Park is on the west bank of the Omo River in the lower Omo
valley. The park is 140 km long, stretching from the Neruze
River in the south to the Sharum plain in the north, and up to
60 km wide where the Park Headquarters are situated. Major
land features include the Omo River on the east, the Maji
Mountains and the Sharum and Sai plains in the north and west,
and the Lilibai plains and Dirga Hills to the south.
There are three
hot springs, and the park is crossed by a number of
rivers, all of which drain into the Omo. The important
Mui River crosses the middle of the park. Much of the
park is at 800m above sea level but the southern part
by the Neruze river drops to 450m.
peak in the Maji Mountains is 1,541 m. The edges of the Omo
River, which borders the park along its length to the east,
are covered by close stands of tall trees.
well-developed shrub layer combined with woody and herbaceous
climbers provides dense cover along the edge of the river
which, however, is frequently broken by incoming streams and
the activities of the local people and animals (particularly
Hippo). Away from the river edge, dense stands of Euphorbia
tirucalli abound, the canopies shading standing water long
after the rains have abated. The park also embraces extensive
open grasslands interspersed with stands of woodland species,
and bush vegetation.
The park is
home to the Surma, Mogudge and Dizi peoples, with the Bume (yanyatong)
making much use of areas in the south and the Mursi crossing
the Omo River from the east. These people are pastoralists and
hunter-gatherers, but also cultivate a few crops on the river
levees, and make extensive use of the river resources. They
hunt wild animals for meat, skins and items to sell, in
particular elephant tusks. The lower Omo valley as a whole,
including Omo and Mago National Parks, is one of the
least-developed in terms of modern-day investments.
The poor road network in the region is perhaps one reason why
the area has stayed intact. This has assisted in delaying the
destruction of the lifestyles of the people who live there as
well as the balance of natural resources on which they depend.
The track from Jinka in the east to the edge of the Omo River
is only accessible in the dry season (August - February).
Another track, from Maji to the Omo National Park on the west,
is almost impassable and is mostly used only by Omo National
Park vehicles and a few other adventurous visiting groups.
Park was established to conserve the areas rich wildlife and
develop the area for tourism. However, the potential of the
Omo River (between the two parks) for recreation and tourism
activities has not been fully realized. Since the mid-1970s,
the National Parks Omo to the west and Mago to the east of the
river have not been able to attract many visitors, largely as
a result of the communication barrier created by the Omo River
and the very poor tourist facilities in the parks. This is now
bird list for the park is 312 species. The riverine forest
along the Omo River is important for several different bird
groups, including herons and egrets, kingfishers, barbets,
chats and thrushes, woodpeckers, pigeons, shrikes, warblers
and flycatchers. Pale arctic species, especially waders, are
fond of the hot springs at Illibai.