Ethiopia as a country is covered with a large part of the Great Rift Valley and this led to the creation of many lakes that are found in the country. From the diverse landscape and National parks in Ethiopia, it is worth visiting. The country has over ten Lakes that can be found in the different parts but not all of them are not conducive for visiting sue to various reasons but the major lakes that one can explore when they visit Ethiopia and the ones that we recommend that you do not miss include the following:
Lake Tana is the most visited Lake in Ethiopia with very many people saying it is the source of the Nile. The Lake Tana can easily be accessed from the Bahir Dar city which is one of the many Islands that is located on the Lake Tana. One of the most interesting tourist attractions that you can see when you visit the Bahir Dar Island is the Abay Falls. Although the water levels at the Abay Falls have greatly reduced, it still has its former glory and you can enjoy taking photos near the Abay Falls, go kayaking and get to visit the dam which produces electricity in the area.
The Lake Tana is also a home to many monasteries which represent both the religious and cultural history of Ethiopia as a country. These monasteries can be viewed on different days since they are located a few hours away from each other although others are a bit close to each other. Besides visiting the falls, you can enjoy spot fishing on the Lake, view birds, and get to know more about the history of Ethiopia by exploring the monasteries and villages around where you get to meet the different locals, see the intersection where the Lake Tana meets with the River Nile and you will be shocked to see that these two have a different water coloring.
Lake Turkana is located in the Desert area of Ethiopia and it is the only Lake in Ethiopia that has been declared a UNESCO heritage site. It is less visited and although part of it is listed as one of the lakes in Kenya, it is found in Ethiopia although it can be accessed from Kenya as well. There are extremely high temperatures around the Lake Turkana and due to its proximity to the Volcanic Mountain in the area, you will be able to see smoke that is released by the volcano and the pick up a few volcanic rocks that are found in the Lake. The different activities that you can see when you visit the Lake Turkana include birding where you will see the different bird species especially the lesser flamingo although this is done during the wet season, trekking to the volcano, visiting the villages and get to see the place where many fossils were found many years ago.
There have been some insecurities around the Lake Turkana that was caused by the al-Shabaab but this has been worked upon and therefore you can freely visit the Lake and enjoy all that it has to offer but you will need to go with a tour guide who will help you and guide you along the best routes to take so as to avoid attacks from animals especially snakes.
The Lakes Abijatta and Shalla
The Lakes Abijatta and Shalla are the main source of water to the Abijatta Shalla National Park. They are habitants to many animals and birds which amount to over 400 bird species and these include the white necked cormorant, the Kudu, Grant’s gazelle, ostriches, the African fish Eagle and many more others. The different animals that you will see when visit the lakes include lions, elephants, antelopes, baboons and many more others. You also get to enjoy trekking through the Park, enjoying a boat ride on the lake and there are several accommodation facilities that one can use when they explore the two twin Lakes.
Lake Zeway is one of the largest Lakes in Ethiopia and with it being located just a few kilometers away from the capital city Addis Ababa, it is easy to access although it is barely visited by tourists. The lake has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism due to the presence of the five Islands in the area which all have unique things to offer to tourists. The Islands have different cultural things that might be of interest to you for example one of the Islands is believed to be where the Ark of the covenant of God was taken to by the son of King Solomon and queen Sheba from the bible and it stayed there for many years before being returned to the Axum city, the Islands are also filled with locals who are known as the Zay people and due to their deep separation from the rest of Ethiopia, it is extremely hard to find someone who speaks English and therefore if you are to visit the Lake, you need to go with a tour guide who will help you when it comes to translation. A visit to the Lake and the Islands there will give you a chance to get to know more about the almost extinct Zay people, enjoy birding at the shores of the Lake and go for a boat cruise on the Lake.
The Lake Langano
Lake Langano is a popular destination for many birders due to the high number of bird species that habitate around it. The Lake has muddy waters but it is the only safe Lake where one can go swimming in Ethiopia because the waters in the Langano are free from bilharzia. The different bird species that can be seen around Lake Langano include the Verraux’s eagle owl, the greyish eagle, the white browed sparrow weaver, the chestnut Sparrow and the three banded courser. Other activities that can be carried out on the Langano Lake include hiking, boat riding, fishing and many more others.
Getting to the Lake is not that hard due to the availability of transportation although you should avoid using the public means because you might get lost along the way and the Lake is four hours away from Addis Ababa. When you visit the Lake make sure to walk in groups to ensure safety and do not forget to carry anti-malarial tablets because there is a high risk of someone getting malaria while in the Langano region.
The Lakes in Bishoftu
Bishoftu is a region that is filled with different Lakes that amount to about 15 in number but all these are not suitable for swimming due to the fact that they are all infested with Bilharzia. The Lakes are also becoming dry almost as time moves on because the stones that were once covered with water are now visible although there are some other lakes that are still intact. The two lakes that are still intact in Bishoftu are the Kuriftu Lake and the Babogaya Lake and these have become top tourist attractions in the region.
The two lakes can be used for swimming but note that the Lake Babogaya is extremely deep and those who have attempted to go swimming there have drowned. Some locals believe that there is a spirit that comes to collect their loved ones and that is why some of them have drowned. The two lakes provide a good scenery to all those who visit the Lake, meet the locals and get to know more about their life style and their unique customs that they practice, do some bird spotting, fishing and many more other water activities.
Visiting the Lake is extremely easy and you can use any type of transport that you can afford and it is just 50 kilometers away from the capital city Addis Ababa, there are many accommodation facilities that you can find around the Bishoftu region and these come in ranges of budget, mid-range and luxury accommodations. Before you visit the area, you should go with anti-malarial drugs just in case and a tour guide who will help you translate and take you to the different tourist attractions around the Lakes.
The Lake Awasa
Lake Awasa is next to the Gedel Amora is just 300 kilometers away from the capital city of Ethiopia Addis Ababa. It is a top tourist attraction due to the high fishing that is done on the Lake and just like many other Lakes in Ethiopia it is out of bounds when it comes to swimming due to the infestation of Bilharzia. There are several activities that you can carry out when you visit the Lake and some of them include fishing, boat cruises, you get to buy fish at a low cost in the Gedel Amora Park, do birding and view some wild animals like monkeys jumping from one place to another while you picnic at the shore of the Lake.