The 887 km 2 national park named after the two Ethiopian Crater Rift Valley lakes -Abiata and Shala that dominate half of the park area. The park is located in the Southern part of the country and it is a tasty hors d’oeuvre before heading for…far more enthralling national parks further south.
Today’s virtual tour is targeting in taking the world or armchair tourists from all over the world to one of the most interesting southern Ethiopian national parks and allowing to see most places of interest.
The 12 km around trip from the main entrance gate could be covered by a private vehicle or walking and of course accompany by a guard for security. And it’s because of the ostrich farm next to the park, visitors usually greeted by the common Ostrich around the main gate.
Even though the main attraction of the park is the picturesque lakes and their attendant water birds, driving or walking through the acacia woodland covered park still provides interesting panoramas like few Grant’s gazelles, cute kids and huts of the locals who settle in the park and use it for grazing and cultivation.
Reaching at the viewpoint over the two lakes (Abiata-Shala) which are separated by a sheer 3 km- wide gleaming of hilly land, definitely offers one of the most captivating moments in exploring the lake Abiata-Shala national park experience.
Starting with Lake Abiata situated in the northern part of the park, it is a 200 km saline pan and no more than 14 m deep. Sadly this lake is facing a drop in its water due to various reasons. The positive effect of Abiata’s declining water level is the increasing of lesser flamingos who’ve been attracted here by the freshly booming algae population.
Continuing to the magnificent and of course the main attraction of the park… that is Lake Shala. Its 410 sq km surface sits within 3.5 million years ago collapsed volcanic caldera and its depth exceeds 266 m, and has been considered to hold a greater volume of water than any other Ethiopian lakes.
Another feature of the Lake Abiata-Shala National park is the sulfurous hot spring found on the northeast shore of Shala. It is a popular local bathing spot and since it is hot enough the locals use it for cooking maize cobs.
Besides all the interesting features of the park stated above, activities like trekking and bird-watching could be enjoyed by visitors. Talking about birds, Lake Abiata-Shala national park is one of the best places to spot abundant acacia related species such as sparrow weavers, starling, and horn bills and more than 300 bird species have been recorded in this particular park.
Welcome to the southern part of Ethiopia!