Ethiopia's many national parks enable tourists to enjoy the country's dramatic scenery and its unique wildlife, conserved in beautiful natural habitats. Interestingly, Ethiopia has been very forward-looking in its provision of national parks, and has designated a dozen regions as protected areas for wildlife.
The Simien Mountain National Park
The Simien mountain national park was created primarily to protect the Walia Ibex. It is believed that over 1000 Walia Ibex live in the park. In addition to that, some species of the unique Gelada Baboon with its scarlet ‘bleeding heart on its chest,’ and the rare Simien Fox live in the park. Over 50 species of unique birds have been reported in the Simien mountain area.
The Awash National Park
The Awash National Park lies in the lowlands, striding the Awash River. The dramatic Awash Falls offers a magnificent sight in the park. The park is a reserve of arid and semi-arid woodland and savannah, with riverain forests along the Awash river. Around the park, some 46 species of animals have been identified, including Beisa Oryx and Swayne’s heart-beest. The bird life is prolific especially along the river and in the nearby lake Basaka. There are fine endemic amongst the 392 species recorded. The beautiful clear pools of hot springs serve as a point of special attraction in the park.
The Omo National Park
The Omo National Park is home to an amazing range of wildlife. This beautiful national park covers an area of 4068 km of wilderness bordered by the Omo river. Some 306 species of birds have been identified in the area, while large herds of eland, some buffalo, elephants, giraffe, cheetah, lion, leopard, Burchell’s zebra are common.
Nechi Sar National Park
Nech Sar National Park is one of the most visited parks in the country. It is situated between Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya in the Great Rift Valley. The park is located 500km south of Addis Ababa near the town of Arba Minch. With its fascinating backdrop of irregular hills, this park is one the most attractive national parks in Ethiopia.
The park is easily accessible. Clear hot springs bubble in the eastern part of the park. The park has extensive plains of game wandering roaming freely amongst 514m2 of dry bush and groundwater forest. It is also home of around 188 recorded species of birds such as Red-billed Hornbill, Grey Hornbil,l Fish Eagle, Kori Bustard, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill. Some wildlife to be viewed in the park include, Bushbuck, Swayne's Hartebeest, Burchell's Zebra, Grant's Gazelle, Guenther's Dik-dik, Greater Kudu, Crocodile, Anubis Baboon, Grey Duiker.
Mago National Park
The Mago national park is located on the eastern bank of the Omo River, and is one of the newest of all the many national parks of Ethiopia. It is situated in very remote region within the dense acacia scrubs, rolling grassland and deserts. The park covers an area of 2,162 sq. km, and offers one of the most magnificent wildlife sceneries in Ethiopia.
The park is named after Mount Mago, the highest point in the park rising up to 2528 meters. The park is covered dominantly with grass savannah, with a few pockets of forest around the river. There are several wetlands along the lower Mago as well as scrub on the sides of the hills.
There is a massive concentration of buffalo, giraffe and elephant, and over 56 other species of wildlife including lelwel hartebeest and in the area. Leopard, gerenuk, lion, cheetah, burchell’s zebra, Oryx and greater and lesser kudu can be seen in the park.