The Debre Zeit Road

The road from Addis Ababa leading to the southeast is going down to the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. The first town along this road is Debre Zeit, a name dating from emperor Haile Selassie, now known again as Bishoftu the original Oromifa name.

Akaki River/ Abu Samuel Dam

About 45 km (1 hr) south of Addis Ababa, the Akaki River with its supporting wetlands and the Abu Samuel Dam offers a great opportunity for birdwatchers. There is a small gorge to explore in which an attractive waterfall is found when there is enough water.


Bishoftu is a bustling town along the busy highway between Addis Ababa  (45 km, 45 minutes) and the ports of Djibouti and Berbera (Somalia). The town is situated in the middle of a crater explosion field which left many beautiful lakes in the area. This makes it an interesting place for visitors and it is popular for a breakaway from Addis Ababa.

Bishoftu is within easy reach of Addis Ababa for a day trip, but accommodation which suits every pocket is available for an overnight.  The Kuriftu Resort and Spa is one of the few truly luxurious accommodations in Ethiopia.

Mount Zequala

The almost 3000 meters high Mount Zequala, 75 km (1,5 hrs) south of Addis Ababa, is an extinct volcano with a beautiful 2 km wide crater lake. The mountain is towering 600 meters over the surrounding countryside.  At the mountain, a monastery is founded and the water of the lake is considered holy. It is the site of the annual celebration of Abune Gebre Menfis Kidus and the mountain is also important for the Oromo ‘Irreechaa’ celebration.

The walk around the lake offers stunning views over the surrounding countryside and the forest on the crater rim supports a great variety of birds and other wildlife.


The hot spring resort Sodere is situated on the banks of the Awash River, 115 km (2,5 hrs) south of Addis Ababa. It is a popular resort for a breakaway from Addis Ababa over the weekend. It doesn’t only offer a hot spring and an Olympic size swimming pool, it is also well worth giving the Awash River some attention. The riparian forest is teeming with birds and monkeys and crocodiles and hippos are often seen. A short hiking trail is available.

It is possible to make a day trip out of Addis Ababa but it is more convenient to stay overnight.