Rift Valley & the Bale Mountains

One of the Africa most striking Geographical features is a giant tear the earth’s surface visible from space: the Great Rift Valley. Extending from the middle East to Mozambique, the Rift Valley Passes from the northeast to the southwest right through Ethiopia, endowing the country with some spectacular sights that range from hot, dry, and barren places to a string of beautiful lakes.

Volcanic activity, which greatly contributed to the formation of the rift valley, continues up to present times. In Ethiopia, it finds Expression in the presence of the hot springs in many parts of the country, as well as volcanic cones in the Danakil Depression, which encompasses a good portion of the Afar Region is one of the earths hottest and most inhospitable places, with many points more than 100 matters (330 feet) below sea level and noon- time temperatures soaring above 500c (1220 F).it is the site of a dry salt lake from which Ethiopians since time immemorial have obtained their amoles or bars of salt, used both for consumption and not long ago, as a regular currency. Mined by the Afar people for at least a millennium and a half, the salt is loaded on camels and taken to the highlands, where it is still in considerable demand and fetches a good price.

The landscape of the Danakil seems carved from the infernos of hell and it a reminder of the once ravaged this region, with volcanic cones rising above the scabs of black lave, Earth tremors are frequent and there are several still- active volcanoes in the area. Amazingly, there is also wildlife to be seen here, and particularly zebra and wild ass. As a total contrast, the Bale Mountains, with their vast moorlands, their lower reaches coverer with St. john’s wort, their extensive heath, their virgin woodlands, their pristine mountain streams and their alpine climate, are a beautiful world all of their own set in the southern highlands of Ethiopia, 425 Kilometers from Addis Ababa the Mountains rise to a height of over 4,000 meters, with Tulu Dimtu, the second Highest peak in Ethiopia, rising to 4,377 meters high. The Bale Mountains National park, which covers an area of 2,470 square kilometers and through which one can either walk or drive is one of the best places to see the endemic Abyssinian wolf, the mountain Nyla and manila’s bushbuck Amongst a profusion of birds, other animals to be see include Anubis baboons, Columbus monkeys, giant forest hog, lions and leopards. The creeks of the park, which become important rivers further down, offer some of Africa’s finest fishing for both rainbow and brown trout. Not far the bale Mountains is one of the world’s most spectacular and extensive underground caverns: the Sof Omar cave system. Formed by the Web River as it changed its course in the distant past and formed a new channel through limestone foothills, Sof Omar is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty. The two southernmost of the chain of Ethiopia Rift Valley lakes, Abaya and Chamo, are the lushest in vegetation and the richest in wildlife. The Nechisar National park embraces the eastern the shores of the lakes and was established as a sanctuary for the endemic Swayens hartebeest. The lakes support many species of fish including the Nile perch and the tiger fish , as well as hordes of hippos and crocodiles. The bluff between the lakes has numerous spring after which the nearest town, Arba Minch, the local name for forty springs is named.

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