Cultural Route, The Living Museum
One of the earth’s most amazing natural wonders- the African Great Rift Valley, characterizes the southern part of Ethiopia. The rift that runs through southern Ethiopia has created numerous lakes fringed by forests teeming with birdlife. Highlights of southern Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Rift Valley region include Omo National Park, Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park, Halaba Kulito, Arba Minch, Hawasa, Lakes Abaya and Chamo, Mago National Park, Nechisar National Park, Senkele Sanctuary, Yabello Sanctuary, Turmi, Omorate, and Jinka…
The Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes form the northernmost section of the African Rift Valley. In central Ethiopia, the Great Rift Valley splits the Ethiopian highlands into northern and southern halves, and the Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes occupy the floor of the rift valley between the two highlands. Most of Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes do not have an outlet and as such form small pockets of water in the land.
The Halaba have shared various cultural practices and lifestyles with various other peoples‟ cultures. The cultural interaction established with others and the contacts with outsiders who have influenced the culture, customs, institutions and artistic heritages of the nationality.
The administrative center of Halaba Zone, Kulito Town is located at a distance of 245-kilo meters south of Addis Ababa via Butajira-Wulbarag road; 315-kilo meters via Mojo-Shashemene road; and 87-kilo meters North West of the regional centre (Hawassa), with an elevation of 1,726 metres above sea level with an estimated total population of 65,000. The town sits on the left bank of Bilate River with different amenities including digital telephone access, postal, banks’. Things to visit in Halaba Zone:- Arto Hot springs, beautifully painted houses in the Villages with their traditional hut, Fama Falls, Sifame defense Caves, Belate River, Halaba’s Cultural Centre…
Arba Minch, located near the shores of Lake Chamo & Lake Abaya (the longest rift valley lake in Ethiopia), is the biggest town in the region and just outside Nech Sar National Park. The town is very attractive, the surrounding geography. Lake Abaya, divided from Lake Chamo with a hill known as “the bridge of heaven”, due to the wonderful views from the top.
around the rivers and lakes, you will find the Ganjulle and Gujji tribes, who live primarily from the resources these lakes provide. Crocodile populations are high and the crocodile market at the mouth of the Kulfo River is an incredible sight to visit, as is the crocodile farm on the shores of Lake Abaya. This area has a great abundance of birdlife and you will find a multitude of species from savannah to water bird species, reflecting the different habitats within the park. Due to the volcanic origin of the region, you also find natural hot springs and spas in Arba Minch.
Netch Sar National Park is ideal for game drives, while Lake Abaya offers excellent boat safaris. There are a number of hiking routes in the region as well. The southern part of Ethiopia gives a visitor a unique experience different from the northern part of the country. The road to south Ethiopia takes you through the Ethiopian rift valley, which bisects the country into two. Along the rift, there is a string of about seven lakes dotting the floor of the valley and rich in fauna and flora – Zeway, Langano, Abijata, Shalla, Hawassa, Abaya, and Chamo. There are other crater lakes and wetlands as you set out of Addis Ababa along this route and encircling the town of Debre. Some of them are Koka, Bishoftu, Hora, Kuriftu, Bishoftu Gudda and Cheleleka.
The South-Eastern part of Ethiopia is known for its beautiful parks and a natural network of caves, Sof Omar, believed to be about 15 kilometers long. In the Bale Mountains National park, a visitor can trek through the pretty lowlands and spot the abundant life or search the high plateau for the world’s rarest wildlife such as the Ethiopian wolf and many other big mammals. Along the route to Bale, there is an established trek route at Adaba and Dodolla. It is heaven for horse riders too, and for those who want a greater challenge, the trekking route connects to the Bale Mountains Park.
To the southwest of Ethiopia, in what known as the Lower Omo valley, there are a vast number of ethnic groups living at short distances from one another. The Omo region believed to be the last great wilderness on the African continent.
The Omo River, which waters the region, empties itself into Lake Turkana that is the fourth largest lake in East Africa. Some of the tribes that live in the Omo and the surrounding region are the Dorze, the Konso, the Tsemai, the Benna, the Ari, the Mursi, the Hamar, the Erbore, the Geleb (also Known as Dassenech ), the Karo, the Gnangatom and the Surma.