Nech Sar National Park was established in 1974 and covers an area of 514 km2. The Park is found 550 km south of Addis Ababa, an
d is only accessible through main entrance to the town of Arba Minch.
"Nech Sar" means "white grass", whichis indeed characteristic of the Savannah area in the park. With the mountains of Sidama zone in the background and spectacular view to the two lakes, this is one of the most scenic parks of east Africa. Nech Sar NP contains groundwater forest with 40 sources (= Arba Minch), portions of the lakes Chamo and Abaya, a hilly with acacia bushes overgrown strip of land between two lakes in the "Bridge of God" is called and behind it the Savannah plains. The altitude ranges from 1100 - 1650 m.
FAUNA IN THE NECH SAR NATIONAL PARK
It's a beautiful sight to large herds of Burchell's zebra and Grant's gazelles can be seen grazing in Nech Sar National Park. Furthermore, quite often you can see: dik-dik, Swayne's hartebeest, kudu, bushbuck, waterbuck, wild boar, gureza and velvet monkeys and olive baboons. There are lions in the park but they are more often heard than seen. The more Chamo is inhabited by many crocodiles of Africa's longest and thickest, and there are also many hippos. Nech Sar NP has morethan 342 species of birds that are native and there are 15 native butterfly species discovered.
MANAGMENT NECH SAR NATIONAL PARK
Until 1991 the Nech Sar NP was pretty good managed but then gradually more and more farmers of the Kori and Guji Oromo people came to inhabit the park and use for their cattle. Thus, wild animals such as elephant, buffalo, black rhino, cheetah and giraffe are completely eradicated are being hunted.
Several attempts has been underatken to solve problems and effectively manage Nech Sar NP, among others, the Guji Oromo Kori and a residence outside of the park offered with sufficient agriculture and pasture. These attempts have failed and the farmers who were in the park or are returned again. While the future of this park is uncertain, it remains a Nech Sar NP visit especially for its beautiful landscape and the fact that the park is still little visited by tourists, and it is pretty much to yourself to visit this national park.
Arba Minch city is an excellent base to Nech Sar National Park visitors. In Arba Minch there are several good hotels, such as Swayne's, Paradise Lodge and Bekelle Molla where you have a beautiful view to the lakes and Nech Sar National Park. The roads in the park are very poor and only passable with a 4WD. Currently (Dec.2009), the roads in Nech Sar NP are under maintenace and the park is only accessible by boat via Lake Chamo. It is not known when the work will be completed.
A boat trip on Chamo more along the crocodile market and Nech Sar NP with approximately a 2 hours hike in Nech Sar NP is always included in our tours of southern Ethiopia. Individual travelers can contact the reception of the hotel or through the office of the association in Arba Minch, a boat cruise booking. Transportation should be arranged ahead of time.
CAMPING IN THE NECH SAR NATIONAL PARK
There are two "camp sites" in Nech Sar National Park, but no facilities like toilets or water supply. Elsewhere in the Park is free to camp. Equipped with a camping equipment Yared Tour & Travel, and adequate water supplies and camping in Nech Sar NP a unique experience of a few days in the middle of the African wilderness with no other tourists around you. Early in the morning and at dusk are the best times for the animals to observe, especially if you camp near a waterhole. But ... look out out for crocodiles!