​Overview – Nechisar 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.

The stunningly diverse landscapes are Nechisar National Park’s biggest attraction. The main wildlife area is Nechisar Plains, where you can see plains zebra, Grant's gazelle and Swayne's hartebeest. Due to bad road conditions, a trip out here is quite a mission. A more popular excursion is a boat trip on Lake Chamo to the ‘crocodile market’, a popular sun-basking spot for big crocodiles.

Best Time to Go November to March (Little rainfall)
High Season October to January (The park is never busy)
Size 514km² / 198mi²
Altitude 1,109-1,537m / 3,638-5,043ft

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful scenery in the Rift Valley
  • Boat trips available
  • Easily accessible en route to Omo Valley
  • Human encroachment and little wildlife
  • Only one bad road circuit
  • No accommodation or facilities in the park

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Wildlife

Although the park was once home to the usual array of savannah wildlife, most big safari animals have become locally extinct due to poaching. You’re likely to see olive baboon, warthog, guereza monkey and Guenther’s dik-dik in the forest patch around the hot springs. For a chance of seeing plains zebra, Grant's gazelle and Swayne's hartebeest you need to brave the bad road to Nechisar Plains.

Scenery

The twin lakes of Chamo and Abaya are divided by the mountainous Bridge of God. East of this are the Nechisar (white grass) Plains where most of the wildlife roams. The hot springs are a popular bathing spot with locals. The adjacent patch of groundwater forest (forest whose water supply comes from underground springs) is great for bird watching.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Nechisar is comparable to that of Ethiopia in general. More info:

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Nechisar National Park is in the Dry season months from November to February. April, May, September and October are the wettest months and at this time the road to Nechisar Plains might become impassable.

Getting There

Nechisar NP is located on the outskirts of Arba Minch town, about 450km/280mi south of Addis Ababa. The road is good and the drive takes about eight hours. It is also possible to fly – there are daily domestic flights between Addis Ababa and Arba Minch. A good 4x4 is needed to visit Nechisar Plains, and a boat trip on the lake can be organized through your hotel.

Health & Safety

Please read our vaccinations and malaria page for Ethiopia, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Nechisar NP?

Nechisar NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

A crocodile market on the shore of Lake Chamo
3/5

Due to long-term neglect, poaching and overgrazing, wildlife numbers are down in this scenic park. I drove the long bumpy road to the plains area recommended for wildlife viewing, but only saw a single greater kudu and a herd of...

Full Review