Created by the process of intense geothermal activity below the earth’s surface some 14 million years ago, the resulting Great Rift Valley is the largest of its kind on the planet. This Great Rift Valley bisects the plateau in a north-east to southwest direction and is the site of numerous lakes. Given all the physical, cultural and historical attributes, Ethiopia’s central and southern rift valley can offer stunningly unique and rewarding experience to its visitors. The region is a magnet for bird life, including migratory birds that use its features for navigation and its lake for feeding.

It offers a spectacular chain of lakes, and hot springs nestling in the depth of the valley. Each of the seven Rift Valley Lakes has its own characteristics, inhabits a great number of wild animals and bird species, and provides ideal habitats for the exuberant variety of flora and fauna that makes the region a wonderland for naturalists and tourists. The World Wildlife Fund has designated these lakes as one of its Global 200 priority Eco regions for conservation.

In this article, the major lakes are listed, generally in order from north to south; Lake Abaya ( the largest Ethiopian Rift Valley lake), Lake Chamo, Lake Zway or Dambal, Lake Shala, Koka Reservoir, Lake Langano, Lake Abijatta and Lake Langano.