Rivers in Ethiopia

river in ethiopia

Ethiopian Rivers



Complete Listing of Ethiopian Rivers

Ethiopia is blessed with a vast amount of water resources along with very high hydrological variability. Though little developed, Ethiopia's surface water is very impressive.

Ethiopia has 12 major river basins, which form 4 major drainage systems.


Nile Basin


The Nile basin, which includes, the Blue Nile, Baro-Akobo, Setit-Tekeze/Atbara, and Mereb covers a whopping 33% of Ethiopia and drains the central and northern parts westwards.


ethiopian nile river

Shebeli-Juba Basin


The Shebeli-Juba basin, which includes Genale-Dawa and Wabi-Shebelle covers a massive 33% of Ethiopia and drains the southeastern mountains towards the Indian Ocean and Somalia.



Rift Valley


The Rift Valley, which includes, Awash, Central Lakes, Omo-Gibe, and Denakil covers 28% of Ethiopia and is made up of a group of individual interior basins extending from Djibouti in the north to Tanzania in the south, with half its total area being located in Ethiopia.


North-East Coast


The North-East Coast, which includes the Gulf of Aden basins and the Ogaden covers only 6% of Ethiopia.


Unfortunately, all river basins in Ethiopia except for the Nile basin face water shortages. Almost all the rivers in Ethiopia are seasonal and there are basically no perennial flows below 1,500 meters altitude.

Heavy rainfall often causes flooding, especially along the Awash River and in the lower Baro-Akobo and Wabe-Shebelle river basins.

Ethiopia is endowed with twelve massive wetland areas, eleven freshwater lakes, nine saline lakes, and four crater lakes.

The largest lakes in Ethiopia are mostly located in the Rift Valley, with Lake Tana and its Nile source being the exception.

Lakes Langano, Abbaya and Chamo are freshwater lakes and not endorheic but due to a decrease in outflow they are turning more and more saline.


ethiopian lake lagano

The rivers of Ethiopia, both major and minor can be classified by the direction in which they flow; flowing into the Mediterranean, flowing into the Indian Ocean, or flowing into the Endorheic Basins.


Nile River


Atbarah River

Mareb River

Obel River

Tekeze River

Zarima River

Ataba River

Wari River

Balagas River

Angereb River

Shinfa River

Blue Nile

Rahad River

Dinder River

Beles River

Dabus River

Didessa River

Hanger River

Wajja River

Gulla River

Guder River

Muger River

Jamma River

Wanchet River

Qechene River

Robe River

Dembi River

Walaqa River

Bashilo River

Checheho River


Lake Tana, into which flow


Lesser Abay

Magech River

Lesser Angereb River

Reb River

Gumara River

Adar River (South Sudan)

Yabus River

Daga River

Sobat River (South Sudan)

Baro River

Jikawo River

Alero River

Birbir River

Dipa River

Gebora River

Karsa River

Gebba River

Sor River

Pibor River

Gilo River

Akobo River


Flowing into the Indian Ocean


Jubba River

Shebelle River

Fafen River

Jerer River

Erer River

Ramis River

Galetti River

Dungeta River Gololcha River

Ganale Dorya River

Mena River

Weyib River

Welmel River

Dawa River



Flowing into Endorheic Basins


Awash River

Logiya River

Mille River

Ala River

Golima River

Borkana River

Ataye River

Hawadi River

Kabenna River

Germama River

Durkham River

Keleta River

Mojo River

Akaki River

Dechatu River

Lake Ziway

Meki River

Katar River

Lake Abaya

Bilate River

Lake Chamo

Kulfo River

Lake Chew Bahir

Weito River

Sagan River

Lake Turkana

Kibish River

Omo River

Usno River

Mago River

Neri River

Mui River

Mantsa River

Zigina River

Denchya River



Gojeb River

Gibe River

Gilgel Gibe River

Maze River