By Tego Wolasa
Burji is one of the Districts in the Segen Zone of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS).
Segen zone was established in 2011 by the amalgamation of several districts. Before 2011, Burji was not part of any zone.
The district is located 145 kilometres east of the zonal capital and 262 kilometres from Hawassa, the regional capital of SNNPRS.
The regional Headquarters of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) is expected to shift to Arba Minch in two months.
Arba Minch is around 60 kilometers Northwest of Burji District.
The district is located 536 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, the National capital of Ethiopia.
The administrative capital of Burji District is Soyama. Until 1965, the district headquarters was at Ilale Sego.
The Land Size
The longest distance across the Burji District is 78 kilometers. It starts at Bordo Bridge on Sagan river in Burji Kilicho to Nadaley Aballa.
The Width across the District is estimated to be 60 kilometers. It starts at Guji D’ok’ono to Sagan K’ayate.
The land area of the District is estimated to be 1374.6 square Kilometres.
The district’s land area has changed severally as a result of the administrative restructuring of the district at different times in the past.
Found on the eastern edge of the Great East Africa Rift Valley, Burji is bordered by Amaro district in the north, Borana Zone of Oromia region in the south and east, and Konso district in the west.
The District’s coordinates are between 5038′ 8″– 5042′ 00″ latitude north and 350 34′ 2″_ 370 58’2″ longitude east.
Most parts of the Burji District are categorized as highland.
This is because its altitude ranges from 860 to 2560 meters above sea level.
The highest altitude is found around Nadale k’ebele in the north, while the lowest is south at Sagan River.
The District can be divided into three broad climatic zones: Dega, Woina Dega and Lowland areas of Kolla and Bereha.
The highland climatic zone of Dega, which is above 2,300 metres above sea level, account for 6% of the total land in the district.
The highland is characterized by gorges created by perennial and intermittent rivers such as Hartash and Galana Rivers that spring from this area.
Mid-altitude of Woina Dega and Kolla climatic zone lies between 1500-2300 meters above the sea level and accounts for 69% of the total land. The zone is characterized by plain topography.
The third climactic zone is the lowland areas of Kolla and Bereha, whose altitude is less than 1500 metres above sea level.
This zone comprises 25% of the total land areas of the District. This climate is found in the extreme south and northeast parts of the District. It experiences a hot climate condition.
The mean relative humidity in the district ranges between 40-60%.
The annual temperature in the district ranges from 15.1 to 30 centigrade.
The District receives mean annual rainfall ranging from 650-1000 millimetres.
There are two rainy seasons in the Burji district. These are called K’arar or Bad’aysh and Hagaye seasons.
The K’arar is the long rainy season, while Hagaye is the short rainy season.
In most cases, the long rain season commences in late February and ends in mid-May.
The short rainy season starts in September all the way to November.
Highland and Lowland
While the highlands are suitable for agriculture, the lowlands were rich in wildlife and had attracted many hunters to the region.
Mude Dae Mude, for instance, wrote that the famous Italian explorer Prince Russpoli died in Burji district on an elephant hunting expedition in early 1890s.
The first three lion’s cubs which were brought to Anbesa Gibi Zoo in Addis Ababa, were from Burji.
They were offered to Emperor Haile Selassie by Balambaras Danche Chotta, one of the balabats of Burji at that time.
One of the cubs was called Burji.