I forgot to mention in my previous post that the roads, so far, in Ethiopia are almost as bad as those in Madagascar and Zambia, sometimes just as bad so travelling relatively short distances takes time but the scenery is beautiful so it makes up for the bad roads.
After our hippo cruise we departed Hawassa and backtracked through Shashanane and made our way to Senkelle Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary where we picked up a park ranger and went looking for the Swayne’s Hartebeest which is endemic to Ethiopia. The sanctuary is 58 sq.km and consists of wide open grasslands. The sanctuary, located in the Oromia region is dedicated to the protection of the Hartebeest which at one time numbered 3,000 animals but has dwindled to about 800 due to poaching.
After a total of about 10 hours of driving covering less than 300 km we reached Arda Minch just after sunset. Arba Minch is bordered by mountains and is home to two of Ethiopia’s largest Rift Valley lakes, Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya. Our lodge was perched high on a hillside and had amazing views of the lakes and the distant Nechisar National Park. We were disappointed we missed the view of the lakes with the sunset behind us but we did get sunrise views in the morning.
Our original plan was to take a two hour boat trip to view the abundant crocodile population in Lake Chamo but we have seen many crocs so decided to cut this portion out so we could hopefully arrive at our next destination before sunset and with some time to unwind from what we knew would be another long day of driving. It’s not just the condition of the roads that are a challenge. Some roads aren’t too bad but the roads are used as a walkway for herds of cattle and flocks goats and there are literally thousands of goats and cattle that block every step of the way along your journey.