In Arba you can go on Lake Chamo by boat to see crocodiles/hippos.
This costs approx 75 Birr to enter the park, and 150 Birr to hire the boat.
As we were low on funds, we opted to visit the Crocodile Ranch (50 Birr) which is 4km from Arba.
The ranch is, well, awful. It is a series of tanks. Some empty, some with 2 or 3 giant crocs, others with up to 500 baby crocs.
There is meant to be a lakeside walkway where you can view hippos, however, this is now damaged and flooded so can't be accessed.
A very poor attraction.
The best thing maybe to warthogs on the way in
About 1 hour up the mountain road from Arba is the Dorze Village of Chincha.
It is a real village, but set up like a working museum, with a tour, demonstrations of local cooking etc.
You get to see how the Dorze live, making use of everything they grow with no waste. Even the animals are used to heat the homes. The people live in houses made to resemble elephants which once lived here. Termites eat the bottom of the houses, so every few years, they cut off the bottom and lower the roof.
Interesting but pricey at 100 Birr per person.
You can arrange to stay here in the prepared huts (with electric). However, the price of 85 Birr per night is full of hidden costs. If you want the campfire +200 Birr, Electric +100 Birr, food +100 Birr, dancing +200 Birr etc etc.
An expensive night.
Dorze village with beehive huts.
The Dorze people are famous for their huge huts, resembling a giant beehive.
Allthough these huts look fragile, they can last up to 60 years. The huts can also be transported to another locations, thanks to the structure made of vertical poles.
The Dorze people are farmers, who prevent soil erosion, by ingenious terracing of the mountainside.
Around their huts the Dorze people have their own little garden with vegetables, spices, but also tobacco and enset (false-banana or Musa ensete).
North of Arba Minch it's nice to visit the Guge Mountains (2.400 M) . In the mountains the temperature is nice. Because of the height it's rather cool and sometimes even cloudy and cold.
In the Guge mountains live the Dorze people,
belonging to the Omotic peoples of the south west of Ethiopia.
You can visit the villages Dorze and Chenca, known about their beehive huts and woven cotton. The way up to the villages is unpaved and very scenic.
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
Colourful woven cotton
In the Chenca area you can find the best woven cotton of Ethiopia.
At many places in the Dorze villages and along the road you can see the very colourful woven articles.
Traditionally the men weave and the women spin. It's possible to visit a weaving cooperative in Gambelo Dokko near Chenca, but also along the road you can see weavening men.
- Arts and Culture
Interior of a beehive hut
We were invited to visit the interior of a Dorse beehive hut. Every hut hat a sort of ''nose'' at its south side, serving as reception room.
After our eyes were accustomed at the rather darkness, coming from the full sunlight, it was interesting to see the construction of the hut from the inside.
I was surprised about the large space in the hut. Outside it looked so small.
In the middle of the hut was an open fire for cooking. There were also low benches to sit around the fire. Along the walls I saw sleeping places and places for storage.
When you visit a Dorze hut, you can experience its huge size and its construction.
The about 12 M high huts, looking like a beehive, are constructed with vertical hardwood poles and wover bamboo and have thatched roofs of enset (false-banana).
So these huts are constructed with the natural materials of the area. Looking at these huts, you can hardly imagine, that these huts can last up to 60 years, if not termites will attack them.
Arba Minch & Nechisar National Park
Arba Minch , with about 40.000 inhabitants the largest town in Southern Ethiopia, consists of two settlements. Sikela in the north in the plain and Shecha, four KM more to the south at the escarpment, overlooking the Lake Abaya and Chamo.
Between the two lakes lies the Nechisar National Park. The park of 514 square KM is easily reachable from Arba Minch. In the park you can find a lot of species of birds and mammals, like zebras and antilopes.
We didn't visit the park, but from our campsite at the escarpment we had a beautiful view at the park area.
- National/State Park