The Rift Valley Lakes – Batu (Zwai), Langano, Shalla and Abiata

EQST 013 The Rift Valley Lakes – Batu (Zwai), Langano, Shalla and Abiata


Duration: 2 days

Location: Zwai & Langano

Day 1: We set off early and join the Express Way, heading south all the way to Batu.

Zwai, now renamed Batu in Oromifaa, is some 160 km from Addis Ababa and has several hotels, the best being the Haile Resort. The lake, Haro Dambal, Zwai has great bird life, and one can take boats out on the lake for for hippo watching. It contains five islands, including Debre Sina, Galila, Funduro, Tsedecha and Tulu Gudo, which is home to a monastery said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant around the ninth century.

Lake Langano is some 40 km further south. At Lake Langano there is a choice of hotels, of the larger and better known are Sabana Lodge, on the western shore of the lake, and on the eastern shore, Hara Lodge and Bishangari Lodge.
The eco-system on the eastern shores is more interesting and varied than the western, and there are more birds and wild life.

Lake Langano is bilharzia and crocodile free, and visitors can go for a swim, walk along the shores of the lake or go bird watching in the forests along the lake shores.

Later in the afternoon around 4.00 pm we could visit Shalla and Abiata National Park, the entrance is near to the road east to Hora and Bishangari Lodges. After passing the tame ostriches at the gate, head first towards Shalla Lake which with a maximum depth of 300 meters is the deepest of the Rift Valley Lakes. We can stop at a look out point over the two lakes before heading down to the lake shore where there are a number of springs so hot that locals boil maize in them. We then head towards Abiata Lake, where by this time of day the lakes shores will be pink from the thousands of both lesser and greater Flamingo’s which feed in the shallows. African Pochard, Avocet, Gull billed Tern and Pintail, Ruff and a variety of ducks are among other species to be seen.

Day 2: We will spend the morning relaxing by the lake, take our lunch in the hotel and leave for Addis Ababa mid afternoon, arriving early evening.