Arba-Minch Crocodile Ranch
Arba-Minch Crocodile Ranch is located in Gamo-Gofa zone some 500km and 270 km south west of Addis Ababa and Hawassa, respectively,. Arba-Minch Crocodile Ranch is one of the biggest &the only ranch in Ethiopia It is situated at the south west shore of Lake Abaya and adjacent to “Nechi-Sar” National Park. The ranch was established in 1984 and it lies on an area of 3 hectare of land with the objectives :
To contribute for the conservation of the globally threatened crocodile population
To produce and export crocodile skins and meat to world market, and
Socio-economic importance of the Ranch
The establishment of the ranch attracts many foreign and domestic tourists in the area and it is one of the attractions being reason for the development of Arba-Minch Town. Apart from raising crocodiles for the commercial purpose, the ranch releases a certain number of grow ups to lake Chamo and Abaya in order not to deplete the wild population.
Chebera Churchura National Park
It is situated within the western trough of the Great Rift Valley, north of the Omo River. It is located between Dawro Zone and Konta Special Wereda.The distance of the park is about 475 km and 580 km from Addis Ababa via Jima, Shashamane-Sodo and 358 km from Hawassa through Shashemene-Sodo-Chida road. It is stablished in 1997 E.C. covering an area of 1190 km2 with an altitudinal range from 700 masl to 2600 masl. Its rainfall ranges from 1200 to 2300 mm and the temperature ranges from 10-29 degree centigrade.
The park is delineated by the active participation of the community-from local peoples to higher officials-and due to this reason the IUCN sent its congratulation letter to the Ethiopian Government.The majority of the park is characterized by undulating landscape in which high altitudes are covered by dense tropical natural forest, mid altitudes are covered by Combretum and Terminalia dominating grasslands and valleys are covered by riparian forest.
Chebera Churchura National park, the former controlled hunting area, by the name Kolo-Konta, aimed at hunting elephants, is untouched, an emerging and the richest wilderness National Park in the region. The park is memorable for forest habitat that are many storied, diversified, old aged and source of many springs scattered here and there. Besides these, the forest habitat is filled with many kinds of wild /organic/ spices including coffee.
It is a home for over 55 larger mammals and 137 species of birds. African Elephant (hardly missed by any visitor), Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Lion, Leopard, Waterbuck, Bush buck , Greater kudu and Warthog are among the common & conspicuous mammalian species found in the National park. Surprisingly ,a new fish species called Gara Chebera, which is an indigenous for the Country, is recorded.
The endemic White-winged Cliff Chat, the former endemic Wattled lbis, Black-headed Forest Oriole and Thick billed raven and many more forest dwelling bird species are typical of avian species of the park.Undulating nature of the land, mosaic nature of vegetation, existence of five small lakes make the park one of the best and unique tourist destination in the region.
Gibe Sheleko National Park
Among the National parks in the country, Ethiopia, Gibe Sheleko National park is the only national park nearest to the capital city of the country. The national park is found within the Northern side of the South Region at the upper part of Omo Gibe basin. The Park is boardred by Oromiya Regional State in the Southern and Western side; it is located in 174 km south west of Addis Abeba on Jimma road.
It covers an area of 360 km2 that ranges in altitude from 980 to 1835 m.a.s.l and it is one of the few youngest parks, established in 2001 E.C. by the South Regional State upon request and participation of the local communities. The Park supports a wide range of wildlife species. So far 17 larger mammals and more than 200 species of birds have been recorded in the different habitats of the park. These include Lion, Greater kudu, Hippopotamus. Bohor, Bushbuck, Leopard, Water-buck, Wild cat, Serval cat, Bush pig, Warthog, Common baboon and Monkey are the common ones.
The park becomes famous in harboring of a variety of birds and big mammals. Red winged phtyilia, White winged cliff chat, Wattled ibis, Thick billed raven, White collared pigeon are endemic and near endemic birds in the park; others are Double-toothed and Black-billed barbets, White-cheeked turaco, Malachite kingfisher and so on.
The park is fortunate in possessing numerous rivers, streams and hot springs which are reasons for the rich wildlife resources of the area. Gibe River is one of the features of the park bordering to the south.There are different perennial rivers and streams such as Ano, Wabe, Winke & Degosa rivers which cross the park and finally drain to Gibe river. Besides these, there are many hot and cold springs in the park namely, Luke and Jato hot springs, Zebegna-ber, Ener kola ,Jato cold springs in the park..
The prominent topographic features is unique & highly attractive and characterized by highly heterogeneous and hilly terrain,undulating to rolling plains with incised river and perennial streams, valley and gorges. It is possible to arrive to the park using Addis Ababa–Jima asphalt road which crosses the National park. There is about 70 km internal dry weather road to see the general feature of the park. Visitors can use the various foot paths available to visit the attractions in the park.
Loka-Abaya National park
Loka-Abaya National park, which is situated on the Northern side of the Lake Abaya, is located about 78 km and 353 km south west of Hwassa and Addis Ababa respectively. It is established in 2001 E.C. and found in Sidama zone covering an area of 500km2, out of which 52 km2 is water body. The prominent topographic features of the park are characterized by highly heterogeneous and hilly terrain. Large proportion of the park is highly undulating and rolling interspersed with different valley floors, purely drained bottom land and punctuated by different hills.
The park harbors a significant variety of larger and medium sized mammals in the different habitats of the park. The most conspicuous and observed mammals of the park include the IUCN Red list endangered species-Wild dog, Lesser kudu, Defassa waterbuck, Common Bushbuck, Lion and Leopard. It also shelters abundance of bird species, including Long crested eagle, Black kite, White-headed buffalo weaver, Red and Yellow Barbet and White-headed Vulture are among others that are found in the park.
In terms of vegetation, the National Park exhibits vegetation types that include wooded grassland and hilly scrubland. The wooded grassland areas are mainly dominated by comberetum and acacia spp. while the riverine forests comprise different tree species. The park has different attractions including wild life, lake, water body , hot springs that could potentially attract many national and international tourists. Besides, there is a great possibility to develop lake transport across Lake-Abaya so as to get access to Nech-Sar National Park and the surrounding areas. So that this route passing through park would have great importance to develop tourism in the area and could be one of the shortest paths to arrive to the very well-known tourist attraction sites of southern region tourist destination if the lake transport operation launched.
Mago National Park
The park is establishes 1971EC Mago National park is situated within the western trough of the Great Rift Valley, east of the Omo River, which stretches south towards the Chew Bahir Basin. It is located about 790 km from Addis Ababa and 575 km from Hawassa. Mostly, the park is situated in lowland environment with 1942 km2 area which constitutes mountain escarpments in the east and north boundary, and wide plain at the center and western part. It has an altitudinal value above 1541 masl and its rainfall ranges from 500 to 1000 mm as well as the temperature from 21.9 to 36.7 degree centigrade.
Mago depression and Tama plateau are responsible for the majority of wildlife species, both mammalian and avian species of the park while mountains land mark has breathtaking scenic beauty. The park is named after two major features, the perennial Mago river which flows from north to south and finally drain to Omo River, and the peak point in the park mount Mago, 1878masl. In addition to Mago and Omo the park has a third perennial river called Neri, which flows from east to west and drain to Omo River after joining Mago River in the center of the park Neri River.It is also the base for the park head quarter, these rivers, as a source of water are responsible not only for the biological and physical make up of the park, but also for cultural as well as touristic nature of the park. The park so far known to have 81 large mammal species, 237 species of birds, 14 species of fishes, 4 species of amphibians and unidentified species of plants.
Elephant, Buffalo, Lesser Kudu, Waterbuck, Lelewel’s hartebeest, Warthog, Leopard, Cheetah, Wild dog, Gerenuk, Guenther’s Dik-dik, Common bushbuck, Jackal, Spotted Hyena, Lion, Honey Badger, Colobus Monkey, Vervet Monkey, Olive Baboon and Patas monkey are among the common & conspicuous mammalian species. The former endemic Wattled lbis, Thick-billed Raven and Black-headed Forest Oriole, and the Unique kuri Bustard, Secretary Bird, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Purple-breasted Love Bird are among the well known avian species. Unlike other national Parks the park is surrounded more or less by five protected areas namely Omo National park, Tama and Chelbi wildlife Reserves, Murulle and Welshet-Sala Controlled Hunting Areas. The diverse mammalian and avian species residing in the park, the heterogeneous landscape, the nearby network of protected areas, and the cultural diversity of the area make the park one of the best and unique tourist destination in the region.
Maze National Park (MzNP)
Maze National park is situated in Gamo Gofa zone and located 460km and 235 km from Addis Ababa and Hawassa respectively. IT is establishes 1997EC and it covers an area of 202 km2 and lies in an altitude ranging from 1000 – 1200 masl. Its rain fall ranges from 800 to 1600 mm and the temperature ranges from 15.3-33.5 degree centigrade. As that of the Chebera-Churchura National Park the park is delineated by the active participation of the community, so that the IUCN sent its wel-come congratulation to the Ethiopian Government.
The majority of the park is characterized by plain areas which is covered by savanna grassland while riparian forest lied along Maze River. The park is known to have 38 larger and medium sized mammalian and 139 bird species.The park is known for relatively viable population of critically endangered and endemic antelope Swayne’s Hartebeests population, which is confined in three protected areas in the country. Orbi, Bohor Reedbuck, warthog, Common Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Greater kudu, lesser kudu, Anubis Baboon, vervet Monkey, Lion, Leopard, Wild Cats, Serval Cat are among the other common and conspicuous mammalian species of the park. Bee eaters, Crowned Crane, Saddle-billed lbis, different species of Starling, and Fish Eagle are some of typical avian species of the National park.
Nech Sar National Park
It is situated east of Arba Minch town of Gamo Gofa Zone, which is located at 270 km from Hawassa and 505 km from Addis Ababa on the main tourist route to lower Omo. It is established in 1966 E.C. with an area 0f 514 km2. It constitutes shores of the two lakes, Chamo and Abaya, trammeled by mountains landmark which is thrillingly beautiful. The altitude of the park varies from 1108 to 1650 masl. Averagely the temperature ranges from 28 to 35 degree centigrade and its average rainfall is registered as 900 mm.
Nechsar (meaning white grass in Amharic) refers to the central grassy plain which is always associated with Burchell’s Zebra, is the most striking features. The park so far known to shelter 104 large and small mammalian species, 351 species of birds, 25 species of fishes and more than 1.000 species of vascular plants. Burchel’s Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Greater Kudu, Waterbuck, Guenther’s Dik-dik Common Bushbuck, Jackal, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Lion, Cheetah, Serval Cat, Honey Badger, Colobus Monkey, Vervet Monkey, Olive Baboon, Wild dog and Caracal are among the common & conspicuous mammalian species.
The globally threatened Lesser-kestrel, Lesser-flamingo and Phalied harrier are among the well known avian species.The park is also well-known and unique for giant Nile Crocodile population, herds of hippopotamus and congregation of waterfowls evident on Lake Chamo.There is also extremely beautiful setting between the two lakes (Abaya and Chamo) found inside the park called ‘Yegzeir Dildiy’, meaning Bridge of God. This narrow land is the ideal place to view all around including the two lakes and the surrounding highlands.
Omo National Park
The Omo National Park is situated within the western trough of the Great Rift Valley, west of the Omo River, which stretches south towards the Chew Bahir Basin. It is established in 1959 E.C. with an area of 3566 km2. The Park is situated between Bench Maji and South Omo Zones & Located about 870 km from Addis Ababa, 655 km from Hawassa, 115 km from Jnka Town of South Omo Zone, through Shashmane – Sodo - Arbaminch Road. The park is named after the Omo River, the well known river which also marks more than 30 km eastern boundary of the park. Its altitude reaches about 440 masl. Though there is variation in the temperature range, the temperature being between 20-390 c, with rain fall up to 780 mm.
The park is typically characterized by comparable with other East African Protected Areas possessing herds of Elands which may be considered as the flagship species of the park. So far 325 species of birds and 75 species of mammals have been recorded . Eland, Tiang or Topi, Lesser Kudu, Cheetah, Elephant, Giraffe, Buffalo, Leopard, Oryx, Burchell’s zebra, Greater kudu, Waterbuck, DeBrazzas Monkey, Olive Baboon and Colobus Monkey are among the common & conspicuous mammalian species. Ostrich, the endemic Black-winged love bird, vultures, Secretary Bird, Hornbill species, Kingfisher species and many more other bird species are typical features of the Park.
The majority of the park constitutes limitless plains that are interspersed with few mountain peaks. The prominent plains of Sai and Illilbai, which resemble Savanna plains of Serengeti /Tanzania/, are responsible for the majority of wildlife species, both mammalian and avian species of the park and have breathtaking beauty. The park is diversified and most populous in its mammalian and avian species, and surrounded by network of protected areas as well as culturally diverse ethnic groups which may give the park huge potential to attract tourists.