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.