Billed as The Land of Origins by the Ethiopian Tourism Organization, Ethiopia is a spectacular country where the Blue Nile begins. Home to the 3.2 million-year-old hominid fossil called Lucy, this country is at the cradle of humanity. Tourists from all around the world are visiting Ethiopia to discover its beautiful landscapes, diverse heritage, great food, and fascinating history. Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic destination with a gift for hospitality. Visitors are greeted with a steaming cup of coffee, which is said to have been first discovered in the region of Kaffa in southeast Ethiopia.
Planning to visit Ethiopia and explore the extraordinary country? We have listed 10 things you should know and can explore before you visit Ethiopia to make your trip more pleasant and comfortable.
Dubbed the “New Jerusalem,” Lalibela town in the Northern part of Ethiopia is a place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians. Admire the 11 ancient monolithic churches that were carved entirely out of a single rock with hammers and chisels. Bete Giyorgis (Saint George’s) is the most impressive of these churches, with a roof that has the shape of a cross.
For travellers looking for a different experience, the country’s breathtaking natural beauty serves as a backdrop for the best hiking and climbing holidays on the African continent. A trek to the Erta Ale volcano, which is an active volcano, is a must.
The Simien mountains also called the Roof of Africa, are home to a number of superb wildlife species. Referred to as “chess pieces of the gods” by the Greek poet Homer, you can explore the eye-popping array of deep ravines and gorges, bordered by mighty pinnacles and rock spires. Spot the endemic Simien Fox, the Ethiopian Wolf, the Walia Ibex, and the Gelada Baboon, along with the endangered Lammergeier.
Explore the longest cave in Ethiopia at a little over 15 kilometres, formed by the Weib River, and admire nature’s unique architecture skills. Located in Southeastern Ethiopia, Sof Omar has 40 main entrances and exits and is also the longest cave system in Africa.
Immerse yourself in the cultural diversity of African heritage by spending time around the Omo Valley. Experience the tribal traditions and the hospitality of indigenous people who are warm, welcoming, and accepting of visitor curiosity despite their remoteness and a fierce adherence to an ageless way of life. Visit the local markets to trade and camp in outlying villages or sit by riverbanks or around campfires as tribespeople dance, drum and celebrate their unique African stories.
Stand atop the divergence of three tectonic plates where ancient volcanic activities tore Asia and Africa apart. Referred to as seeing the cradle of humanity, go on an adventurous expedition in Ethiopia and trek this geological depression.
The largest lake in Ethiopia, Tana, leads on to the Blue Nile, a vastly important water source for the entire country. A boat trip on the lake takes you to 20 monastic churches, many of which date back to the 14th century. A visit to the monasteries will give you an insight into the historical treasures of Ethiopia. View the mummified remains of the country’s previous emperors in Daga Istifanos and close to 200 ancient religious books in Kibran Gebriel.
Ethiopian food is a delight for vegetarian and vegan food. Injera is a local speciality and a must-try. Recognized as one of the best places in the world for fresh local coffee beans, Ethiopian brewed coffee is the best coffee in the world. Tap water is not safe for drinking here, so always stick to a water bottle or filtered water.