Tourist Destinations of Southern Region in Ethiopia
What are major tourist destinations in Southern Ethiopia?
Overview of Southern Region of Ethiopia
The Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (often abbreviated as SNNPR) comprised twenty-three administrative boundaries (zones and Special Woreda). The region has diverse and colorful cultural, ancient historical tourist attractions because about 56 ethnic groups exist in the region. Moreover, each ethnic group has distinct multilanguage, traditional lifestyles, traditional handcraft and arts, indigenous knowledge and skills, and cultural heritages. Although it is difficult to visit all these tourist attractions at once, tourists can be selective for major tourist destinations.
So, what are the major tourist destinations of the southern region in Ethiopia? Though all ethnic groups of the region have unique touristic features, three tourist destinations are recommended.
Three Tourist Destinations of Southern Ethiopia
Based on my travel experience and review of travelers’ comments, I tried to identify the best location of tourist destinations in Southern Ethiopia. If the purpose of tourists is studying, my recommendation may not work for sure. However, three tourist destinations are recommendable if the aim of travel is to entertain by visiting nature and diverse culture.
1. Jinka – Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia
Omo Valley is one of the most popular and ancient tourist destinations in Ethiopia. It’s also rich with diverse and colorful culture and natural tourist attractions. Because the site is important to understand human origin from its hominid fossils, UNESCO World Heritage registered the site in 1980. So, international and domestic tourists can experience an ancient lifestyle with eight tribes of lower Omo valley and visit Omo natural national park.
The Native tribes of Omo valley
The Omo valley has eight tribes who have their own unique culture, language, customs, and way of life. Namely, Mursi, Bodi Me’en), Suri, Hamar, Daasanach, Kara (karo), Banna, and Nyangatom (Bume).
Omo National Park of Ethiopia
Omo natural national park is the largest national park in the country, which found at an 870 km distance from Addis Ababa. The total area of the park is about 4,068 kilometers square. It is also a habitat for 325 species of birds and 75 species of mammals. The most known wildlife of the park is Eland, cheetah, elephant, black rhino, giraffe, buffalo, lion, leopard, lelwel hartebeest, tiang, Oryx, Burchell’s zebra, Lesser kudu, de Brazzers monkey, common baboon and guereza, ostrich on the plains and the endemic black-winged love birds.
Mago National Park
Mango National parl is also found in the South Omo Zone of the Southern region at 800 km distance from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The park has 81 larger mammals & 237 species of bird. Wildlife of the park is the African elephant, buffalo, lesser-kudu, greater-kudu, duiker, warthog, tiang, lewel‟s hartebeests, Oryx, grant‟s gazelle, gerenuk, giraffe, cheetah, wild dog, lions, leopards, gureza, common baboon and verevt monkey.
How can travel to Omo national park of Ethiopia?
There are two ways to arrive at the park. The first way is traveling from Addis Ababa to Jima, then to the park crossing Maji. The total travel distance of this way is 920 km from Addis Ababa and may take about 17 hours of driving to arrive at the park. The second option is traveling from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch and then Jinka to arrive at the national park. The total distance of the road is 832 km away from Addis Ababa and may take about 13 hours. So, visitors can decide on the traveling road because of the interest they want to visit on the way.
Adventure and Things to do in Omo Valley
What are most common activities to do things in Omo valley of southern Ethiopia? The most common activities to do at Omo valley are:
- Experiencing old lifestyle, and diverse culture with over eight tribes. These tribes decorate their hairstyle, body, face, and dresses. Moreover, ceremonial activities of the wedding, burials, and ritual and other adventures like bull-jumping, musical instruments, and dancing also attract international and domestic tourists.
- Visiting indigenous wildlife at Omo National Park.
- Enjoying the local market of the Omo valley. Especially Saturday Jinka market is the big local market to see most of the tribes in the market.
2. Arba Minch Tourist Destinations
Arba Minch is located at a 500 km distance from Addis Ababa. It is also a tourist town because the town is the best route to arrive in various tourist destinations of a southern region like Konso and lower Omo valley. The town has two major tourist attractions, two lakes, forty springs, traditional handicraft products, and cultural houses or Dorze Village.
Arba Minch Crocodile Ranch
Tourism websites The Crocodile Ranch is found nearby “Nechi-Sar” National Park of the Arba Minch town and the shore of lake Abaya. The ranch is located at 7km distance from Arba Minch town. Although the ranch was established in 1984 on an area of 3 hectares of land to export the products of Crocodile, the Crocodile Ranch is one of the tourist attractions in Arba Minch town. Recently, Arba Minch Crocodile Ranch expanded the farm to reptile zoo by adding python snakes, civets, fishery production centre, and ostrich farm. So, Arba Minch Crocodile Ranch added value to touristic attraction of the region.
Nech-Sar National Park
Nech-Sar National Park is found nearby Arba Minch town at a distance of 500 km from Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The park is rich in wildlife resources. The park is also a habitat for 104 species of mammals, 351 species of birds, and 1000 species of vascular plants. Moreover, Burchel‟s zebra, Grant‟s gazelle, greater kudu, waterbuck, Guenther‟s dik-dik, bushbuck, jackal, spotted hyena, leopard, lion, cheetah serval-cat, honey badger, cross-coloubs, vervet monkey, olive-baboon, wild dog and caracal are common mammals & conspicuous living in the park. So, tourists can visit the park experience excitement of travel.
3. Konso Cultural Landscape
Konso attracts the interests of many tourists and researchers because of its ancient, complex, and fascinated culture and its traditional practices. Colorful Konso market, terracing practices, traditional villages, and arts are major touristic sites of the Konso. So, tourists can visit the cultural landscape and traditional arts of konso community.
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In addition to the three recommendations, tourists can also plan to visit other tourism sites like Tiya World Heritage site, Hawassa Lake, Ziway Lake, and others. Moreover, I invite you to read related topics to learn more about Ethiopia’s Tourism. Your feedback and comments also help others to learn more about the trip.