Arba Minch is the capital of the GamoGofa zone which has diverse natural and cultural attractions. Arba Minch (literally meaning ‘forty springs’ ) stands at the base of a mountainous stretch of the Rift valley escarpment overlooking lakes Chamo and Abaya consisting of two small towns; Sikela and Shecha separated by 4Km tar road.
The town of Arba Minch serves as a gateway to the Konso and the South Omo Region,and it lies at the entrance to the Nechsar National Park, which protects parts of the two lakes (Chamo and Abaya), the mountainous Egzer Dildiy (‘Bridge of God’) that divides them, a forest close to town, and the White –grass Nechsar plains on the opposite shore.
The hot water springs for which the town is named support plenty of monkeys, birds and other forest wild life. The Best area for game viewing, accessible by 4×4 only, is the open Nechsar plain, in which large number of plains Zebra, along with Grant’s gazelle, Swayne’s hartebeest, Nechsar Nightjar and grater kudu can be seen.
NechSar National Park – this 514 square Km protected area whose name translates into “white grass” in Amharic is located 500 Km from Addis Abeba on the main route to Lower Omo. The shorelines of both Lake Chamo and Lake
Abaya can be found within this National Park. NechSar National Park is known to shelter more than 100 large and small mammals, 350 species of birds, 25 species of fishes and over 1000 species of vascular plants.
As well as the NechSar Nightjar, endemic to the area, the park is frequented by other globally endangered avian species including the Lesser-Kestrel, Lesser Flamingo and Phalied Harrier. Land animals commonly roaming the park include the Hyena, Lion, Cheetah, Honey Badger, Wild dog, Guenther’s Dik-Dik,Grant’s gazelle and Burchel’s zebra. Monkeys such as the Vervet Monkey, Olive Baboon and Colobus Monkey are also present while the shores of the lakes support considerable populations of giant Nile Crocodiles and Hippos.