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NECHISAR NATIONAL PARK @ ARBA MINCH. Bridging 2 lakes, it is one of the beter parks in Central Southern Ethiopia


Nechisar National Park, Arba Minch

Nechisar National Park - meaning "white grass" and officially called Nechsar in the law - is a very scenic and accessible park at a distance of about 500km from capital Addis Ababa and valued by many visitors as the finest park of the country. The city of Arba Minch, which means 40 springs, has several convenient lodges located on a ridge overlooking the park. The park measures about 51,400 ha and covers an isthmus (land bridge) between Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo, which is locally named the "Bridge of God". Park elevations range from 1108masl at Lake Chama and 1650masl at Mount Tabala, renowned for its hot springs.


Why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL cultural places Ethiopia is so famous for, and on top of that, you get to see up to 12 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a conservation forester. There is nothing similar on the market. As Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize tours in modules. Destinations Overview: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eathern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes will be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip for an incredibly low price!


About 15% of the park is water, the main water bodies being parks of Lake Abaya, 1160ha, in the North and Lake Chamo, 350ha, in the South are both rich in fish - particularly the Nile Perch and Catfish - and the Kulfo River and Sermale River. During the dry season, both rivers are less than 10m wide and 1m deep, but during the rainy season the water can rise considerably, inundating the floodplains and blocking access to the park.



Nechsar’s landscape includes extensive grasslands on the high plains, shrub and tree savannah in the hills and a very special Fig forest along the flood plains of the Kulfu River and the lowlands along Western Lake Chamo, where enormous Fig trees, Ficus Sycamorus, grow trunks of up to 4m wide and 30m high.



Mean annual temperature is around 21C. The highest temperatures are from January to March with daily maxima about 35C; November and December have the lowest temperatures, around 28C.  The average annual rainfall is about 900mm. The rainy season is from March to May with a minor period from September to November.


Mammals of Nechisar National Park

Mammals of the park include: Swayne’s Hartbeest, Burchell’s Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Guenther’s Dik Dik, Greater Kudu, Hippopotamus, Grey Duicker, and Common Bushbuck and Lion, Leopard. The lakes support stocks of Nile perch and cat Fish. Unique features Nechsar is named after the creamy white grass that covers the park in the central plains area. Hot springs found in the eastern part of the park and the "crocodile market" located on the northwestern shores of lakes Chamo are an added attraction.


Birds of Nechsar National Park

333 bird species have been recorded for the park, of which are 3 endemic: the Thick-billed raven; the wattled ibis; and the mysterious Nechisar Nightjar, Caprimulgus Solala. Other interesting birds are the Lesser Flamingo, Pallid Harrier, several Kingfishers and Storks, Pelicans, and African Fish Eagles.


Nechisar Nightjar, Caprimulgus Solala, Viewing Safaris

In 1990 visiting ornithologist Stafford cut the wing from a roadkill bird which he took home. Several years later he recognized the wing to be different from any other African Nightjar and it was the bases for describing the species in 1995. As there is only a handful of ornithologists in Ethiopia, and good visiting birders are rare, the area does not get studied much. Moreover, being a nocturnal bird, few birders get a chance to stay overnight to reconfirm the presence of the species, although several visiting birders claim they have, but no solid proof has been provided. Upon request we organize special Nechisar Nightjar Viewing Safaris.


Paradyse Lodge in Arba Minch is a beautiful lodge overlooking the Nechsar National Park.

There is a variety of choice of hotels and lodges in Arba Minch, several of which are overlooking Nechisar National Park, like the Paradise Lodge.

Enjoying the evening view over Nechisar National Park from Arba Minch. View from Arba Minch Paradise Lodge over Nechsar

Lodges along the ridge in Arba Minch have a fabulous view over the park with Lake Abaya in the distance.


Entrance Nechsar National Park.

Park entrance of Nechsar National Park.


Crocodile Farm, Lake Chamo, Nechsar National Park:

Tourist on Lake Chamo, Nechsar National Park Fisherman Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya in Nechsar National Park catching Nile Perch
Tourist boat at Lake Chamo Crocodile Farm Wildlife at Crocodile Farm, Lake Chamo, Nechisar National Park
Great White Pelicans at Lake Chamo, Crocodile Farm, Nechisar African Crocodile at Crocodile Farm, Lake Chamo, Nechsar, Ethiopia

Crocodile Farm, a mud bank and marsh at the shore of Lake Chamo is teeming with wildlife.


White breasted Cormoran, Crocodile Farm, Lake Chamo, Nechisar Maribou Stork fishing in Crocodile Farm, Lake Chamo, Ethiopia
Water lilly, Lake Chamo Reed and Cat's Tail marsh vegetation Lake Chamo.
African Spoonbill, ethiopia.

A swampy shore of La Chamo is called the Crocodile Farm, where always large crocodiles and Hippos are resting and feeding. Many water birds can be seen feeding and roosting among the crocs and on mud banks.


Riverside forest, Nechsar National Park:

4 m wide Fig tree, Ficus Sycamorus, along the Kulfo River in Nechsar National Park.


Above: 4 m wide Fig tree, Ficus Sycamorus, along the Kulfo River.


Right: 30m+ high Fig tree.

35 m high Fig trees, Ficus Sycamorus, in the 40 springs forest in Nechisar National Parkr.

Riverine forests along the Kulfo River are dominated by huge Fig trees, which can grow up to 3 m wide at the base and more than 30m high.


Best time: Rainy season or Dry season?

During the dry season, one can see the wildlife through the leafless shrubs and bushes. Plains Zebra, Ethiopia During the wet season, one can't see the wildlife through the shrubs and bushes when in leaf. Plains Zebra, Ethiopia

Left: during the dry season, one can see the wildlife through the leafless shrubs and bushes.

Nechsar during the rainy season: Beatiful flowers, but bad roads and less wildlife visibilty.

Above: during the rainy season, wildlife becomes invisible when grazing behind bushes with leaves.

The great question is, whether to visit the parks during the wet or the dry season. This is not easily answered. In the dry season, wildlife is much better visible among the leafless shrubs. However, it may be totally absent as is the case in the Northwestern parks.

During the wet season, the landscape is much more beautiful (left), but park trails may be difficult to ride or cut off by rivers, while wildlife viewing often is more difficult.

Some gorgeous flowers of Nechisar National Park:

White flowers Ethiopia

Left: Bitter Apple Nightshade, a common flower in Nechsar National Park.

Blue flower, Ethiopia Yellow flower, Ethiopia
Yellow flowers of Popcorn Cassia, roadside Ethiopia Mimosa, Acacia nilotica, a common Acacia tree in Nechsar National Park.

Yellow flowers of Popcorn Cassia, common along lakes and roadsides in Ethiopia

Mimosa, Acacia nilotica, a common Acacia tree in Nechsar National Park.

Blue Morning Glory, a common vine in Ethiopia Erect Dayflower or Bilateral Dayflower or Spiderwort, Commelina erecta

Blue Morning Glory, a common vine in Ethiopia

Erect dayflower, Commelina erecta, a common flower on the Nechisar plains.

Vine with beautiful yellow flowers in Ethiopia Yellow flowers, Ethiopia


Some of the famous wildlife of Nechsar:

Hyenas are common predators and carrion eaters in Ethiopia that not only live in the countryside, but also in the cities where they feed on garbage.

The most adaptable of the big cats, the Leopard lives on anything that moves, from antelopes to little mice.

Swayne's Hartebeest in Nechisar National Park. Plains Zebra, Nechisar National Park

Swayne's Hartebeest in Nechisar National Park is the second largest herd of this endangered endemic mammal.

The Burchell's Zebra, common in Nechsar, is a subspecies of the Plains Zebra.

Grant's Gazelle Nechsar National Park Guenther's Dik Dik

Grant's Gazelle Nechsar National Park.

The Guenther's Dik Dik is a very common miniture gazelle in Ethiopia.

Warthogs are extremely common mammals in Nechisar National Park. Female Grey Duiker, Ethiopia

Warthogs are extremely common mammals in the parks of Ethiopia.

Grey Duikers are common in Ethiopia, both in the parks and in the bush. They become easily semi-domesticated, like this individual visiting hotels and restaurants in Arba Minch.

Helmeted Guieafowl Nechisar National Park. Von Der Decken Hornbill Nechisar National Park.

Helmeted Guieafowl Nechisar National Park.

Von Der Decken Hornbill Nechisar National Park.

Kobi Bustards are common in Nechisar National Park.

Kobi Bustards are common in Nechisar National Park.

The famous Nechisar nightjar, Caprimulgus Solala, wing.

African Spurred Tortoise in Nechsar National Park Python swallowing Duiker, Nachsar National Park
Chamelion Etihopia

There is a variety of reptiles in Nechisar National Park, most commonly seen - after the African Crocodiles - are the Turtoises. Pythons are present but not seen so often, just like the elusive Chameleons.


This Safari tour takes you to Nechsar National Park, Arba Minch:



8 days. Price: starting at $890.

Day 1: ADDIS ABABA - AWASSA, ± 275km

  1. Stop at Lake Ziway for watching wetland birds;

  2. Abyjata-Shalla Lakes National Park to watch Ostriches and wetland birds at alkaline Lake Abijatta, including potentially Flamingos;

  3. Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary to watch the Swayne's Hartebeest. In this small nature reserve one almost can see the extremely rare Swayson's Hartebeest of which less than 500 survive in the wild, all in Ethiopia;

  4. Spend the night in Awassa.


Day 2: AWASSA - YABELLO, ± 410km

  1. Proposed Megado Podacarpus National Monument to take a look at one of the nicest Podocarpus forests of Ethiopia trees up to more than 1m wide and 35m high.

  2. Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary to see the endemic Stresemann's Bushcrow and White-tailed swallows, Burchell's Zebras and other wildlife.

  3. Spend the night at Yabello Motel.


Day 3: YABELLO - KONSO, ± 220km

  1. Konso tribal villages at Mecheke, including Konso tribal king's house. Konso is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site for its traditional landscape with terraces, its uniquely structured villages and huts and for their famous wooden statues;

  2. New York Village, so called after the vertical erosion formations that in the minds of local people look like sky-scrapers. In fact they are hoodoo formations of quartz minerals similar to those in Brice National Park in the USA.

  3. Kanta Lodge, a beautiful brand new lodge in Konso style luxury sleeping cabins and restaurant.


Day 4: KONSO - BUSKA LODGE, ± 130km

  1. Drive to Turmi to visit the Hamer People.

  2. Birding at the floodplane of Chelbi Wildlife Reserve

  3. Spend the night at Buska Lodge


Day 5:  BUSKA LODGE - JINKA, ± 140km

  1. Early in the morning, drive to the Mursi village in Mago National Park. Mursi women wear clay lip plates that they make from locally dug clay. The men adorn themselves with clay;

  2. game viewing Mago National Park. While wildlife stocks in Mago National Park are down, it is still one of the better places to see extraordinary wildlife;

  3. Sleep at Jinka Resort Hotel.


Day 6: JINKA - ARBA MINCH, ± 275km

  1. Long drive until arrival at hotel in Arba Minch, overlooking Nechsar National Park.

  2. If we can get permission from the park we go looking for the mysterious Nechisar Nightjar.



  1. In the morning drive to Netchsar National Park on the istmus seperating Lake Abaya and Chamo. There still is a herd of the endemic Swayne's hartebeests, Burchell's zebra are very common, greater and lesser kudus are frequently seen, as well as grants gazelle. Out of the more than 180 species of birds recorded, you have a good chance at seeing Secretary bird, Ground hornbill, different species of bustards, etc.

  2. In the afternoon we go on boat ride along the western shore of Lake Chamo to watch African Crocodiles, Hippopotamus and a large variety of wetland birds.

  3. Return to the hotel at night and if permission granted again look for the Nechisar Nightjar.


Day 8: ARBA MINCH - ADDIS ABABA, ± 505km

  1. Return to Addis Ababa. Alternatively you have the option to fly back to Addis Ababa at additional costs for the flight, which we would recommend as it is a long ride back to Addis Ababa.

The price of this WILDLIFE SAFARI ETHIOPIA starts at $890 and includes transportation, entry fees, non-alcoholic beverages, tee/coffee at meals, hotels.


Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 2 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for very comfortable, affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The second best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and than continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $25 - $35 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!


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