Nature is stunning in Ethiopia, and it has a fascinating historical culture. Take your time to explore all the remarkable highlights.
For a cultural experience beyond words (and almost beyond belief), Ethiopia tops our list as the most impressive in the world. Ethiopia has what are considered by many as the most primitive tribes on earth in the Omo River Valley, a visit to this country will truly take you back thousands of years in time.
Situated roughly 2500 metres above sea level, Addis Ababa is the third-highest capital city in the world. The Ethiopian National Museum, which is home to 'Lucy', a 3.5-million-year-old fossil of the woman who may be our earliest ancestor, is worth a visit. You can enjoy the taste of sweet Ethiopian coffee in Addis Ababa, and there are plenty more sightseeing activities.
Aksum is an ideal place for lovers of culture and religion, as this town is rumoured to be the home of the Arc of the Covenant. There are ancient stelae, the highest being 24 metres, which provide a reminder of the city’s past glory. The ruins of the Queen of Sheba’s Palace are a short trip away from the city. There is a lot of history to marvel at in this small town.
The area surrounding Bahir Dar is well worth the one-hour trip by bus. It is home to the spectacular Blue Nile Falls, which are 400 metres wide and 45 metres deep. You can also visit the beautiful Lake Tana, which is filled with small islands, most of which contain churches with colourful and vibrant artwork.
Rift Valley Lakes
Running from Addis Ababa to the Kenyan border, the Rift Valley has seven lakes. The most popular lakes are Langano, Abijata and Shala. Bird-watchers can get their fill at Lake Abijatta, a shallow lake renowned for its bird life. You can go for a swim at Lake Langano – despite the brown colour, the water is clean and pleasant. Another lake that is well worth a visit is Chamo, which is home to dozens of hippos and crocodiles.
Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Along with a lot of historical buildings that have survived the ravages of time, Gondar is one of Ethiopia’s most fascinating antiquities. You can reach Gondar, situated approximately 750 kilometres north of Addis Ababa, by plane or by bus.
Lalibela is named after the Zagwe Dynasty King Lalibela of the twelfth century, and is famed for its rock-hewn churches. Seeing all the churches of Lalibela takes a long time, but it is worth the effort. The River Jordan divides the churches into two groups. Overall, the best word to describe Lalibela is ‘awesome’.
Bale Mountains National Park
In the Bale Mountains National Park you can see many of the mammals and birds that are unique to Ethiopia, such as rare Ethiopian wolf, warthogs and many species of antelope. Mount Tullo Deemtu, the second highest peak in Ethiopia, stands out at 4377 metres high. The trails in Bale Mountains National Park are perfect for horseback riding.
Simien Mountains National Park
The Simien Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the spectacular scenery and native wildlife. Three of Ethiopia’s endemic large mammals live in this area; the gelada baboon, walia ibex and Simien fox. Trekking in the Simien Mountains is spectacular, with breathtaking views around every corner.