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Ziway, also called Zway or Batu, is a town on the shore of Lake Ziway, a Rift Valley lake, in Oromia, Ethiopia. Lake Ziway is the closest major Rift Valley lake to Addis Ababa, 162 km south of Addis Ababa.


Get in

By car

From Addis Ababa, Ziway is 162 km via Modjo, using the Addis Ababa–Adama Expressway (2 hours 30 minutes drive), or it is 180 km via Butajira (3 hours drive).

It is 107 km south-west of Adama (Nazret) and 113 km north of Awasa.

Three nearby towns by road:

  • Butajira: 53 km to the west,
  • Modjo: 90 km to the north,
  • Shashamene: 89 km to the south.

By bus

Buses leave from Addis Ababa and Awasa.

Get around


The main sight in Ziway is the large lake. Many waterfowl can be found near the jetty, as well as boats to the islands scattered about the lake and to hippo spots.

  • 1 Ziway Lake (Batu Hara Dembel), entrance at the end of Jetty Road. daytime only. Access to the jetty where fishermen land. The shore forms a park with many animals: dogs, horses and birds (marabou storks, African sacred ibis, kingfisher, ...). The jetty is the beginning of four boat trips offered to visitors. 10/20 birr for resident/foreigner, 100 birr for tour guiding services, boat trips starting from 650 birr for “Bird & Hippos tour”. (updated Sep 2015)
  • 2 Viewpoint on the city and Lake Ziway, on a rocky escarpment, around 10km to the west, on road to Butaijira. When the air is clear, this viewpoint offers a good perspective on Ziway, the Great Rift Valley lakes and mountains on the opposite side of the Rift. (updated Sep 2015)




Ziway is famous for fish and they are a must eat for every traveller coming here. You will find fresh fish in every hotel and restaurant in Ziway, prepared in the usual Ethiopian ways: as a cutlet, goulash and as Tibs.

  • 1 Asa Tibs Bet, inside the Lake Ziway park, near the jetty (150 m after the entrance). daytime only (lunch). The “asa tibs” (fried tilapia fish) is one of the local experience offered to visitors. In one of the three wooden case. Around 10 birr per fish. (updated Sep 2015)



The main road has many cheap and basic rooms. Near the jetty there are much more luxurious resorts. Several resorts were still under construction on the shores of the lake in September 2015.

  • 1 Bekele Molla, on the main road, at the crossing with Jetty Road (Behind the gas station), ☏ +251 46 441 2571. An old hotel but the rooms are clean. 160 birr. (updated Sep 2015)
  • 2 Tourist hotel, on the main road. Restaurant visited by local population. Local music may disturb you. (updated Sep 2015)
  • 3 Bethlehem, end of Jetty Road, right side (near the entrance of Lake Ziway), ☏ +251 46 441 4104, +251 91 682 0180 (mobile), fax: +251 46 441 4084, bethlehemhotelzewaye@gmail.com. Check-out: 10:00. A good quality hotel, in a quiet place. Very close to the boat trip entrance. Also nice for having a drink at the end of day. 450/600 birr sgl/dbl, 800 birr for bungalow. (updated Sep 2015)
  • 4 Haile Resort, end of Jetty Road, left side (near the entrance of Lake Ziway). A luxury hotel from Haile Resorts’ group, on the shore of the lake. (updated Sep 2015)
  • 5 Ziway Lodge, on the main road. Nice swimming pool surrounded by cottages. Opened May 2015. (updated Sep 2015)

Another option is to sleep or eat in one of the Lake Langano’s resorts (30-50 km to the south).


Go next

  • Abijatta Shalla Lakes National Park - The two next lakes of the Rift Valley lakes, 47 km to the south (40 minutes drive), toward Shashemene.
  • Lake Langano - Several luxury resorts for relaxing, swimming and having other beach activities. (Entries of resorts on the left side of the road to Shashemene.)
  • Tiya steles complex, Addadi Mariam rock-hewn church and Mekla Kunture Paleolithic site - Three historical sites in a row, on the way back to Addis Ababa via Butajira road. 96 km to Tiya (1 h 30 min drive).

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