The Great Rift Valley is a major geological feature, formed 22-25 million years ago, extending from the southern Red Sea (north) to the Zambezi (south), and splitting the Horn of Africa in two. It stretches more than 6,000 km long, 40 to 60 km wide, and from hundreds to thousands of meters deep at various places.

When the tectonic fault widened, the lakes of the valley appeared, which included some of the oldest, wider and deeper lakes in the world. Some are lakes of clear water with an incredible biodiversity, some are salt lakes where very special organisms live.

Awassa is the largest city in the Rift Valley. The diversity of the fauna (hippos, baboons and monkeys in particular) and the particularly scenic setting of the lake on a mountainous background make Awassa a stop that cannot be missed in the South. The town is renowned for its fish market and boat trips on the Lake which allow to enjoy the local fauna, including the many species of birds that make it a bird-watching paradise.

Arba Minch is also in the heart of the Rift Valley, on the shores of two major lakes, Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya. Located at 1300 meters on the foothills of the fault and surrounded by a 4000-meter-high mountain in the west, the city overlooks the whole valley and its lakes and offers a spectacular 360 ° view. Arba Minch is the starting point for excursions to the Dorze tribe, a tribe long inhabited by warriors but nowadays especially known for its qualities of weaving cotton (notably the making of shamas and netalas richly decorated and very colorful ). Their traditional habitat is easily recognizable because it consists of huts in the shape of an elephant's head. On the outskirts of the city, there is also the Nechisar National Park, established in 1974, which many endemic bird species and breathtaking landscapes remain the main attractions.