On 13 October 2012, at the invitation of Mayor of the City of Addis Ababa, Her Excellency, Dr. Monica Juma graced the official opening of the Gullele Botanic Garden. Located in the northwestern part of the city of Addis Ababa, in Gullele and Kolfe-Kernyo sub-cities, the Gullele Botanic Gardens is the first hub of conservation, research, education and eco-tourism in Ethiopia.
The Gullele Garden, covering some 705 hectares is situated at an elevation of 2600 to 3000 metres. The Garden has two topographic landscapes units or physiographic features; one half that is plain land and a northern half that is mountainous, with an elevation of up to 3000 metres above sea level. Two perennial water courses originate from this mountainous area and flow southward to the city centre. It is home to riverine vegetations and remnants of indigenous trees of Ethiopia.
Decades of work by different concerned scientists and institutions to establish a botanic garden that serves the purpose of conservation and research was materialized by the joint action of Addis Ababa City Administration and Addis Ababa University with the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the year 2005.
The garden is conceived primarily as a living museum of plants which are part of the Ethiopian cultural heritage but whose survival is threatened by activities of deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, desertification and other threats.
The lower part of the gardens comprise of about 50 hectares of cultivated garden, in which there will be an arrangement and display of Ethiopian flora under the proposed Ethiopian traditional five agro ecological zones namely, Bereha, Kolla, Woyna dega, Dega and Wurch. Once complete the garden will be ideal for education purposes on environmental matters, research, recreational activities, restful relaxation and enjoyment for tourists, members of the general public as well as students among others. In addition is a cluster of theme gardens which will comprise of groups of gardens of specific plant species per garden. These include medical plants gardens, Ornamental garden, Essential oil garden, Aromatic garden, Endemic plan garden, among others.
The upper part of the gardens, on top of the hill, makes it suitable for the production and demonstration of high wind energy – this will make Gullele a renewable energy research and renewable techno park.
On the recreational part, the garden includes several manmade dams, the largest with a capacity of 20000 to 25,000 cubic metres to be used for the thematic gardens. The garden will also have two Agora buildings, namely Agora I and Agora II. The first comprising of 1,336 square metres will accommodate art and craft shops, and event gallery/Museum and a restaurant. The construction for an Amphitheatre is underway that will facilitate the staging of plays and music on designated days.
The ambassador was accompanied by Mr. Joseph Mokoit, the focal officer for environmental issues at the Embassy of Kenya in Addis Ababa.