Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The lakeside City : Hawassa

Addis Ababa October 7.ABN . Hawassa is one of the emerging and beautiful cities in Ethiopia. Situated on the shores of Lake Hawassa in the Great Rift Valle, it is 273 km south of Addis Ababa via Bishoftu, 130 km east of Sodo, and 75 km  north of Dilla. The town serves as the capital of the Sidama Region and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region.

 It lies on the Trans-African Highway 4 CairoCapeTown and has a latitude and longitude of 7°3′N 38°28′E Coordinates: 7°3′N 38°28′E and an elevation of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft.) above sea level.

The city of Hawassa takes its name from Lake Hawassa, which is derived from the Sidama language. ‘Hawassa’ literally means ‘large body of water’, and historians explain that the city was called ‘Adare’ before it got its current name, which is believed to mean ‘grazing land’ for Sidama speakers. It was founded in 1952 during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I.

The weather is temperate and Lake Hawassa, a natural resource, has made the city suitably warm and humid during the winter and summer seasons. The average rainfall in the city is 933.4 mm, and the city receives it twice a year in the fall and winter. The city’s maximum temperature is 340c and the minimum temperature is 50c, and the average annual temperature is 200c-300c.

Comparatively Hawassa is a young city that was established fifty years ago with fastest urbanization rate of 6.4% registered last year in 2013. Since its establishments especially since current government of Ethiopia came to power tourism resources, products and infrastructures have been developing.  

“Currently, the city has various tourist attractions to visit. To mention some – Lake Hawassa, Tabor and Alamura Mountains, Amora Gedel Park, Gudumale Park, Wendo Genet Falls, Burkito Hot Springs, Millennium Park, Loke Palace, and Sidama Cultural Hall.”

Bordered with west Arsi Woreda to the north, Wendo Genet Woreda to the east, Melga Woreda to the southeast, Shebedino Woreda to the south, and Hawassa wereda’s to the west, Hawassa City Administration has a boundary of 267.95 km2, and the Lake has a 93.47 km2 perimeter. Its Lake is blessed with water volume of 1,363 cubic meters, a maximum depth of 23 meters, an average depth of 13.3 meters, a side width of 9 km and a length of 16 km. Based on the 1999 National Housing and Census Report and calculating the population growth in urban and rural areas, the population in 2012 was 436,992.

Currently, the city has various tourist attractions to be visited. To mention some – Lake Hawassa, Tabor and Alamura Mountains, Amora Gedel Park, Gudumale Park, Wendo Genet Falls, Burkito Hot Springs, Millennium Park, Loke Palace, and Sidama Cultural Hall. There is also an Art Gallery in the name of the world-renowned artist Afewerk Tekle.

Officially Amora Gedel is called Gudumale, but locally Amora Gedel is different from Gudumale. Residents and visitors told, “Gudumale is place where fiche festival is celebrated whereas Amora Gedel is the recreational area everyday accessible to anyone”. Indeed, it seems respondents are correct; while this research was conducted, Gudumale was only accessible on ‘fiche Chembelala’ but Amora Gedel was open every day throughout the year.

Areas including Gudumale recreational area and Amora Gedel pooled were used to be palace of Ras Mengesha Seyoum built in 1969. The building was demolished before 40 years due to over-flooding, some walls of the palace are still there inside this recreational area. It was built by the order of Ras Mengesha Seyoum who was the fourth grandson of Emperor Yohanis IV.

Fiche Festival is Sidama ethnic people‘s new year annual festival. The fiche is beautifully celebrated at Hawassa city in particular place called Gudumale. The New Year is varying every year; it could fall on either of the following months: July, August and September.Such festivities are common in southern Ethiopia.

Irregularly hosted sport events such as great run, football games of Ethiopian premier league clubs, religious events and trade shows are part of the main attraction for tourists visiting cities. Annual, quarterly held, conferences and meeting of different governmental and non-governmental organization usually attracted domestic and international business tourists. These events are usually seasonal with short length of stay.

Assistant Professor Tsegaye Tuke Kia – Mayor of Hawassa City, has been working as the Mayor of Hawassa since October 22, 2020. From his previous working experience, he worked as a Dean of College of Law and Governance at Hawassa University. During his stay at the University, he worked at different levels, such as a lecturer, researcher, college dean, up to assistant professor level. Since July – October 2020, he has been serving as Head of Sidama Regional City and Construction Bureau.

According to Tsegaye, Hawassa city is expected to celebrate the World Tourism Day in 2021. It is a big opportunity for the city to show its potential to become a tourism hub, adding that the city administration of Hawassa has finalized all the necessary arrangements for the success of this special event.

 “A lot of guests are expected to attend the event. Thus, to ensure an enjoyable and peaceful stay for guests, the administration of Hawassa city will do all it can to make the occasion more enjoyable.” noted Tsegaye.

It is known that Hawassa city is showing rapid growth at a national level which is attributed to the city’s sanitation and cleanness, peace, and convenient infrastructure, making it one of the modernized cities in Ethiopia. It also offers investors opportunities through preparing big investment site that will provide lots of job opportunities, and generate foreign currency at the national level.

The service sector can be listed as the city’s tourism destination. There are lots of expedient hotels built near the lake, making it a more attractive place to consider staying. The other impressive fact about the city of Hawassa being a tourist destination is that it is filled with beautiful green views along the roadside of the entire city and has beautiful and breathtaking hills for relaxation.

The Mayor indicated that the city of Hawassa is the hub of Ethiopia’s southern region. A significant number of people are expected to attend the festival on 2021 World Tourism Day-A programme, which showcases the cultural and historical assets of the over 53 nations, nationalities and people of Southern Ethiopia.

“Big projects are planned for this purpose. This proposal includes the creation of lodges, the creation of sporting facilities and the construction of a suitable cycling trail all around the lake. Mount Tabor is also planned to be developed.”

For big hotels with greater facilities, Hawassa is noted. For example: Haile resort, Lewi Resort, Southstar hotel, and Rori Hotel. Hawassa hotels are rated up to 5-star. Regardless of the rating, the hotels in Hawassa are renowned for their good hospitality and work ethics, which attracts tourists. It’s a town full of natural resources.

Hawassa has been transformed into a hub for conferences. The federal government currently prefers hosting high-level meetings in the city. The city also has a road route to Kenya. Making it a preferable place for an enjoyable stay. To benefit the tourism sector, the city of Hawassa is seeking to reach out to possible potential.

Being the capital city of region state of SNNP and zonal administration of Sidama itself gives an opportunity for the city to be visited by people from towns of the region and neighboring town for business purpose. Millennium Park, Hawassa University, market places and old villages such as Arab sefer, are some of the potential urban tourism resources that need to be developed in to urban tourism product in the near future.

 Hawassa University is one of the universities established before 11 years. The university has been main tourist destination for tourists whose motivation is education and research. College of Agriculture is one of the famous colleges in the city that has collaboration and partnership with abroad universities. Because of this, people have been coming from abroad in order to teach, give advice and get advice or in order to use the University for Different Reasons.

“In the next 10 years, Hawassa will be able not just for Ethiopia but for East Africa to become a tourist center.” Said Hawassa’s Mayor. Big projects are planned for this purpose. This proposal includes the creation of lodges, the creation of sporting facilities and the construction of a suitable cycling trail all around the lake. Mount Tabor is also planned to be developed. This is one of Ethiopia’s beautiful mountains. It can be used to attract tourists for hiking and a pleasant time.

Besides the air transport service being delivered from the nation’s capital to the city, road transport is being modernized to network the city to various parts of the country. For instance, the express route to Hawassa will be completed shortly to make transport access much easier for people travelling to the city.

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