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Abyata-Shala Lakes National Park

Lake AbijjataAbyata-Shala Lakes National Park is formed by the twin lakes of Abyata and Shala. It has a total area of 887 square kilometers (550 square miles) in size, of which 482 square kilometer (300 square miles) is water.

Both lakes are terminal lakes but very different in nature. The park was created for the many aquatic bird species that use the lakes, particularly Great White Pelicans and Greater and Lesser Flamingos. The surrounding area is mainly acacia woodland, some of which is very degraded by man.

Lake Abyata is a shallow pan, only 14 meters (46 feet) deep and its level fluctuates periodically. The beaches are unstable and saline, which creates a very real danger of sinking on the vehicles that venture too close. The lake provides the main source of food for the colonies of great while pelicans on the nearby Lake Shala.

Lake Shala by contrast, is, at 260 meters (853 feet), Ethiopia’s deepest rift valley lake, possibly the deepest lake in Africa north of the Equator. Shalla’s islands are used as breeding sites by many birds, and are home to the continent’s most important breeding colony of Great White Pelicans. The color of the water is like cold tea and there is a high concentration f salts, making it feel soapy. Few fish are found in this lake. It is also one of the seven nesting sites of the bird in the whole of Africa.

Apart from the above mentioned birds, some others include White-necked Cormorant, African Fish Eagle, Egyptian Geese, various Plover species, and Herons. Local mammals are not numerous but include Grant’s gazelle, Greater Kudu, Oribi, Warthog and Golden Jackal. Besides, some of the scenery is very beautiful, especially at dusk; the sight of Pelicans dipping into the silver waters of Lake Abyata is unforgettable.


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