Bishoftu, at a glance

Bishoftu is a town located in the East Shewa Zone, and sits at an elevation of 1,920 meters.

Formerly known as ‘Debre Zeyit’ or the Mount of Olives, the town was renamed in the late 1990s.

40km south-east of Addis Ababa, five crater lakes surround the town, which are the main attractions in the region.


The five lakes

Bishoftu Lake

Lake Bishoftu, which lies immediately south of the town centre, is the closest to the rest of the town.

The lake is accessible via a steep cattle path, and is often frequented by tourists and locals alike, particularly during the warm summer months, where they have been known to swim within its water. 

Bishoftu Lake Ethiopia

Hora Lake

Lying one kilometre to the north of Bishoftu, Hora lake is the largest of the five, and is one of the most travelled with boats often seen upon the lake.

For this reason, it is not advisable to swim far into its depths, however there are a number of jetties along its shore with boats and captains for hire.

The price is dependent on the length of the trip, however a good guide price is around 40-60 Birr per boat. 

Hora Lake Ethiopia

Lake Cheleklaka

A fleeting seasonal lake that only forms during the rainy season (July-August) and slowly dries as the sun re-emerges from February onward.

Home to a range of indigenous birds, eagle-eyed visitors will spot the groups of pink feathered flamingos and migratory cranes bobbing in its waters.

These birds usually frequent this lake during the early months of the year, migrating to cooler climates as summer approaches.

Kuriftu and Babogaya

Found 1.5km further north than Hora Lake, these two lakes are the smallest of the lot, however the gradual expansion of the town into the wilderness - as well as a number of resorts springing up on its shores - means they are some of the most accessible.

Known for their year round beauty, these two lakes are some of the more popular, mainly due to the water park and resort found on its shore.

Kuriftu Lake, Bishoftu Ethiopia

Kuriftu Water Park

The 30,000 square meter Kuriftu Water Park is East Africa’s largest water park and the first of its kind in Ethiopia.

With a range of activities that range from wild water sports on the lake to idly lazing in the wave pool, the water park offers fun for all the family and is worth a visit if stopping in Bishoftu for any period of time. 

Kuriftu Water Park, Bishoftu Ethiopia

Ready to plan your Ethiopia adventure?



We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.



Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.



We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.

+1 315 636-4279