Hawassa: Lounging Along Ethiopian Rift Valley Lake


Heading 275 km south of Addis Ababa leads to a tranquil lakeside city. It is the largest city in the Ethiopian Rift Valley, was once the capital of Sidamo region, and today it is the capital of Southern Nations and Nationalities People’s region is known as Hawassa. The Sidamo word Hawassa represents – extensive natural suitable for grazing – and the city is indeed affectionate.


Hawassa city situated at 1685 m in the Rift Valley and the main attraction of the city is the remarkable Rift Valley Lake that it embraces and known as Lake Hawassa. The 9000 ha prolonged lake set in an ancient volcanic caldera, is the smallest in the Ethiopian Rift Valley and it is nowhere more than 22 m deep.


This virtual tour is to strolling the dyke runs along the shore of Hawassa, which is covered with dense scrub and woodland. The dyke built to prevent flooding when the lake rises but at the same time serves as a good walking trajectory.


The footpath not only offers different kinds of spectacular scenes of the lake and the mountain behind it, rather the little traditional coffee shops and fresh fish eateries which are situated along the way offers the most harmonious atmosphere and an exciting opportunity for someone who really wants to experience Hawassa or part of ETHIOPIA besides the beautiful Ethiopian Rift Valley lake.


Starting by little traditional coffee shops adorned with traditional accessories – miniature archetypical of Ethiopia and Southern Ethiopian culture – are cozy and makes you feel at home in their very own unique ways. It is one of the best places in town to experience Sidamo Coffee in its own glory by the lakeside of Hawassa.


One couldn’t help noticing the interesting and entertaining Hawassa kids who sell traditional stuff along the footpath. Besides the eye catching sunhat they are wearing and selling at the same time, they offer different kinds of unique traditional accessories like spoon made of horn, traditional toothbrush (Miswak) and the colorful basket which Ethiopians use for shopping at the Market and it is called Zembil.


Getting back to the lake panoramas while strolling the dyke or sitting at one of the traditional coffee shops sipping the world’s greatest coffee brings beautiful water-birds, Hippos in a distance and of course fishermen on their unsinkable papyrus Tankwas (canoe).


Since Lake Hawassa teeming with tilapia, catfish and barbus, the tantalizing smell of fried fish that comes out of little fish eateries is another interesting feature that literally actuates visitors to stop for a while from walking along Lake Hawassa. The interesting fish frying pan, the prowling Marabous and the overall process of serving delicious fresh fish straight from the lake is so mesmerizing.


These little fish eateries do serve different kinds of fish related dishes which are admired by the locals like fish soup, raw fish, fried fish and so on. The delicious fried fish comes with the famous traditional Welaita convoy which is made of red chilli pepper, garlic and salt. The home baked corn bread really perfects the dishes they serve… So Delicious!


All in all, this is the place where the locals drink traditional coffee, eat fresh delicious fish, hangout, or drink beer, and watch the sunset disappear over the beautiful Lake Hawassa…


…and all this makes it one of the authentic places in Hawassa where a visitor can truly discover and experience ETHIOPIA!

About Sara Genene

I am a traveler... on an endless journey of self-discovery!
This entry was posted in Addis Ababa, Adventure, Africa, Birds, Coffee, Culture and Tradition, Ethiopia, Ethnic Food, Food Travel, Landscape, Nature, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Hawassa: Lounging Along Ethiopian Rift Valley Lake

  1. Reblogged this on morselsandscraps and commented:
    This is one of my favourite blogs. Of course I can’t remember how I came across it, but I’m delighted by every post. Ethiopia has a place in
    the history of my family. My mother-in-law was there, under fire, playing scrabble, singing hymns and protected by a mattress at the beginning of her adventuring with a missionary society in the 1970s.
    And then in the early 2000s my daughter adventured there on a push bike, en route to study in Jordan. Sara’s blog enables me, not so adventurous, to armchair travel in the footsteps of these two intrepid women.


  2. scblog says:

    An impeccable once in a lifetime virtual journey of Hawassa. So proud of you!


  3. This looks like a lovely place…thanks for showing it to us. (Suzanne)


  4. Mike Pratt says:

    Wonderful documentation of the area Sara! Looks very photogenic here, with so much to see.


  5. Tigist says:

    Thank you so much for taking your time to post this amazing picture. I really cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate your blog. I am so proud of you and hope you will continue.


  6. annetbell says:

    Many thanks for the follow. I hope you will visit again soon an often. You have great pictures!


  7. linda says:

    Of all your posts,this was the one that made me want to jump on a plane and go!!! Because of health issues,my world travelling days are over.However,your photos and commentary really bring this place to life!


  8. Tariku says:

    Tadias, Sara, how’ve you been, sister? Woow, you’re back with great pictures. Hawassa looks beautiful. I don’t mind about Fish, but the one with the chilli-sauce says, “eat me, eat me”. Thanks!


  9. Hi Sara ,astonishing post.The pictures are very touchy.A place l would like to spend few days.Blessings.jalal


  10. Violet says:

    I feel like I just went on a tour to Hawassa! I’m going to have to go there one day and follow your exact descriptions. 🙂 Thank you for another wonderful journey into Ethiopia, Sara!!


  11. sunnyamina says:

    I remember visiting Somalia and seeing those white/purple/green straw mats everywhere! We took one home but God it left such a mess; but it was still beautiful 🙂


  12. So surprising. I would never has thought Ethiopia would have beautiful waterways like this. And I love those straw hats.


  13. Nadyess says:

    Beautiful pictures and it looks like a wonderful place. I`’m glad you found my blog so I could discover yours too! 🙂 And you’re also a follower richer now ’cause I don`t want to miss you great posts! Also thank you for following my blog! 🙂 Have a great and blessed weekend!


  14. Pingback: A Historic Italian Car in Ethiopia | Ethiopian Wanderlust

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