Omo National Park in Ethiopia
Omo National Park is a national park in Ethiopia positioned in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region on the west bank of the Omo River. Encompassing an area of approximately 4,068, the park is about 870 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa and across it is the Mago National Park.
Omo National Park is described as Ethiopia’s most remote park by the Lonely Planet guide of Ethiopia and Eritrea since it cannot be easily reached despite the fact that an airstrip was recently built near its headquarters on the Mui River. The park was established and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 after the discovery of the earliest known fossil fragments of the Homo sapiens which were dated circa 195,000 years old.
Safari attractions in the park
Omo National Park offers splendid opportunities to view different wildlife. The park is a home to more than 73 mammal species and 213 species of birds. The park hosts large herds of buffalos, elephants, elands, bushbucks, dik – diks, Grant’s gazelles, beisa oryx, tiangs, Lelwel hartebeests, and the Burchell’s zebra. Other wildlife that can easily be spotted in the park premises include the leopards, lions, African wild dogs, giraffes, ostriches, oribis, klipspringers, greater kudus, hyenas, hippos, warthog, black rhinos, hyenas, and many others.
Omo National Park is a home to over 213 species of birds where some of these are residents to the park and the others are migratory birds. These bird species can be spotted in the riverine forest along the Omo River. Among the birds in the park include the herons and egrets, kingfishers, barbets, chats and thrushes, pigeons, woodpeckers, warblers and flycatchers, shrikes and many others. There has been a new discovery within the forests of the park and this is halcyon malimbica bird.
Inhabitants of the park
Omo National Park is inhabited by some of the few tribal people including the Surma, Dizi, Mogudge, Bume and the Mursi peoples crossing the Omo River from the eastern side. These people are pastoralist and hunter gatherers and they have a great impact on the wildlife populations of the park and in general they lead to the depletion of the wildlife. Though the wildlife of Omo National Park has been depleted, it remains one of the main and more interesting national parks in the Republic of Ethiopia after the combination of wildlife, birdlife and the traditional people.
Accommodations in the park
Omo National Park has no overnight facilities but there is a hunting camp along the high banks of the Omo in Murle which serves as basic safari lodge.