The cozy and surprisingly fast developing city Hawassa lies 275 Km South of Addis Ababa the capital city of Ethiopia along the asphalt road to Moyale the town at the boarder of Kenya. The altitude of Hawassa is 1665 m above sea level, it has a pleasant climate and also is in a beautiful location on Awassa Lake. Previously, it was the capital ofthe Sidama province and now it is the capital city of the South Nation and Nationalities Peoples Region. (SNNPR) It has a population of 150,000, from 50 different ethnic groups such as Sidama, Wolayta. Hadya. Kambata, Gurge, Amhara, Tigray, Oromo etc. All have their own way of greeting: "Kero". "Saro", "Tumma", "Yimtebel" Tenaystillign," "Kemyalekhum", "Akam" . In this city there are high standard loadges built-up on the traditional style of the different ethenic groups in the southern region and also there are 3 to 5 star hotels avaliable.
HAWASSA AT PRESENT DAY
Hawassa has grown explosively in recent years. On the southwest side of the city large new residential homes have been built, in downtown many old and small shops are demolished and 3-6 storey modern apartment buildings with shopping and offices are erected. Also, in recent years many new hotels are built like Tadesse Injorie, Lewis and Pinna Hotels. At the shores of Lake Hawassa you can enjoy a stay in 5 star Hotels such as the Haile Gebreselassie hotel, built by the famous long distance runner and Lewi Resort.
The city of Haswassa is attractive for customers because it combines the conviviality of a medium sized city and the peace and space on the lake and good hotels where you can relax a few days. There are also in and near Awassa various excursion and recreational opportunities.
The large field of Hawassa University just nearby Awassa is a town in itself with residential flats for students and staff, laboratories, canteen, buildings with classrooms, etc. Also in this university there is a moderiate Hotel built and is used as a training site for the faculty "hotel management". More than 10,000 students of this university and other residents of Awassa around 17.00 pm In the afternoon the city in at large is pleasant promenade. The main streets are filled with strolling people talking, street vendors and shoeshine boys are doing and people doing good business, the small white and blue taxis (popularly called "badjadj" or "tjoektjoek" referred to) go back and forth, between them by walking donkeys, sheep and goats around. There are several shopping centers with small shops in the 3 to 6 storey apartment buildings in recent years. It is a pleasant, lively and colorful city . On the south side of the long main street in the heart of Awassa with decorative palm trees in the middle, the great Gabriel whitewashed Orthodox church with gold-painted domes and on the south side of the road is sloping descending to Awassa
THE HAWASSA LAKE
The Hawassa lake is the smallest lake of the Rift Valley lakes, with an area of 9000 hectares. It is an idyllic lake that is surrounded by rolling hills everywhere. The Hawassa lake has formed in an ancient volcanic crater, and no mouths of rivers. Yet the water is healthy and full of fish but also home of a group of hippos usually located in the southeast side of the lake stop (near the village TikurWoha). Like other Rift Valley lakes offer in and around the Awassa Lake lots of bird watching. Due to a flood which took place some years a go submerged and ruin houses and hotels can be seen, at that time a dike was constructed to protect further damage. This has created a few kilometers footpath along the lake side where you can easily observe birds. In the area that was flooded, swamps have formed again attract waterfowl. The dike along the Hawassa lake is used as a promenade for the local population and the lake is often used by those who have no water at home, they wash their cloths and themselves.
At the end of the asphalt road that runs through the center, located at the dike of Lake of Hawassa there is boat association of young people. Here you can rent a rowboat or motorboat for a trip to the hippo-corner ". With a rowing boat the trip takes at least 3 hours. Between the planted tree by the young people of the association there are small huts with benches in it and there are drink and snack stalls. It is a popular gathering place for local youth, it is always busy and lively.
There are several places in Hawassa where you can rent a bike for a bike ride around Awassa lake (about 45 km.) Unpaved roads. There are enough young guys who are potential local guide to accompany you on your journey.
THE FISH MARKET IN HAWASSA
Every morning the fishermen arrive with their wooden rowing boats loaded with tilapia and other fishes.
"Fish market" (Asa Gebeya) is an inlet to Haswassa Lake, about 1 km from Wabe Shebelle II and new hotel Lewi. A taxi or gari (horse taxi) can take you there.
The long row of boats full of fresh fishes, the nets losing and fish filleting boys, vendors of plastic tents and bread, fish soup cooking women, marabou, pelicans and other birds who feeds themselves from the remains of fishes. The wandering goats and sheep in the open fish market is generally a phenominal.
Paying 20 birr interance fee you can visit fish market and have an access to walk in the adjacent Amorra Gedel park. This is also a youth project and a place where many weddings are held, where many Gureza and grivet monkeys and all kinds of birds to observe. During the weekdays, tthis place is oase of rest. However you come on Saturday or Sunday then the park is littered with often chat chewing people with loudly sounding transistor radios.
On Monday and Thursday in Hawassa is a colorful (but dusty and muddy in the rainy season) market where you can buy almost anything. For guests especially the stalls with Ethiopian pottery, baskets and bags, and traditional Ethiopian dress, is worth of visit. There is much vegetables, fruits, spices, beans, grains, butter selfmade gifts, new and used clothing, shoes, pots and pans, meter cane stalks, charcoal, firewood and cattle sold
TABOR MOUNTAIN IN MIDDLE OF HAWASSA
This flattened hilltop in the middle of Hawassa, you can climb to the top of the summit of a beautiful view over the lake and enjoy the city. There is a path around the top where you can come easily once (not too steep climb) through the Hawassa University Medical College and hospital which is found on the other side of the lake.
GABRIEL THE ORTHODOX CHURCH AND THE PARTIES
These modern orthodox church with its golden dome dominates the center of Hawassa. 20 years have taken to build up this church, the interior contains beautiful colorful murals. Every year on the feast of St.Gabriel (December 28) is full of people dressed in white garments who came to celebrate the festival from near and farawy places to Hawassa.The Timkat (18 or 19 January) and Meskel (26 or 27 sept.) Party are an impressive and unique with their Ethiopian processions of young deacons sometimes solemn and sometimes exuberant singing and dancing under the guidance of Kebero (large church drum ) and sistra (small instrument with bells), the Tabot (copy of the stone tablets of Moses) by priests in colorful garments, followed by many thousands of belivers on both sides of the street Tracking. But many other Christian denominations are represented in Awassa and you will find Protestant, Catholic, evangelical and Pentecostal churches, while there are many Muslims who gather in the various mosques.
Hawassa has its own website: www.awassacity.gov.et.
Interested to see Hawassa? Contact us or send the tour request form.
DAY OR WEEKEND TRIPS NEAR HAWASSA
Senkele wildlife sanctuary
Aregash lodge and Sidama zone
Sidama Coffee Road eco tourism project
Stella fella tutu and Tututi fields and Manchiti petroglyphs
Arba Minch to visit Nech Sar National Park (3-day trip).