Nechi Sar National Park

Nechi Sar National Park (Amharic for white grass) is located near Arba Minch town, named after the white grass that covers the undulating Nechi Sar plains, hosting the lakes Abaya and Chamo.

Nechi Sar National Park is in eastern Gamo Gofa Zone. The zonal capital, Arba Minch, is on the western border of the park. Arba Minch is 510 km south of the capital Addis Ababa and 279 km south-west of the regional capital Awassa. Nechi Sar is named after the white grass that covers the undulating Nechi Sar plains and contrasts with the black basalt rocks of the Amaro Mountains to the east, and the black soils of the plains.

This 750 km2 National Park was established in 1974, and it is among the most beautiful game reserves in Africa set in the Rift Valley at an altitude of 1,000-1650m, the Park protects not only the easterly Nech-Sar “white grass plains for which it is named, but also portions of lake Chamo and Abaya and the mountainous bridge of God” that lies between the two lakes. Nech-Sar National Park is the wide Varity of animals and 350 bird species have been recorded.

The most common large mammal here is Burchell’s Zebra, which is regularly seen in herds of two or more you should also see grant’s gazelle and, with a bit of luck, one of the 100 odd resident Swayne’s hartebeest. Lion, cheetah and even Africa world dog are present and Guenther’s dik-dik and greater Kudu, Crocodile, Hippo and Waterbuck are frequently seen from the view point over Lake Chamo. Acacia birds such as rollers, Sparrow weavers and Starlings are well represented, and Nech-Sar seems to be particularly good for Raptors

Around 15% of the park comprises portions of Lakes Abaya to the north and Chamo to the south. The water of Lake Abaya is always brown or red-brown, in contrast with Lake Chamo which has strikingly blue water and white sandy beaches. The park also covers the neck of land between the lakes which supports groundwater forest. At the foot of Mt Tabala in the south-east there are hot springs. The altitude ranges from 1,108m at the shore of Lake Chamo to 1,650m on Mt Kalia in the north-east.

The main habitats of Nechi Sar National Park are the lakes, their shorelines, the groundwater forest and connecting river, the dry grassy plains, thick bushland and the wooded valleys and foothills of the Amaro Mountains. Most of the park is covered in bush land, which is thick and impenetrable in places, the taller trees.

The forest between the two lakes and by the Kulfo River is dominated by Ficus sycamorus up to 30m tall. This same area supports a number of shrubs and scramblers, but few herbs on the forest floor. The freshwater swamps at the mouth of the Kulfo River and in Lake Chamo are dominated by Typha angustifolia, tall waterside grasses, e.g. Saccharum spontaneum, and the small leguminous trees, Sesbania sesban and the legume Aeschynomene elaphroxylon.
 

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Be sure that our travel was really enjoyable and we thank you a lot for the very nice organization and the well balancing of the tour. I promise you to travel back to Ethiopia in January 2015 for the Timkat festival in Lalibela and the Northern part. So, you can as soon as possible prepare our next tour! But as well balanced as the last one we did! Warm regards Véronique and Guy France, July 2013

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