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Nech Sar National Park

The wildly beautiful and diverse landscapes of Nech Sar National Park include a dense swathe of groundwater forest bordering the town of Arba Minch, the twin lakes Chamo and Abaya, the spiky acacia scrub of the mountainous Bridge of God that divides them, and the wide open Nech Sar (‘White Grass’) Plains.

A popular excursion is a boat trip to Lake Chamo’s so-called crocodile market, a stretch of reed-lined sand flats populated by some truly gigantic crocodiles as well as a few pods of hippo and a wealth of aquatic birds. Monkeys are common in the groundwater forest, while the guided walks on the Nech Sar Plains offer a good chance of seeing Burchell’s zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Swayne’s hartebeest, greater kudu and other large ungulates.

Star attraction on the park’s avian checklist of 275 species is the Nechisar nightjar, Caprimulgus solala, which many regard to be the world’s rarest bird. This was first described in 1993 based on the discovery of a single dead bird's wing in Nech Sar a year earlier, and the live bird went unseen until 2009, when it was finally observed by an ornithological expedition to the park.