On a recent work trip to Addis Ababa, Sas and I took a trip with some colleagues and friends out to Lake Shala for the weekend. Located in the Abidjatta-Shalla National Park in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, Lake Shala is several hours drive south east of Addis – making it a perfect weekend destination.  While the drive is a bit bumpy thanks to new road construction, the terrain along the way is arid and beautiful. You will see camels and goats wandering all over the place, looking for a drink.

We stayed at a lovely campsite run by the US Embassy (US State Department use only) along the lake, with beautiful black sands overlooking the murky and pinkish water.  The lake doesn’t offer much swimming fun, given how shallow it is along the rim, but it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon playing frisbee and cooling down in the evening under the stars.

Nearby are several other nature reserves, including East Langano Nature Reserve and Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary where you can explore beautiful terrain, see great white pelicans, and see boiling hot Sulphur springs up close and personal. It feels a bit like mars, or how our planet will look in 50 years of global warming. 


On the road to Lake Shala is Zilway Town, where you can find a gem in the rough – The Kuriftu Castel Wine House. This restaurant and wine shop sells the wines of French-based Castel which opened 125 hectare vineyard in the Oromia Region in 2008, growing Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  



Camping along the lakes are the best locations. Try to locate a guest lodge with fences where you can post up your tent and your all set.