Ethiopia’s superb network of national parks incorporates a wide variety of habitats, from the high-altitude forests and moors of Bale and Simien Mountains, to the semi-arid country of Awash and marshy savannah of Gambella.
- Inscribed as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1979, Simien Mountains National Park is Ethiopia’s premier hiking destination, renowned for its jagged peaks, jaw-drooping precipices, and wealth of endemic animals including Walia ibex and gelada baboon.
- Bale Mountains National Park is a byword for biodiversity, thanks to its rich mosaic of high-altitude habitats, wealth of endemic wildlife including the charismatic Ethiopian wolf, and ranking as one if Africa’s top five birding hotspots.
- Set below the spectacular crater of Fantelle Volcano, Awash National Park protects a semiarid tract of Rift Valley floor inhabited by dry-country antelope such as the handsome Beisa oryx and magnificent spiral-horned greater kudu, along with almost 500 bird species.
- Still being developed for tourism, the underrated Chebera-Churchura National Park in the western highlands is the most reliable place in Ethiopia to see elephants, which can be tracked on foot through the swampy Maka Forest with the help of experienced scouts.
- Gambella National Park, Ethiopia’s largest, is at its most alluring between March and June, when Africa’s second-largest antelope migration, comprising an estimated 1.2 million white-tailed kob, crosses there from South Sudan.
- The diverse landscapes of Nech Sar National Park include a the twin lakes Chamo and Abaya, and the wide open Nech Sar (‘White Grass’) Plains, home to the Nechisar nightjar, Caprimulgus solala, which many regard to be the world’s rarest bird.