Bishoftu, about 47 km East of Finfinne/Addis Ababa, is a town characterized by a cluster of volcanic crater lakes and popular Irrecha spiritual site that surround the town. Because of its altitude, which ranges up to 1850 masl, Bishoftu area has warm climate.
The following are the major resort lakes that tourists who come to the town for leisure and recreation enjoy visiting.
1. Lake Hora Harsade: This Lake is the oldest known lake resort in the town. It is only 2 kilometers from the center of the town. Situated in a beautiful deep basin, Hora Harsade Lake has the maximum depth of 37 meters, and is reputed for water sports and scenic beauty. Its wealth of fish species and aquatic bird life give opportunities for fishing and bird watching. At a glance, visitors can watch birds like cormorants, hammer crops, ducks, geese and heron’s kingfisher darters and storks.
Irecha: Every year towards the end of September, the Oromo people gather on the shore of the Lake Hora Harsade to conduct ritual Irecha Ceremony, traditional thanksgiving ceremony. This ceremony, which millions of people attend every year, is believed to be the oldest form of monotheism practiced in Africa. At this ceremony, the people pray to God for the good- will and well- being of their cattle and family and for the prosperity of the coming year.
The young Oromos mainly attend this ceremony with their colorful traditional clothes, dancing’s and singings, which also make the place a worth visiting area.
2. Lake Bishoftu: Having a maximum depth of 85 meters, Lake Bishoftu is probably the deepest of the surrounding lakes. The attractive feature of the lake is its scenic beauty. The beautiful surrounding rocky steep invites for sightseeing and nature admiring. Bushoftu Afaf Hotel and Dream Land Resort are the ideal sites to enjoy the scenery.
3. Lake Babogaya: Lake Babogaya is nearly the same size of that of the Hora Lake, but much deeper. It is situated at north- east of Hora Lake along a rough, dusty road. The presence of fishes like tilapia makes the possibility of fishing and watching water birds like ducks and geese common. Surrounded by greenish vegetation on its ridge, Babogaya Lake is, especially, endowed with breathtaking beauty.
4. Lake Kuriftu: Very close to the Babogaya Lake, Lake Kuriftu has now become one of the country’s best known resort centres. The privately owned resort centre, Kuriftu Resort, is an ideal place for tourists to visit and stay in.
5. Lake Kilole: Kilole Lake is at the distance of 12 kilometers hard drive to the north- east of the town. It is the farthest of the lakes in the area. Birds like water fowls, African fish eagles, cormorants, Egyptian geese, ducks, plovers, etc. are easily seen around the Lake.
6. Lake Magarisa: meaning, “Green Lake”, is about 9 kilometers away to the south- west of the town just behind the Air Force base. The lake looks green because of its algae. It is more dramatic, colorful and beautiful when viewed against the backdrop of the surrounding hills. Though scenic and beautiful, it is a quite lake with no activity around it.
7. Lake Chalalaka
Chalalaka lake where frequently a number of aquatic bird species are observed.