Ethiopian Government to Lease National Parks
Ethiopia is in east central Africa, bordered on the west by the Sudan, the east by Somalia and Djibouti, the south by Kenya, and the northeast by Eritrea. It has several high mountains, the highest of which is Ras Dashan at 15,158 ft. The Blue Nile, or Abbai, rises in the northwest and flows in a great semicircle before entering the Sudan. Its chief reservoir, Lake Tana, lies in the northwest.
Most of Ethiopia has a tropical climate moderated by altitude, with a marked wet season at the time of high sun. The eastern lowlands are much drier with a hot, semiarid to desert climate.
Visitors with an interest in observing pre materialist cultures or in anthropology will find much to fascinate them in the different ethnic groups situated along the Omo River, with marvellous scenery, wild life and bird life as an added bonus.
A visit can be to Chencha, the home of the Dorze people, famed for their bamboo bee hive shaped houses and their weaving skills.
Further south are the Konso, noted for their intricately terraced hillsides and the wooden totems with which they adorn their cemeteries.
Along the Omo River a variety of different ethnic groups are found, such as the Arbore, Bume, Galeb, Karo, Hamer and Mursi, whose contact with the modern world has come only within the last two to three decades.
For a trip to the Omo Valley at least 8 days should be allowed. Some days camping will be necessary.
In the far west in Gambella, along the Baro river can be found the Anuak, Nuer and Misingir people. Gambella can be reached by air, or by a 2 day road trip.
Ethiopias troubles over the last few decades, including population displacement and wars, have taken their toll of wild life for big game it is necessary to go to the Omo and Mago parks in the south, or to Gambella, and even here sightings cannot be guaranteed. In Awash Park at Bilen different plains animals may be seen, including greater and lesser Kudu, Gerenuk and Dikdik. In the Bale National Park various endemic animals can easily be seen, such as Mountain Nyala, Simien Wolf and Menelik’s Bush buck.
African Parks recently signed agreements with the Ethiopian government to lease national parks, the first being Nech Sar in Southern Region. The agreements include plans for rehabilitation and restocking, but it will be some time before results will be seen.