Senkelle Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary

The home of the endemic Swayne's heartbeest is situated 305 km south of Addis Ababa. It is primarily created for the conservation of the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest; the Sanctuary is now a home for 36 mammals and 191 bird species three of which are endemic to Ethiopia. It entails skepticism to hear that Swayne’s Hartebeest is a member of the Hambentu clan of the Oromo.

Wildlife: Swayne’s Hartebeest*, Bohor Reedbuck, Oribi, Leopeard, Greater Kudu.

Why visit this Sanctuary? for its spectacular views of the Lalima and Borena hills. The small size of the reserve and open terrain make it a place in Ethiopia where Swayne’s hartebeest sightings are practically guaranteed.


Park Discription

The Senkelle plain has been highly valued for its ecological importance for the endemic and endangered Swayne’s hartebeest survival. The spectacular scenic landscape and natural beauty provided exceptional tourism value to the area. Before 1940, the land that is presently within the Sanctuary was used by pastoralists. During the Haile Selassie regime, the land came under the management of large landholders of the ‘new elite’ who introduced large-scale mechanized farming. The current size of the Sanctuary 54 km2 was downsized from 200 km2 in 1972 while it was managed by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organization (EWCO). The EWCA has overseen the management of SSHS since 2008, and then successfully undertook a participatory boundary re-demarcation process to formally gazette the Sanctuary. After completing the required legal process, the SSHS became among the legal gazette PAs of Ethiopia in 2014 under regulation number 336/2014.

  1. Park areas are open from 6: 00 am – to 6:00 pm.
  2. Overnight stay is prohibited in any park area except in campsites.
  3. Fires are permitted only in existing fireplace grills using charcoal. No fire shall be left unattended, and any fire must be completely extinguished before leaving the area.
  4. Motorized vehicles must always remain on designated roadways and parking areas.
  5. All trash, litter, or refuse is to be placed in the provided trash receptacles. No dumping allowed.
  6. Hazardous Activities – It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any activity on any park lands that constitutes a hazard to the safety of self or other persons.
  7. The use of any fireworks and/or weapons is strictly prohibited.
  8. It is unlawful to remove, damage, destroy, deface, or otherwise vandalize any park property, structure, sign, or vegetation.
  9. It is unlawful to hunt, trap, harass, or harm any wild animal, bird, or plant life.

06:00 am – 06:00 pm

The average rainfall at Senkele is 1,116 mm. It has a moderately bimodal pattern of rainfall typical of the ‘Woinadega’ agroecological zone of Ethiopia at 1700-2700 m altitude: 600- 1200 mm annual rainfall. The three-month dry season, from November to January, is followed by the ‘Belg’ rains, from March - April, and the ‘Kremt’ rains, from June to September. The mean monthly temperature is relatively constant throughout the year, but diurnal variations can be considerable. Monthly maximum temperatures range between 26˚C in the dry and early wet seasons and 21˚C in the late wet season.

Game driving, bird watching, nature walking, camping and others.

Hotels in the nearby towns of Shashemene, Hawassa, Aje, and Hallaba.

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