The Ethiopian Rift Valley, which is part of the famous East African Rift Valley, measure for about 2800 KM and comprises numerous hot springs, beautiful lakes and a variety of floral and fauna. The valley is the result of two parallel faults in the earth’s surface between which, in distant geological time, the crust was weakened, and the land subsided. The Great Rift Valley’s passage through Ethiopia is marked by a chain of seven lakes; each of the seven lakes has its own special life and character and provides ideal habitats for the exuberant variety of flora and fauna that make the region a beautiful and exotic destination for visitors.
The Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes are the northernmost of the African Rift Valley lakes. In central Ethiopia the Great Rift Valley splits the Ethiopian highlands into northwester and southeastern halves, and the Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes occupy the floor of the rift valley between the two highlands. Most of the Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes do not have an outlet, and most are alkaline. Although the Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes are of great importance to Ethiopia’s economy, as well as being essential to the survival of the local people, there were no intensive and extensive immunological studies undertaken of these lakes until recently.
About 30km after it exits Lake Tana, the Blue Nile plunges over a 45m high rock face to form one of Africa’s most spectacular waterfalls, known locally as Tis Abay ‘smoke of the Nile’ or Tis Isat ‘Water that Smokes’. Tis Abay consists of four separate streams and is most impressive for the sheer volume of water that pours over it, particularly during the rainy season. The Nile is 400m wide above the waterfall; in the gorge below, it follows a much narrower course estimated to be 37m deep! Now, sadly a new constructed hydro electric power feed takes some 70% of the water away. Even so, to stand on the far bank and admire the falls is wonderful experience; to walk down beneath is too amazing.