Awash National Park
Located in the Semi-Arid lowlands 225 Km east of Addis Ababa, the South boundary of the park is formed by the Awash River which swings north soon after leaving the park and eventually disappears in to the Afar (Danakil) region in Lake Abe near the Ethio-Djibouti border. The park covers an area of 827 Km2; most of it lies an altitude of 900 meters. In the middle of the park is the dormant volcano of Fantale, reaches a height of 2007 meters at its top.
Temperatures in the park are hot and can reach as high as 420c. Nights are cooler with temperatures between 100c and 220c.
The wildlife of Awash reflects its dry nature, at all places and all times it is possible to see its populations of mammals such as Beisa Oryx, Soemmerrings Gazelle and Wild Pigs are common. Slightly less frequent are the furry water Bucks which tend to appear near the river in the late afternoon. The tiny Salts Dik-DiK, not easy to spot in the speckled shade of the acacia thorn, Zebra grazing the plains to the west of Fantale, Cheetah, Serval and Leopard are also there but it is not easy to spot them.
Baboons, both Anubis and hamadryas, Kudus, lesser and greater the Giant Tortoise, Reedbuck, Aardvark and Caracal are also represented. Klipspringers inhabit the higher slopes of the mountain and curious rock Hyrax peer at you curiously from behind.
Their rocks in the bottom of the gorge you can spot the black and white Columbus Monkey. Crocodiles and Hippopotamus are seen both in the Awash River and in the cooler parts of the hot springs and rivers in the north. The birds of Awash are numerous; over 350 species are recorded for the park: (The checklist is available at the museum at Park Head Quarters). They range the great Ostrich, frequently and easily observed, and the less common Secretary bird and Abyssinian Ground Horn bill, to the flashes of the brilliant pink which are the carmine Bee-eaters, and the Abyssinian Roller with turquoise and purple, wings. And between these two extremes, birds of riverine forest, Coucal, Turaco, Go- away Birds, Birds of prey; birds of the Savannah, and 6 of the endemic Birds of Ethiopia are found I this park. The park itself is traversed by a series of well-maintained tracks, which take in the most spectacular of the many panoramic attractions. It is possible, and perhaps advisable, to hire a park guide. To the North at Filwoha lies the hot springs oasis its groves of palm trees. The Awash River gorge in the south of the park has some spectacular waterfalls near the park headquarters. Rafting is also a possibility, one or two days rafting trips can be organized on the Awash River, with its spirited rapids, wildlife, and impressive rugged cliffs and side canyons.