Nechisar is an IUCN category II National Park that was established in 1974 with the aim of conserving the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest and preserving its scenic beauty. It is situated 510 km south of Addis Ababa near the town of Arba Minch. It is bounded by the Amaro Mountains in the east, north by Lake Abaya, and south by Lake Chamo. This conservation area is found in Amaro-Kelo woreda. Arba Minch, the administrative town of North Omo Zone is found to the west of the park. Elevation ranges from 1108 to 1650 masl. Two major rivers, Sermale and Kulfo traverse the park. The major features of this protected Area are Abaya and Chamo lakes. Annual rainfall for Arbaminch area is 800 mm with most rain falling from April to May. Smaller rains are expected in September and October. Mean annual temperature is around 210C and a maximum going as high as 300C with an estimated area of 51400 ha, Nechsar’s landscape includes extensive grasslands, savannah, mountains and hills. Nechsar has a variety of habitats ranging from savannah, dry bush and ground water forests. Bushland dominates most of the area and major species include Combretumspp., Dichrostachys cinerea., Acacia tortilis, Balanites aegyptica and few Acacia nilotica. Smaller trees and shrubs include Cadada farinose, Maytenus senegalensis, Rhus natalensis, Terminalia brownii, Ximenia caffra and Ziziphus spp. The wide and undulating plains of Nechisar support different kinds of grasses that in turn grow on black cotton soil. Major grass species on the plains include Chrysopogn aucheri with patches of Chloris roxburghiana. Cenchrus ciliaris and Iscaemum afrum. Waterlogged spots support patches of Lintonia nutans. The Kulfo ground water forest located on Kulfo River is dominated by Ficus Sycamorus, Garcinia living stonea, Cordia African, Diospyros spp. Veprise dainellii. Teclea nobilis and Trichilia emetica. Other species found near the edges of rivers include Kigelia pinnata, Terminalia brownie and Tamarindus indica. These habitats are home to at least 200 species of birds. To date, 37 species of mammals have been recorded including the Swayne’s Hartbeest, Burchell’s Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Guenther’s Dik Dik Greater Kudu, and Hunting Dog. Hippopotamus, Grey Duicker, Common Bushbuck and Crocodile. The lakes support stocks of Nile perch and cat Fish.
Nechsar is named after the creamy white grass that covers the park in the central plains area. Hot springs found in the eastern part of the park and the “crocodile market” located on the northwestern shores of lakes Chamo are an added attraction. The Nechsar Nightjar Caprimulgus Solala, is a species identified from the Nechsar plains. This bird species was described solely using a single wing from a road kill in the park in 1995. Other birds of global importance include the Lesser Kestrel, Lesser Flamingo (in small numbers) and the Pallid Harrier. Nechsar also affords protection to 25 Somali –Masi Biome birds thus providing home to 26% of Ethiopia’s Somali-fronted Black Chat was recorded from. The ground water forest supported by a high water table in the park is one of its kinds in Eastern Africa.