Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a major public health problem in Ethiopia. The disease is endemic in Ochollo, a village in southern Ethiopia, but there are no reports of CL in the wider area, although it is ecologically very similar. We conducted a rapid assessment survey in the South Ethiopian Rift Valley and found 100 parasitologically confirmed CL cases in 38 villages not reported endemic for CL. Approximately half of the cases were children (57%), and most lesions occurred on the face (78%) and were older than 6 months (77%). Only 2% of the people was aware of the mode of transmission, and 9% sought modern treatment at a hospital. These preliminary data indicate that CL is much more widespread than previously reported and that the disease might have a large psychosocial impact. Hence, this study calls for larger surveys across the Ethiopian highlands. Additionally, health education and treatment capacity need to be implemented.