The park is
in the chain of seven lakes which run from Debre Zeit south toward Lake
Turkana in Kenya. The park is about 200 kilometres south of Addis Ababa,
and consists of two lakes, just to the west of Lake Langano. They are
particularly attractive stretches of water, and they are very different in
character to each other. The main interest is the extensive bird life that
the lakes attract, with over 400 species recorded.
There are a few mammals on the shores of lake Abiyatta, including Grant's
gazelle, warthog and oribi.
The water of
Abiyatta is alkaline and among the birds attracted to feed on the algae
are greater and lesser flamingoes and white pelicans, white-necked
cormorants, herons, storks, fish eagles, spoonbills, ibises, ducks, gulls
and terns. Surrounding woodland contains trogons, turacos and weaver
birds. In the northern hemisphere winter the lake is host to migratory
ducks and waders from Europe and Asia. Lake Shala is particularly famous
for its colony of great white pelicans, (about 15,000 pairs), ibises,
Abdimi's storks, and the white-necked cormorant. The lakes are important
breeding grounds for several species of birds, especially the pelicans.
Senkello Swayne's Hartebeest Sanctuary is close to the park, and is
administered by the staff. It contains about 2,000 of these hartebeest,
which are endemic to Ethiopia.
Abiyatta is the more northern of the two lakes, and is about 20 kilometres
across. It is shallow and surrounded by grass-covered shores and acacia
Shala is 260 metres deep at maximum, and it is surrounded by black peaks
and cliffs. There are two lots of hot springs on the margins of the lake.
One, Ghike is close to the park HQ at Dole and the other is further round
the lake on the southern shore.
Closest accommodation is at Lake Langano where there is the Langano resort
complex, Bekele Mola Hotel, which also allows camping, and Ghike guest
Ethiopia Tourism commission