IntroductionThe stretch of the Great Rift Valley between Addis Ababa and Awassa supports a string of six lakes, all of which lie close to the main Awassa Road and make for rewarding excursions. Most northerly is Lake Koka, the only artificial body of water in the chain. Farther south, Lake Ziway, lying alongside the eponymous town, is worth a look for its prolific birdlife (easy to find 50 species in an hour) and ancient island monastery. Beyond that lies a cluster of three lakes: Langano, Abiata and Shala, the former a popular swimming and watersports resort, the latter two forming a national park renowned for its prolific birdlife (in particular flamingos and pelicans) and therapeutic hot springs. Finally, the lovely Lake Awassa lies on the outskirts of the eponymous town and is serviced by lakeside hotels whose gardens rustle with birdlife, monkeys and occasional hippos.
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