful world. Rising to a height of more than 4,000 meters, the range borders Ethiopia’s southern highlands, whose highest peak, Mount Tullu Deemtu, stands at 4,377 meters. Continue reading

MAGO National Park Ethiopia

MAGO National Park Ethiopia


Travel Ethiopia and visit MAGO National Park


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 and north of a large 90° bend in the Omo River, the 2162 square kilometers of this park are divided by the Mago River, a tributary of the Omo, into two parts. To the west is the Tama Wildlife Reserve, with the Tama river defining the boundary between the two. To the south is the Murle Controlled Hunting Area, distinguished by Lake Dipa which stretches along the left side of the lower Omo. The park office is 115 kilometers north of Omorate and 26 kilometers southwest of Jinka. All roads to and from the park are unpaved.

The major environments in and around the Park are the rivers and riverine forest, the wetlands along the lower Mago and around Lake Dipa, the various grasslands on the more level areas, and scrub on the sides of the hills. Open grassland comprises about 9% of the park’s area. The largest trees are found in the riverine forest beside the Omo, Mago and Neri. Areas along the lower Omo (within the park) are populated with a rich diversity of ethnic groups, including the Aari, Banna, Bongoso, Hamar, Karo, Kwegu, Male and Mursi peoples.[1]

The Mago National Park was established in 1979, making it the newest of Ethiopia’s several National Parks. Its highest point is Mount Mago (2528 meters). Indigenous bird life include the extremely uncommon Turdoides tenebrosus especially at Lake Dipa, Estrilda troglodytes in the rank grass along streams and swamp edges, Phoeniculus damarensis, Porphyrio alleni, Butorides striatus also at Lake Dipa, and in riverine contexts Pluvianus aegypticus, Scotopelia peli and Cossypha niveicapilla.[1] The park’s perhaps best known attraction are the Mursi, known for piercing their lips and inserting disks made of clay.

Travel Ethiopia to Mago National Park and experience nature at its best and the indigenous people of the area!

Simein Mountains Ethiopia

Simein Mountains  Ethiopia

Simein Mountains | National Park | Tour & Travel Ethiopia | Balehageru Tours Ethiopia | Ethiopia Visit | Ethiopia Travel Agents

Simein Mountains | National Park | Tour & Travel Ethiopia | Balehageru Tours Ethiopia | Ethiopia Visit | Ethiopia Travel Agents

  Simein Mountains  Ethiopia Tour
SIMEIN MOUNTAIN National Park consists of several major plateau divided by large river valleys. The western plateau is bounded on the north and east by massive escarpment, many kilometers long and over 1,000 meters high in places and cut along its length by steep gorges. The views from the top of the escarpment look north over the vast plains towards Eritrea.
        At their foot are the remains of ancient hills now eroded.


Three of Ethiopia’ endemic mammals are resident of the Simein Mountain. The gelada baboon is the most common of these, with an estimated population of at least 7,000 often to be seen congregating. By contrast the Ethiopian wolf is very rare in the mountains, with a population of no more than 50 individuals concentrated mostly on the afro-alpine moorland on the upper slopes of Bwahit, Ras Dashen and Kidus Yared. The Walia Ibex whose range is now restricted entirely to the Simienes, was poached close to extinction in the 1960’s, when just 150 animals survived.

The unique geological feature of Simein is described by Rosita Forbes, who traveled there in 1920s. The most marvelous of all Abyssinian landscape opened before us; as we looked across the gorge clouded amethyst… A thousand years ago, when the old gods reigned in Ethiopia, they must have played chess with these stupendous crags, for we saw bishops miters cut in laps lazuli, castles with the ruby of approaching sunset on their turrets, an emerald night where the forest crept upon the rock, and far away a king, crowned with sapphire, and guarded by a row of pains. When the gods exchanged their gets, they turned the pieces of their chess board in to mountains. In Semein they stand enchanted till once again the world is pagan and the Titans and the Earth Gods lean down from the monstrous could banks of wager a star or two on their sport.

Tour Ethiopia’s Simein Mountains and experience the beauty for yourself!

OMO National Park in Ethiopia

OMO National Park in Ethiopia

The OMO VALLEY  – Ethiopia Tour

Far to the south-west lies Omo National Park, the largest in the country, with an area of 4,068 square kilometers. It is a vast expanse of true wilderness, adjacent to the Omo River, which flows southwards into Lake Turkana and is one of the richest and least-visited wildlife sanctuaries in eastern Africa. Eland, oryx, Burchell’s zebra, Lelwel hartebeest, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, waterbuck, kudu, lion, leopard and cheetah roam within the park’s boundaries.

The Omo Valley is virtually free of human habitation but is rich in palaeo-anthro-pological remains. According to scientific research done in 1982 by the University of California at Berkeley, hominid remains from the Omo Valley probably date back more than four million years. Much of Africa’s volcanic activity is concentrated along the immense 5,000-kilometre crack in the earth’s surface known as the Rift Valley. It is the result of two roughly parallel faults, between which, in distant geological time, the crust was weakened and the land subsided. The valley walls – daunting blue-grey ridges of volcanic basalt and granite – rise sheer on either side to towering heights of 4,000 meters. The valley floor, 50 kilometers or more across, encompasses some of the world’s last true wildernesses.

Ethiopia is often referred to as the ‘water tower’ of eastern Africa because of the many rivers that pour off its high tableland, and a visit to this part of the Rift Valley, studded with lakes, volcanoes and savannah grassland, offers the visitor a true safari experience.

This Ethiopia tour is perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers!

Awash National Park

Awash National Park
Travel Ethiopia and visit Awash National Park!

When you travel Ethiopia to Awash National Park you will be visiting  the oldest and most developed wildlife reserve in Ethiopia. Featuring the 1,800-metre Fantail Volcano, extensive mineral hot-springs and extraordinary volcanic formations, this natural treasure is bordered to the south by the Awash River and lies 225 kilometers east of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Those who travel Ethiopia for the wildlife will be happy to visit Awash as the wildlife here consists mainly of East African plains animals, but there are now no giraffe or buffalo. Oryx, bat-eared fox, caracal, aardvark, Columbus and green monkeys, Anubis and Hamadryads baboons, klipspringer, leopard, bushbuck, hippopotamus, Semarang’s gazelle, cheetah, lion, kudu and 450 species of birds all live within the park’s 720 square kilometers.

Awash National Park is ideal for those travel Ethiopia seeking wildlife, nature and adventure.