By Dirriba Teshome
Ethiopia is blessed with an abundance of cultural and natural assets of high tourism values. It is a land of astonishing natural beauty offering all sorts of landscape scenery. These are few of the reasons that corroborate the very description of the country as ‘ the Land of Origin’.
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The Oromia State just like other states is home to peculiar and spectacular landscapes and water bodies. The state straddles across the very heart of the country and provides all sorts of landscape scenery that ranges from semi desert steppe to afro-alpine highlands soaring as high as 4377 meters.
Its scenery, natural beauty and terrain are ascribable to mountains massifs, peaks, river gorges, natural moist, tropical forests, magnificent waterfalls, crater lakes with the endemic animals. At the heart of such wonders is Bishoftu or Debrezeit.
The town that is located 47 kilometers South East of the capital Finfinne, Addis Ababa. It is an easily accessible popular recreation and resort town for overnight visitors and weekend excursionists throughout the year.
Bishoftu is named after Afan Oromo word that literally means an area surrounded by a lot of water. The town is in the middle of the following five major crater lakes.
Lake Hora Arsadi is the oldest known lake resort. The lake is 38meters deep to the maximum and covers the area of 1.1 square kilometers. It is only 1.5 kilometers from the center of the town. And it is located in a beautiful deep basin, reputed for water sports and scenic beauty.
It contains a lot of fish species and aquatic birds which give wonderful opportunity for fishing, watching uniquely colored birds and listening breathtaking birds’ songs. Among the many bird species found around the lake, one can see cormorants, hammer corps, ducks, geese, heron’s kingfisher darters and storks.
It is also a sacred lake. Oromos from all over the corners of the country with some other ethnic groups celebrate Irreecha Malkaa, Oromo River or Lake Bank Thanks Giving annually at the lake either in the last week of September or the first week of October. Millions of people gather there decorated in cultural clothes, beads and hand jewelries singing in praise and pray to their Creator. All people of different ages gather there and in 2017 over seven million crowds celebrated the festival.
Lake Bishoftu is the other lake in the center of the town. It earned its name from the town but for the other meaning for its annual performance. The lake is mixed up once in a year by internal natural wave. Then all the drawn dead animals and sometimes human bodies are thrown up. That disturbs the smell of the lake for several days. That is why it is named Bishoftu which has another meaning, to mean literally ugly or upsetting.
The lake has a maximum depth of 87m and an average depth of 55m on the area of 17.9 hectares. And it is only 1.3km from the central point of the town to the South and South West direction. It also assumed as the deepest of the surrounding lakes.
Its natural scenic feature makes it attractive and wondering. It is fenced by rocky steep carrying green trees and bushes at the top. The singing birds, the green views and hotels around the lake makes it a very good breath taking site.
Lake Babogaya is the different lake volcanic eruption created. It found to the North East of the town. It has the maximum depth of 65 meters with the average depth of 38 meters on the surface area of 0.58Km2. It is also 4 kilometers far from the central point of the town.
It is clean for water sports such as swimming and fishing. Tilapia fish species is widely found in the lake. Multi colored birds, the green vegetation, sport activities and cleanliness of the lake makes it a wonderful breathtaking place. And the hotels and facilities have made one of the best developed lake side resort centers in the country.
Lake Kurriftu is also among the major crater lakes in the town. It is 3.4 kilometers far from the center to the North East of the center of the town. It is positioned on the area of 20.96 hectares. Its depth is not known so far. It is from the central point of the city.
It is also one of the best resort centers in the country as it has modern high luxurious resorts around and decorated by natural vegetation with entertaining birds of different color. It is also swimmable and good place for sports on water.
The last major Crater Lake in the town is Kilole Lake. It is found on 15 kilometers on the East from the center of the town. Its surface area and depth are not known yet. Birds such as Water Fowls, African fish eagles, cormorants, Egyptian geese, ducks and plovers can be seen easily around it. Their singings also renew minds and fully relax one.
The other shallow seasonal lake that adds attraction to the town is Cheleleka Lake. It is formed by the rain water that floods down from the surrounding hills. It is the home of thousands of birds from September to March. And, it is periodically the feeding ground for about 100,000 flamingos and other wild birds.
In general, it is not exaggerating if Bishoftu is said the center of lakes and one of the best breath taking towns in the nation with splendid natural offerings. Documents from the Oromiya Culture and Tourism Bureau to organize the article.