Nechisar National Park in Ethiopia

Nechisar National Park is an Ethiopian National Park located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region in the Great Rift Valley within the southwestern Ethiopian Highlands. The park covers an area of approximately 1,030 square kilometers and of these, 750 square kilometers include the an isthmus ‘’Bridge of God’’ which is between Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo and the Nechisar plains which are east of the lakes.

Nechisar National Park was established in 1974 under the management of African Parks Network and in 2005, the APN was told to hand over the management to the Ethiopian government in June 2008. The elevations of the park range between 1,108 and 1,650 meters above the sea level.  In effort to protect and conserve the natural resources of Ethiopia, a two person team of UNESCO consultants spent about three months surveying the major wildlife areas in the country and when the survey ended, they submitted to the Wildlife Conservation Board in 1965 their recommendations where the game reserve to east of Lake Chamo was included to provide protection to the large population of Swayne’s hartebeest and other local wildlife.

The establishment of the park was first proposed in 1967 till it was put in place in 1974. The important regional Centre to the park is known as Arba Minch which is located in the Main Ethiopian Rift. Part of the park which is almost 15% is made up of lakes including the Abaya Lake in the northern part and then Lake Chamo in the southern part. Some of the habitat in the park consists of the ground water forest and the shoreline of the lakes but there are also some grassy plains. The park also consists of the taller trees including the Acacia Tortilis, Dichrostachys cinerea, Balanites aegyptiaca, and also the less common ones known as the Acacia nilotica. In the southern region, the park is dominated by the edaphic grassland and a calcareous black clay soil underneath with Dobera glabra, Acacia Tortilis and the grass chrysopogon aucheri which forms much of the landscape.

Wildlife of the park

Nechisar National Park is a refugee camp for a number of wildlife species which can be spotted during different activities including nature walks, game drives and others. among the wildlife in the park include the Grant’s gazelle, dik-dik, plain zebras, the greater kudu, the endangered Swayne’s hartebeests, African leopards, lions, hyena, cheetah, hippos, Africa wild dog and others.

Also, Lake Chamo is known as a crocodile market where thousands of crocodiles gather to bask. The park is also a home to other wild animals including the bushbucks, bush pig, vervet monkeys, Anubis baboon, and the black backed jackal.

Bird species

Nechisar National Park is a home to a variety of bird species especially those migrating. Among the birds sighted include the large populations of kingfishers, flamingos, pelicans, storks, African fish eagles and others.  There are also rare species of birds including the Falco naumanni, and the circus macrourus. Other species to note include the Accipiter ovampensis, Gypaetus barbatus, Aviceda cuculoides, Macheiramphus alcinus, Chelictinia riocourii, podica senegalensis and many others.