Blessed with picturesque landscapes and serene lakes, Bishoftu also referred to as Debre Zeyit, offers a tranquil escape for those seeking to explore the untamed beauty of the Horn of Africa. This attractive town is 40 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa, encircled by five captivating crater lakes.
In this article, travelers will have more information about Bishoftu in Ethiopia, discover what’s worth seeing in this destination, and the best time to visit.
Description of Bishoftu Town
Bishoftu, a town and distinct woreda in Ethiopia, is situated southeast of Addis Ababa. Originally named Debre Zeyit, it officially adopted the Oromo name Bishoftu in the late 1990s, a name it bore until 1955. The town boasts an elevation of 1,920 meters (6,300 feet) and is a go-to place for travelers to Ethiopia.
The town's architecture reflects a mix of traditional Ethiopian styles and modern influences. Visitors can explore the local markets, where vibrant fabrics, handmade crafts, and traditional Ethiopian cuisine are on display. Bishoftu offers a unique opportunity to witness the intersection of urban and rural lifestyles, providing a genuine glimpse into the daily lives of its residents.
Bishoftu is a small town in the southeast if Addis Ababa
What is Bishoftu known for?
This attraction is renowned for its stunning collection of crater lakes, each with its own distinct charm. The town is surrounded by seven of these lakes, including Lake Hora, Lake Bishoftu, and Lake Kuriftu, which are among the most popular. The unique geological formation of these crater lakes creates a mesmerizing landscape, attracting nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and photographers from around the world. Owing to its pristine beauty, Bishoftu has earned a reputation as a peaceful retreat, providing a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
How deep is Bishoftu?
The depth of Bishoftu varies depending on the specific crater lake. Lake Hora, the largest of the lakes, reaches depths of around 87 meters (285 feet), while Lake Bishoftu, also known as Lake Debre Zeyit, has depths reaching approximately 25 meters (82 feet). The depths of the other lakes in the vicinity contribute to the overall allure of the region, creating an intricate network of water bodies that reflect the sky and surrounding greenery.
How to get to Bishoftu Ethiopia?
There are several convenient transportation options available to reach Bishoftu town in Ethiopia.
If you're arriving by air, the nearest major airport is Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, situated approximately 47 kilometers away from Bishoftu. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or use a shuttle service to make the journey to Bishoftu.
Additionally, Bishoftu is well-connected by road, and you can opt for a bus or private car hire from Addis Ababa or other nearby cities. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, the journey to Bishoftu promises to be an adventure, offering you a chance to admire Ethiopia's natural tapestry.
When is the cheapest time to visit Bishoftu?
For budget-conscious travelers, timing is crucial when planning a visit to Bishoftu. The most economical time to explore the town is during the off-peak seasons, which typically occur during the months of April to June and September to November. During these periods, accommodation prices are more reasonable, and visitors can still enjoy the mild weather and the beauty of the lakes without the crowds that peak tourist seasons bring.
It's important to note that the rainy season, which spans from June to September, may affect travel plans, as some roads may become impassable. Therefore, the shoulder seasons of April to June and September to November strike a balance between cost savings and favorable weather conditions.
The cheapest time to visit Bishoftu is during the months of April to June
Is it worth visiting Bishoftu Ethiopia - Exploring what to do in Bishoftu?
1. Swim in Bishoftu Lake
Lake Bishoftu lies south of the town center and stands as the closest aquatic gem to the heart of the town. The lake is accessible through a steep cattle path. Both tourists and locals visit this place frequently owing to its serene shores, especially during the balmy summer months. Its clear waters make it ideal to take a refreshing swim in hot weather.
The best way to indulge in the scenic beauty of this enchanting body of water is from the crater rim of one of the nearby hotels with a refreshing drink in hand. The view is truly breathtaking. According to local tales, this is the second-deepest lake in Ethiopia and the dwelling place of a slumbering devil. This adds an intriguing touch to the mystique that surrounds the serene waters.
As a popular destination for leisure and relaxation, Lake Bishoftu captivates visitors with its tranquil ambiance. The natural allure makes this lake a cherished spot for those seeking a close escape to nature within the embrace of Bishoftu.
2. Take a boat ride on Hora Lake
Situated a mere kilometer north of Bishoftu, Lake Hora is the largest among the five crater lakes and is often visited by boats. For this reason, venturing too far into its depths for swimming is not recommended. Nevertheless, the lake boasts several jetties along its shores, offering boats for hire along with experienced captains.
Pricing varies based on the duration of the trip, with a reasonable estimate falling in the range of 40-60 Birr per boat, providing visitors with an affordable and delightful exploration of Lake Hora.
3. Bird-watching in Lake Cheleklaka
Cheleklaka is a fleeting seasonal lake, materializing solely during the rainy season (July-August) and gradually receding as the sun re-emerges from February onwards. Inhabited by a diverse array of indigenous birds, keen observers may catch sight of flocks of pink-feathered flamingos and migratory cranes navigating its waters. Typically, these creatures favor this lake in the early months of the year, choosing to migrate to cooler climates as the summer season approaches.
Lake Cheleklaka is the best spot for bird-watching
4. Kuriftu and Babogaya
Located 1.5 kilometers north of Hora Lake, these two lakes are the smallest of the lot. However, they are easily accessible due to the town's expansion into the surrounding wilderness and the emergence of resorts along their shores.
Renowned for their year-round beauty, these lakes are among the favorites among locals and tourists alike. The presence of a water park and resort on their shores adds to their popularity, making them sought-after destinations for leisure and relaxation throughout the year.
5. Kuriftu Water Park
If you are taking a trip to Bishoftu with your family, then Kuriftu Water Park is a fun place to engage in fun-filled activities.
Spanning 30,000 square meters, the Kuriftu Water Park is the largest water park in East Africa and is Ethiopia's inaugural facility of its kind. There are various activities suitable for the entire family to take part in, from exhilarating activities on the lake to leisurely moments spent in the wave pool. A visit to this water park promises a delightful experience filled with fun and enjoyment that will last a lifetime.
Bishoftu, with its stunning natural landscapes, is worth a visit on your trip to Ethiopia. From the enchanting crater lakes to the welcoming atmosphere of the town, Bishoftu beckons travelers seeking a unique and authentic Ethiopian experience. Let’s get your travel ticket to Ethiopia today and enjoy fascinating experiences in the country.