Day trips from Addis Ababa

Menagesha forest

The magnificent forest is about 2500ha of natural forest and has exotic plantation forest at altitudes ranging from 2300m to 3000m on the southern and western slopes of mount Wechecha. The forest is inhabited by various large mammals and many species of forest birds.

Debre Libanos

Debre Libanos

lying some 100kms from the capital this monastery was founded in the 13th C by Abuna Teklehaimanot. It stands at the base of a magnificent 700m high canyon.

  • It was here in 1520 that Emperor Lebne Dengel formally received the first Portuguese mission to Ethiopia. It also retained its political importance until the Italian occupation during which the monastery and the monks were attacked.
  • The modern church built in the 1950s by Haile Silassie is tucked away in small wooded gorge. Other points of interest to tourists around the monastery are the cave of Debre Libanos, Portuguese Bridge/Ras Darge, there is also a chance to spot Chilada Baboons and varieties of Birds can be spotted near Jemma valley. Muger River Gorge and the water fall from the village of Durba offers very good opportunities of exploring variety of birds.

Blue Nile Gorge

Blue Nile Gorge

Is truly magnificent gorge which spans altitude of around 2500m to 1200m is comparable in scale with Americas Grand Canyon.

  • The gorge follows the course of the Blue Nile River/Abay as it arcs south of Lake Tana before it gushes out of Ethiopia into Sudan.
  • Traveling between Fiche and Dejen you will cross the gorge on one of the most chilling roads built by the Italians. The Gorge can be visited in a trip from Addis Ababa at a push with round trip distance 260 km.

Wonchi Crater Lake

is a massive extinct volcano which reaches an elevation of 3386m is situated the south of ambo along the road that connects to Woliso on the Jimma road.

  • The main attraction is the picturesque caldera which is settled and densely cultivated. The main activities at Wonchi include horse riding and making boat trip to reach the monastery of Wonchi Cherkos.
  • The lake is also in habited by varieties of birds both water and terrestrial.

Debre Birhan & Ankober

Ankober is situated at an altitude of around 3000m on the escarpment that falls to the Afar Depression, forms an excellent goal for a day trip.

  • Both the road and the town are scenic passing through Rolling Meadows with views over the escarpment. The area is also good for Gelada Baboons and variety of birds. Other places of interest include the ruined palace of Emperor Menelik.

Bishoftu (Debre Zeit)

lies on the main paved Adama (Nazareth) road about an hours drive from Addis Ababa. It is the ninth largest town in the country with a population exceeding 145000.

  • Bishoftu has since 1945 been the site of the country’s main air force base and training center. It is also a site of the Veterinary Medicine Facilities of Addis Ababa University. The main points of interest for tourists are the concentration of Crater Lakes which can be explored in a day trip from Addis Ababa in combination with Sodore Resort or Ziquwala Mountain.

Lake Bishoftu: is the most central lake. The best view over the lake is from Dreamland hotel. Steep cattle path leads to the shore of the lake measuring upto 90m in depth. Though almost deluded of trees, the lake attracts quite a good bird life.

Hora and Irrecha Festival

Is situated 2kms from the town center. This saline body of water almost 40m deep is the largest Crater Lake in Bishoftu area. It has thick wooded slopes inhabited by many species of birds. An important and colorful Oromo thanksgiving festival called the Irrecha has taken place on the shore of Lake Hora annually. This festival takes place on 1 October and celebrates the traditional Oromo notion of Waka (one God)

Other concentration of crater lakes is lakes Koriftu known for fishing activities, Lake Bishoftu Guda and Cheleleka for birding activities.

Sodore Resort

the hot spring resort of Sodore situated at an altitude of 1700m stretches for about 1kms on the banks of the Awash River about 25kms south of Adama. The main interest for tourists is the Awash River and fringing Riparian forest. Vervet monkeys and crocs are often encountered in the grounds. The forest also offers excellent birding.

Tiya Monuments Tiya Monuments

Lies some 90 kms on Butajira road and marks the northern limit of a belt of mysterious engraved stelae that stretches across southern Ethiopia through Dila to Negele Borana. Little is known about the origin of these stelae or of the meanings of the symbols that are curved upon them. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site the stelea field comprises some 45 stones of up to 2m in height

Melka Kunture

Is a pre historic site which is situated on the south face of the Awash River gorge opposite Melka Awash. It is regarded as one of the most important Stone Age sites in Ethiopia. The first major excavation at the site took place over the period of 1965 – 81. It has museum displaying a good collections of artifacts that have been unearthed along the river including a variety of cleavers, hand axes, and other tools made from basalt and other hard rocks. The site is located some 50 kms on Butajira Road.

Adadi Maryam: Adadi

Lies to the west of Butajira Road on a small hill. The rock hewn church is believed to have been founded between the 12th and 14th Centuries. Traditionally the foundation of this church is associated with King Lalibela visit to near by mount Ziqwala in 12th C. It is far closer in style to its counterparts at Lalibela.

Koka dam

Damming the Awash River about 15km west of Adama Koka was constructed the late 1950s and has been one of Ethiopia’s most important sources of Hydroelectric power. It is an important site for water birds and to spot Hippos and crocs.

Lake Ziway

Is also known as Lake Dambal is the northern most of Ethiopia’s natural Rift Valley Lakes with a surface area of roughly 430km2. This lake lies about 160kms south of Addis Ababa. The lake supports an abundant population of Tilapia nilotica a medium sized flat fish that can weigh up to 1.5kg and make fine for eating. The Lake offers bird watching of any Rift Valley Lakes. It is also noted for hippos which are sometimes seen from the jetty. The lake has five islands supporting Christian community for many centuries.

Note that there are other day trip options from Addis Ababa that can be tailored for special interest tours.