Abijatta-Shalla National Park is located about 200 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. Most tourists visit the park on their way back to Addis from the Omo Valley. As you enter the park, the first denizens to greet you are a small flock of ostrich who are obviously accustomed to being around humans – they were most certainly are not scared of us.
The park is also home to some native gazelles which we got to see on a short walk from the park’s entrance. But the highlight for me was the massive flock of pink flamingos that were feeding on the waters of Lake Shalla. Thousands of flamingos repeatedly dipping their beaks into the shallow water in search of food; it was a sight like I have never seen before considering that Shalla is a salt lake. I got a little too curious though. Although the ground looks dry and in fact, it crunches beneath your feet as you walk, it is thick mud just centimeters below the surface. I wanted to get a bit closer to the flamingos and had barely taken a few steps before I was ankle deep in mud. So, take it from me. Watch the birds from the safety of shore and bring binoculars for a better view.