Abijata lakes National Park- Self Drive Trips : Car Rental Ethiopia.
Abijatta-Shalla National Park is one of the oldest Parks in Ethiopia. It is located 200 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. Abijatta is founded in 1963, in Central Ethiopian Highlands of Oromia Region.
The 88,700 ha national park protects Lake Abijata and Lake Shalla, separated by about 3 km of hills covered by acacia woodland. The altitude of the park ranges from 1540 to 2075 m, the highest peak, Mount Fike, separating the two lakes.
Abijatta and Shalla lakes together cover about half of the park and both are terminal lakes – that is, they have no outlet – but very different in nature. Lake Abijatta has several hot springs on the northeast corner. Lake Abijatta is a shallow pan, only fourteen meters deep, and its level fluctuates with the rains. The shores are unstable and saline, and vehicles get easily stuck.
Lake Shalla, on the other hand is 260 metres deep, being Ethiopia’s deepest Rift Valley Lake, possibly the deepest in Africa north of the Equator. It is an exceptionally beautiful and still largely untouched stretch of water, with several hot springs that bubble up by the shore. The lake is caught in one of the widest calderas on the continent. The water’s color is dark brown tea and with high concentrations of alkaline salts, making it feel soapy. No fish can live in the lake.
Activities of Abijata lakes National Park
Wildlife in Abijata-Shalla
More than 70 different animals are found in this famous Ethiopian safari park with regular sights like Golden jackals, Oribi, warthog, sild ass, grant’s gazelles, lions, giraffes, zebras, zebras and the rare Walia Ibex. It is an abundant park for safari game drives and game hunting.
Lake Shalla is the deepest in the entire rift valley. (260 meters (853 feet)., and fills the center of a collapsed volcano , It is exceptionally beautiful, with shores that give a scent of mystery with their hot sulfurous springs that bubble up and flow into the lake. Lake Shalla is nearly devoid of fish, and most birds will fly to neighboring Lake Abijatta to feed.
The four islands in the center of Lake Shalla are favoured nesting and breeding grounds for a variety of birds, with the great white pelicans notable among them. White-necked cormorant, African fish eagle, Egyptian geese, and numerous plover and herons are also common here.
Abijatta is shallow at about 14 meters with a mysterious fluctuating water level. Fresh water flows through 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. The dramatic black cliffs, jagged peaks and steamy shoreline speckled with bubbling hot springs is a stark – but perfect – compliment to the cotton-candied shores of Abijatta.
Birds of Abijata Shalla Lakes National Park
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 bird’s 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.
Best times to visit Abijata lakes National Park
The twin lakes Abijatta and Shalla are the centerpiece of Abijatta-Shalla National Park. The shallow, algae-rich Abijatta is home to big flocks of lesser and greater flamingo from October to February. Shalla is, by contrast, Ethiopia’s deepest lake and its main attraction is a group of steaming hot springs where local people gather for bathing and cooking.
How to get to the Park
The Abijatta-Shalla National Park sits in the southern Omomia region, around 200 kilometres south of Addis Ababa.
Approaching from the capital you first reach the Horakello entrance, where the small Horakello stream flows between lakes Langano and Abijatta.
Accommodation in the Park
Accessible via the Ziway–Shashamane highway, the national park does not have accommodation on site. Camping is allowed in certain areas on site for the more adventurous travellers.
Most people visit Abijatta-Shalla while passing through the Rift Valley, either en route to the Bale Mountains, the Omo Valley, or heading back up to Addis Ababa.
It’s unlikely that you’ll stay overnight in this region, as if you need accommodation in the Rift Valley, you’ll almost certainly hit one of the lodges around Lake Langano.