Grethe at Wenchi Crater Lake

Wenchi Crater Lake is 155 km west of Addis Ababa, between Ambo and Welliso.   An extinct volcano (the top of which is 3380 metres above sea level) the crater contains a large lake, hot mineralsprings, waterfalls and beautiful valleys and farmland There is an old monastery with a church is situated on one of the lake islands.  Our guide told us that about 4000 people live within the crater.

You can drive to Wenchi on either the Ambo road (105km from Addis to Ambo on tarmac, turn left onto gravel road for 25km to Wenchi)  or the Jima road (125km on tarmac to Welliso, turn right onto gravel road for 38km).    There are hotels in Ambo (Abebech Metaferia hotel); or stay at the Negash Lodge in Welliso.  There are three or four campsites within the crater itself. There and back in a day is too much driving.

At the top of the rim, there is an ecotourism office, from where you hire a guide and pay your admission permit.  Drive with the guide a further kilometer to a parking spot at a cafe, or down into the crater (a difficult road even in the dry season – we parked at the top and walked).

You can do a two hour walk to hot springs and back, or a four hour loop involving two short hops across the lake in boats – to the island with the monastry, and then on to the headland.   You can also do it all on horseback if you prefer.

Bring a picnic to eat in the valley or on the lakeshore.


kfc · February 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

It really is a magical place. Visited once

abiy desta · December 24, 2009 at 7:18 am

the most amasing photograh of wench i have ever seen, thank you

Andrewh · November 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Wenchi is just great – I have a few photos on my smugmug page of our first trip there. Hoping to go again this dry season. However, warning to mere mortals – Owen must be pretty fit – the walk back up from the lake to the top of the crater at over 3000m is seriously hard work – horses are fun and always guided.

Thanks again

Andrew from Addis

wegene mulugeta · November 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm

the best lake in ethiopia

abiot desta · November 5, 2010 at 8:07 am

Wenchi is so tranquil, serene, gives a sigh of relief and unshakles from depression that a psychiatrist should rather recommend wenchi intead of prescribing pills.

WEGENE MULUGETA · November 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm


Olivier De Giuli · April 15, 2011 at 4:54 am

Une merveille / A wonder.
Un cratère bucolique, a green paradise, sans électricité, without current.
Un souhait, a wish: améliorer, to improve the reception, et le logement, and the accommodation (first the rooms and the toilets!)

wegene mulugeta · April 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

send some photos

George · April 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

The crater lake is one of the most fantastic places that you see.  From the top of rim you cannot judge the true scale.  After driving down in a 4wd you get to the lake of true tranquility!  I still got a bottle of coke at a small hut by the lake though!! 

IronMike · April 13, 2014 at 9:39 am

Can one swim in the lake?

    Owen Barder · April 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Mike – I’m pretty sure you would be at risk of catching schistosomiasis (bilharzia).

yhun ejigu · February 14, 2015 at 3:16 am

yes you can swim in the lake .

Edward · March 30, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Planning to go there this April, is it a safe place to go with children say of about five years old?

Nardos · May 7, 2016 at 1:54 pm

One of the best place to be!!! Don’t miss it!!!

daniele foschini · June 10, 2016 at 5:14 am

daniele. io ci sono salito nel 2007, salendo da wolisso il viaggio anche se sterrato e scomodo , sopratutto dopo le pioggie, è molto bello paesaggi mozzafiato e gente cordiale e fiera, non come quella di citta in continua richiesta di danaro, poi arrivo al wenchy crater lake , dalla sommita una vista incredibile , la discesa  a dorso di cavallo, poi incontro con la piccola comunita che vive di pastorizia , molto cordiale , e poi attraversamento del lago con la loro canoa fino all’isolotto dove ubicata alla sommita una chiesa ortodossa , povera ma pulita e ordinata.poi ritorno dalla parte opposta verso ambo.

comunque bellissima gita da fare , naturalmente con fuoristrada la strada , almeno dopo le pioggie è molto brutta in alcuni tratti, ma nevale la pena.

daniele foschini

    Ferengi julio · August 9, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Ho passato ad Addis 6 anni dal 2004 al 2010 e Wenchi era la mia meta preferita. Non tornero’ più in Etiopia per non vedere le distruzioni perpretate dai cinesi (in accordo con i locali) che mi farebbero soffrire troppo!

Wako wondimu · September 5, 2017 at 1:32 pm

hey there !

i am originally from there, if you went you can ask me about for 4-6 Trekking, i am promoting round the area, included dandi crater lake near to wanchi , there is also campsite in waliso !


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