Geography and Landscape
Chebera Churchura National Park(CCNP) is found on the western side of the central Omo-Gibe basin, in between Dawro zone and Konta Special Woreda of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State of Ethiopia. The Omo River provides the boundary between the south and the West. The natural vegetation of the park is diverse. There are montane forests in the eastern and northwestern highlands, riparian forests along the rivers, and woodland vegetation is found in the southern part of the Park. Grass- and scrubland cover the largest part of the Park. The altitude of the park ranges from 550-1700 m.a.s.l. and the highest peak is the Mecha hill on the western boundary The climate of the park is relatively hot, but mostly quite pleasant, also due to the shade the forest provides. The rainy season is from April and August. The average annual rainfall is relatively high: it varies from 1000 to 3500 mm. This gives the park a green and lush appearance all year around.
The park is located about 330 km west of Hawassa, the capital of the Regional State. There is a good gravel road from Sodo to the park. The park can be reached easily from Jimma as well along with a gravel road straight south of around 110 km length.
The Park is fortunate in possessing numerous rivers and streams and some small crater lakes (Keriballa, Shasho, Koka), which are one reason for the rich wildlife of the area. The Zigina River rises from the northeast highlands of the area and cross the central part of the park (north to south) and feeds the Omo River. There are also different perennial rivers crossing the park feeding the Omo River. The Shoshuma River is the main river of the park. It rises from the northwestern highlands of the Konta area, flows across the northeastern part of the park and joins with Zigina River inside the park, finally draining into the Omo River.
The park is highly attractive because of its undulating landscape with high hills, rolling plains with incised rivers and perennial streams, valleys, and gorges. The rivers are lined by dense forests, which provide habitat for the Buffaloes and elephants, as well as forest birds like trogon and turacos.
Access to Chebera-Churchura National park is easy. One can reach the park either by the Addis-Jimma-Ameya road (around 110 km south of Jimma) or via Shashemene and Sodo.
There are few internal park roads, the best way to move around is by walking and trekking. There are footpaths in the park, and the help of local Guide is mandatory.
So far, 37 larger mammal and 237 bird species have been recorded in the different habitats (highland and riverine forest and savanna and bushlands) of the park. White-winged cliff chat, banded barbet, wattled ibis, black-headed forest Oriole and Thick-billed Raven are endemic birds for the country.
Common mammals include the elephant, hippopotamus, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. Currently, CCNP appears to be the least disturbed ecosystem for the African elephant and Buffalo in the country.
This park is one of the relatively untouched, recently discovered and rich wilderness areas but the list visited and known park in the country. The park comprises unique and attractive mountain closed forest, closed tall-grassed savannah habitat, thick woodland forest. The landscape very fascinating highly rugged, undulating to rolling plains there a number of hilly & mountainous land which the whole year covered by vegetations. A number of cold & hot springs, historical caves, the Meka Forest (which is always with elephants). The park is the best site in Ethiopia to see elephants and buffalo.
Ethiopia is a large and ecologically diverse country with unique environmental conditions. Its topography varies from vast plains to high mountains having an altitudinal range of 110 m below sea level (Kobar sink) in the Afar depression to the highest peak over 4500 mL (Ras Dejen) in the Simien Mountains. Ethiopia consists of 284 species of mammals. Since many years ago, the natural vegetation of the country has been destroyed both by human and natural catastrophic factors. As a result, of the highlands and some of the lowlands have been converted into agricultural and pastoral land. Moreover, its vegetation has been deforested for various purposes. As a result, wildlife resources of the country are now largely restricted to a few protected areas. However, as in other parts of the world, in Ethiopia, large herbivore mammals have been causing damage to agricultural crops and plantations. The extent of damage varies depending on the species of the pest mammal in different parts of the country. There are wide varieties of pest herbivores, primates, and small mammals. These mammals cause serious damage to agricultural crops in different parts of the country. However, in Ethiopia, only a few studies were carried out on human-wildlife conflict in some specific regions of the country. The same is true in Chabera Churchura National Park (CCNP) in southwestern Ethiopia.