The Western Tourist Route
About the Route
The west Oromian tourist route starts from the town of Guder and goes to the west as far as to Dambidolo town and beyond the Garjeda forest.
This route is known by its wealth of wildlife, forest, rivers, river falls, glorious history of kingdoms and historical heritages left behind kingdoms.
This route covers West Shewa, Horo Guduru Wolega, East Wolega, West Wolega and Qelam Wolega zones. This route can be joined from the south-western route via the road that links Nekemte to Bedele. Another road form Gimbi also connects this route to Metu town of the south-western route.
This route, leads to Benishangul Gumuz and Gambela national regional states in two directions. The Gambela way eventually, connects the western route Oromia to the south-western route.
From the western tourist route one can travel either to the Benishangul Gumuz National Regional State or to the Gambela National Regional State, and then back to south-western route of Oromia.
Culture and Lifestyle
The land beyond the West Shawa to the west up to the border of Oromia was formerly called Wolega Province. This broad land is now divided into four administrative zones. In spite of the administrative divisions, the people share the same culture and tradition of which they are proud of. They belong to group of Mecha Oromo.
The longest proportions of the people are producers of coffee, spices, fruits and vegetables. The region marks one of the major producers of maize by large mechanized farms. Butter and honey are also produced in large amount in this area and then marketed to the central part of the country.
The Oromo of West Oromia are well known for their tradition songs called gerarsa by which they encourage and praise heroes. A typical song called Iyase is very popular in the area in which people sing and dance in large group.
The people in this region are also known for their maintain of their traditional foods such as ‘chumbo’,‘anchote’ and ‘kori’. The impressive and colorful traditional clothing of the people, which has important position in their life, makes these people unique. The tradition of making and using furniture and house wares from wood, clog, cattle horn, and leather is what the people are endowed with.
In spite of the fact that the tradition of praising hunters swept a large population of wildlife in the area, the area still holds primary position in its wildlife resources in the country.
An important place to experience the culture of the people is the Museum of Wolega in Nekemte town.
Fincha’a Dam:Apart from its basic purposes of serving as source of hydroelectric power and sugar cane plantation, the artificial lake Fincha’a constitutes variety of elements, depicting tourism potential which includes its aquatic life scenery, and its features of leisure and recreations.
Wallagga Museum and Dej. Kumsa Moroda Palace: This tourist attraction center is located at the distance of 327 kilometers to the west from Addis Ababa in the town of Naqamte. There are two places to be visited in Nekemte, Wallagga Museum and Dej. Kumsa Moroda Palace. Wallagga Museum is one of the major museums with ethnographic and historical collections in the country. It has three sections: the ethnographic, the historic and the exhibition show sections/rooms.
Dej. Kumsa Moroda Palace
The museum exhibits varieties of traditional household furniture that reflect the culture of the Oromo people and that of various ethnic groups in the area. Remains of bigger mammals like elephant, samples of minerals in Wallgga etc; are among the collections in the museum. In the historic section of the museum, there are several old ornaments of the local people and government heads which include spears, gold painted shields, swords, guns and machine guns.
There are also household utensils like silver spoon and forks, and many other glass and copper wares of the provincial governor Dajjazmach Fikre Sellassie Habte Mariyam. The first script of translation of the Holy Bible in Afan Oromo, and the Holy Qur’an and other religious books are also found here in.
Besides the museum, Naqamte has one thing to offer to tourists: the palace of Dej. Kumsa Moroda. Dej. Kumsa Moroda was the last of the independent kings of Leqa Naqamte kingdom until 1892. Before surrender it’s to the central Ethiopian Empire in 1892, he managed to keep up his status as the king of his kingdom.
It is during the reign of this king that the historic palace was constructed at Naqamte. The palace was made of large proportion of local material and with local labor. The beauty of craftsmanship is seen on the building of the palace, and its long life shows the local knowledge and skill that the people had at that time.
The museum and the palace make the town of Naqamte invaluable for tourism, research and studying history of the Oromo people and of others.
Bareda and Angar Water Falls: The dusty dry weather road starts from Naqamte and leads to Angar State Farm where the attractive waterfall of Angar river is found. The waterfall is at a distance of 10 kilometers from the farm station; while the Bareda waterfall at a distance of 88 kilometers from Naqamte via the Angar State Farm.
Bareda, which means beautiful in Afan Oromo, depicts the neatness and dazzling white colour of the beautiful waterfall formed by the gushing or water which emerges from a natural chamber of rock of about 15 meters in height, and foams into a hollow surface forming a fascinating view.
Dhedhessa Wildlife Reserve: Dhedhessa valley is one of the area with wildlife potential that has been proposed for conservation. The area is located in the middle and lower part of the Dhedhessa River. The all weather road from Naqamte to Beddelle descends to Dhedhessa valley, where it crosses the river. Here, one can enjoy the beauty of the river and the valley. The area proposed for conservation is estimated to cover an area of about 1333 square kilometers with the altitude that ranges from 1300 to 1900m.
Dhedhessa valley is an area of numerous watershed that more than 14 small rivers and streams flow to the major one, Dhedhessa River. The area is believed to be a habitat for about 54 plant species, 30 mammal species and a number of birds.
Dhati Controlled Hunting Area: Dhati Controlled Hunting Area is found in Kelem Wolega Zone of Gawo Qebe Woreda in Aroji Wedo district at the distance of about 620kms from Addis Ababa, or at the distance of 80kms from zonal town Dembi Dolo, or at the distance of about 30kms from Gawo Qebe Woreda.
In this park there are viable populations of flora and fauna which harbor big animals like buffalo, hippopotamus, defarsa waterbuck, common bushbuck, bhor, reedbuck, and others and many species of birds. There are large populations of the biggest buffalos and hippopotamus in world.
Dhati Park has a unique ecosystem with rich intact biodiversity with many species of mammals and birds. There is extinction of Elephant in this park since there is peak having the name Gara Arba which means Elephants Hill.
Absence of developed infrastructure and tourist facilities are observed in this area. However, it is a very fascinating and wonderful natural attraction of the region.
Keto WaterFall: On the way to Dembidolo, is located Qexo waterfall. Having 20 meters width, the water powerfully foams dawn from a basalt stone of about 15m in height. The picturesquareue feature of the waterfall would appeal to lovers of natural beauty.
Walal Shabal Conservation Area and Garajeda Forest:The capital of West Wallagga Zone, Gimbi, is only at the distance of 110 kilometers to the west from Naqamte. Just at the distance of few kilometers to the west of Gimbi, the road forks into two. The road to the right leads to Asosa via many towns, the capital of Benishangul Gumuz Peoples Regional State which is located at the distance of 762 kilometers from Addis Ababa. The road to the left, leads to Dambidollo, passing through the Walal Shabal Conservation area.
The western tourism route of Oromia leads further to far western districts of Kellem Wallaga where the Garjeda Forest is found. Garjeda Forest covers an area of 11,374kilometers2 where one can enjoy watching thick and untouched natural forest. Walal Shabal, which is another conservation area close to the Garjeda Forest, is known for its significant wildlife like lion, buffalo, wild pigs, antelope species, Colobus monkeys, and with its unique landscape scenery of the peaks of Tullu Walal (3335mas).
The road to the south of Dambidollo descends to Gambella along a steep slope.