​User Reviews – Lake Ziway

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John   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: February 2020 Reviewed: Apr 15, 2020

Email John  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Easy trip from Addis making a great place to stay if you have a few days too spare.
Overall rating

An easy ride from Addis via Nazret by bus, although I came via Butajira. This means most tourists are local. A pleasant place to wander, with enormously wide streets which away from the main roads carry mainly horse drawn vehicles. The food is excellent with lots of fresh Tilapia from the lake. Its BBQed on the lakeside. I'm not a birder, but lots around particulalry pelicans and the rather ugly Marabou storks.
Ziway gets compared with Hawassa which is similar in its lakeside location. Hawassa has more to offer but not such an easy run from Addis

Silvio Moioli   –  
Italy IT
Visited: February 2019 Reviewed: Mar 24, 2019

Email Silvio Moioli  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

I visited the like during the trip to south Ethiopia. It was a very quick visit of about one hour.

MadGrin   –  
Italy IT
Visited: August 2018 Reviewed: Mar 10, 2019

Email MadGrin  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

A paradise of birds
Overall rating

At about 45km from Lake Langano, going in the direction of Addis Ababa Capital, it is possible to stop in the small town of Zua which is an excellent starting point for visiting Lake Ziway.

Zua is a tiny, fervent town of humanity and although the primary goal is to visit Lake Ziway it can also be interesting to spend some time observing the frenetic activity of the population intent on daily activities.

It is possible to visit the lake by boat, rented by one of the many fishermen who will be happy to take you around in exchange for an appropriate fee, but for those who did not have too much time and wanted to see the largest number of endemic species the advice is to take a walk through one of Zua's piers.

With a short walk you can see many species of birds that frequent the pier or its surroundings, looking for food. The first, and the one with the greatest impact, is certainly the African Marabou, a large bird belonging to the Ciconiidae family, which, however, has very little of the beauty of its most famous cousins, the white storks. The Marabou has, more or less, the same size of the stork but the similarities end there: the beak is definitely larger and less graceful and the head looks like a bald head on which grows a disordered tuft of hair. In addition to being unattractive, Marabou also has a "questionable" diet, feeding, mostly, corpses. On the other hand brilliantly fulfills his role as a sweeper for which it is tolerated and is not bothered by the natives.

In addition to the Marabou it is possible to see small groups of Pelicans, who are often attracted by the fishermen in the port who throw fish scraps, the Alopochen aegyptiaca, more commonly known as "Egyptian goose", of the friendly Scopus Umbretta, small hammer-headed birds and , finally, of the beautiful Martin Pescatori.

Passing an hour on the pier you can see many species but if you want to deepen the visit, with a motor boat and a few hours available, you can enjoy a relaxing trip with which to observe many species of birds.

Paul Hopcraft   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: November 2018 Reviewed: Mar 4, 2019

Email Paul Hopcraft  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

A peaceful lake with great wildlife just a couple of ours from Addis Ababa.
Overall rating

In the early morning the lake is at its very best. Golden light floods across the water from the hills to the East and the sky and shore line are filled with birds. Fishermen can be seen in their canoes or casting nets while standing waist deep in the water.

Situated about 160km south of Addis Ababa Lake Ziway, one of the Rift Valley lakes, is reached in around two hours by car or three by public bus. It’s a popular destination both for tourists and Ethiopians escaping the city for a few days.

The lake’s major town is called Ziway (also referred to as Zway or Batu) and is the best place to access the lake. With its wide, dusty streets, shops, restaurants and market stalls the town is a pleasant place for a stroll in the late afternoon or use the local transport which comes in the form of taxi, tuk-tuk or horse drawn cart.

Boats to access the lake can easily be rented from the hotels that line the shore or from a community run operation near the centre of town.
A typical boat trip will include time at Bird Island, as well as a cruise along the shore line to try and spot hippos in the shallows. Early morning or late afternoon is probably the best time to take to the water.

Ziway has a range of hotels to suit all budgets almost all of them with direct access to the lake and grounds that are full of birds throughout the day.

Average User Rating

  • 4.0/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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