Ethiopia: Gambella National Park is Paradise for Wild Lives

April 12, 2021 (GMN) - Gambella State is a place reserved for true explorers. In a remote corner of Southwestern Ethiopia, Gambella is only accessible via charter aircraft.

Those who may come and exploring the State will not be disappointed. Wildlife populations in harboring in the park are among the highest in all of Ethiopia, and exclusive tented camps and private aircraft as well vehicle transport make for once-in-a-lifetime adventure at the frontier of what is possible in East Africa.

One could question what makes Gambella National Park special and here is the answer. Gambella is unrivaled in Ethiopia for wildlife experiences. With population numbers challenging that of the large game reserves in Tanzania and Kenya, Gambella offers a unique safari opportunity in East Africa the chance to journey into a remote and difficult to access wilderness, retreating to exclusive tented camps after a day's adventuring.

Huge migrating herds of antelope and buffalo can be found here, along with elephants, giraffes, warthogs, lions, hippo, cheetah, leopards, hyenas, and more.

Gambella National Park is located in the Gambella State and it covers 5,061 square kilometers. It was established in 1973, it is 15 kilometers southwest of the city of Gambella, where headquarter of the park is located. The northern boundary is surrounded by the Baro (Openo) River.

About 66 percent of the area is considered shrubland, 15 percent is forest and most of the remainder has undergone human modification. The Park also supports large tracts of wet grasslands and swamps where the grasses grow over three meters in length.

It is 850 km away from the bustling capital Addis Ababa. Out of all national parks in Ethiopia, Gambella National Park stands tall in the richness of wildlife. The large conservation area of the park contains many species that are endemic and not found elsewhere in the country.

Wildlife, such as the Nile lechwe, the white-eared kob, Roan antelope, topi, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, and the unusual whale-headed stork are also found in the Park. The elevation of the Park is ranging from 400 to 768 meters, and it has extended grasslands, marshes, river forests and savannas in the Eastern part of the Park.

The Park is situated in a lowland plain, but there are some areas of higher, often rocky, ground with deciduous woodland and savanna, as well as large termite mounds. Gambella National Park supports extensive areas of wet grassland and swamps.

The average annual rainfall is 1,400 millimeters (55 in); there is a wet season from May to October and a dry season for the rest of the time. The park is mostly flooded from August to October. The average temperature is 27 °C, with significant variation.

The number of larger mammals are expected to be 69. There are also more than 300 bird species, 7 species of reptile, 493 species of plants, and 92 species of fish. The large mammals include Buffalo, Elephant, White-eared Kob, Hippopotamus, Nile Lechwe, Giraffe, Warthog, Topi, East African lion, leopard, Sudan cheetah, Nubian Giraffe, Waterbuck, tiang, Lelwel hartebeest, olive baboon, and guereza monkey, hyena, buffalo, sable antelope, hippopotamus, Kafue lechwe, zebra, greater and waterbuck Roan Antelope, Burchell's Zebra, Bushbuck, and Reedbuck.

Gambella Park was focused on protecting three endangered species: the African Elephant, Nile lechwe, and shoebill stork. The peak of the annual antelope migration occurs from January to March. Several birds only found in this area include the long-tailed paradise whydah and the red-throated and green bee-eaters. One of the major attractions of Gambella National Park is the Baro (Openo) River.

The Baro River (Amharic: Baro Wenz, known to the Anywaa as Openo River) is a river in southwestern Ethiopia, which defines part of Ethiopia's border with South Sudan. From its source in the Ethiopian highlands, it flows west for 306 kilometers (190 mi) to join the Pibor River. The rivers host large populations of Nile Crocodiles.

The people of this area are the Anywaa and the Nuer. Mainly fisherfolk but also cattle herders the Anywaa and Nuer are extremely handsome, with dark, satiny complexions. Both men and women favor a style of decorative scarification on the chest, stomach, and face; and often boast heavy bone bangles, bright bead necklaces, and spikes of ivory or brass thrust through a hole pierced in the lower lip and protruding down over the chin.

Unaffected by the ways of the modern world, these interesting people remain as remote, unchanged, and beautiful as the land in which they live.

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