Bishoftu is a lively town set on an emerald-green crater lake and framed by volcanic calderas. At almost 2,000 metres above sea level, it’s a popular weekend getaway for Addis Ababa locals in search of cool air and beautiful mountain scenery. Relax at lakeside restaurants, birdwatch in wildlife-rich wetlands and explore rugged hiking trails.
Things to do in Bishoftu
Volcano-formed Bishoftu Lake is one of the deepest in Ethiopia. Hotels and guesthouses line the crater rim and treat you to sensational views. Relaxing on a sun-drenched terrace with a drink in hand is one of the best ways to enjoy the lake. Follow the steep stone paths down to the shoreline if you want to swim in the lake.
The birding in Bishoftu is excellent, with the chance to spot dozens of different species. It’s always a treat to see griffon vultures soaring overhead. Neighbouring Lake Chelekleka is a seasonal sanctuary for hot-pink flamingos, as well as pelicans and migrating European cranes. You’ll find more world-class birding in the Akaki Wetlands, with its lush landscape a haven for waterbirds, including storks and wagtails.
Hike to the summit of 3,100-metre-tall Mount Yerer and unlock sweeping views over the crater lakes and surrounding plains. Mount Zuqualla is another rewarding hike. At the summit, you’ll find an ancient 13th-century monastery and a picturesque lake where you can cool off.
Race down colourful slides and plunge into the enormous wave pool at Kuriftu Water Park. It’s one of the largest water parks in East Africa and packed with rides and attractions. Don’t miss the Ethiopian cultural village where you can shop for colourful arts, crafts and clothing.
Getting around Bishoftu
Bishoftu is compact and easy to get around on foot, while taxis are a good option to cover longer distances. The town is in the Oromia Region, a one-hour drive from Addis Ababa and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.