Posted By on December 20, 2015

Nechisar National Park

Nechisar National Park ranks in the experience of many visitors as one of the most beautiful places anywhere in the tropical savannahs. It is a small park of 514 square kilometers, located on an outstandingly scenic part of the Rift Valley floor between two lakes. The park is bounded to the east by the Amaro hills that rise to about 2000m. To the north lie the perennially red waters of Lake Abaya. To the south is Lake Chamo, a small- clear watered lake of 350 square kilometers. To the east is the town of Arba Minch, headquarters of the North Omo Zone.

Enclosed by the lakes and the Amaro hills are the central plains that, seen from a distance, appear white giving rise to the name nechisar (white grass). Extensive bush lands fringe these plains and there are several steep volcanic hills. Elevation is from 1,108 to 1,650m above sea level. A small but biologically rich ground water forest is supported by the high-water table associated with numerous springs along the escarpment west of the park (the name Arba Minich means forty springs). This ground water forest is the only one or its kind in East Africa.

The main rains are in March to May with a smaller peak in September to November. The average annual rainfall is about 900 mm.

Access: Arbaminch is 505 km from Addis Ababa, on an all-weather road. There is also a new standard airport at Arba Minch.

To drive from Arba Minch to Nechisar Park, many of the tracks are very steep, it is essential to use a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Nechisar was proposed as a national park in the 1960’s was the large number of wild animals still there and the fact that it was not yet inhabited by people. The central plains support populations of Burchell’s Zebra and Grant’s gazelle. Other mammals commonly seen in the park are leopard, jackal, spotted hyena, greater kudu, waterbuck, klipspringer, dik-dik, warthog, mountain reedbuck, and Columbus & grivet monkeys. Less commonly seen are lion, wild dog, serval cat, mongooses, bush big, porcupines and manysmall diurnal and nocturnal mammals – altogether 84 species. In lakes Abaya and Chamo there are hippos and crocodiles. In the park, 333 bird species have been recorded including 3 endemic birds; the thick – billed raven; the watteled ibis; and the mysterious Nechisar nightjar.

Boat trip on Lake Chamo is interesting and popular to visit the hippos and crocodiles.

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