Geography of the lakes
The Abijatta-Shalla National Park sits in the southern Omomia region, around 200 kilometres south of Addis Ababa.
The two lakes take up over half of the 887 square kilometres of the park.
Towering over lakes stands the highest peak in the park, Fike. Tracks to and around the park are constantly being developed, however at present four constantly interchanging winding paths bring visitors through the evergreen trees and into the heart of the national park.
Approaching from the capital you first reach the Horakello entrance, where the small Horakello stream flows between lakes Langano and Abijatta.
Great White Pelicans, Storks, neon pink Flamingos, Egrets and Herons are often found in the park. You will also see Ostrich in the forests en route to the lakes.
Swinging in the trees a range of endemic monkeys can be found, such as the friendly Colobus monkey, although these are seldom spotted. Most of the wildlife at Abijatta-Shalla is of the bird variety!
The Two Lakes
A craggy path leads to the shores of Lake Shalla, a geezer strewn shoreline, where hot steam vents send mists of vapor piercing through the surface and into the air.
Revered traditionally for its medical uses, the hot springs provide visitors with a well-needed rest after days spent wandering the fantasy forests that surround it.
Colder early morning visits to the lake are particularly rewarding, with the constantly spewing hot springs mixing with the cold air, sending an ethereal thick mist out onto the lake.
Across from Lake Shalla, lies Abijatta, a shallow lake surrounded in mystery. At about 14 meters deep through most of the year, the constantly fluctuating water level puzzles scientists to this day. Freshwater flows into it through the small Horakello stream, mixing with the hot water found in the lake, causing the clouds of steam that linger on its surface.
The mouth of the river is a source of relatively fresh water, frequented by water birds for drinking and bathing. The Lake is surrounded by gentle, grass-covered slopes and acacia woodlands, home to a range of endemic wildlife.
Accessible via the Ziway–Shashamane highway, the national park does not have accommodation on site. Camping is allowed in certain areas on site for the more adventurous travellers.
Most people visit Abijatta-Shalla while passing through the Rift Valley, either en route to the Bale Mountains, the Omo Valley, or heading back up to Addis Ababa. It's unlikely that you'll stay overnight in this region, as if you need accommodation in the Rift Valley, you'll almost certainly hit one of the lodges around Lake Langano.
Popular Trips to Abijatta-Shalla
Explore the national parks, rift valley lakes, and highland peaks and valleys that make Ethiopia a world-class birding destination. Boutique and Eco lodges place you in the heart of the action as you discover the extraordinarily diverse bird life that…