Park is located 225 km east of Addis Ababa, the Park stretches
30km east to west and a little less from north to south. The
terrain is mainly acacia woodland and grassland.
At all places it is possible to see game: Oryx, Soemmerring's
gazelle and wild pig are common. Slightly less frequent are
the furry waterbuck which tend to appear near the river in the
The tiny Dik-dik, not easy to spot in the speckled shade of the acacia
thorn, zebra grazing the plains to the west of Fantale,
cheetah, serval and leopard are also there but it is not easy
to spot them; baboons, both Anubis and Hamadryas, kudus,
lesser and greater, the giant tortoise, hippo, reedbuck,
aardvark and caracal are also represented. Klipspringer
inhabits the higher slopes of the mountain and curious hyrax
peer at you curiously from behind their rocks. In the bottom
of the gorge you can spot the black and white Colobus monkey.
Over four hundred species are recorded for the park: (The
check list is available at the museum at park Head quarters).
They range from the greater ostrich, frequently and easily
observed, and the less common Secretary Bird and Abyssinian
Ground Hornbill, to the flashes of brilliant pink which are
the Carmine Bee-eaters, and the Abyssinian Roller with
turquoise and purple, wings. And between these two extremes,
birds of the Riverine forest, Coucal, Turaco, Go-away Birds;
birds of prey; and birds of the savannah.
The Park itself is traversed by a series of well-maintained
tracks, which take in the most spectacular of the many scenic
attractions. It is possible, and perhaps advisable, to hire a
park guide. To the north at Filwoha lies the hot springs oasis
in its groves of palm trees. It is reached by either one of
two scenic tracks which start opposite the main gate on the
far side of the road and bearing right, progress either along
the floor of the Awash Falls lower Valley or along the top of
the ridge. The Awash River gorge in the south of the park has
some spectacular waterfalls near the park headquarters.
Less than three hours drive from Addis Ababa, or one and a
half from Nazaret is the Awash National park and Game Reserve.
The main entrance is at the 190 km. mark and you have already
passed the park boundary as you crossed the railway track just
before Fantalle Crater, which rises 600 m. from the valley
floor on the left. At this point there is a track to the left
and it is possible to drive either up to the crater rim or
right round the park to the hot springs although the road is
such that the prospect will not tempt everyone. It is probably
wiser to enter the main gate first and travel comfortably down
towards the Awash River which constitutes the southern
boundary of the park. Here is park Headquarters, sited near
the dramatic Awash falls where the river enters its gigantic
A small bar and museum are conveniently near the camping site.
The main lodge is several kilometers away across the IIala
Sala plains: perched on the very rim of the gorge are several
luxurious air-conditioned caravans and just on the edge, a
restaurant and small swimming pool.