Gumii Paarlaamaa Oromoo (GPO)

Oromo Parliamentarians Council (OPC)

 

Baga Nagaan Dhuftan!Welcome to Oromo parliamentarians council!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              New Page 2 home                         

Tourist Guide  of oromia

Contact us :

Chairman Oromo Parliamentarians Council /Gumi Paarlamaa Oromoo

Ernest Claesstraat 10 GLV, 2050 Antwerpen  Belgium

  GSM +32(0) 484 23 21 25   skype gadaa.oromoo , facebook gummi paarlamaa Oromoo

Email: opc.gpo@gmail.com   Visit our website: www.oromoparliamentarians.org

 

Important Tourist Place in Oromo:

Major tourist destinations and attractions in Oromiya

Bishoftu and Surrounding lakes

Lake Hora Arsade resort, Lake Bishoftu, Lake Babogayya, Lake Kurriftu, Lake Kilole, Lake Magarisa, Mountain Chuqqala and its Monastery, Mount yarar and its Monuments.

Adama and Surrounding Resorts

Sodare SPA resort, Bokku steam, Gargadi hot spring, dhera dilfaqar proposed park

The Lakes Region of Oromiya

Lake dambal, Lake Langano resort, Abijata – Shala Lakes National Park, Sanqalle wildlife reserve

The Magnifcent Attractions of Arsi and Bale

Controlled hunting areas of Arsi Mountains, Bale Mountains National park, Sof umar cave, Dirre Sheikh Husein, the significant

Touristic features of Oromiya

Where to stay

Western route

Gafarsa dam, mannagasha subba forest, The church and Museum of Ejare, Ambo, Lake wanchi, Waliso spa, Malka Qunturre, Adadi Mariyam church, Wallagga Museum, Bareda and Angar waterfalls, Dhedhessa wildlife reserve, walal shabal conservation area Garjeda forst Kumsa Moroda Palace

Jimma And Surrounding

Abbajifar Palce,Jimma Museum.

Tropical Forest, Sor Water Fall,

Gore Town

Where To Stay

Eastern Route

Awash  National Park, Asabot  Mmountain

And Its Monastery? Jallo Ounni Mukhtar

And Dindin Forests? Achare And Aynage

Caves, Qullubbi Gabriel Church

Dirre_Dawa City? Haramaya And

Addalle Lakes? Harar City? Babbile

Elephant Sanctuary? The Uniquerooks

Of Babbile

Where To Stay

Northern Route

Muger Valley? Monastery Of Debre Libanos?

Goha Tsiyon And

Awash Michael Churches Abbay Gorge

Where To Stay

 

Oromiya Background

Location

Horn of Africa; in what is today Ethiopia. Oromia is approximately located between 3 degree and 15 degree N latitude and 33 degree and 40 degree longitude.

 

Size: 375,000 Square Miles, or, 600,000 square kilometers; Larger than France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium & the Netherlands combined.

Population: 50 million; 3rd. largest nationality in Africa; single largest nationality in East Africa.

Religion: Waaqa, Islam, Christian.

Resources:  Breadbasket of the Horn of Africa -cereals including wheat, barley, sorghum, maize, tafi; exports includes coffee, oil seeds, hides and skins; it has the largest livestock holding in Africa; forestry - houses all the forest and wildlife reserves of the Horn including unique species like Nyala-lbex, Colobus monkey and the red fox. minerals - two of three mineral belts of the region including gold, silver, platinum, uranium, marble, Nickel, and natural gas.

History:

Locale of the 3.5 million year old Lucy, or Chaltu in Oromo, Croatia of the Upper Nile known and recorded in history by such names as Punt, Cush, and Ethiopia, has hosted numerous pioneering human achievements including the development of the earliest pebble tools (circa 70,000 BC), the domestication of animals (circa 5000 BC), and regional trade in antiquity in gold, ivory, myrrh and frankincense with Pharoahnic Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia. Early in history, the Oromo developed an indigenous democratic system similar to the Grecian Polls called Gada in which elected officials including the Abba Gada(President), the Abba Dula (Commander of the Army), the Abba Hori (Chief of the Treasury), and nine Hayyuus (Judges) assumed public office for non-renewable 8 year terms. With universal male training in warfare including equestrian skills, archery and the martial arts, the Oromo remained independent until the last decade of the 19th century, when Abyssinians from the North aided by modern European arms, managed to conquer them. Since then, successions of autocrats from Menelik to Mengistu have systematically suppressed Oromo culture, looted Oromo resources, divided the people by region and religion in the idiom of Ethiopian unity, thusly fostering instability, war and famine.

Political Objective

The fundamental political objective of the Oromo people is to exercise their inalienable right to national self determination to liberate themselves from a century of oppression and exploitation, and to form, where possible, a political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary associations.

Oromia and the Oromo people

The following summary information was adopted from the book by Gadaa Melbaa, Khartoum, Sudan 1988.

People: Oromo
Country: Oromia (also phonetically spelled as Oromiyaa)
Area: 600,000 sq.km approx.
Capital: Finfinnee (also called Addis Ababa)
Population: 50 million (2008 estimate)
Language: Oromo, also called Afan Oromo or Oromiffa
Economy: Mainly agriculture (coffee, several crops, spices, vegetables) and Animal Husbandry; Mining industry; Tourism trade; Medium and small-scale industries (textiles, refineries, meat packaging, etc)
Religion: Waaqqefata (the traditional belief in Waaqa or God), Islam, and Christian (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant)

Overview

The Oromo make up a significant portion of the population occupying the Horn of Africa. In the Ethiopian Empire alone, Oromo constitute about 30 million of the 55 million inhabitants of the Ethiopian Empire. In fact, Oromo is one of the most numerous nations in Africa which enjoys a homogeneous culture and shares a common language, history and descent and once shared common political, religious and legal institutions. During their long history, the Oromo developed their own cultural, social and political system known as the Gadaa system. It is a uniquely democratic political and social institution that governed the life of every individual in the society from birth to death.

Ecologically and agriculturally Oromia (Oromo country) is the richest region in the Horn of Africa. Livestock products, coffee, oil seeds, spices, mineral resources and wild life are all diverse and abundant. In spite of all these advantages, a century of colonisation by Abyssinia (Ethiopia), a backward nation itself, has meant that the Oromo people have endured a stagnant existence where ignorance and famine have been coupled with ruthless oppression, subjugation, exploitation and above all, extermination. Thus for the last one hundred years under the Ethiopian rule, the Oromo have gained very little, if anything, in the way of political, social and economic progress.

The Oromo were colonised during the last quarter of the nineteenth century by a black African nation - Abyssinia - with the help of the European colonial powers of the day. During the same period, of course, the Somalis, Kenyans, Sudanese and others were colonised by European powers. The fact that the Oromo were colonised by black African nation makes their case quite special.

During the process of colonisation, between 1870 and 1900, the Oromo population was reduced from ten to five millions. This period coincides with the occupation of Oromo land by the Abyssinian emperors Yohannes and Menilek. After colonisation, these emperors and their successors continued to treat Oromo with utmost cruelty. Many were killed by the colonial army and settlers, others died of famine and epidemics of various diseases or were sold off as slaves. Those who remained on the land were reduced to the status of gabbar (a peasant from whom labour and produce is exacted and is a crude form of serfdom).

Haile Selassie consolidated Yohannes and Meniiek's gains and with the use of violence, obstructed the process of natural and historical development of the Oromo society - political, economic and social. In all spheres of life, discrimination, subjugation, repression and exploitation of all forms were applied. Everything possible was done to destroy Oromo identity - culture, language, custom, tradition, name and origin. In short Haile Selassie maintained the general policy of genocide against the Oromo.

The 1974 revolution was brought about by the relentless struggle over several years by, among others, the Oromo peasants. The military junta, headed by Mengistu Haile-Mariam, usurped power and took over the revolution. This regime has continued on the path of emperors Yohannes, Menilek and Haile Selassie in the oppression, subjugation and exploitation of Oromo, the settlement of Abyssinians on Oromo land and the policy of genocide.

In its attempt to oppress and eliminate the essential elements of Oromo culture, the present regime has used cover-up words such as 'development, relief, settlement, villagization and literacy campaign' to mislead the world. In fact most of these programmes and projects have been aimed at displacing Oromo people and denying them freedom, justice, human dignity and peace, thereby hastening the process of Amharization or de-Oromization.

The struggle of the Oromo people, then, is nothing more than an attempt to affirm their own place in history. It seeks equality, human dignity, democracy, freedom and peace. It is not directed against the masses of a particular nation or nationality, nor against individuals, but rather against Ethiopian colonialism led by the Amhara ruling class and the naftanyas (Amhara colonial settlers) and against feudalism and imperialism. Thus it is the Ethiopian colonial system and not the Amhara masses or individuals which is under critical consideration.

Today when nearly all of the African peoples have won independence, the Oromo continue to suffer under the most backward and savage Ethiopian settler colonialism. All genuinely democratic and progressive individuals and groups, including members of the oppressor nation, Amhara, who believe in peace, human dignity and liberty should support the Oromo struggle for liberation.

Although the Oromo nation is one of the largest in Africa, it is forgotten by or still unknown to the majority of the world today. Unfortunately even the name Oromo is unknown to many, and this should not be allowed to continue.

The main purpose of this summary is to introduce readers briefly to the Oromo people, their land, and culture.For detailed treatment of the experiences of Oromo under Ethiopian colonial rule as well as their struggle for freedom, democracy and economic and social justice, please refer to the book from which this summary is extracted. Please do note the author's introductory message in this book: "... it is not the intention of this book to write a definitive Oromo history. This task is left to the historians, a work they have unjustly treated or unjustifiably ignored in the past. In fact the little that has been written about Oromo has almost always been from Abyssinians and Europeans point of view".

The Oromo People

The Oromo are one of the Cushitic speaking groups of people with variations in colour and physical characteristics ranging from Hamitic to Nilotic. A brief look at the early history of some of the peoples who have occupied north-eastern Africa sheds some light on the ethnic origin of Oromo. The Cushitic speakers have inhabited north-eastern and eastern Africa for as long as recorded history. The land of Cush, Nubia or the ancient Ethiopia in middle and lower Nile is the home of the Cushitic speakers. It was most probably from there that they subsequently dispersed and became differentiated into separate linguistic and cultural groups. The various Cushitic nations inhabiting north-east and east Africa today are the result of this dispersion and differentiation. The Oromo form one of those groups which spread southwards and then east and west occupying large part of the Horn of Africa. Their physical features, culture, language and other evidences unequivocally point to the fact that they are indigenous to this part of Africa. Available information clearly indicates that the Oromo existed as a community of people for thousands of years in East Africa (Prouty at al, 1981). Bates (1979) contends, "The Gallas (Oromo) were a very ancient race, the indigenous stock, perhaps, on which most other peoples in this part of eastern Africa have been grafted".

There are several groups of people in East Africa very closely related to the Oromo. For instance, the Somalis are very similar in appearance and culture. The fact that the Somali and Oromo languages share between 30 percent and 40 percent of their vocabulary could be an indication that these two groups of people became differentiated very recently. Other Cushitic-speaking groups living in the same neighbourhood who are closely related to the Oromo are Konso, Afar, Sidama, Kambata, Darassa, Agaw, Saho, Baja and other groups.

Oromo have several clans (gosa, qomoo). The Oromo are said to be of two major groups or moieties descended from the two 'houses' (wives) of the person Oromo represented by Borana and Barentu (Barenttuma). Borana was senior (angafa) and Barentu junior (qutisu). Such a dichotomy is quite common in Oromo society and serves some aspects of their po!itical and social life. The descendants of Borana and Barentu form the major Oromo clans and sub-clans. They include Borana, Macha, Tuuiiama, Wallo, Garrii, Gurraa, Arsi, Karrayyu, ltu, Ala, Qaiioo, Anniyya, Tummugga or Marawa, Orma, Akkichuu, Liban, Jile, Gofa, Sidamo, Sooddo, Galaan, Gujii and many others. However, in reality there is extensive overlap in the area they occupy and their community groups. And since marriage among Oromo occurs only between different clans there was high degree of homogeneity.

Population

The Oromo make up over 30 million out of the present 55 million population of the Ethiopian Empire. They are found in all the regions of the Ethiopian Empire except for Gondar. They make up a large proportion of the population of llubbabor, Arsi, Baale, Shawa, Hararge, Wallo, Wallagga, Sidamo and Kafa. They are also found in neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Somalia. Out of the 50 nations of Africa only four have larger population than Oromia.
Language

The Oromo nation has a single common mother tongue and basic common culture. The Oromo language, afaan Oromoo or Oromiffa, belongs to the eastern Kushitic group of languages and is the most extensive of the forty or so Kushitic languages. The Oromo language is very closely related to Konso, with more than fifty percent of the words in common, closely related to Somali and distantly related to Afar and Saho.

Oromiffa is considered one of the five most widely spoken languages from among the approximately 1000 languages of Africa, (Gragg, 1982). Taking into consideration the number of speakers and the geographic area it covers, Oromiffa, most probably rates second among the African indigenous languages. It is the third most widely spoken language in Africa, after Arabic and Hausa. It is the mother tongue of about 30 million Oromo people living in the Ethiopian Empire and neighbouring countries. Perhaps not less than two million non-Oromo speak Oromiffa as a secondianguage.

In fact Oromiffa is a lingua franca in the whole of Ethiopian Empire except for the northern part. It is a language spoken in common by several members of many of the nationalities like Harari, Anuak, Barta, Sidama, Gurage, etc., who are neighbours to Oromo.

Before colonization, the Oromo people had their own social, political and legal system. Trade and various kinds of skills such as wood and metal works, weaving, pottery and tannery flourished. Pastoralism and agriculture were well developed. Oromo have an extraordinarily rich heritage of proverbs, stories, songs and riddles. They have very comprehensive plant and animal names. The various customs pertaining to marriage, paternity, dress, etc. have elaborate descriptions. All these activities and experiences have enriched Oromiffa.

Much has been written about Oromiffa by foreigners who visited or lived in Oromia, particularly European missionaries. Several works have been written in Oromiffa using Roman, Sabean and Arabic scripts. Printed material in Oromiffa include the Bible, religious and non-religious songs, dictionaries, short stories, proverbs, poems, school books, grammar, etc. The Bible itself was translated into Oromiffa in Sabean script about a century ago by an Oromo slave called Onesimos Nasib, alias Hiikaa, (Gustave, 1978).

Oromiffa has been not only completely neglected but ruthlessly suppressed by the Ethiopian authorities. a determined effort for almost a century to destroy and replace it with the Amharic language has been mostly ineffectual. Thus, the Amharization and the destruction of the Oromo national identity has partially failed.

Culture

Oromo have a very rich culture, fostered by the size of the population and large land areas with diverse climatic conditions. One highly developed self-sufficient system which has influenced every aspect of Oromo life is the Gadaa system. It is a system that organizes the Oromo society into groups or sets (about 7-11 ) that assume different responsibilities in the society every eight years. It has guided the religious, social, political and economic life of Oromo for many years, and also their philosophy, art, history and method of time-keeping.

The activities and life of each and every member of the society are guided by Gadaa. It is the law of the society, a system by which Oromo administer, defend their territory and rights, maintain and guard their economy and through which all their aspirations are fulfilled.

The Gadaa system has served as the basis of democratic and egalitarian political system. Under it the power to administer the affairs of the nation and the power to make laws belong to the people. Every male member of the society who is of age and of Gadaa grade has full rights to elect and to be elected. All the people have the right to air their views in any public gathering without fear.

There follows a brief description of how the Gadaa system works: there are two well-defined ways of classifying male members of the society, that is the hiriyya (members of an age-set all born within the period of one Gadaa rule of eight years) and Gadaa grade. The Gadaa grades (stages of development through which a Gadaa class passes) differ in number (7-1 1) and name in different parts of Oromia although the functions are the same. The following are the Gadaa grades:-

1.Dabballee (0-8 years of age)
2.Folle or Gamme Titiqaa (8-16 years of age)
3.Qondaaia or Gamme Gurgudaa (1 6-24 years of age)
4.Kuusa (24-32 years of age)
5.Raaba Doorii (32-40 years of age)
6.Gadaa (40-48 years of age)
7.Yuba I (48-56 years of age)
8.Yuba II (56-64 years of age)
9.Yuba III (64-72 years of age)
10.Gadamojjii (72-80 years of age)
11.Jaarsa (80 and above years of age)

We will briefly describe the duties of a Gadaa class as it passes through the above grades.

The Dabballee are sons of the Gadaa class who are in power, the Luba. They are boys up to 8 years of age. Thus this is a stage of childhood. Upon reaching their eighth year, they enter the Folle grade. At this age they are allowed to go further away from their villages and to perform light work.

At 16 years old, they enter the Qondaala. They may now go long distances to hunt and perform heavy work. Three years before the Qondaaia ends, those of the Gadaa class come together and nominate the future group leaders (hayyu council) who eventually will constitute its presidium and thereby the executive, judicial and ritual authorities. The final election is preceded by an often lengthy campaign of negotiations. After nomination, the candidates tour the region accompanied by their supporters to win the backing of the people before election, The individuals will be elected on the basis of wisdom, bravery, health and physical fitness.

In the Kuusa grade, the previously elected leaders are formally installed in office, although they do not yet assume full authority except in their own group. This is one of the most important events in the life of the individual and the Gadaa system over all.

In the next grade, Raaba Doorii, members are allowed to marry. This and the Kuusa grade constitute a period of preparation for the assumption of full authority. At the end of this period the class members enter Luba or Gadaa, the most important class of the whole system, attain full status, and take up their position as the ruling Gadaa class. At this stage the system comes to a stop momentarily and all men move to the proceeding class vacating the last class which is the immediately occupied by a new class of youth who thus begin their ascent of the system's ladder.

The former ruling class, the Luba, now becomes Yuba. The Yubas, after passing through three separate eight-year periods, are transferred to the Gadamojjii class. Then they enter the final grade called Jaarsa and retire completely.

As described briefly above, when the Oromo man passes from one stage to the next, his duties and way of life in society change. For instance, during the grades of Qondaala, Kuusa and Raaba Doorii, the individuals learn war tactics , Oromo history, politics, ritual, law and administration over a period of 24 years. When they enter the Gadaa class or Luba at the age of about 40 years, they have already acquired all the necessary knowledge to handle the responsibility of administering the country and the celebration of rituals. It ends with partial retirement of the whole, group of elders to an advisory and judiciary capacity.

The following are the Gadaa officials and their duties according to the Tuuilama Gadaa practice:

1. Abbaa Bokku - President
2. Abbaa Bokku - First Vice-President
3. Abbaa Bokku - Second Vice-President
4. Abbaa Chaffe - Chairman of the Assembly (Chaffe)
5. Abbaa Dubbi - Speaker who presents the decision of the presidium to the Assembly
6. Abbaa Seera - Memoriser of the laws and the results of the Assembly's deliberations.
7. Abbaa Alanga - Judge who executes the decision
8. Abbaa Duula - In charge of the army
9. Abbaa Sa'a - In charge of the economy

Thus, the entire presidium consists of nine members, called "Saigan Yaa'ii Borana" (nine of the Borana assembly). The Abbaa Bokkus are the chief officials. (Bokku is a wooden or metal sceptre, a sign of authority kept by the Abbaa Bokku, the president). The Abbaa Bokkus have counsellors and assistants called Hayyus who are delegated from the lower assemblies.

There are three level of assembly - intercian, clan and local chaffes, chaffe being the Oromo version of parliament. The chaffe assembly was held in the open air in a meadow under the odaa (sycamore) tree. The chaffe made and declared common laws and was source of the accumulated legal knowledge and customs. In the hierarchy of Gadaa chaffes, the assembly of the entire presidium of the ruling- Gadaa Class is the highest body whose decision is final. It, is the assembly at which'reipresentatives of the entire population come together, at predetermined times, to evaluate among other things, the work of those in power. If those in power have failed to accomplish what is expected of them the assembly has the power to replace them by another group elected from among the same Gadaa class or Luba. And this was one of the methods of checking and balancing political power in the Oromo society. The second highest Gadaa assembly is the clan chaffe. It is from these assemblies that special delegates to the higher assembly are elected. The lowest Gadaa chaffe is the local chaffe. This is made up of local members of the Luba from among whom representatives to clan chaffes are elected.

The holders of these responsible posts can remain in office for eight years only, in normal times, and are then replaced by a new group of officers. The power is handed over at a special ceremony at a special place and time. The office-holders conduct government - political, economic, social, ritual and military - affairs of the entire nation for this period. During war time all capable men fight under the leadership of the group in office. During the eight year period the officials live together in a village (yaa'aa village) and when necessary travel together.

There are five Gadaas in a cycle of 40 years. If a man enters office (becomes Luba) now, his sons will become Luba 40 years from now. The five Gadaa (some times called Buttaa) in the cycle have names, which vary slightly from region to region. Among some Oromo communities the sets of five Gadaa names used by the sons are different from those of the fathers. Whereas among other communities the same set of Gadaa names are used for both fathers and sons. For instance the Gadaa practised in the Borana community uses the following different sets of names for the five Gadaa. (Could be likened to five parties who take power in turns).

Fathers Sons

1. Birmajii Aldada
2. Melba Horota
3. Muudana Bifoole
4. Roobale Sabaqa
5. Duuioo Kiloolee

In this manner a given name repeats itself every 80 years. This is in fact the complete Gadaa cycle divided into two semi-cycles of 40 years each. The first 40 years is the Gadaa of the fathers and the second is the Gadaa of the sons.

Although it is not known with any degree of certainty where and when the Gadaa system started, it is known and documented that the Oromo have been practising it for well over 500 years. However, according to oral Oromo historians, the Gadaa system has been in practice for several centuries. "Their (Borana Oromo) noted historian, Arero Rammata, was able to recount, in 1969, an oral history covering four thousand years", (Prouty et al, 1981). Today Gadaa experts easily recall fifty-seven Abbaa Gadaas with important events. Of course, this highly sophisticated system cannot have appeared without having been based on something earlier. Therefore further study and analysis is required to know more about its origin and development.

Social scientists of diverse backgrounds at different times have studied the Gadaa system. Many of them have testified that it is uniquely democratic. Among those authorities, Plowden (1868), stated, "among republican systems, Gadaa is superior". Asmarom Legesse (1973) described the Gadaa system: "one of the most astonishing and instructive turns the evolution of human society has taken". Indeed it is one of the most fascinating sociopolitical structure of Africa that even influenced the lives of other peoples. Several neighbouring peoples have practised a sort of the Gadaa. Among these are Sidama, Walayita, Konso, Darasa, Nyika, Nabdi, Maasai, etc., (Beckingham et al, 1954).

Like living organism, cultures undergo evolution in order to adapt to changing conditions. The Gadaa system has thus been undergoing evolutionary changes since its inception so as to serve better a continually developing society. However, the fundamental that occurred in the Gadaa system, starting around the end of the eighteenth century, were brought about mainly by events set in motion from outside the Oromo society. Therefore it was not fully a normal or natural development.

In most communities suddenly and in a few cases gradually, the usefulness of the Gadaa system declined. Among the factors that had contributed to this decline were firstly, the protracted wars that preceded the onset of colonization. The end of the eighteenth century was marked by constant wars and skirmishes, particularly in the north and north-eastern Oromia against the encroachment of the Abyssinians. Because of the insecurity imposed by such wars coupled with the distances involved to go to the Gadaa ceremonies to change the leadership, the Abbaa Duuias (fathers of war) stayed on their post for much longer period than required by the Gadaa rules. This gave these war leaders a mandatory power, because they were forced or encouraged by the society and existing circumstances, such as the continuous wars, to hang on to power. This weakened one of the outstanding features of the Gadaa system, the built in checks and balances mechanism of political power. This in turn weakened the ideology by which the Oromo nation was successfully led for several centuries.

In addition to the protracted wars, the passing of major trade routes through the area and the subsequent expansion of trade gained the war leaders more wealth. Thus the wealth, fame and power they gradually gained enabled them to command a larger number of followers in the area they were defending. Thus they usurped the political power that belonged to the Gadaa officials and the people and finally some of them declared themselves "mootii" (kings).

The second important factor that contributed to this decline was the coming of new beliefs and religions. The politico-religious aggression that took place in the expansion of 1siam and Christianity have affected the culture of the Oromo people very much. The invasion of Oromo land by Muslims in the east and south and by Christians in the north have left their mark on the Oromo culture.

Thirdly, the changes in the mode of living of several Oromo communities was probably one of the important factors that led to the decline of Gadaa. As the Oromo society developed there was a gradual change in the social, economic and political life of the people. For instance, in many parts of Oromia a settled agrarian mode of life developed fast and the people practised both mixed agriculture - raised crops and animals - and nomadic pastoralism. The latter was the dominant mode of life before this time, although Oromo have practised cultivation for a long time and have made significant contribution to agriculture by domesticating plants and rearing rare varieties of crop plants. The introduction and expansion of trade had significant contribution also. These and other related factors led to the emergence of a new social system, which created a significant pressure on the Gadaa system and brought about a modification or change in the Gadaa practices.

Finally, the onset of colonization had tremendously reduced the political and usefulness of Gadaa system as the administrative affairs and management of the national economy were taken over by the colonisers except in remote regions. Atseme noted, "Menilek outlawed the major chaffe meetings in the Oromo areas he conquered". Bartels (1983) also noted, "Gadaa ... was gradually deprived by Amharas of most of its political and judicial powers and reduced to merely ritual institution". Even the social aspects, that is the ritual and ceremonial aspects, have not been left to the people. The observance of Gadaa ceremonies has been prohibited by proclamation.

The Oromo people also have a rich folklore, oral tradition, music and art. For example it is believed that the Oromo are responsible for the invention and use of phallic stones (Wainwright, 1949 and Greenfield, 1965). Decorations of stone bowls from Zimbabwe include pictures of cattle with long "lyre-shaped" horns such as raised by Oromo. According to these scholars, this and the phallic stones found in Zimbabwe are traced directly to Oromo and linked to their early settlements there and to the Zimbabwe civilization. Wainwright (1949) argued that these were founded by the Oromo. He wrote: "Waqlimi and his people came from Galia land and its neighbourhood, and were already installed in southern Rhodesia before A.D. 900". (Waqiimi is an Oromo name). This date coincides with the date of the erection of some of the famous buildings there which Wainwright says were built by "Galia". This appears to be part of the spread of Kushitic civilization.

Although much of this culture and these traditions have survived harsh suppression, much has been forgotten and lost, artifacts have been destroyed and Oromo are discouraged from developing their culture and art.

Oromo Calendar

Time is a very important concept in Gadaa and therefore in Oromo life. Gadaa itself can be narrowly defined as a given set of time (period) which groups of individuals perform specific duties in a society. Gadaa could also mean age. The lives of individuals, rituals, ceremonies, political and economic activities are scheduled rather precisely. For this purpose, the Oromo have a calendar. The calendar is also used for weather forecasting and divination purposes.

The Oromo calendar is based on astronomical observations of the moon in conjunction with seven or eight particular stars or star groups (Legesse, 1973 and Bassi, 1988) called Urji Dhaha (guiding stars). According to this calendar system, there are approximately 30 days in a month and 12 months in a year. The first day of a month is the day the new moon appears. A day (24 hours) starts and ends at sunrise.

In the Oromo calendar each day of the month and each month of the year has a name. Instead of the expected 29 or 30 names for days of a month, there are only 27 names. These 27 days of the month are permutated through the twelve months, in such a way that the beginning of each month moves forward by 2 or 3 days. The loss per month is then the difference between the 27-day month and the 30-day month, (Legesse, 1973). One interesting observation is that, as illustrated in the computing of time like in the Oromo calendar, Oromos visualization of events is cyclical just as many events in nature are cyclical.

Since each day (called ayyaana) of a month has a name, the Oromo traditionally had no use for names of the days of a week. Perhaps it is because of this that today in different parts of Oromia different names are in use for the days of a week.

Each of the 27 days (ayyaana) of the month have special meaning and connotation to the Oromo time-keeping experts, called ayyaantu. Ayyaantu can tell the day, the month, the year and the Gadaa period by keeping track of time astronomically. They are experts, in astronomy and supplement their memory of things by examining the relative position of eight stars or star groups, (Bassi, 1988) and the moon to determine the day (ayyaana) and the month. On the basis of astronomical observations, they make an adjustment in the day name every two or three months.

The pillars found a few years ago in north-western Kenya by Lynch and Robbins (1978) has been suggested to represent a site used to develop the Oromo calendar system. According to these researchers, it is the first archaeo-astronomical evidence in subSaharan Africa. Doyle (1986) has suggested 300 B.C. as the approximate date of its invention.

According to Asmarom Legesse (1973), "The Oromo calendar is a great and unique invention and has been recorded only in a very few cultures in history of mankind." The only other known cultures with this type of time-keeping are the Chinese, Mayans and Hindus. Legesse states that the Oromo are unusual in that they seem to be the only people with a reasonably accurate calendar which ignore the sun.

Religion

There are three main religions in Oromia: traditional Oromo religion, Islam and Christianity. Before the introduction of Christianity and Islam, the Oromo people practised their own religion. They believed in one Waaqayoo which approximates to the English word God. They never worshipped false gods or carved statues as substitutes. M. de Aimeida (1628-46) had the following to say: "the Gallas (Oromo) are neither Christians, moors nor heathens, for they have no idols to worship." The Oromo Waaqa is one and the same for all. He is the creator of everything, source of all life, omnipresent, infinite, incomprehensible, he can do and undo anything, he is pure, intolerant of injustice, crime, sin and all falsehood. Waaqayoo is often called Waaqa for short.

There are many saint-like divinities called ayyaana, each seen as manifestation of the one Waaqa or of the same divine reality. An effective relationship is often maintained between ayyaana and Oromo by Qaaifu (male) and/or Qaafitti (female). A Qaaiiu is like a Bishop in the Christian world and an lmam in the Muslim world. He is a religious and ritual expert who has a special relationship with one of the ayyaana, which possesses him at regular intervals.

Although the office of Qaaiiu is hereditary, in principle it is open to anyone who can provide sufficient proof of the special direct personal contact with an ayyaaria. In the Oromo society a Qaaiiu is regarded as the most senior person in his lineage and clan and the most respected in the society. He is considered pure and clean. He must respect traditional taboos (safuu) and ritual observances in all situations and in all his dealings and must follow the truth and avoid sin.

The Qaaliu institution is one of the most important in the Oromo culture and society and is believed to have existed since mythical times. It is a very important preserver and protector of Oromo culture, more or less in the same way the Abyssinian Orthodox Church is the preserver of Abyssinian culture.

The Qaaiiu institution has political importance, even though the Qaaiiu himself does not possess political power as such and religion is distinctly separated from politics. The Qaailu village is the spiritual centre, where political debates are organized for the candidates for the Gadaa offices. Thus he plays both a spiritual and political role in the Gadaa system. For instance, during the fifth year of the Gadaa period, the Gadaa class in power honours the Qaaliu by taking gifts and making their pledges of reverence. This is the Muuda or annointment ceremony. As the head of the council of electors, the Qaaliu organizes and oversees the election of Gadaa leaders.

The Qaallu institution was once a repository of important ceremonial articles (collective symbols) in the Buttaa (Gadaa) ceremony, such as the bokku (sceptre), the national flag, etc. The national flag is made in the colours of the Qaallu turban (surri ruufa). The national flag had three colours - black at the top, red in the centre and white at the bottom. In the Gadaa, the three colours, black, red and white, represented those yet to enter active life, those in active life (Luba) and those who had passed through active live, respectively. The use of these symbols is prohibited by the colonial government.

The Oromo Qaallu must not be confused with the Amhara Qaailicha, who has a very different, much lower, social status. He is a vagabond who resorts to conjuring and black magic for his own benefit, (Knutsson, 1967). He is notorious for extracting remuneration by threats or other means. On the other hand, it is beneath the dignity of an Oromo Qaallu to ask his ritual clients for gifts or payment. The Abyssinian ruling class has confused the terms, thus disparaging the Qaallu socially and religiously by using the term depreciatingly.

The place of worship of Qaaliu ritual house is called the Galma. Each ayyaana has its own Galma and its own special ceremonies. The Galma is usually located on a hill top, hill side or in a grove of large trees. Many of these sites are now taken up by Abyssinian Orthodox Church buildings or Mosques. Places of worship also include under trees, beside large bodies of water, by the side of big mountains, hills, stones, etc. This has been misrepresented by outsiders claiming that the Oromo worship trees, rivers, etc.

The believers visit the Galma for worship once or twice a week, usually on Thursday and Saturday nights. At this time the followers dance, sing and beat drums to perform a ritual called dalaga in order to achieve a state of ecstasy, which often culminates in possession. It is at the height of this that the possessing ayyaana speaks through the Qaallu's mouth and can answer prayers and predict the future.

Religious Oromo often made Muuda-piigrimages to some of the great Qaaiius and religious centres such as Arsi's Abbaa Muuda (father of anointment). Among the Borana Oromo Muuda pilgrimages are still common. Muuda pilgrimage is very holy and the pilgrims walk to the place of Abbaa Muuda with a stick in one hand and carrying myrrh (qumbii). All Oromo through whose village the pilgrims pass are obliged to give them hospitality. As the Mecca pilgrims are called Haj among Muslims, these Muuda pilgrims are ca!ied Jiia.

The Qaaiiu institution was weakened with the advent of colonialism to Oromia, which reduced contacts between various Oromo groups. The pilgrimage was prohibited. It became the policy to discourage and destroy Oromo cultural institutions and values. The Qaaiiu institution has suffered more during the last 14 years than it suffered during the previous 100 years. At this stage it faces complete eradication and Orthodox Church buildings are fast replacing Gaimas.

Just before the beginning of the harvest season every year, the Oromo have a prayer ceremony (thanksgiving festival) called irreessa. It once took place in river meadows where now the Abyssinian Orthodox Church takes its holy Tabot (tablets) for special yearly festivals, the 'timqat'. The lrreessa has become illegal and anybody who attempts to practise it is now likely to be imprisoned.

The Oromo believe that after death individuals exist in the form of a spirit called the 'ekeraa'. They do not believe in suffering after death as in Christianity and Islam. If one commits sin he/she is punished while still alive. The ekeraa is believed to stay near the place where the person once lived. One is obliged to pray to and to give offering by slaughtering an animal every so often to ones parents' ekeraa. The offerings take place near the family or clan cemetery, which is usually in a village.

Oromo people have been in constant contact with other religions like Islam and Christianity for almost the last 1000 years. For instance, the Islamic religion was reported to have been in eastern Shawa about 900 A.D. and Christianity even before that. However, in favour and defence of their own traditional religion, the Oromo have resisted these religions for quite a long time.

However, today the majority of the Oromo people are followers of Islam and Christianity, while the remaining few are still followers of the original Oromo religion. It is said that the Islamic religion spread in Oromia as a reaction to the Ethiopian colonization. The Oromo accepted

The Land

The country of the Oromo is called Biyya-Oromo (Oromo country) or Oromia (Oromiya). Oromia is a name given by the Oromo Liberation Front to Oromoland, now part of the Ethiopian Empire. Krapf (1860) proposed the term Ormania to designate the nationality or the country of the Oromo people. This, most probably, originated from his reference to the people as Orma or Oroma. Oromia was one of the free nations in the Horn of Africa until its colonization and occupation by Abyssinia at the end of the nineteenth century. It is approximately located between 2 degree and 12 degree N and between 34 degree and 44 degree E. It is bordered in the East by Somali and Afar lands and Djibouti, in the West by the Sudan, in the South by Somalia, Kenya and others and in the North by Amhara and Tigre land or Abyssinia proper. The land area is about 600 000 square kilometres. Out of the 50 or so African countries it is exceeded in size by only 17 countries. It is larger than France, and if Cuba, Bulgaria and Britain were put together, they would be approximately equal to Oromia in size.
The physical geography of Oromia is quite varied. It varies from rugged mountain ranges in the centre and north to flat grassland in most of the lowlands of the west, east and south. Among the many mountain ranges are the Karra in Arsi (4340 m), Baatu in Baaie (4307 m), Enkelo in Arsi (4300 m), Mui'ataa in Hararge (3392m) and Baddaa Roggee in Shawa (3350 m).

Similarly, there are many rivers and lakes in Oromia. Many of the rivers flow westwards into either the Blue Nile or the White Nile, and others flow eastwards to Somalia and Afar land. Among the large rivers are the Abbaya (the Nile), Hawas (Awash), Gannaaiee, Waabee, Dhidheessa, Gibe and Baaroo.

For the peoples of Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia, life would be impossible without these rivers. They carry millions of tons of rich soil to Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia every year. Somalia depends heavily on the Gannaaiee (Juba) and Waabee (Shaballe) rivers which come from Oromia. In fact Oromia supplies almost 100 per cent of the fresh water for Somalia, Djibouti and Afars. At present the Ethiopian government depends heavily on Hawas (Awash) water as a source of electric power for its industries and irrigation water to grow sugar cane, cotton and fruits. The Wanji and Matahara sugar estates are good examples. There is a great potential in all these rivers for the production of electric power and for irrigation. Qoqaa, Fincha, Malkaa Waakkenne, Gibee Tiqqaa dams are examples of where hydro-electric power is already being produced or in the process of being harnessed.

Among the Oromo lakes are Abbaya, Hora, Bishofitu, Qoqaa, Langanno and Shaalaa. Many of these lakes possess a great variety of fish and birds on their islands and shores.

The climate is as varied as the physical geography, although close to the equator (to the north of it), because of the mountain ranges, high altitudes and vegetation, the climate is very mild and favourable for habitation. Snow can be found on the mountains such as Baatu and Karra. In the medium altitudes (1800-2500 m) the climate is very mild throughout the year and one of the best. Up to 80 per cent of the population lives at this altitude and agriculture flourishes.

The low altitude areas (below 1500 m) in west, south and central part are relatively warm and humid with lush tropical vegetation, and although few live there permanently most graze their cattle and tend their beehives there. Although there is little agriculture at this altitude at present, it has great potential for the future. As the highland areas are already eroded and over populated, people are gradually moving to the lowlands. The low altitude areas in the east and south-east are mostly semi-arid and used by pastoralists seasonally.

The vegetation of Oromia ranges from savanna grassland and tropical forest to alpine vegetation on the mountaintops. The forests contain a variety of excellent and valuable timbers. Oromia is known for its unique native vegetation as well as for being, the centre of diversity for many different species. For instance, crops like coffee, anchote (root crop), okra, etc. are indigenous to this area.

The Economy

Potentially, Oromia is one of the richest countries in Africa. Agriculture is the backbone of its economy. Still employing archaic methods, subsistence agriculture is the means of livelihood for more than 90 per cent of the population. There are a variety of farm animals and crop plants. Farm animals include cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, mules, horses, camels and chicken. The Cushitic speaking communities of this region perhaps Nubians, are credited with the domestication of donkey and were the first to breed mules, (a result of a cross between a donkey and a mare). The Oromo are expert in animal husbandry through their long tradition as herdsmen. For some, cattle-rearing (pastoralism) is still the main occupation.

Because of Oromia's favourable climate and rich soil, many types of crops are cultivated and normally there is little need for irrigation. Normally one and sometimes two crops can be harvested annually from the same field. Among the major food crops are cereals (wheat, barley, tef, sorghum, corn, millet, etc.), fibre crops (cotton), root crops (potato, sweet potato, yam, inset, anchote, etc.), pulses (peas, beans, chick-peas, lentils, etc.), oil crops (nugi, flax, etc.), fruit trees (orange, mango, avocado, banana, lemon, pineapple, peach, etc.), spices (onion, garlic, coriander, ginger, etc. - coriander and ginger also grow wild) and a variety of vegetables like okra which is indigenous to Oromia.

Many varieties of these important crops occur naturally in Oromia. These diverse crop plants are very valuable natural resources. Oromo farmers have contributed to world agriculture by cultivating and developing some of the worid's crop plants and in this way have discovered new domesticated varieties. The main cash crops are coffee and chat (a stimulant shrub). Coffee, a major cash earner for many countries, has its origin in the forests of Oromia and neighbouring areas. Specifically, Kafa and Limmu are considered centres of origin for coffee. It is from here that coffee spread to other parts of the globe. Coffee was one of the export items of the Gibe states. Wallagga and llubbabor regions of Oromia exported coffee to the Sudan through the inland port of Gambelia on the Baro river and border towns of Kurmuk, Gissan, etc. Hararge, because of its favourable location for communication with the outside markets through the Red Sea, has been producing one of the finest coffees for export. Coffee has remained the chief export item, representing more than 60 per cent of the foreign earnings of successive Ethiopian colonial regimes.

The country is also rich in wild animals and plants. Many different species are found in the waters and forests of Oromia: different kinds of fish, hippopotami, and crocodiles. Land animals include lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffe, wild ass, zebra, columbus monkey and elephant. There are a number of wild animals that are found solely in Oromia, such as nyaaia, bush-buck (special type), fox (from Baale), etc.

Various types of birds, many of them unique, are found around lakes and elsewhere. These creatures are a source of attraction for tourists and natural scientists alike.

The forests of Oromia are a source of excellent timber. Although the major portion of the forests has been destroyed since its occupation, some still remain in the south and west. However, this is threatened by mismanagement, particularly through the fast the expanding state farms and resettlement programmes. At the time of colonisation a large part of Oromia was covered with forest. This has been reduced to the present 5-7 per cent. In addition to timber trees, medicinal plants and trees producing different kinds of gums, grow in abundance. Myrrh, frankincense and gum Arabic are gathered from the wild trees. Forests, besides being a source of timber, medicine and gum, are useful in the conservation of water and soil, and as shelter for wildlife. They also have an important aesthetic value.

Oromia has important mineral deposits. The gold mines at Adola and Laga Dambi in the Sidamo and around Nejjo, Asosa and Birbir river valley in Wallagga regions which were the major sources of revenue for Meniiek and Haile Selassie are being exploited using modern machinery. Other important minerals found in Oromia are platinum, sulphur, iron-ore, silver and salt.

As early as 1900 Meniiek granted concessions to a Swiss company to mine gold, silver and other minerals in Nejjo, Wallagga region. Later the Germans took over. English, Russian and Italian companies extracted gold and platinum at Yubdo and neighbouring areas in the same region. After some 60 years, the Soviet Union is continuing this business today in the same areas. It is known that large deposits of natural gas and oil exist in Baafe and Hararge regions. The Ethiopian government announced as 1986 the discovery of a new deposit of natural gas in Baale.

The hundreds of hot springs scattered over Oromia are also of economic importance. Thousands of people, including foreigners, visit these springs for their medicinal and recreational value. They are a great potential source of thermal energy. Rivers, streams and springs are plentiful. The rivers have many fails that could be used to generate electric power with little effort. The extent of this electric power could easily satisfy the power needs of Oromia and several neighbouring countries.

 

Addis Ababa (The capital city of Ethiopia )ADDIS ABABA      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSbiOn9s2iA&feature=related 

 

More Oromia Information / Fast Facts and Orientation

  • Continent: Africa (east)
  • Location: Horn of Africa
  • Status: African country
  • Capital city: Finfinnee/ Addis Ababa 
  • Area: approximately 424,700 square miles / 600,000 square kilometres
  • Population: approximately 50 million
  • Language: Oromo 
  • Currency: Ethiopian Birr (ETB)
  • World time zones: GMT / UTC + 3
  • Country dialling code: +251 Ethiopia Tourist Information and Tourism: Photograph of the luxury Sheraton resort in Addis Ababa
  • International dialling code: 00
  • Religion: mainly Christian and Islam
  • Average daily Ethiopia January temperature: 28°C / 82°F
  • Average daily Ethiopia July temperature: 24°C / 75°F

 

With a population of more than two million people, Addis Ababa is not only the political capital but also the economic and social nerve-center of Ethiopia. Founded by Emperor Menelik in 1887, this big, sprawling, hospitable city still bears the stamp of his exuberant personality. More than 21,000 hectares in area, Addis Ababa is situated in the foothills of the 3,000 meters Entoto Mountains and rambles pleasantly across many wooded hillsides and gullies cut through with fast flowing streams.

Like any other capital in the world, there is more than enough for anybody to do in Addis. There are numerous restaurants offering various exotic dishes.

Addis Ababa is as cosmopolitan as any of the world's great metropolises, and the architecture is as varied as the city itself. Tall office buildings, elegant villas, functional bungalows, flat, fashionable hotels, conference halls, and theaters - gleaming in their marble and anodized aluminum - vie for attention alongside traditional homes of wattle and daub, surrounded by cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens. There is no designated 'city centre' because, until very recently, there was no urban planning. Addis Ababa simply grew in a natural, organic way, and its present appearance reflects this unforced and unstructured

Bishoftu and Surrounding lakes

Bishoftu town, about 47 km south of Finfinnee/ Addis Ababa on main asphalt road, is an easily accessible popular recreation and resort town for overnight visitors and weekend excursionists throughout the year. Bishoftu’s tourist offer is characterized by a cluster of crater lakes and popular spiritual sites that made the town their center. Because of its low altitude (up to 1850m asl), bishoftu area has warm weather. The following are the major resort lakes for tourists who come to the town for leisure and recreation purposes.

Lake Hora Arsade resort

Lake Hora Arsade,the oldest known lake resort in the town is only 2 kms drive from the center of the town. Situated in a deep basin, Hora Lake is 1.06 sq.km in area and its maximum depth is 37 meters and its major attractions include:

  • The salty water of the Lake is reputed for water sports and scenic beauty.
  • Eish species inhabiting in the lake such as tilapia. Gives opportunities for fishing.
  • Watching of bird species inhabiting in the area like cormorants, Hammer crops, Ducks, Geese and Herons.
  • Cultural experience including the popular irrecha (thanks giving ceremony) site on the eastern shore of Lake, where the oromo traditional spiritual festival is conducted mainly once a year towards the end of September. This offers opportunity to experience the colorful ceremony of the festival upon which the local oromo come together at this site under a big tree known as oda (Ficus Sycamore)and pray for the good will and well being for themselves,their cattel and family, in the following year.

 Lake Bishoftu

It is 0.92 sq.km in area and its maximum depth is 85 meters and it is probably the deepest of the surrounding lakes. The attractive feature of the lake is its scenic beauty. The beautiful surrounding rocky steep also invites for sight seeing and adventure.

Lake Babogayya and Lake Kurriftu

Lake Babbogayya nearly of the same size but much deeper than Hora. It is 0.85 sq.km wide and 62 meters deep. It is some 4 kms north west of Hora Lake along a rough dusty road. The presence of fishes like telapia, makes the possibility of fishing high and water birds like ducks and geese are common. Lake Kurriftu, north east of Hora, is smaller than Babbogayya in size but has pure water.

Lake Kilole and  Lake Magarisa

Kilole lake is 12 kms hard drive north east of the town. It is the farthest of the lake and unlike the other lakes it is encircled by a mountain ridge in part on its western side and open on the estern side. Birds like water fowls, African fish eagles, cormorants, Egyptian geese, ducks, plovers etc. are observed.lake Magarisa, meaning, “Green Lake”, is about 9 km south of the town just behind the Air Force base. The lake looks green because of its algae formation seen against the background of the nearby mountain chain. Though scenic and beautiful, it is quite lake with no activity around.

 Mountain Chuqqala and its Monastery

Chuqqala, located at a distance of 27 kms south west of Bishoftu town is the highest peak in the centeral Rift Valley area reaching as high as 2989 above sea level. This elevation made it a watch tower of the centeral Rift Valley region with cold weather on top. It is covered with a thick high land forest wherein the beautiful Colobus Monkeys and various bird species inhabit.

The mountain is accessible to the top for mountain climbers through a 9 km long winding road or by a four wheel drive. The mountain provides the following considerable attractions:

Provides the following considerable attractions:

  • Excellent panoramic view of the surrounding area.
  • Church of Abbo, an old monastery over 500 years old, which has a repository of old manuscripts of historic significance written on well prepared goat hides.
  • Annual Abbo festival on 5th of November, giving the best opportunity to see dressing and hair styles, traditional dance and the culture in general
  • The clear and supposedly holy crater lake on its top, and diverse vegetation cover (about 197 hectares) of a natural forest around the crater lake

 Mountain  yarar and its Monuments

Mountain Yarar, found 12 kms north of Bishoftu is best known for the church of Trinity located on its south western slope. Its annual celebration occasion is a suitable time to discover the folk culture. The forest covering the mountain and the natural beauty of the mountain itself also offer of a pleasurable trekking opportunity to the energetic. The peculiar attraction offer of the mountain include:

·         The pleasant atmosphere of the high altitude forest habitat which is good for camping and for trekking on foot or on horse back

·         Trinity church of 100 to 130 years old and Trinity festival celebrated on 16th January,an old palace ruin.

·         The presence of a large sized cave where monks have made a retreat.

Adama and Surrounding Resorts

Adama, 98 kms south east of Addis Ababa, is situated on the juncture of highways leading to the port of Assab, the cash crop growing Hararge and the extensive crop growing Arsi and Bale Zones. It is the fast growing town serving for meeting and business purposes. Due to business and attractions in the area, Adama town became one of the main destinations in oromiya which is frequented by both domestic and foreign tourists, leisure and weekend excursionists throughout the year.

Sodare SPA resort   http://tours-tv.com/en/sodere-hot-springs

Sodere resort, 27 kms from Adama, is by far the most developed spa resort center in Oromiya. The Awash river and its reverine vegetation add much to the beauty of the resort. Its main offers include:

·         Tourist standard Resort Hotels providing swimming, hot baths in rooms or in open air, trekking, fishing and enjoying the warm climate and the beautiful scenery.

·         Visits to the surrounding vegetation, predominantly acacia trees and evergreen reverie vegetation, the banks of Awash river with inhabiting monkeys and crocodiles.

·         1700m altitude which welcomes visitors with cool clean air and a good atmosphere for camping and mountain trekking either on foot or house back.

·         The presence of few wildlife species in the surrounding vegetation including leopard, duiker, klipspringer and colobus monkey and birds species.

Bokku steam

Situated on the slope of a gorgeous land, Bokku is some 5 kms’drive from Adama. Its tourist offer include:

·         The high temperature steam gushing out through narrow outlets from the walls of the rocky mountain where by patients take steam bath in the compartments of a low standard room for curative effects with rheumatism, cold, asthma and other complications.

·         An opportunity for bird watching and its surrounding land formation with its vegetation has scenic beauty. It is accessible (from Adama) by car on a gravel road.

 

 

 

Awash National Park

Lying in the lowlands east of Addis Ababa, and striding the Awash River, the Awash National Park is one of the finest reserves in Ethiopia. The Awash River, one of the major rivers of the Horn of Africa, waters important agricultural lands in the north- eastern part of Ethiopia and eventually flows into the wilderness of Danakil Depression. The dramatic Awash Falls as the river tumbles into its gorge, is the site not to be missed in the national park. A special attraction is the beautiful clear pools of the hot springs (Filwoha).

Awash National Park, surrounding the dormant volcano of Fantale, is a reserve of arid and semi-arid woodland and Savannah, with riverine forests along the Awash River. Forty-six species of animals have been identified here, including Beisa Oryx and Swayne's Hartebeest. The bird life is prolific specially along the river and in amongst the 392 species recorded.

Awash National Park

Access to the park is the best from the main Addis-Assab highway, and there is a caravan lodge called Kereyu Lodge at the edge of the gorge.

 

Nechisar National Park     

Covering 514 square kilometers (319 square miles), Nechisar National Park is situated near the town of Arba Minch, 510 kilometres from Addis Ababa. Lakes Abaya and Chamo are the twin rift valley lakes separated by a neck of land better known as a "Bridge of Heaven". They are the integral part of the park. The park is home to Burchell's Zebra, Grant's Gazelle, greater Kudu and others. Various species of birds and crocodiles reflect the park's different habitat.  Nechisar National Park

The 188 bird species - including two endemic of the area are quite varied, reflecting the different habitats within the park. Both the red-billed and the gray hornbill are common here, and the Abyssinian ground hornbill is also seen. Also common are fish eagle, kingfishers, and rollers. Various bustard species are found in the park including the large and impressive Kori.  

Gargadi hot spring

Garagadi, which is about 14 kms north west of Adama near the town and the suger cane estate of wanji, is situated on qa plain between a hill to the west and awash River to the East at a distance of half  kilometer from Wanji. The main tour offer of the site includes:

·         About 16 hot springs of different volume in the area and the water coming frol spirings gets concentrated ingeneral basins which could serve for health problems like muscular contractions and respiration.

·         Sight and seeing including view of the nearby Awash River and the inhabiting crocodiles and the surrounding chains of mountains of scenic beauty.

 Dhera Dilfaqar Proposed Park

Dhera Dilfaqar Proposed Park, 20 kms south of Adama, is located mainly in Dodota District of Arsi Zone with Zone with an area of 25 sq.km. the park hosts 23 mammals and 100 bird species. The major mammals include greater Kudu, lesser Kudu, klipspringer, Caracal, Striped Hyena, silver backed Jakal, Grey duiker and Hippopotamus and others. The mammals can be observed in the morning and evening.

The Lakes Region of Oromiya

The road to the Rift  Valley lakes region of oromiya turns to south right at mojo, 73 kms from Addis Ababa. Crossing over Awash river at the upper edge of the artificial Qoqa lake and passing through many towns and villages the road emerges at the tourist paradise of Oromiya. This hot weathered wonderful popular destination is an ideal place of excellent beaches, swimming, fishing, boating, bird watching, water-skiing, and camping throughout the year. The main road is asphalt throughout but there are few rough gravel tracks that wind to the lakes for which landcruiser may be necessary, the following are themajor tourist offer of the destination.

Lake dambal

Lake Dambal, 160 kms far  from Addis Ababa, is the largest of the Rift valley lakes with an area of 434 sq.kms and a maximum depth of 4kms. The shores of the lake are marshy, shaded by sycamores and reeds which provide a feeding ground for aquatic birds. Some of the water birds which frequent the lake are cormorants, darts, herons, great white pelicans and storks. At the nortern part of the lake there is a wide bay with marshy coasts and swamp vegetation. The lake is doted by several islands among which Tullu Guddo, with its historical monastery of Debre-Tsiyon Mariam and Zaye/Laqi ethnic group is the main and the popular one. Tullu Guddo is accessible (by boat)via Asalla or Zuway towons. Zuway, the closest lake side town offers adequate accommodation and national dishes.

Lake Langano resort

At about 215 kms from Addis Ababa lake Langano lies in an irregular shaped basin with a perimeter of 62 km, an area of 305 sq.kms and a depth of 30 meters in certain parts. Langano is a soft brown in color and is an ideal spot for water sports. It is  relatively the developed and popular resort of this lakes’ region with good catering and accommodation services. Tourists can camp, water ski,sail and swim or bask in the blazing sun on the lake’s sandy beaches. The western side of the lake is covered with a thin acacia tree while the eastern shore is partially covered by dense forest patches. The forest and the lake host variety of wildlife, birds, amphibians like hippos and reptiles.

 Abuata – Shala Lakes National Park

 At about 215 kms from Addis Ababa, visitors will arrive at Abijata-Shala lakes national park or” lakes park” which is reputed as one of the bird watchers ground in Africa. It is 887 sq.kms in area out of which 482 sq.kms is that of the alkaline lakes, Abijata and Shala. This park hosts about 31 species of mammals such as Spotted Hyena, Golden and Black Backed Jakals, Olive Baboon, Grant’s Gazelle,etc., and 367 species of birds. Myriad of endemic and exotic birds that come from Europe and different parts of the world congregate here in at lake Abijata. July to September being the peak season of congregation (and best time to watch birds) in the year, hundreds of thousands of  flamingoes and Great White pelicans, Fish Eagles, King Fishers, the tall Marabou Stork, Conmorants and Darters, etc.roam here in Lake Abijata and in the side-by lake Shala. There are also vast colonies of sacred Ibis, Queela, Stilt, Snope Black Heron, Avocet, Egyptian geeze, Eglets, The beautiful Ostrich farm (with Grant’s Gazelles) at the park head quarter which is located at 215 km from Addis Ababa is by the side of the asphalt road.

 

 

 

 


Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park

Using Lake Langano as your base, it is an easy side trip to visit Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park, which is 887 square kilometers (550 square miles) in size, 482 (300) of these being water.

The altitude of the park ranges from 1,540 to 2,075 meters (5,051 to 6,806 feet), the highest peak being Mount Fike, situated between the two lakes. The temperatures can be high, reaching 45°C (113°F) at maximum and 5°C (41°F) at minimum. Rain falls between March and April and June and September, averaging 500 mm (19.5 inches).

The surrounding area is mainly acacia woodland, some of which is very degraded by man.

Abijatta and Shalla are both terminal lakes but very different in nature. Lake Abijatta is 14 meters (46 feet) deep as opposed to Lake Shalla which has a depth of 260 meters (853 feet).

 http://iguide.travel/Abijatta_Shalla_Lakes_National_Park#/Video

Abijatta-Shalla National Park

The Park was created for the many aquatic bird species that use the lakes, specially great white pelicans and greater and lesser flamingo. The birds use Lake Abijatta as a feeding center while using Lake Shalla's island as breeding site. White-necked cormorant, African fish eagle, Egyptian geese and others are in abundance in the park.

 

Lake Shala, which is separated to the south from lake Abijata by a strip of land has a delightful view of its deep blue color with excellent reflections of the magnificent western hills. At the north eastern shore of lake Shala, a tumbling cascade of hot springs and vapor that have curative effect rush out from the north eastern hill side down to the bay. There are beautiful camping sites along this shore where travelers can camp, fish tilapia and roast on campfire.

The fascinating Gikke site on the lofty land at the south western shore of lake Shala is the best site of bird watching and camping. It is accessible by a sturdy car.

South west of lake Shala, there is also a small alkaline crater lake known as lake Chittu. This small lake, more than any other lake, is the best site of bird watching, especially the flamingoes. Chittu is accessible by 4x4 via Sambate town.

 

Sanqalle wildlife rserve

Along the asphalt road to Arba Minch via Shashamanne, there is Sanqalle wildlife Reserve at 304 km from Addis Ababa with an area of 54 sq.kms hosting 20 species of mammals and 110 species of birds. Here Swayne’s Hartebeest is the main inhabiting species while Oribi  Wathog, Bohor Reed buck, Cheetah, civet Cat, spotted Hyaena, and Golden Jackal are also present. The reserve is covered by sparse acacia trees and grasses. One has to make about 9 km detour to south east of the highway to arrive at the sanctuary.

 

The Magnifcent Attractions of Arsi and Bale

Controlled hunting areas of Arsi Mountains

Arsi Zone is  dominated by highland plateaux which cover 78% of its 23060 sq.kms area out of which 20% fall with in altitude range of 500m to 1500m above sea level. Arsi has highland plateaux among which kaka, Chilalo and Arbagugu are the major peaks. They extend from the heights of Arsi massifs in the south east to the escarpment edge of the Rift Valley depression in the north west. The Arsi plateaux are favored with high rainfall, water catchments, cool weather, as fertile soil to which Arsi’s intensive agricultural cultivations are attributed. The mountains are covered by natural vegetation that shelter the precious mammals and birds. This, with their scenic beauty, made the plateaux the significant tourist destination that could be used for trekking, sightseeing, and safari hunting. Having more than 4 controlled hunting areas, Arsi is contributing a big share in wildlife resource utilization in oromiya.

 Bale Mountains National park

 Sof umar cave

 

Sof Omar

Sof Omar Caves

Sof Omar, a tiny Muslim village in Bale, is the site of an amazing complex of natural caves, cut by the Weyb River as it found its way into the nearby mountains. The settlement, which is a religious site, is named after a local Sheikh. Ethiopia Landmarks and Monuments: Sof Omar Cave photograph

Visitors to Sof Omar make their way-armed with torches and official map underground, far into the bowels of the earth, beside a subterranean stream, and there one can see an extraordinary number of arched portals, high, eroded ceilings and deep, echoing chambers.

Some 35 per cent of the Ethiopian population is Muslim. Nearly half the population is Christian, belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, whose 4th Century beginnings came long before Europe accepted Christianity. A further small percentage of the population adheres to traditional and other beliefs, including Judaism.

 

Bale Mountains National Park

Nyala

Nyala
The stately and beautiful mountain nyala, another of Ethiopia's endemic species, is
best seen at Dinsho, the Park's Headquarters.

 

Red Fox

Red Fox
Simien wolf, endemic to Ethiopia, also known as the Simien jackal of Abyssinian wolf, is found in greater numbers in the Gaysay area in Bale Mountains, between 3,000 and 4,500 metres high.

 

 Dirre Sheikh Husein, the significant

 Gafarsa dam

Gafarsa Dam is set in the valley laid between sloppy hills 22km west of Addis Ababa. It is one of the main water supply sources for the capital. The major  attraction of the dam are numerous colorful aquatic birds which appeal to bird loving visitors.

 

 

 




THE SMOKE OF FIRE

Known locally as Tis Isat - 'Smoke of Fire' the Blue Nile Falls is the most dramatic spectacle on either the White or the Blue Nile rivers. Four hundred metres (1,312 feet) wide when in flood, and dropping over a sheer chasm more than forty-five metres (150 Feet) deep the falls throw up a continuous spray of water, which drenches onlookers up to a kilometre away. This misty deluge produces rainbows, shimmering across the gorge, and a small perennial rainforest of lush green vegetation, to the delight of the many monkeys and multicoloured birds that inhabit the area.

To reach the falls, which are about thirty-five kilometres (22 miles) away, drive south from the town of Bahir Dar for about half an hour and stop at Tis Isat village. Here travelers will quickly find themselves surrounded by a retinue of sometimes overzealous youthful guides who, for a small Fee, will show the way and point out several places of historic interest en route.

After leaving the village the footpath Meanders first beside open and fertile fields, then drops into a deep rift that is spanned by an ancient, fortified stone bridge built in the seventeenth century by Portuguese adventurers and still in use. After a thirty-minute walk, a stiff climb up a grassy hillside is rewarded by a magnificent view of the falls, breaking the smooth edge of the rolling river into a thundering cataract of foaming water.

A rewarding but longer trek is to walk along the east bank all the way to the back of the falls; crossing the river by papyrus boat known as 'Tankwa'.

 

Nile

 


The site overlooking the waterfall has had many notable visitors over the years, including the late eighteenth-century traveler James Bruce, and, in more recent times, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.

 

 


OMO VALLEY

 


The Omo Valley is virtually free of human habitation but it is rich in palaeo-anthropological remains. According to research conducted in 1982 by the University of California at Berkeley, hominid remains from the Omo Valley probably date back more than four million years.

Omo River

Much of Africa's volcanic activity is concentrated along the immense 5,000 kilometres crack in the earth's surface known as the Rift Valley. It is the result of two roughly parallel faults, between which, in distant geological time, the crust was weakened and the land subsided. The valley walls 97 daunting blue-grey ridges of volcanic basalt and granite - rise sheer on either side to towering heights of 4,000 metres. The valley floor 50 kilometres or more across, encompasses some of the world's last true wildernesses. Ethiopia is often referred to as the water tower of Eastern Africa because of the many rivers that pour off its high tableland, and a visit to this part of the Rift Valley, studded with lakes, volcanoes and savannah grassland, offers the visitor a true safari experience.

The Omo River tumbles its 350 kilometres way through a steep inaccessible valley before slowing its pace as it nears the lowlands and then meanders through flat, semi-desert bush, eventually running into Lake Turkana. Since 1973, the river has proved a major attraction for white-water rafters. The season for rafting is between September and October when the river is still high from the June to September rains but the weather is drier.

The river passes varied scenery including an open gallery forest of tamarinds and figs, alive with colobus monkeys. Under the canopy along the riverbanks may be seen many colourful birds. Goliath herons, blue-breasted kingfishers, white-cheeked turacos. Emerald-spotted wood doves and red-fronted bee-eaters are all rewarding sights, while monitor lizards maybe glimpsed scuttling into the undergrowth. Beyond the forest, hippos graze on the savannah slopes against the mountain walls, and waterbuck, bushbuck and Abyssinian ground hornbills are sometimes to be seen.

 

 

Lucy

LUCY
Lucy, 3.5 million years old, and the recent discovery Ramides, 4.4 million years old hominid fossil, are discovered in Haddar, along the Awash River, east of the country. They completed the missing link between Apes and men.

Melka Konture is also an important archeological site where 1.5 million years old stone tools were found. Several cave paintings and stone monuments are found in different parts of the country like Dilla, southern Ethiopia and Dire Dawa, eastern Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 

 

Hominids

HOMINIDS
Fragments of a frontal bone and of a femur were recovered in the Pliocene Formations of Maka. In the Middle Pliocene Formation of Bodo d'Ar, dated to 300,000 - 150,000 years, a frontal and other remains of a human skull were discovered in 1976.
This fossil probably belongs to an archaic Homo Sapiens.

 

 

 

 

 

Homo Sapiens Sapiens

HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS
The fossil skulls known as Omo I and II come from the kibish formation (200,000/100,000 years ago) in the Omo Valley. Not withstanding the presence of some archaic features, such as the thickness of the cranial walls, the appearance of modern anatomical features, the elevated frontal and the presence on the mandible of Omo I of a real bony chin, allow them to be considered, without doubt, close to Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

 

 

 

 Ambo Abebech Metaferia Hotel

The site of both of our meetings.

No.of Rooms – 50,

No.of Beds – 75

Phone - 011-2362365/66

Postal Code – 287,

Remarks -Two Star

photo

Wenchi Crater Lake is 155 km west of Addis Ababa, between Ambo and Welliso.   An extinct volcano (the top of which is 3380 metres above sea level) the crater contains a large lake, hot mineralsprings, waterfalls and beautiful valleys and farmland There is an old monastery with a church is situated on one of the lake islands.  Our guide told us that about 4000 people live within the crater.

You can drive to Wenchi on either the Ambo road (105km from Addis to Ambo on tarmac, turn left onto gravel road for 25km to Wenchi)  or the Jima road (125km on tarmac to Welliso, turn right onto gravel road for 38km).    There are hotels in Ambo (Abebech Metaferia hotel); or stay at the Negash Lodge in Welliso.  There are three or four campsites within the crater itself. There and back in a day is too much driving.

At the top of the rim, there is an ecotourism office, from where you hire a guide and pay your admission permit.  Drive with the guide a further kilometer to a parking spot at a cafe, or down into the crater (a difficult road even in the dry season – we parked at the top and walked).

You can do a two hour walk to hot springs and back, or a four hour loop involving two short hops across the lake in boats – to the island with the monastry, and then on to the headland.   You can also do it all on horseback if you prefer.

Bring a picnic to eat in the valley or on the lakeshore

Five of the oromiya’s recently designated controlled hunting areas are in Arsi. These are namely Arbagugu, Kaka, Galma-Boroluku, Munessa-Kuke and Aluto. Some of the major game animals here are Mountian Nyala, klipspringer and Menilik’s Bishbuck. Asella, the capital of Arsi Zone, is 175 km far from Addis Ababa (all asphalt road). Access from Asalla to the hunting blocks is, however, by 4 wheel drive on dry weather road.

Kumsa Morada Palace Nekemte

Kumsa Moroda palace is located in the city of Nekemte. Nekemte is in Afan Oromo language; also called Lekemt is a market town in western Ethiopia.
 Located in the Misraq Welega Zone of the Oromia Region,Nekemte has LATITUDE and longitude of 9°5′N 36°33′E9.083°N 36.55°E and an elevation of 2,088 meters.Nekemte was the capital of the former Welega Province, and is home to a museum of Welega Oromo culture.It is a burial place of Onesimoos Nasib, a famous Oromo who translated the Bible to Oromo Language for the first time, in collaboration with Aster Geno.
Nekemte is at the center of the road network for south-western Ethiopia.
Nekemte acquired importance when Bekere Godana and later his son Moroda Bekere made it the capital of their kingdom of Welega in the mid-19th century.
Under Moroda's son Gebre Egziabher (birth name Kumsa Moroda
By 1935 Nekemte had become the most important town in Welega. There were nearly 70 foreign residents before the Italian occupation, mostly merchants and missionaries. 23 importers-exporters had agencies there, most of whom were Indians, but these also included two Greeks, a Lebanese, and an Armenian.

Nekemte Town is one of the old towns in the country, established in the mid 19th century.

According to the interview made for local elders, historically the name ‘Nekemte’ was derived from the name of a person residing at today’s King Kumsa Moroda Palace Bakkanisa Qase (one of the present sub town of Nekemte) hamlet. Bakare Godana (1830-1861 E.C) got power according to Gada system. In 1865 he gave his residence hamlet to his elder son Moroda. Moroda Bakare (1868-1...888) inherited the Leka Kelom and built his own aristocracy. His elder son Kumsa Moroda (1888-1923) was strong king who formed the 20th called western Oromo confederation state.

Others say, Nekemte was originated from Afan Oromo (Oromo Language) to mean ‘in row or ‘arrayed in line’ indicating houses built and shops opened in line along with road side. The Municipality of Nekemte town was established in 1934 after 7 years of Fascist Italian Invasion and designated as a town in 1942. The first town plan was drawn in 1967. The total area of the town at the time of establishment was about 18 acre, of which 11 acre was owned by few landlords. Eventually, due to population growth and governments center for administration, the town drew better attention for development, despite of the plan, experienced sprawled unguided over vast area.

Nekemte town is situated on a flat, hilly landscape. It is located at a distance of 331 km west of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), 110km North East of Gimbi, the principal town of West Wollega Zone and 250 km North West of Jima Zone in Oromia Regional state. Or the town is bounded by Guto Gida district of the zone in north, south and in west side and also Wayu Tuka woreda of the zone surrounds the Nekemte town in east side.

At nearby the town Nekemte is circumscribed by farmer associations namely Gaarii, in the East, Fayyineerraa in the west, Qixxeessaa in the North, and Alamii in the south that supplies agricultural products to the market. Currently it is a capital city of East Wollega Zone of Oromia Regional State with the total land area estimated to be 5480 hectare. Administratively, it is divided in to six sub towns or gandas. A town’s altitude ranges from 1960 to 2170 m.a.s.l where as its average annual rain fall is 1854.9mm and the average temperature ranges from 14 o c to 26.888) inherited the Leka Kelom and built his own aristocracy. His elder son Kumsa Moroda (1888-1923) was strong king who formed the 20th called western Oromo confederation state.

Others say, Nekemte was originated from Afan Oromo (Oromo Language) to mean ‘in row or ‘arrayed in line’ indicating houses built and shops opened in line along with road side. The Municipality of Nekemte town was established in 1934 after 7 years of Fascist Italian Invasion and designated as a town in 1942. The first town plan was drawn in 1967. The total area of the town at the time of establishment was about 18 acre, of which 11 acre was owned by few landlords. Eventually, due to population growth and governments center for administration, the town drew better attention for development, despite of the plan, experienced sprawled unguided over vast area.

Nekemte town is situated on a flat, hilly landscape. It is located at a distance of 331 km west of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), 110km North East of Gimbi, the principal town of West Wollega Zone and 250 km North West of Jima Zone in Oromia Regional state. Or the town is bounded by Guto Gida district of the zone in north, south and in west side and also Wayu Tuka woreda of the zone surrounds the Nekemte town in east side.

At nearby the town Nekemte is circumscribed by farmer associations namely Gaarii, in the East, Fayyineerraa in the west, Qixxeessaa in the North, and Alamii in the south that supplies agricultural products to the market. Currently it is a capital city of East Wollega Zone of Oromia Regional State with the total land area estimated to be 5480 hectare. Administratively, it is divided in to six sub towns or gandas. A town’s altitude ranges from 1960 to 2170 m.a.s.l where as its average annual rain fall is 1854.9mm and the average temperature ranges from 14 o c to 26.

888) inherited the Leka Kelom and built his own aristocracy. His elder son Kumsa Moroda (1888-1923) was strong king who formed the 20th called western Oromo confederation state.

Others say, Nekemte was originated from Afan Oromo (Oromo Language) to mean ‘in row or ‘arrayed in line’ indicating houses built and shops opened in line along with road side. The Municipality of Nekemte town was established in 1934 after 7 years of Fascist Italian Invasion and designated as a town in 1942. The first town plan was drawn in 1967. The total area of the town at the time of establishment was about 18 acre, of which 11 acre was owned by few landlords. Eventually, due to population growth and governments center for administration, the town drew better attention for development, despite of the plan, experienced sprawled unguided over vast area.

Nekemte town is situated on a flat, hilly landscape. It is located at a distance of 331 km west of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), 110km North East of Gimbi, the principal town of West Wollega Zone and 250 km North West of Jima Zone in Oromia Regional state. Or the town is bounded by Guto Gida district of the zone in north, south and in west side and also Wayu Tuka woreda of the zone surrounds the Nekemte town in east side.

At nearby the town Nekemte is circumscribed by farmer associations namely Gaarii, in the East, Fayyineerraa in the west, Qixxeessaa in the North, and Alamii in the south that supplies agricultural products to the market. Currently it is a capital city of East Wollega Zone of Oromia Regional State with the total land area estimated to be 5480 hectare. Administratively, it is divided in to six sub towns or gandas. A town’s altitude ranges from 1960 to 2170 m.a.s.l where as its average annual rain fall is 1854.9mm and the average temperature ranges from 14 o c to 26.

Ijmma Abba Jifar II Palace

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0ip1qJii10&noredirect=1

 Bale Mountains National park

Bale Mountains National Park is a magnificent high altitude plateau with numerous dramatic volcanic plugs, seasonal tiny alpine lakes and cascading mountain streams. Located at about 400 km from Addis Ababa, it is stretched over an area of 2400 sq.kms which has altitude ranges from 1500m- 4377m above sea level. Being the largest Afro Alpine habital park in Africa, Bale Mountain National offers the following major features of attraction.

·         It geves chances of viewing about 46 mammal and 200 bird  species and vegetation of unspoiled wonderland including various tree

      species and precious endemic mammals, namely Red Fox, Mountain Nyala, and Menelik’s Bushbuck.

Its climate is mostly very cold with high rainfall and damp cloud with rare sparkling blue sky. The best season of walking, trekking and comping in the park to view the endemic life and enjoy other tourist activities in the astonishing vast alpine areas is the dry season which is from November to January. Visitors can also enjoy the habitat at all seasons with warm and weather proof clothing.

The tree main divisions of the park, the northern area-Dinsho, the centeral alpine part-Sannate, and the soutern forest area-Haranna offer distinct features. Dinsho area is the perfect site of viewing Mountain Nyala and Menelik’s, etc. tourists can vist the head quarters and the museum of the park here at Dinsho and get lodge service and relevant information about the park.

Sannate, nick-named as “ The Island in the Air”, is the high plateau souring up to 4000m on top of which the second highest peak in Ethiopia.mount Tullu Dimtu ( 4377m above seal level), among many, in found. An all weather road from Goba to Dallo Mamma passes over this plateau. The seasonal tiny alpine lakes, some rare birds, and above all, the Red Fox, which is the top tourist attraction mostly specific to Bale MNP is spotted here. The southern Haranna area is an area of lower altitude covered with dense tropical forest. The road penetrating Sannate and Haranna forest connects Goba with Dallo Manna. Bush pig, African hunting dog, giant forest hog, spotted hyena,, lion, leopards,colobus monkey, etc. do abound in Haranna area.

 

The beautiful rainbow and trout fish stacked in the park rivers with fry from Kenya in 1960 may give tourists a fishing opportunity if they have time. The lodge at Dinsho provides tourists with 31 beds (room 6) and kitchen equipment for self service but has no food. Camping at Dinsho and at different sites in the park gives great delight to tourists. The Bekelé Mola (at Robe) and the Wabe Shebelé (at Gobba) Hotels welcome tourists with accommodation and catering services.

 Sof umar cave

Sof Umar Cave, one of the world’s biggest, Africa’s largest cave, and marvelous underground world is located in Goro District of Balé Zone at a distance of 110m from the zone’s capital Robé and 40 kms from the nearst town Goro. The cave’s major attraction features include:

·         the caves area which is typically characterized by flat topography and a deep gorge cut by river Web which forms the cave, and in particular the Ayyo-Mako cliff gate of river enterance is the right spot where visitors start caveexpedition while the Hulluqa is the resurgence of both tourists and the river from the cave.

·         The beauty of the cave comes from the untouched and savage aspects of the huge main passages, the very special shape of the sections of the galleries, the white color of the lime stornes basalt that from the walls, the great numbers of enterances, the bewitching noise of the river, labyrinthine morphology of galleries network and the presence of the many bats, etc.

·         The 42 internal entrances and its total passages distance of 16 km, its 1.7 kms tourist line, which crosses the river seven times and takes tourists about an hour’s walking.

Sof  Umar cave is a reputed historical Islamic heritage attributed to the sufist Sheikh Safiyyullan Umar (abbreviated as “Sof Umar”) from whom the name of the cave is originated. The Sheikh is said to be the nephew as well as the disciple of Sheikh Husein. He lived and worshiped Allah in the cave and taught Islam to his followers many centuries ago. The cave thus is one of the venerated monuments of religious history that predate the arrival of Islam in Balé. The present cultural practice of offering prayers and sacrifices by the pilgrim twice a year to celebrate events of religious ceremony gives opportunity to experience history and culture.

 Dirre Sheikh Husein, the significant

Dirré Sheikh Husein or the site of the Shrine of Sheikh Husein is one of Oromiya’s major site of culture tourism. It is situated on the border of West Harargé and Balé Zones at the southern edge of Web river. It is 178 km far from Robé along the all  weather road that passes through Jarra, and Dallo Sabro towns. The Shrine is named after an ancient muslim holy man (religious leader) called Sheikh Nur Husein bin Malka or bin Ibrahil who was reputed for his religious teachings, high devotion and remarkable miraculous deeds. According to oral history, the birth of Sheikh Nur Husein, or “Sheikhana Husein” is dated back to 11th century. Local elders say that he was born 942 years ago from his father Mlka or Sheik Ibrahim and his mother Shamsiyya, but nothing is clearly said about where he was born. Legends put, however, that Sheikh Husein had passed 250 years alive on earth out of which he spent 50 years in a place called Sakina (in Arsi) or in a state of disappearance into spiritual life or devotion, 130 years in various parts of the world and 70 years at his Dirré itself. The main attraction of the site include:

·         the impressive white colored and conic shaped “ Gamo”s or “Qubbaa”s (doves of tombs/mosques) scatteredly seen in the site.

·         More than 900 years old famous cultural site and its monuments built under the auspious of a person nqmed Sheikh Muhammad Tilmo 360 years ago. There are over tensuch monuments among which the oldest one is the qubba of the Sheikh’s parents. The Sheikh’s qubba, the biggest of all, is separately fenced by stout wall around an area of more than 10,000 sq.mrs.

·         The vist to the Dirré made twice a year by thousands of people (pilgrim from all over Eastern, southern and western Oromiya and various parts of Ethiopia).

Not all of the legends and their conseauential practices which may be heard of or seen being practied at the ‘Anajina’ are Islamic from the view point of the Shari’ah and the Islamic Monotheisin. However, there are two annual celebration at the Dirre. The days are counted according to the Islamic calendar Hijirah. Thus one of the occasions is known as “ Hajji”. It is in the month “ Zul-Hijjah”. The peak days of this celebration are the 9th and the 10th zul-Hijjah, or the worldwide Islamic holiday “Arafah”. The other occasion, which is known as “Zahara” is in the month “Jimadul-Thani” of the same calendar, the peak celebration days being the 14th and 15th, in both occasions visitors can arrive at the Dirré in the afternoon of the first day to enjoy the evening/the night celebration which is the beginning of the celebration of the second peak day.

The Significant Touristic features of Borana

Borana Zone, with high altitude and temperate climate in the north, and low semi arid bush and savannah grass land in the south, has a remarkable physical and cultural features that create delightful sensations. The wilderness of the zone and rare canopies of dense forests made it the real home of many mammals, birds and reptiles. Among the 44 mammal and 274 bird species recorded in Borana, the Abyssinian Bush, Crow, the white tailed Swallow (in Yabello Sanctuary), and the prince Rus Poli’s Turaco (Arero forest) are the endemic bird species. The famous culture of the Oromo people, the traditional Gada System, is being practiced most actively in Borana. This cultural pattern is manifested on traditional ceremonies of daily activities of the present local people.

 Yabello Sanctuary

 the sanctary is originally established for the protection of Swayne’s HARTEBEEST? BUT IT HAS BECOME A Burchell4s Zebra habitat. The sanctuary, with an area of 2496 sq.kms is 17 km away east of the nearby town Yabello or 205 km far from the border town Moyale. This Savannah/acacia habitat is a home of a large number of zebra, greater and lesser Kudu, Gerenuck, and other mammals and of about 194 species of birds.

The other localities with wildlife concentrations are the Sarite plain and the Forole depression. These offer incredible spectacles of oryx, zebra, hartebeest, ostrich, gerenuk, gazellz, lion and other mammals.

Ela And Boqe

Ela or Yula, which means water well system, is an extra ordinary heritage reflecting the ways of life of the Boranas. They dug water wells (10-15mts) many centuries ago to get ground water for themselves and for their cattle. The water drawing system in which men stand one above the other on the narrow rocky hole’s wall and toss up the drawn  water up to the surface for their cattle is very surprising however. There sites. Other remarkable attractions in Borana are the wondrous crater lakes of salt and minerals known as Boqe situated at various distances from Mega town and the cluster of the unique Dhuga Marsa (marsa rocks) located at 5 km from Nagelle.

 

 

GIBE river

 

 

 

                                                              Copyright ©2008 GPO/OPC Allrights Reserved