Overview – Awash NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Ethiopia.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Ethiopia.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Ethiopia.

Awash National Park in the Rift Valley features several impressive landmarks worth exploring. Awash Falls tumbles down into the scenic gorge of the same name. The palm-fringed Filwoha Hot Springs are a refreshing oasis for people and animals alike. And the hot, dusty plains are towered over by the dormant volcano Mt Fentale.

Best Time to Go Oct to Feb (Little rain and less hot)
High Season Sep to Apr (The park is never busy)
Size 756km² / 292mi²
Altitude 758-1,864m / 2,487-6,115ft

Pros & Cons

  • Dry-country wildlife
  • Great birding
  • Very accessible en route from Addis to Harar
  • Scenic highlights
  • Mt Fentale climb available
  • Low wildlife densities
  • Human encroachment

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Wildlife

Awash National Park was established to protect the dry-country wildlife of the area including beisa oryx, Salt's dik-dik and Soemmerring’s gazelle. Olive baboons are common, but more interesting are the localized white-maned hamadryas baboons. Spend an afternoon at the hot springs and you might see them drinking before heading to the cliffs to groom and settle for the night.

Scenery

The park is characterized by open grassland with pockets of acacia scrub. The dusty plains are interrupted by the Awash River, which plunges down several waterfalls before carving through a deep gorge. The clear pools of the Filwoha Hot Springs, surrounded by doum palm trees, attract animals looking for water and shade. Mount Fentale towers over the landscape, and 200-year-old lava flows give testament to its last activity.

Weather & Climate

The weather in Awash National Park is generally hot and dry. There is a short Wet season from July to September. Temperatures are quite consistent throughout the year. Days are hot at about 32°C/90°F, but peak temperatures can be much higher. Nights cool down to an average of 18°C/64°F.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Awash National Park is from October to February when it is dry and temperatures are a bit cooler. March to June is also a good time to visit but July and August can be a bit wet and July can be scorching hot. However, May to August is the low season and you might just have the place to yourself, and slightly lower rates will apply.

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Awash NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Twitchers’ delight
3/5

Ethiopia is likely to make bird watchers go weak at the knees. With over 900 species recorded, it’s one of Africa’s best birding countries and the dramatic Awash National Park, with over 450 species, is one of the better birding...