Awash National Park
Awash National Park

Awash National Park: The park was primarily created because of its range of larger wildlife species, particularly with a special emphasis to the fascinating number of Beisa Oryx and natural beauty of the area as a major tourist attraction.

Location: the park is located in the northern part of the Great Rift Valley at the point where the rift widens out into the Afar depression. Both Oromia and Afar regions encompass the park boundary. Its altitude ranges between 750-2007m asl (at the summit of Mt. Fantalle). The head quarter is situated at a place called ‘Gottu’, which is 215 km east of Addis Ababa.

Rainy season: there are two distinct rainy seasons: the “small” rain and the “big” rain. The small rain usually begins in February and extends to the end of April, and the big rains occur from July through September. The average annual rainfall of the park and its surrounding is about 570 mm.

Temperature: The maximum and minimum temperature ranges between 320C and 420C, and between 9.60C and 220C respectively. From late October through January is the period of the lowest monthly daytime and nighttime temperatures.

Ecological zone: Rift Valley.

Vegetation types: grassland, woodland, thorn- bush-woodland, gallery forest, vegetation on steep slopes and vegetation on lava.

Major wildlife species: include Beisa oryx, Soemmerring’s gazelle, Greater kudu, Lesser kudu, Salt’s dikdik, Defassa waterbuck, Mountain reedbuck and Common bushbuck.

Other wild animals: Lion, Leopard, Striped hyena, Black backed jackal, Common jackal, Bat-eared fox, Serval cat, Caracal and warthog. The park is also known to support various primate species such as Guereza, Vervet monkey, Anubis baboon, Hamadryas baboon and the hybrid of Hamadryas and Anubis baboon. No endemic mammal recorded.

Bird species: include Banded barbet, Golden-backed woodpecker, White-winged cliff-chat, Thick-billed raven, White-billed starling, Secretary bird, bustards and storks.

Major physical/geological features: Being in a zone of interface between two tectonic mega structures, the African and Somali plates, the park occurs in one of the most geologically active regions; this is marked by Fantalle Crater, Filwoha hot springs and Lake Basaka nearby. Awash River with its waterfall and gorges is scenic features of the park.

People around the park: Karayu, Ittu and Afar.

Touring sites: Worth making game derives to all attraction sites as most of the roads are accessible to, especially, 4-wheel-drive vehicle.

Ilala-Sala plain: it’s an extensive plain greatly supports herds of Oryx and Soemmerring’s gazelle.

Around Gotu Head Quarter: there is an opportunity of seeing Lesser kudu, Anubis baboon, Defassa waterbuck and Grivet monkey along the river.

Anywhere among shrubs of the park: Lesser kudu, Warthog and Salt’s dikdik can be seen.

Kudu valley: It’s a site where Greater kudu can be seen. Also, it can be occasionally seen along the Awash River.

The Filwuha Hot Springs: it is located in the northern part of the park. This area is visited to relax with the sparkling blue-green pools, which is even pleasant to swim in. Along the escarpment Doum palm forest can be overlooked. Here, Hamadryas baboon, Defassa waterbuck and crocodile can be sighted frequently.

The Awash River: the second longest river within the country; it is of about 1200km long. It originates from the highland near Ginchi, west of Addis, and flows through the Rift valley until it reaches the Afar Triangle and ends in the heart of the Afar depression in Lake Abe. The river offers beautiful scenery including its spectacular waterfalls, gorges and riverine forest, and it contains crocodile, hippo and aquatic birds that catch the glimpse of the tourists as well.

Mount Fantale: the crater of Mt. Fantalle is one of a fascinating geologic feature in the park. Its height is 2007m above sea level. The active steams rising from the crater is more visible in the early morning and late afternoons. Here is a right place to view Mountain reedbuck and Klipspringer.

Museum: offers general information on wildlife of the park and displays of mounted collections.
Outside the park: The lake Beseka: it is near the park and adjacent to Metehara town. The lake supports varieties of aquatic birds, including crocodile.