The Rift Valley Lakes – Zwai, Langano, Shalla and Abiata

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

Duration: 2 days

Location: Awasa

Day 1: We set off early down the Rift Valley, passing through Debre Zeit, and by the lakes of Koka and Zwai – if there are birders in the party, we will stop at Lake Zwai and head down to the lake shore where huge numbers of water birds are congregated. African Pygmy Geese, Yellow-billed Storks, Collared Pratincoles, Lesser and greater Jacanas, African Jacanas, White Pelicans, Fish Eagles, crowned and common cranes are some of the species to be seen here in impressive numbers.

At Lake Langano visitors now have a choice of hotels. First as you come from Addis Ababa is the Wabe Shabelle Hotel, after that is Sabana Lodge, and a bit further south Simbo Langano Beach Resort (the old Bekele Molla), opposite the entrance to Shalla and Abiata Park, and on the eastern shores, Wenney Lodge and Bishangari Lodge.

The last two are more expensive, but 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, very near to Bekele Molla, but further if we stay at Wenney or Bishangari, and 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.