"Bishoftu, not Debre Zeyit!" Debre Zeyit by iaint

Debre Zeyit Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 28 photos


Another case of fortune rewarding the brave. I decided that after 3 days in the city, it was time to raise my horizon. I organised a trip to Bishoftu, about 50km southeast on the Djibouti road.

Bishoftu is the town’s name in Oromo - the local language (Amharic is the country’s official language). The town used to be known as Debre Zeyit - the “Christian” name given to it by Haile Selassie. It was changed to Bishoftu in the 1990s. You’ll still see the old name on some maps (including the ones VT uses!).

Just to add some spice to the mix, there's another place in Ethiopia called Bishoftu, and that's where VT takes you if you search for it.


Bishoftu is known for it’s collection of crater lakes. I saw 3, but could have visited another 3(at least) had I wanted to push the boat out. (Sorry about that - couldn’t resist it.)

Lake Hora was the best for birdlife. Mid morning is not ideal, but I saw several species in a short space of time. No idea what they all were, but even I could identify the pelicans - lots of them. Strangely enough we heard a hyena howling on the far shore. My guide picked that up. I thought it was the birds!

Lake Boshoftu Guda was the most scenic - with Mt Yerer rising to 9,900 ft in the background. It doesn’t look that big because the surrounding countryside is already at 6,000 ft.

Best for lunch was Lake Bishoftu. A wonderful lakeside restaurant for injera with tibs and lab.


Part of the day’s fun was seeing the countryside on the way, and a small provincial place as compared with the capital.

The big eye opener for me was the traffic. Totally crazy. And that’s before you factor in the donkeys and the horse & carts. The main objective of the Ethiopian highway code must be population control.

Very glad I went, and very, very glad I wasn’t driving.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:scenery, birdlife, lunch
  • Cons:traffic
  • In a nutshell:worth it for a day out
  • Last visit to Debre Zeyit: Jan 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (3)



“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 3 4 1
Forum Rank:
0 0 3 8 8

Badges & Stats in Debre Zeyit

  • 3 Reviews
  • 12 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 308PageViews

Have you been to Debre Zeyit?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Debre Zeyit

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (3)