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Situated in the Rift Valley, Awash National Park is home to a diverse range of plains wildlife and offers tremendous birdwatching opportunities, with over 400 species recorded here.

The park covers an area of 756 square kilometres, comprised mainly of acacia and grassland, but with an interesting range of volcanic landscapes. In the open areas and grass plains you should see grazing zebra alongside Beisa oryx, kudu, Soemmerring's gazelle and Swayne’s hartebeest. Olive and hamadryas baboons, as well as colobus and grivet monkeys, can be seen near the river, and the tiny dik-dik is often well camouflaged in the shade of the acacia thorn. Cats such as cheetah, serval, and leopard are also present (although less easy to spot) and lion, black-backed and golden jackals, and caracals can occasionally be seen.

Over 400 species of bird have been recorded in Awash, ranging from the great ostrich, frequently seen, to the less common secretary bird and the Abyssinian ground hornbill. Vivid flashes of colour come from the carmine bee-eaters and the Abyssinian roller. And many more types of species occur - from birds of prey to birds of the forest and those occupying the savannah.

A series of well-maintained tracks traverse the park, taking in the many scenic attractions – although, to make the most of your visit to the park it is advisable to hire a knowledgeable park guide.

Situated 211 kilometres east of Addis Ababa, the park takes its name from the Awash River, which forms the park’s southern boundary with some spectacular waterfalls near the park headquarters. 

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: beisa oryx, Hamadryas baboon, ostrich, Salt’s dik-dik, Soemmering’s gazelle
  • Where: Southern Afar Region, Ethiopia