Oromia at a Glance
The Oromia National Regional State is one of the regional states in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Except for the Tigrai Regional State, the Oromia Regional State shares borders with all of Ethiopia’s regional states. The region also shares international boundary lines with Sudan (66km) and Kenya (521km) in the West and in the South respectively. Oromia is one of the most populous regional states and is located in the very heart of the country. The capital city of the Region is Finfinne (Addis Ababa), which is also the capital city of Ethiopia.
The Oromia Regional State is broadly divided into three agro-climatic zones:
- Dry climate (hot, arid, dry, and humid)
- Tropical rainy climate (tropical, humid, sub-humid)
- Temperate rainy climate (warm, temperate, humid, cool high land climates)
The Region has four seasonal divisions with varied climatic conditions, namely: summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Summer and autumn are heavy rainfall seasons while winter and spring are more likely to be dry seasons. Some areas of the region, for example in the Western part, enjoy rainfall throughout the year. Particularly, the West, Central and Eastern highlands and associated low lands get full rain. Among those, the highlands of Ilu Aba Bora receive the largest amounts of heavy rain fall (up to 2400m during the summer season). Lowlands and the Rift Valley areas receive 500 to 800mm of rainfall annually. However, the Southern areas of Borena, the Eastern Bale areas, and the Guji Zone receive below 500mm.
The Oromia Regional State is located within tropics and, therefore, experiences high incoming solar radiation as a result of high angle of the solar rays with overhead of the sun twice a year. However, this tropical nature of its climate is rather modified by its altitude. Low lands of Oromia Region, having less than 1500 MASL altitude experience a high temperature and low precipitation. Whereas, high land experience amiable temperature and ample rain fall.
In general, the average annual temperature of the region is 19.2 oc. The mean annual rainfall of the region varies from 200 mm to 2400 mm while annual temperature mostly lies between 7.5-27.5oc. The region generally receives high rainfall. The region has Tropical (49.8%), sub-tropical (42.2%), and temperate (7.5%) zone climate.
Afan Oromo is the official language of Oromia National Regional State. It is also the most widely spoken language in the country. Other languages such as Amharic, Guragigna, Somali, Tigrigna and many more are also spoken within the region. English is the medium of instructions in high schools and medium of communications in international businesses.
Major religions in the country are Christianity and Islam. But there are a number of traditional religions as well. One prominent feature of Ethiopia is religious tolerance among different religious groups.
Oromia Region’s topography consists of a high and a rugged central plateau and peripheral lowlands. From a topographic point of view, the region can be divided into three parts: The Eastern Plateau, The Rift Valley and the Western Plateau.
The Eastern Plateau includes the areas around West Hararghe, East Hararghe, Bale, Arsi and Borana
This is part of the Great African Rift Valley extending from Jordan through Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to Mozambique in the south.
This part of Oromia Region extends westwards from the edge of the Western escarpment of the Rift Valley to Benishangul and Gambella Regions. This area is made up of a wide plateau, mountains of medium height dissected by the Awash, Baro, Gibe and Abay rivers and their associated tributaries. It covers North Shewa, West Shewa, East Wellega, West Wellega, Ilu Aba bora and Jimma Zones.
Altitudes in the Region range from less than 500 to over 4300 m ASL. The mountains in Region includes Tullu Dimtu in Bale (4377m Asl), Kaka in Arsi (4245 m Asl), Chilalo in Arsi (4170 m Asl), ArbaGuna in Arsi (3625 m Asl), Mul’ata in Hararghe (3405 m Asl), Selale in North Shewa (3544 m asl), and Wenchi in West Shewa (3387 m Asl). The highest mountains are concentrated on the Eastern Plateau of the region.
The Region has a number of lakes and rivers with substantial quantity of fish stock. The total area of the lakes and reservoirs stands at about 7000 to 8000 Km2 and important rivers stretch over 7000 km in the country. Most of the lakes are located in the Ethiopian Rift Valley depression, which is part of the Great African Rift Valley System.
Oromia region, is endowed with large number of water bodies that include lakes, dams (reservoirs), ponds and river systems, containing fish resources with significant nutritional and economic potential. The rift valley area of the region contains six out of eight major lakes found in the valley system.
The Lakes of Zeway, Langano, Abiyata, Shala, Abaya (Eastern-side) and Awasa (partially) are found in the region. The reservoirs in the region include Koka, Aba Samuel, Fincha-Amerte, Melka Wakena and Gelgel gibe.
Awash, Wabe Shebale, Gebe, Dedessa, Genale, Dewwa, Sor, Gaba and others which flow through the region are known for their large and diverse fish stocks. The small and medium lakes include Beseka, Wonchi, Dendi, and crater lakes found in and around Bishoftu Town.
Oromia has a lot to offer to tourists:
- Numerous historical and cultural heritages:
- Attractive scenery:
- Variety of endemic and common wild life: more than 100 wild animal species in the region Such as Nyala, the Semien Red Fox and Menelik Bushbuck inhabit the Bale Mountains National Park.
- Bird species: There are around 800 bird species
- Rich fauna and flora:
- Important Archeological sites:
- Cultural Heritages : Geda System, Irecha Ceremony, Dire Sheikh Husein, Adadi Mariam Church, Kulibi Gebriel Church, Monastery of DebreLibanos, GohaTsion Mariam and Washa Michael Churches, DebreTsion Mariyam Church, Melka Kunture and Palace of Sultan Abba Jifar
- Sports, sunbathing and bird watching tour: in Awash and the Bale Mountains National Park, Rift-Valley lakes.
- The hot springs in Waliso and Sodere
- The Sof-Omar caves in central Bale
- The palace of AbbaaJifaar in Jimma
- Awash National Park: Awash, the oldest and most developed game reserve of its kind in Ethiopia consists mostly the east African plain games except Giraffe and Buffalo. It is home to the Oryx, Kudu, Caracal, Aardvark, Columbus Monkey, Green Monkeys, Baboons, Leopard, Klipspringer, Hippo, Semarang’s Gazelle, Gravy’s Zebra and Cheetah. It is home to numerous bird-species which include Limburger, Wattle Crane, Angus Buzzard, Evreux Eagle and long eared owls. Water Fowls, Shore Birds and the colorful Ruddy Shelled Duck as well as the endemic Blue-winged Goose are common in the marshy areas of the park.