What to See in Awasa and Bahir Dar (Ethiopia)

By | July 13, 2022

Awasa (Ethiopia)

According to SHOPAREVIEW, the resort town of Awasa is located on the shores of the lake of the same name, about 300 km south of Addis Ababa. It is the main starting point for traveling around the lake edge of the Ethiopian Rift Zone. On Lake Awasa itself, you can go fishing, boating or birdwatching.

A little east of Awas is the Wondo Genet thermal resort, which is famous for its hot springs and surrounding forests. Wondo Genet in the 20th century was a favorite vacation spot of the imperial family. In 1964, a hotel was built here with 40 rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a swimming pool and equipped thermal areas. The area of the resort complex is 54.4 hectares.

100 km north of Awasa is the most popular among tourists and the most suitable lake for recreation in this region – Lake Langano. This is the only lake in Ethiopia where you can swim without fear of contracting bilharzia. The length of Lake Langano is 18 km, the width is 16 km, and the maximum depth reaches 46 m. It is surrounded by the mountains of Arsi up to 4000 m high. The water of Lake Langano is brown. The surrounding area is home to hippos, monkeys, the African warthog and many birds. However, mostly tourists come here not to watch animals or birds, but to relax on the sandy beaches of the lake or go in for water sports. Here you can practice water skiing, boating, swimming or just sunbathing. Most of the recreational areas of Lake Langano are located on its northern coast.

West of Lake Langano within the vast Abayata Shalla National Park there are lakes Abayata and Shalla. Lake Abayata has an area of 205 sq. km, and Lake Shala – 409 sq. km. The maximum depth of Lake Shala reaches 250 m, while the depth of Lake Abayata does not exceed 15 m. The Abayata-Shalla National Park is designed to protect colonies of numerous birds, among which flamingos and pelicans stand out. There are so many flamingos and pelicans living on the lakes that from a height the lakes are a mixture of orange and white. Birds use Lake Abayata for feeding, and the islands of Lake Shalla for “living”. In addition to birds, the national park is known for its hot springs.

Southwest of Awasa are the lakes Abaya and Chamo. Lake Chamo has an area of 551 sq. km, Abaya – 1160 sq. km. They are perfect for fishing, as their waters are home to triggerfish, giant Nile perches, carp, catfish and tilapia. Lake Chamo is also home to several thousand Nile crocodiles, some of which reach a length of 7 m. The Nechisar National Park extends along the eastern shores of the Abaya and Chamo lakes. The park is occupied by savannas inhabited by zebras, gazelles, monkeys, antelopes, including the rarest species of cow antelope, as well as about 200 species of birds.

Bahir Dar (Ethiopia)

Bahir Dar is the largest city on the shores of Lake Tana. It is located 300 km northwest of Addis Ababa on the southern shore of the lake at the source of the Blue Nile River. Bahir Dar is the starting point for a trip on the lake: there are hotels and tourist offices where cruises are offered.

Lake Tana has an area of 2156 sq. km. Its maximum depth reaches 14 m. The largest river of the country, the Blue Nile, flows out of the lake, which is called Abbay within the Ethiopian highlands. The main attraction of the lake are its islands, of which there are 37. Orthodox monasteries were built on 20 islands in the period from the 11th to the 17th centuries. It is worth noting that most monasteries for women are closed. The most famous islands of Lake Tana: Birgida Mariam, Dega Istifanous, Dek, Narga, Tana Cherkos, Metsele Fasilides, Kebran and Debre Mariam. The monasteries of the islands are interesting because several Ethiopian kings and emperors are buried here. On the island of Kebran in the monastery of Kebran Gabriel you can also see a majestic structure similar to a cathedral, which was erected at the end of the 17th century, the monastery of the island of Dega Istifanous contains an image of the Virgin Mary of the 15th century, some scholars believe that the sacred Ark was kept in the monastery of the island of Tana Cherkos Testament, before being sent to Aksum. In addition, Lake Tana is a great place for bird watching. The most popular ornithological tours are arranged around the island of Fasiledes.

In addition to Lake Tana in Bahr Dar is of interest to the Wayoto tribes, who make reed boats and offer to ride them on the lake, and the Bezawit Palace, built under Emperor Haile Selassie in the 20th century.

There is a ferry from Bahr Dar to the northern coast to the city of Gorgora. The city of Gorgora in the 16-17 centuries before the founding of Gondar was the capital of the Ethiopian Empire. Unfortunately, most of the historical buildings of Gorgora were destroyed as a result of earthquakes that occurred in the middle of the 20th century. The remains of a Jesuit church and the palace of Emperor SuceƱos I, as well as the early 17th century Debre Sina church and the Portuguese cathedral, have survived to this day.

35 km from Bahir Dar on the Blue Nile River is the majestic Tees Isat waterfalls. The width of the waterfalls reaches 400 m, and the height is 45 m. The falling water forms huge columns of spray, among which you can often see a rainbow. The waterfalls are most full-flowing during the rainy season – from June to September. These places are truly picturesque – they are surrounded by humid forests, where monkeys and various bird species live.

Bahir Dar (Ethiopia)