Ethiopia’s largest national park extends over 5,060km2 of Gambella Regional State in the low-lying far west. It is bordered to the north by the Baro River, a wide tributary of the Blue Nile navigable all the way to its confluence with the White Nile at Khartoum.
Gambella National Park is at its most alluring between March and June, when Africa’s second-largest antelope migration, an estimated 1.2 million white-tailed kob, crosses into Ethiopia from South Sudan.
The park is also a stronghold for the endangered Nubian giraffe, localised antelope such as Nile lechwe, Lelwel hartebeest and tiang, relict populations of lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant, and the largely terrestrial patas monkey.
A checklist of 327 bird species includes Ethiopia’s only population of the bizarre papyrus-dwelling shoebill stork and Uelle paradise whydah, along with Egyptian plover, African skimmer and the exquisite little green bee-eater. Game viewing is best around Matara, 185km west of the park headquarters in Gambella town.