Abijata-Shalla National Park was established for its spectacular number of aquatic birds (the Great white Pelican and Lesser Flamingo) the bird breeding islands in Lake Shalla, and its scenery. It is a famous and significant Ornithological Site in the country. The park is located 207 km South of Addis Ababa on the Shashamene road within an altitude range of 1540-2075 m above sea level. The gateway to the park is located 56 kilometers from Zeway town at a place known as Dolle. As a result of its location, the park’s climate is generally dry with an annual rainfall range of between 500 and 700 mm during the two wet seasons; short rains in March and April and the long rains between June and September. Temperatures range between 50C and 450C.
The major attractions sites of the park are the scenic beauty of the Lakes and the wealth of birdlife they support. Abijata-Shalla National Park derives its name from the two lakes of Abijata and Shalla that together make up for over 50% of the total area. The park is one of the most scenically beautiful spots of Ethiopia, possessing a unique aspect of blue lakes fringed with flat-topped acacia trees and alive with a spectacular wealth of avifauna. The avifauna of the lakes is still in abundance and remains the major attractions of the locality.
A great number of the bird species that prevail in the lakes are the migrating wetland birds from Pala arctic transiting during the northern winter month’s seasonal migrants and the area thus is a paradise to ardent bird watchers. The lakes thus provide an important staging point for thousands birds including Shoveler, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Stint, Ruff and White-winged Black Tern. However, the bird of greatest interest to a nature lover and of concern to the world is the Great White Pelican. The Pelican breeds in its thousands (up to 12,000 pairs in the course of a year) on a small island, Tulu Island, in Lake Shalla. This Lake being too alkaline is of low biological productivity, so the birds do their fishing elsewhere, mainly in the northern waters of Lake Abijata. Lake Abijata is also specially known for the large number of Lesser Flamingo and as a major feeding ground for the Great White Pelican. This park is accessible by road throughout the year.