AWASH NATIONAL PARK
It is the oldest and most develode wildlife reserve in Ethiopia. It is even easy to access, situated 210kms (130miles) east of Addis Ababa. Awash national park occupies about 830 square kilometers (320sq.miles) of dry savannah in the middle of the rift valley. This hot, arid terrain climbs up to 1,000masl, with the exception of the peak of Fentale volcano, which reaches 2,007masl. The parks name comes from the longest river in Ethiopia: the Awash. It marks the southern boundary of the park by means of a deep gorge, then turns north where it reaches the inhospitable Danakil region. In the park’s interior, the river forms a waterfall underneath which it is possible to walk and enjoy the exceptional view of a great numbers and variety of birds. The park’s habitat features an odd riverine forest and interesting volcanic terrain. The impressive 3.5km crater presents a vision of hell, surrounded by remains of lava from the last eruption in 1820. The harar road cuts the park in to two. Hot springs are accessible by road in the northern part of the park. Warm, turquoise waters with a temperature of 360c offer a delightful swim. Among the park’s sparse vegetation, the palm oil trees stand out. They are highly valued by the Afar people who live in the surrounding area, because edible oil is obtained from its fruit. Not far from the main roads, one can see soemmering’s Gazelles & even the pale beisa oryx, with straight horns capable of spearing a lion. These animals have adapted to the high temperatures and scarcity of water by developing a physiological mechanism that allows them to increase their interior temperature. Instead of perspiring, they lose heat through radiation. There are also other mammals inhabited in the national park like: greater kuhdu, lesser kudu, dik dik, warthogs, Anubis baboon, hamadryas baboon, black & white colobus monkey, vervet monkey and many more. It is not easy to spot predators, but in the park there are lions, leopards, cheetahs, striped and spotted hyenas, golden and black-backed jackals, servals and wild cats. The spotted hyenas, the largest in the family, reach a height of between 65 and 90cm. they have a wide head, short bristly hair, hind quarters lower than the front quarters, and a long, powerful neck. Their coats are grey or yellow with black patches. About 400 species of birds have been counted, including some endemic species such as the banded barbet, the golden backed woodpecker, the thick billed raven and the wattled ibis. SIMIEN MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
It is registered as a world heritage site by UNESCO, located in the Simien Mountain, it occupies a surface area of 180km2. Simien means “NORTH” in Amharic, an allusion to the position it occupies in the Gondar massif, one of the craggiest in Africa. The park is interesting because of the uniqueness of its endemic animals, the beauty of its flora, and the majesty of its impressive landscape. The park, situated between 4,620 and 1,900masl, boasts varied flora with three marked botanical areas. The highest parts have meadows with little vegetation, characteristic of afro alpine zones. Here one can find the endemic lobelia rhynchopetalum, small groups of perpetual flowers, helichrysum, and the striking kniphofia foliosa. Of particular botanical interest is the Afrovivella semiensis, a small fleshy plant with pink flowers in the shape of little bells. This plant has been found only in the Simien Mountains and nowhere else on earth. There is only one species within its genus. In the park, there are three most colorful endemic mammals in Ethiopia: the walia ibex which lives wild at an altitude of more than 2,500masl, the gelada baboonwhich inhabits the simian plateax, and the Ethiopian wolf which is also found in great numbers in the Bale mountain national park. In the park, approximately 50 different bird species have been identified, among them a great many scavengers and birds of prey. Birds migrating from...
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