Omo National Park
The Omo River divides Omo National Park from Mago National Park, being on the west and east bank respectively in the lower Omo valley. The 406,800 ha park is about 140 X 60 km with major landscape elements being the Omo River, the Maji Mountains and the Sharum, Lilibai and Sai plains, as well as three hot springs.
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As the park is crossed by a number of rivers lacking bridges, access is rather difficult and therefore little visited. While much of the park lies at about 800m, at the southern border it drops off to 450m, while the highest peak in the Maji Mountains is 1,541 m. The Omo River is bordered by thick stands of riverine forests and dense shrubs vegetation. The rivers are bordered with gallery forests, while away from the rivers, the plains vary from extensive open grasslands interspersed with woody savannahs and shrubland vegetation.
The park has well over 300 species of birds belonging to the savannah ecosystem as well as riverine birds along the rivers, such as herons and egrets, kingfishers, barbets, chats and thrushes, woodpeckers, pigeons, shrikes, warblers and flycatchers.
Inhabitants of Omo National Park
The park is inhabited by quite a few tribal people: Surma, Mogudge, Dizi, Bume peoples and the Mursi crossing the Omo River from the east. Being pastoralists and hunter-gatherers, these people have a severe impact on the wildlife populations of the park and in general the wildlife populations are severely depleted. There are hardly any overnight facilities, but a hunting camp along the high banks of the Omo, in Murle, now serves as a basic safari Lodge. Even though the park's wildlife is depleted, it remains one of the more interesting national parks of Ethiopia for the combination of traditional peoples, basic wildlife and good birding.