Awash National Park in Ethiopia
The Way In
The Ethiopian Awash National Park is situated approximately 225 kilometers away from the capital city of Addis Ababa, which is a mere three hours drive away.
Located at the 190 kilometer mark is the main entrance to the park. Upon reaching the railway track which is a little before reaching the Fantale Crater (600 meters high and on your left hand side), you have already entered into the parks borders.
There is an option to take the off road track which is to the left, that leads to the rim of the crater or leads to around to the parks hot springs.
This might not be suitable for all. The easier alternative would be to enter the main gate and moving forward to the Awash River, which makes up the southern border of the park.
You will here find the parks headquarters which is located close to the beautiful Awash Falls in which the river enters this huge gorge. One can also go rafting here, which Is organized by the park to give you firsthand experience of the great rapids, the amazing wildlife and the rugged cliffs and canyons.
The park consists of well maintained tracks that navigate throughout the most scenic attractions.
The park guides are available for hire and will give you a clearer picture of your surroundings. Towards the southern part of the park is the Awash River gorge and its beautiful waterfalls.
To the north, expect to see the Filowuha or the hot springs under the shadows of relaxing palm trees.
It is in the lowlands of the country and the park has an east to west and south to north distance of about 30 kilometers, with an area of 827 sq. km. and it mainly lies at an altitude of 90 meters.
The parks southern border is made up of the River Awash which moves north away from the park and enters the Afar region, also known as Danakil. The park is mostly consists of acacia woodland as well as grasslands.
The Awash National Park is home to the Fantale Volcano which is located towards the center of the park.
Fantale is considered dormant with its height reaching about 2007 meters.
The park is known to be very hot with temperatures reaching upwards of 43 degrees Celsius, while the nights are cooler with temperatures reaching 10-22 degrees Celsius.
The park has an average rainfall of approximately 620 mm between the months of February and August.
The wildlife are a constant companion to the visitor at this park.
The most visible mammals are the wild pig, the Beisa Oryx, and the Soemmerring's gazelle, while by late afternoon the furry waterbuck makes its presence by the river. Towards the higher altitudes of the mountain you can see the Klipspringer and the hyrax, while towards the bottom of the gorge, the black and white Colobus monkey can be marveled upon.
The little Dik-Dik hide under the shade of the acacia thorns, while to the west of the volcano Fantale, you shall encounter the cheetahs, the leopards, the zebras and the serval.
In the rivers to the north, as the waters are cooler than the hot springs, one can gaze at the crocodile and hippopotamus. Other wildlife include but are not limited to: the Anubis baboons, the hamadryas baboons, the hippos, the reedbucks, the carcal, the aardvark, the kudus, and the large tortoise.
Through the use of a list obtained from the park's headquarters, one can see the large variety of birds inhabiting the park.
Approximately 450 species of birds have been recorded. The list includes beautiful birds such as the Abyssinian Roller, the Carmine Bee-eaters, the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, the rare Secretary bird and the easily seen Great Ostrich.
Birds of the ravine forest such as; the Turaco, the Coucal, and the Go away birds; birds of prey and the savannah are also at hand to watch.
Places to Relax
There is the main lodge which is across the Ilala Sala Plains, as well as, various comfortable and air conditioned caravans situated on the edge of the gorge, with restaurants and swimming pools for the weary traveler.
Near the camping site there are bars and museums.