EQST 012 Awash National Park and Doho Lodge
Awash National Park, 2 nights
Day 1: Pick up from the hotel is at 0730, and we then set off to join the Express Way, which will get us to Adama, formerly Nazereth, in about an hour.
We will stop en route at Beseka Lake, home to many water birds, including Striated (or Green-backed) and Black-headed Herons, Red-billed Teal, White-backed and Maccoa Ducks, and Common Crane.
Depending on how long we stop for birding en route, the 210 km drive will take about 4-5 hours. For accommodation we have the following choices;
The former Awash Falls Lodge is now closed, and for visitors who want to overnight in the park there is the choice of Kuriftu Awash Falls Lodge, which is comfortable and attractive, but pricey, or camping.
There are comfortable hotels with air conditioning in Awash town, some 10 km from the park gate, or we could proceed to Doho Lodge, a hot spring resort some 20 km from Awash town. There is a lake there, and hot water pools.
Driving from the park gate toward the Awash river we can expect to see some mammals, such as Beisa Oryx, Klipspringer, Hamadryas and Anubis baboons, Salt’s Dikidik, Grivet Monkey and others.
As the temperature subsides in the late afternoon, we can do a game drive. In addition to the species mentioned above, we may see, Soemmerring’s Gazelle, lesser and greater Kudus, Warthogs, Defarsa waterbuck, Colobus and Grivet monkeys, Black-Backed and Golden Jackals, Caracals, Servals, Wildcats, and if we are lucky Leopards and Lions. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in Awash National Park. The terrain is mostly a mosaic of grassland and acacia scrub but the Awash River flows through the area and supports some riverine forest in places.
Day 2: After an early morning game drive , we exit the park and drive east, crossing the main road and head towards Filwuha Hot Spring. This is a hot springs oasis where luxuriant vegetation flourishes in the midst of a lava desert that is home to the rare, restricted-range Sombre Rock Chat, which favours old lava flows. and some other bird life. In the cliffs behind the springs are colonies of Hamdryas baboons. The hot springs are crystal clear, and extremely hot – better to get in early morning or late afternoon.
If we are only here for one night, we return to our accommodation and set off back to Addis Ababa after a late breakfast.
Day 3: Our game drive this morning is at the nearby Alledeghi Wildlife Reserve. The main attraction here, in addition to the species mentioned above found in Awash Park, are Grevy’s Zebra and Wild Ass, both listed as critically endangered species.
After lunch at our hotel or in Awash town we head back to Addis Ababa.