Awash National Park is a haven for wildlife and spills across 756 square kilometres of acacia woodland and typical savannah. This park is Ethiopia’s most visited park, and visitors descend upon the area to spot elusive cheetah, leopard, caracal, primates, and rare birds. Popular activities in the area include exploring the natural hot springs, game drives, and guided walks.
The park’s topography is a mix of volcanic landscapes, with one semi-dormant volcano dominating the region. This part of the park is one of the most geologically active areas in the world, and visitors are often rewarded with unique sightings of cinder cones, steam vents, and evidence of lava-flows. Visitors can spot cascading waterfalls and spend time birdwatching at the beautiful, natural waterholes in the southern stretches of the park bounded by the Awash River.
Awash National Park is located a mere 200 kilometres from the capital city of Addis Ababa, making it easily accessible for visitors arriving from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
Awash National Park is Ethiopia’s most visited national park as it is located only 200 kilometres from the capital city of Addis Ababa where there is an international airport.
Visitors to Awash National Park can stay at the only lodge inside the park. There are, however, a handful of comfortable establishments in the area around the park.
Awash National Park is a popular place for viewing an assortment of wildlife. The open savannah plains provide the perfect habitat for a wealth of plains game such as Soemmerring’s gazelle, East African oryx, kudu, Swayne’s hartebeest, and the minute dik-dik.
Primates tend to congregate around the riparian vegetation and tall trees flanking the river’s edge. Primates include hamadryas and olive baboons, grivet monkeys, and Anubis baboons. Birding on the plains and in the more waterlogged regions offers an opportunity to spot over 453 bird species. There are also crocodiles in the Awash River.
Predators prowl in the savannah region but can be elusive. There are African wild dogs in the area, but the count is low. However, visitors can expect to see serval, cheetah, leopard, caracal, golden and black-backed jackals, and hyenas.
Ethiopia has a definite high season, which is a great time of year to view the best the country has to offer its visitors. Optimal weather conditions for safari, trekking and general sightseeing are between October to June. The wet season is July and August, but the rains are generally short showers and don’t interfere too much with outdoor pursuits.
Awash National Parks hosts abundant activities, which highlight various geographical aspects of the area, while simultaneously offering plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife. For the fitness fanatics, there are plenty of hikes and treks available. Guided hikes to the Ada Edu caves often lead to hyena clan sightings. Another fantastic hike is up the Fentale volcano, best done during the dry season. Game drives offer a more relaxed way of exploring the vast terrain, and visitors can learn plenty about the fauna and flora of the area.
Tourists tend to flock to the Filwoha hot springs for a spot of relaxation. The scenery is exquisite, and visitors can expect to see plumes of hot steam rising from the water. A guide will educate guests about how the springs were formed, and point out the birdlife, which is plentiful. The Bishoftu crater lakes and Awash River waterfalls are often visited together with the Oromo people’s village.
There is only one lodge inside the park, which is ideally located on the banks of the river. The lodge is rustic but serves incredible Ethiopian fare, and visitors can arrange all trips from here. There are other lodges in the area, most of which are eco-friendly. Accommodation style tends to be thatched cabins - there aren’t any premier resorts and luxury accommodation options. Most lodgings are comfortable. There are also a few rudimentary campsites in the area offering basic amenities.