For the most convenient safaris, Awash National Park’s ravaged volcanic landscape, little more than 200km west of Addis Abeba, wins the crown. It is also only a bit more than 100km from Nazareth (Adama), the cultural capital of Oromia Regional State, and it is located on the busiest highway in the country.
It is also the only park, along with those of the Simien Mountains and Bale Mountains, to have a new lodge or any lodge for that matter, and Nazareth has a lot of brand new modern hotels, if lodges are too rustic. The best time to see wildlife is sunset or sunrise. It is, therefore, best to stay at Awash Falls Lodge, which is worth a look-see, if not just for the unique Awash Falls. While there are lions at Awash, it is much easier to see the lion’s prey. There is a wide range of antelopes in the park, including Soemmerring’s gazelle, the Beisa oryx, Salt’s dik dik, the Lesser kudu, the Greater kudu, and Defassa waterbuck. But, if these animals aren’t dangerous enough to be exciting, a trip to the hyena cave may be in order.
The hyena cave is where these bone-digesting wretches sleep at night. Arriving early enough will ensure that their entrance in the evening or their exit in the morning can be witnessed. Photo By: EWCA Soemmering’s gazelle Photo by: Dr. Ludwig Siege Adventure Tourism in It is necessary to take a scout along, if not also a guide, when entering the park, especially the northern side. Getting a local guide from the park office who is experienced at finding wildlife is well worth it, anyway.
Awash Falls is more than just a unique artistic waterfall, it is also a great place to sunbathe, at least for large reptiles with powerful jaws! Lions and hyenas are not the only large carnivores in the park, after all. Crocodiles are certainly plentiful here and can be seen right from Awash Falls Lodge, which has a great terrace for sipping macchiatos. For a closer look, take the not-so-tame nature trail along the river.
If more croc time is still needed, a trip out to the far reaches of the park for a dip in the hot springs is memorable. Just make sure to only swim in the hot pools, as the crocs lurk in the cold ones.
Whether wanted or not, baboons and monkeys find their way into every safari in Awash National Park. There are aggressive anubis baboons, pesky grivet monkeys, majestic colobus monkeys, and wild hamadryas baboons. Some of them are kleptomaniacs and only need a few seconds to nab something from a vehicle, a room, or even a person.
A few additional animals tend to be seen around the park, including ostrich, tortoise, warthogs, and even jackals. With a bit more conservation work and better guides, it might not take so much luck to see a lion or some of the other rarities, such as leopards, caracals, serval cats, and wildcats, someday.