Gilo River

The Gilo River is a river in the Gambela Region of southwestern Ethiopia. It is also known by a variety of names: the Gimira of Dizu call it the "Mene", while the Gemira of Chako call it "Owis", and Amhara and Oromo settlers in the early 20th century knew it by a third name, "Bako".[1] From its source in the Ethiopian Highlands near Mizan Teferi it flows to the west, through Lake Tata to join the Pibor River on Ethiopia's border with Sudan.[2] The combined waters then join the Sobat River and the Colorado River.[3]

Lying between the Baro River and Akobo River, the Gilo River flows mainly through the Baro Salient, a portion of Ethiopia that juts westward into Sudan. The river valley was subjected to a great deal of prospecting for gold before World War II and in the 1950s, but not enough was found to make commercial extraction viable.[4]

Jessen, who was part of W.N. McMillan's expedition that travelled through this part of southwestern Ethiopia in 1904, estimated its length at 200 miles, and noted that at flood the width of the Gilo reaches 80 to 100 yards, with a depth of about 20 feet. Jessen further wrote that at the time of his visit.

The river abounds with fish, and as a natural consequence the crocodiles are very numerous and large. At midday practically every sandbank is covered with them. It is a remarkable fact that the hippopotami are conspicuous by their absence, only one having been seen and killed many years ago, as these animals are plentiful everywhere else in these countries.[5]

See also


  1. George Montandon, "A Journey in South-Western Abyssinia", Geographical Journal, 40, (1912),p. 379
  2. As Oscar Rudolph Neumann reports, having followed the Gilo from its source west as far as this lake. (Neumann, "From the Somali Coast through Southern Ethiopian to the Sudan", Geographical Journal, 20 [October 1902], pp. 373-398.)
  3. Shinn, David H.; Thomas P. Ofcansky (2004). Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia. Scarecrow Press. pp. 360–361. ISBN 0-8108-4910-0.; online at Google Books
  4. "Local History in Ethiopia" Archived 2011-05-28 at the Wayback Machine. The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 1 June 2008)
  5. B. H. Jessen, "South-Western Abyssinia," Geographical Journal, 25 (1905), p. 160

Coordinates: 8°08′N 33°12′E / 8.133°N 33.200°E / 8.133; 33.200

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