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The Gambella National Park is one of the few parks in the country that has not been visited so much by tourists and this makes it an exciting place for you to visit since it has the much needed peace that you find in the wild. It is located in an extremely remote area in Ethiopia and it is surrounded by swamps which act as habitats for some wild animals and birds. The Park was majorly created so that the big animals like giraffes, lions, elephants had a proper protection.
The Gambella region was originally operated by the British but later on the Italians took over after overthrowing them. The route that passes through the Gambella was used to export Ethiopian coffee to the outside world and they even constructed a port where all the transactions took place from. When you get to Gambella, the port is now in shambles but you can still get a close look and take a photo or two to remember how the old Gambella looked like. The old port has several warehouse that can still be seen standing and your tour guide can take you to them and you explore them both the outside and the inside.
Best time to visit Gambella National Park
The best time for one to visit Gambella National Park is during the dry season. You will be able to see the different animals during this period as they move around the park in search of pasture and water and the roads during this time are accessible which eases moving around the park easily.
The wet season is not the best time to visit the park due to the heavy rains which cause flooding on some routes causing them to be cut off. And trekking is also affected during this period because the trek trails are always too muddy and you cannot carry out trekking when the routs are so muddy. Before you try to visit the park you need to first find out whether the park is accessible during that exact period so that you are not disappointed after reaching its gates.
How To Get To Gambella National Park
Transportation to and within Gambella National Park is not easy as the only available cars used to transport tourists are old and might get a fault before you reach your destination and that is why you should book with us so that we get you the best transportation facilities in the region.
Game viewing in Gambella National Park
Gambella National Park has a wide number of mammals that are found in the Park and these stay bin their different habitats but the park has seen a great reduction in the number of animals due to the increase of human settlement especially from the locals. The locals have cut down the trees and destroyed many habitats from the animals causing them to migrate to other parts of the country. The animal species that are still staying in the Gambella National park include lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, giraffes, elephants and many more others.
And if you have ever enjoyed the Great migration, then this is the best place to visit because the second largest beast migration which normally consists of zebras is experienced in Gambella National Park.
Birding in Gambella National Park
The Gambella National park has a recorded number of bird species which amount to over 350 bird species and these can be seen in the different gazette birding spots in the National Park. Some of the bird species that you will find in the Gambella include the Beaudouin’s snake eagle, the Egyptian plover, the red throated bee-eater, the black faced fire finch, the black crowned crane, warblers and many more others. There are several things that you will need before you go for birding in Gambella and these include:
- A camera and binoculars, these will help you to see the birds more clearly especially those that are far away from you and those that are shy. The binoculars bring the image of the birds closer while the camera helps you to capture the still life.
- A hide, this is what helps you blend with the surroundings so that you do not scare away the birds as most of them fly away once they notice they are being observed.
- An identification book, this has the different drawings and names of all the birds that are found in the Gambella and it helps you easily identify the birds easily.
- Insect repellent, since birding is mostly done during the dry season, you will need insect repellent to avoid being bitten by the different insects that are found in the Gambella especially mosquitoes.
- Proper clothing, this will help you avoid scratches while birding.
Note that birding in Gambella national Park is always done in the mornings due to the good lighting during that time of the day and although you can view others throughout the day like in the evenings and afternoons, mornings are always the best.
Gambella Cultural Experience, Visiting the Locals
Gambella National Park is surrounded by two ethnic groups which include the Anuak and the Nuer people. The locals have exciting cultures that you will want to experience on a personal basis and some of these include seeing the different women and men who have swollen bumps on their skin due to the adornments that they put on their bodies. These are considered beautiful and everyone in the village has them.
The Nuer and the Anuak people were originally from south Sudan and they still have a close resemblance to them even when it comes to cultural practices. They still live at the border of Ethiopia and South Sudan and they can be heard speaking a language that is almost close to the South Sudan language and they are nomadic pastoralists. They sometimes engage in farming and fishing although it is not done as the main activities and due to their nomadic way of life, the place where they stay has known violence as they are forced to use their guns especially if someone attacks or steals their cows.
They also prepare many local Ethiopian dishes which you can taste from the different restaurants in the village or buy some that is sold along the road side, you also get to buy some souvenirs that are made by the locals like beads, embroidered Ethiopian clothes and many more others so that you remember your stay in the Gambella region.
Visit the Baro River
The Baro River is located within close range to the Gambella National park and it is a place where many locals get their water from, the animals also get their water from especially during the dry season and it is a home to a number of bird species which can be seen during the wet season. Visitors also get to rest at the banks of the Baro after a hard day trekking through the park and also enjoy a boat.
Trekking through the Gambella National Park
Trekking in the Gambella National Park is normally carried out during the dry season because during this time, the trek routs that are used within the Park are easily accessible and even the roads that lead you into the Park are not flooded. There are several routes that were marked by the management of the Park and these are the ones that are used during trekking.
There are different equipment that you can use and will need when you go for trekking in the city and these include the following:
- You will need hiking boots that will help you hike though the hard trails.
- You will also need to put on appropriate clothing that is long sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid scratches from the trees.
- Carry some snacks and water because it will be hard for you to get them while trekking through the Park.
- You will need a map of the trek trails so that you do not get lost or use trails that have been forbidden from being used.
- Do not forget to carry sunscreen and a hat to get protection form the scorching sun.
- Mae sur that before you go for hiking, you have a trained tour guide who will be with you throughout your stay in the Gambella National park.
The Gambella National Park is still not a protected area but due to the presence of the different wildlife and biodiversity that the park gives off, it is fast becoming a top destination for many tourists as they all want to experience what Gambella National Park has to offer.
When visiting the park make sure that you have a trained tour guide who is licensed to hold a gun so that you are protected for an attack from the animals and some locals. Tour guides will help you when it comes to translation between the locals and yourself and they will also explain the different things that you see while in the Gambella National park.