Trekking amidst the beautiful flora and fauna of Wof Washa

At the end of 2013, SUNARMA was awarded a new grant by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to develop community based eco-tourism enterprises within Wof Washa Forest. The grant covers a three year period from January 2014 to December 2016. It will support the development of 5 tourist lodges and walking trails throughout the forest. These will cater for expatriates already based in Ethiopia, international tourists who want to come and enjoy the fantastic array of flora and fauna this area has to offer as well as Ethiopians wishing to explore more of their wonderful country.

This project aims to protect the biodiversity of Wof Washa Natural Forest from further depletion due to population pressures, expansion of agriculture and extraction of timber based forest products by:

  • Providing local communities, particularly landless youth, with alternative livelihood opportunities
  • Increasing the forest’s economic value by providing the communities of Wof Washa with a direct income for the passive use of the forest by tourists thereby prioritizing its continued preservation and restoration

This project will particularly benefit unemployed youth and women within the target communities by giving them opportunities for direct employment while the wider community will also benefit through the sale of materials and agricultural produce to the lodges. As the enterprises become established, we also hope to develop other income generation opportunities for communities such as making handicrafts for sale to visiting tourists.

This is an exciting new venture for all the team at SUNARMA and we eagerly await completion of the first phase of lodge construction. By the end of 2016 there will be five rustic, traditional-style lodges for guests to choose from. More energetic guests won’t even have to choose as they could take in all the wonderful sights and sounds of the forest as they trek from one lodge to the next!

Maybe one day you too can come and trek amidst beautiful flora and fauna, marvel at the array of colourful birds and perhaps even catch a glimpse of Ethiopia’s famous gelada baboons, duiker and klipspringer (types of deer), guereza monkeys or maybe even a civet cat! Come and enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the people of Wof Washa Forest but most of all, come and experience all the things that make this a truely remarkable place.