Western Ethiopia is the least-travelled part of the country. Administratively, it contains the regions of Gambela, with its eponymous capital and national park, sparsely populated and poor Benishangul-Gumaz [dead link], with poor roads and infrastructure, and the western zones of Oromia.
Historically, this region encompassed the provinces of Welega, Illubabor and Kaffa.
- 1 Asosa - capital of Benishangul-Gumuz, near the western Ethiopian escarpment
- 2 Bonga
- 3 Gambela – eponymous capital of Gambela
- 4 Jimma – hub in Southwestern Ethiopia
- 5 Mizan Teferi
- 1 Gambella National Park
- 1 Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam — the largest hydroelectric power station in Africa, under construction since 2011 on the Blue Nile
This is one of the least-developed parts of Ethiopia, especially outside of Oromia.
The people of Benishangul-Gumuz are, nominally at least, evenly divided between Muslims and Christians and seem to rub along quite happily. There has been an influx of mining companies and NGO personnel which has meant the urban population has tripled to more than 100,000 in the 2010s.
In Benishangul-Gumuz, apart from bamboo thickets and the dusty exhibits in the brand-spanking-new-and-falling-apart-already regional museum in Assosa, there's not a lot to see.
- Gold panning in Benishangul-Gumuz.
Accommodation in Western Ethiopia can be quite basic compared to more popular areas of the country. There are some reasonable hotels in Nekemte for a stop over.
- Bamboo Paradise Hotel, Main St, Asosa. Has a giant TV screen with satellite TV but no internet connection. Generator and water still. Check the air-conditioning units and plumbing before you decide on your room. USD20 and up (big discounts for long stays).
Malaria prophylaxis and anti-rabies vaccinations are essential, especially in Benishangul-Gumuz.