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Gambela National Park

baro riverLocated about 600 kilometres from Addis Ababa on the river Baro, Gambela has a strange history. From 1902 until it was captured by the Italians in the Second World War, it was administered by the British, the only part of Ethiopia to be so governed,

The reason for this is that the British opened a port there on the wide and navigable Baro River, which during four months of the rainy season is navigable and provides direct access to the sea via the Nile through Khartoum. Ethiopian coffee was exported via this route, up to 1940. Now the port has fallen into disrepair, though remains of the warehouses and jetty can be seen. At its peak, up to 40 ships would be in dock at any one time. Gambela (sometimes spelt Gambella) gives access to the GambeIa National Park. The undulating plains of high Sudanese grass offer excellent opportunities for wilderness exploration. It is not particularly easy to access however.
Beyond Gambela towards the Sudanese border, the Anuak cultivators give way to the nomadic Nuer. These pastoralists herd their long-horned cattle into huge camps when they stop for the night.

In the river are to be found huge Nile perch, up to 100 kilograms, crocodiles and hippos. Other wildlife includes buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, Roan antelope, zebra, bushbuck, Abyssinian reedbuck, warthog, hartebeest, hyena, lion and elephant. Unfortunately, there are very few animals to be seen in the park, but the birds are many and varied, the olive baboon and the local race of the vervet, with its white whiskers, are the very common, as is the black and white colobus monkey.

Size:- 5,060 kilometer.
Region:- Illubabor
Geographical location:- West Ethiopia, 850 kilometer west of Addis Ababa
Altitude:- 400-768 meter
Physical features:- Extensive swamps and wetlands of the Akobo river system. Rainfall is 1,500 millimeter a year, falling between April and October. Temperatures are high.
Vegetation:- Semi-arid open woodland, savannah, swamp.
Animal life:- The park contains forty-one species, many representative of neighboring Sudan and not found elsewhere in Ethiopia, such as Nile lechwe and the white-eared kob, the latter migrating in large numbers. Roan antelope, topi, elephant, buffalo, lelwel hartebeest, lion and giraffe are also present.
Bird life:- The most important of the 154 bird species present here is the whale-headed stork, an unusual large-billed, tall bird seen standing in the swamps.



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