Located in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley formed over 22 million years ago, Arba Minch was founded in 1960 as the capital of the former province of Gamo-Gofa. It’s rich, green environment and wildlife makes it East Africa’s hidden gem for travellers seeking to connect with nature.
Seen more as a point of departure for the southern extremities of Ethiopia, including the Omo Valley and Lake Turkana, the city Arba Minch’s main attractions are its access into Nech Sar National Park and the highland village of Dorze.
More a large town with a population of around 100,000, Arba Minch had initially replaced Chencha as the capital of what is now a disbanded province. It is mainly known for its airport – allowing for fast access to and from Addis Ababa, and on to the south – and for its university, which is home to 15,000 students.
Despite the industrial feel of the city, there are places in the surrounds very much worth a visit. The highland area of Dorze for example, at 2,400 metres altitude, is 15 miles north of Arba Minch, and is named after its Omotic-speaking ethnic group, known for their beehive-like house structures.