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Ethiopia is also a land of natural contrasts, from the tops of the rugged Simien mountains to the depths of the Danakil Depression, at 120 meters below sea level one of the lowest dry land points on earth. The cornucopia of natural beauty that blesses Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of landscapes: Afro-Alpine highlands soaring to around 4,300 meters, deserts sprinkled with salt flats and yellow sulphur, lake lands with rare and beautiful birds, moors and mountains, the splendor of the Great Rift Valley, white-water rivers, savannah teeming with game, giant waterfalls, dense and lush jungle the list is endless.

Ethiopia's many national parks enable the visitor to enjoy the country's scenery and its wildlife, conserved in natural habitats, and offer opportunities for travel adventure unparalleled in Africa.

The Park was one of the first four sites to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Massive erosion of the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world: jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and precipices sheer for 1,500 metres. The Park is the refuge of the extremely rare Ethiopian wolf, gelada baboon and Walia ibex,a goat unique to Ethiopia. After the site’s management was transferred from Addis Abeba to the Amhara region in 1997, a committee for the Park’s rehabilitation was set up, the budget and staff increased, there was local participation in decisions, resettlement of farmers, excision of villages and extension of the Park.

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Abijatta-Shalla National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia located in the Oromia Region 200 kilometers south of Addis Ababa to the east of the Ziway-Shashamane highway, it contains 887 square kilometers including the Rift Valley lakes of Abijatta and Shalla. The two lakes are separated by three kilometers of hilly land. The altitude of the park ranges from 1540 to 2075 meters, the highest peak being Mount Fike, which is situated between the two lakes. Besides the two lakes, the primary attraction of this national park are a number of hot springs on the northeast corner of Lake Abijatta,ostrich farm and large numbers of flamingoes on the lake.

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The Park can be divided into three main areas. The central region is a high plateau including Tullu Deemto, the highest peak in southern Ethiopia, while the southern area is monotone forest. To the north the reverie plains and woodlands are home to most of the game in the park, as well as to many species of birds.The park entrance, near the HQ at Dinsho, lies just north of the main road about 7km from the village.

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With an out standing Savannah Grass land Nechisar National Park is situated on a strikingly beautiful setting between two of the Rift Valley spectacular lakes of Abaya and Chamo on two sides (this land is called the bridge of God) and high mountain ranges on the other two sides. It is the only national park in the world where the indigenous Swayne's Hartebeest still survives.

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One of the most beautiful national parks in Ethiopia, its 4,068 square km of wilderness bordered by the Omo River, is the home to an amazing range of wildlife. 306 species of birds have been identified here, while large herds of Eland, Buffalo and Elephant are not uncommon.

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Although little developed and receiving few visitors, the Gambella National Park in the West of the region, is unique with its large area of swamps and wetlands. Most of the terrain comprises grassland, and wooded savanah, and contains many species who are more typical of the Sudan rather than other areas of Ethiopia. The Wetlands, and the Baro River attract large quantities of birdlife, many of them migratory visitors.

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Lying in the lowlands east of Addis Ababa, and astride the Awash river, is one of the finest reserves in Ethiopia. The Awash River, one of the major rivers of the Horn of Africa, waters important agricultural lands in the north of Ethiopia and eventually flows into the wilderness of the Danakil Depression. The dramatic Awash Falls, as the river tumbles into its gorge, is a sight not to be missed in the national park.

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Menagesha suba Park – 15th century Park (3385meters above sea level)

The Menagesh Suba Park is known as the oldest and probably the first park in Africa. The 15th century emperor Zera Yacob planted its first trees, and the forest’s rich biodiversity-leopard, giant African forest hog, yellow fronted parrot and giant juniper trees-is a living testimony to the foresight of Ethiopia’s “first conservationist.” It is situated some 35kms away from west of Addis Ababa and it is densely wooded with some 400 years old trees. It is also a sanctuary for several endemic birds and animals such as the Abyssinian Catbird and the Menilik Bush Buck.

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