At the distance of about 215 kilometers from Addis Ababa, visitors arrive at Abijata-Shala Lakes National Park main gate or “Lakes Park” which was once served as one of the bird watchers ground in Africa. It covers 887 square kilometers in area of which 482 square kilometers are covered by water of Lake Abijata and Shala. This park is believed to harbor about 31 species of mammals such as spotted hyena, golden and black jackals, olive baboon, grant’s gazelle, and 367 bird species.
Myriad of local and exotic birds that came from Europe and different parts of the world inhibited around lake Abijata. July to September marks the peak season of congregation and the best time to watch birds. During this time, hundreds of thousands of flamingoes and great white pelicans, fish eagles, king fisher’s, (the tall marabou Stork), cormorants and darters, etc. used to roam here and there around Lake Abijata and by the sides of Lake Shala. There were also vast colonies of sacred ibis, queela, stilt, snope black heron, avocet, egyptian geese, egrets, plovers, etc. It is quite unlikely, however, to see most of the birds mentioned above, while some species are seen in small number seasonally because of the great devastation of biodiversity and human interferences.
Located at 215 kilometers from Addis Ababa, the small enclosure of Ostrich farm hosts a group of ostriches with some Grant’s Gazelles. At the parks headquarter, one can easily see a flock of male and female ostriches and some gazelles. Lake Shala, which is separated to the south from Lake Abijata by a strip of land, has a delightful view for its deep-blue color with excellent reflections of magnificent western hills.