A complete guide to Visiting Ethiopia, when to go , the various attractions to find, getting around the country, Trekking in Ethiopia, flights, accommodation and hotels, food and culture, Ethiopian national parks, the best tour operators, Popular spots such as Simien Mountains, Bale Mountains and Omo Valley.
Why Visit Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is a land of differences, from the cold peaks of Simien Mountains to the hot Danakil desert. Ethiopia continues to be an exceptional destination in Africa.
Ethiopia’s History starts with her most popular ancestor, Lucy, that roamed this country 3.2 million years back. The surge of the Axumite Empire during the First century BC normally marks the start of fairly modern Ethiopian history.
With the introduction of Christianity to this somewhat isolated nation in the 4th century, you can’t help as you watch the vibrant Orthodox celebrations to find out that these acts of faith as well as devotion are most likely close to the very original kind of Christianity as is within the world these days.
In addition to a lively history are enchanting stories plus legends which define the legacy of Ethiopia.
Things to do in Ethiopia
best places to visit
Aksum which was the capital city of the ancient Aksumite Kingdom back 100AD and it’s believed to be among the oldest inhabited places in Africa. It is found in the northern part of the country and is mainly popular for its towering carved stone obelisks which are ruins of the ancient Kingdom. Some of these stand at a height of thirty two meters and weigh about 520 tones with the oldest one believed to be about 1700 years. Unique about this place is that it is said that the biblical Ark of the Covenant is believed to have been housed here and a church known as the Chapel of the Tablet (which is known as the holiest place in Ethiopia) was constructed here and it receives a very large number of tourists annually.
- Visit Harar One of Islams Holiest Cities
The city of Harar is located in the eastern part of Ethiopia and it is considered to be one of the holiest cities in the Islamic faith covering only one square kilometer. This fortress has a wall surrounding it and inside its boundaries are more than eighty (80) mosques as well as 360 complex alleyways which are believed to be about 1,000 years old. When you visit you will surely be impressed by the elegant architecture of the Islamic people, colorful robes as well as the very old markets which currently seem to have undergone very minimal change from what they used to be initially. Among the highlights in Harar city is an opportunity to feed the hyenas. This ritual which is carried out every night is intended to prevent the hyenas from attacking the domestic animals that belongs to the locals.
- The Lalibela Rock Churches
When you visit Lalibela you will get an opportunity to see the rock churches which are said to have been constructed back in the 13th century, and a number of them stand at a height of thirteen (13) meters. These are one of the leading tourist attractions in Ethiopia. Amazingly these churches were curved out of rock using basic tools like chisels and hammers and where completed with detailed roofs, windows and columns. Presently Lalibela is a living cultural area and among its 10,000 residents are approximately 1,000 priests whereas its churches are the central point for all religious processions, ceremonies and vigils.
Bahir Dar which is a port on the southern shore of the Lake Tana is Amhara region’s (found in the northern part of the country) capital and the gateway to this amazing inland lake as well as the Blue Nile Falls. This is among the most spectacular places to visit in the country and although this previously glorious forty meter (40m) high cascade was recently emaciated recently during the building of a dam. there is a lively market held daily plus a number of charming cafes that offer beautiful views of the lakeside. During your visit you can enjoy a boat tour on the lake to visit the islands as well as see different animals such as hippos.
- Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary was initially established to protect Swayne’s hartebeests, although sadly these animals have nearly vanished from this place. Despite that, there are a number of other animals such as the dik-dik, zebras, gazelles and the kudu in addition to more than two hundred (200) bid species such as the Prince ruspoli’s turaco, the ostrich, as well be as the Taita falcon. in case you are interested in having a wildlife encounter on your visit in Ethiopia, this is one of the recommended places to visit.
For nature lovers a visit to the Bale Mountains is one of the recommended things to do during your visit to Ethiopian. The mountains are characterized by odd rock formations, giant Heather and in addition its home to a number of wild animals including the common Ethiopian wolves. Its wild landscape Stand at a height of 4000 meters above sea level and it’s found about 1500 from the sanetti plateau and close to the Harenna forest. There are several hiking trails available which offer you the best way to explore the National Park. These can be completed between two to three days and they are led by the local guides; you will be able to have up close encounters with the natural wonders found in this park
- The Rift Valley of Ethiopia
The Great Rift Valley that runs across parts of the African continent has left a noticeable scar in central Ethiopia which is a great huge valley in which you will find several self-made lakes as well as verdant Forests. The rift valley is generally warm and the humidity is bearable as compared to the arid harsh Highlands as you explore to the rest of the country. On your visit to the valley you will not only be impressed by the numerous lakes but also encounter the different tribes each with a unique culture. Because the country is landlocked spending some quality time on the Lakeshore in Ethiopia is much comparable to spending some quality time at the beach or on the seashore elsewhere.
- The Simien mountains National Park
Characterized by deep gorgeous verdant meadows and high mountains, this National Park which is among the world heritage sites is most popular for its amazing hiking opportunities and dramatic scenery. You can organize mountain day hikes for those with additional safari time while those with limited safari time can also opt to do the short single day hikes. You will get an opportunity to see the unique gelada monkeys which are said to be a species of the ancient wild primates. These are only endemic to the highlands of Ethiopia although they can easily be seen here. these amazing gelada monkeys are also referred to as the ‘bleeding heart monkey’ because of the bear skin patch found on their chest which is red or pink basing on the social status of the males as well as the females’ reproductive state. This is among the top highlights you will see in the Atlas Mountains. Fortunately a number of them are used to human presence so you will get a chance to take up close photographs. As you hike up to the Simien Mountains Lodge you will get an opportunity to see the spectacular Jinbar waterfall
- Visit the Konso and Dorze people
Although these Konso and Dorze people may not have an outward impressive appearance as the Omo tribes found within the omo valley. Their fascinating way of life is worth exploring. They leave within the southern part of rift valley and this spectacular region has had very minimal influence by the modern day tourism. The lifestyle of these people mainly depends around market days, weaving and traditional ceremonies. In contrary to the more conservative Omo people you will find some workshops and guest houses here were holidaymakers can stay as they learn about the fascinating culture of this people.
- Visit the town of Gonder
Gonder is one of the historical towns found in Ethiopia and it is located a couple of hours from the Simien Mountains National Park and Bahir Dar. Previously this was home to several powerful and influential people who during that time constructed spectacular palaces and fortresses to display their dominance and wealth. Back in the 17th century Fasil Ghebbi who was the Man behind the end to the brutal migrant dictatorship constructed the spectacular Fasil Ghebbi Royal Enclosure as well as the Fasil Ghebbi Palace which was the center of attraction there. The Royal enclosure complex includes several buildings such as the ceremonial baths, churches, banqueting Halls, Castle and the palace; and according to the Ethiopian standards this is a fairly new city. Today this amazing architecture stands in ruins and many tourists from all parts of the world come to visit this place as well as its surrounding. During your visit to Gonder town, you can opt to stay at the Mayleko Lodge.
- Meet the Omo People
The people who live in the Omo Valley have a very unique culture and have become a popular people because of their lip-plates which they put on their lower lip. According to their tradition it is thought that the wider a lip- plate a lady has the better wife she will make. Their custom of using these clay plates which are normally well decorated has attracted very large numbers of tourists from all parts of the country who come to see this unique tradition and other cultural practices of these people
- Gheralta, Tigray Region
Within the Tigray Region is a small sandstone mountain range called the Gheralta Mountains which are very spectacular and have a number of unique Rock churches curved within slopes of the mountain. although these Rock churches found in Gheralta are not as popular as those in lalibela the views up here are very breathtaking, the region has more than thirty (30) different churches however the most outstanding of them are the Abuna Yemata Guh church, the Maryam Korkor church as well as the Daniel korkor belived to be over 1000 years old. To access these ancient churches you will have to ascend up the steep rock walls as well as the cliff edges on a hiking adventure that can only be taken by those who are not faint-hearted. However once you get there the vistas are breathtaking and the interior of these churches is worth exploring.
- The Danakil Depression – the hottest place on Earth
The Danakil Depression which is one of the lowest points in the world is found more than 100 meters below sea level and it is regarded to be one of the most bizarre and harsh places in the world. Basing on its average temperatures, it is considered to be the hottest place on Earth and hardly receiving any rainfall throughout the year. a visit to this depression is surely a unique expedition as you will get an opportunity to hike up the active volcano, explorer that unearthly Dallol landscapes having mineral deposits that are rainbow colored as well as gaysers, and even camp on the rim of the crater.
- The Omo Valley
It is within the Omo Valley that some of the oldest remains of early humans were discover. visiting this place today will give you an insight into the long-ago lifestyle of the ancient people since the valley is home to a very large number of people including over ten (10) different tribes that inhabit the Omo River banks.
- Feed the Wild Hyenas in Harar
This unique activity can only be done within Harar city a UNESCO world heritage site found in the eastern part of Ethiopia. This practice of feeding these fierce predators is done every night with an aim of preventing them from preying on the domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats that belong to the locals. They literary stick pieces of meat on sticks and feed the hyenas.
- Camp on the peak of an active Volcano
As crazy as it may sound, imagine spending a night on top of an active volcano, well in Ethiopia all that is possible. During your visit in the Danakil Depression area, you will get a chance to ascend to the top of the Erta Ale Volcano which to date is still very active. Looking down into the volcanoes crater, you will be able to see some bubbling lava. You will get a chance to sleep just a few meter from the crater as you watch the stars shining above you.
- Stand at the Start of the Blue Nile in Bahar Dar
The Nile is the longest river in the world and although the White Nile has its source in Jinja – Uganda, the source of the Blue Nile which is another arm of Nile is found close to Bahar Dar. During your safari in Ethiopia, you will get a chance to visiting the starting point of the Blue Nile from where it proceeds with its long journey to join the White Nile and then finally pour into the Mediterranean Sea. You will hike through the remote area during which you will enjoy the beautiful scenery, have a boat ride and see the waterfall.
- Enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Asale salt lake
Within the Danakil Depression is a large salt lake called Lake Asale which is another fascinating place to visit in Ethiopia. During your visit you will be able to see a number of locals traditionally mine the salt and see caravans of camels carrying salt from the salt crystal parts of the late. the sight of the camel caravans disappearing beyond the horizon with the rays of the African sun setting in the background is very breathtaking.
- Try the traditional Ethiopian dance
Beside the traditional game drives, hikes, sightseeing and bird watching, have you ever thought about trying the traditional Ethiopian dance? Well one of the best ways to immense into the unique culture of any new community is by joining the traditional dancing and singing. The Ethiopian music is very lively and there is no better way to wind down your evening than dancing away your evening as you enjoy a chilled beer.
- National Museum in Addis Ababa
The National Museum of Ethiopia found within Addis Ababa is considered to house one of the most comprehensive collections across sub-Saharan Africa with different exhibits on the political and natural histories of this country. One of the most significant displays here is a collection of bones of an ancient archeological discovery of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) a female skeleton estimated to be 3.5 million years old. During the day tours you will not only be entertained by the amazing displays but also learn a lot. We recommend that you rent a guide for your tour.
Frequently asked questions Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is one of the much-loved destinations in Africa it is also known as the horn of Africa. Every year a very large number of tourists visit this amazing country, however, there are a couple of questions that are commonly asked by holidaymakers and below we have compiled and professionally answered them to help you successfully plan a memorable holiday and understand Ethiopia as a tourist destination.
Do I need a visa to enter Ethiopia?
All foreign visitors coming to Ethiopia are required to have a valid passport with at least six-month validity from the date they intend to depart the country. Basing on the citizenship of your passport you will or will not be required to acquire a Visa. A visa to Ethiopia can be acquired in two ways either through application at the Ethiopian diplomatic mission back in your home country or at the point of entrance like the airport into Ethiopia.
Nationals from the following countries can easily acquire a visa on arrival in Ethiopia rather than applying for them prior to their movement at the Ethiopian diplomatic commission back in their home countries: United States of America, the UK, Thailand, Argentina, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Belgium, South Africa, Brazil, Russian federation, Canada, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Finland, Norway, France, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, Greek, Mexico, Israel, Luxembourg, Japan, Kuwait and the republic of Korea. For persons coming from Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, China as well as those with passports issued from Macao and Hong Kong can obtain their visas on arrival in Ethiopia.
Is Ethiopia a safe destination?
Ethiopia is considered to be relatively safe when compared to many other African countries.
Nonetheless you should be warned about Petty thieves such as pickpocket especially in the capital city.
Always ensure that when moving in the major cities you have all your valuables well locked up in your bag and not exposed.
It’s also highly recommended that you do not move alone especially at night.
It’s also a good habit to avoid large crowds because Petty thieves normally take advantages of such places.
Avoid moving with large amounts of cash with you and always leave your expensive items like jewelry and watches will looked up in the safe provided at the hotel
Laptops and cameras should not be easily exposed or carelessly handled while moving in the towns
A money belt is a very good option so sure that your wallet and other important document are tucked in there safely
Is there a standard dress code while in Ethiopia?
There is no formal way that people should dress especially visitors in the country. However what you should keep in mind is that when going to places of worship out of respect it is highly advisable that the ladies cover up using a scarf and wear clothing that is below the knees. As you explore the other parts of the country it will not be disrespectful if you wore your jeans, t-shirts or shirts and also when going for cultural tours wear something comfortable inappropriate
What is the local currency Ethiopia?
The Ethiopian birr (ETB) is the local currency used in the country and it is the local acceptable mode of payment used in shops, restaurants and many other places. The birr notes comes in denominations of 100, 50, 10 and 5 and also includes up to 100 cents
Which foreign currency is accepted in Ethiopia?
People visiting Ethiopia are allowed to import any amount of foreign currency without restrictions ranging from the US dollar, the GBP and Euro however this money should be declared to the customs officials with the proper blue-colored form on arrival. It is important to note that foreign currency can only be exchanged at banks and the authorized hotels and such transactions should be well receipted. Endeavor to keep you currency declaration form because you will need to show it to customs at the time of departure.
Are credit cards allowed in Ethiopia?
Yes fortunately in Ethiopia you can easily access your money through MasterCard and Visa especially when in the large cities like Addis Ababa or at the airport, at the ticketing and airline offices as well as at the major hotels.
Is tipping allowed in Ethiopia?
Yes, tipping is allowed however I should make it clear that’s it is not mandatory to tip or donate during your visit. Tips are looked at as a way of appreciating one’s good service to you so giving them a realistic tip will be highly appreciated. Nonetheless excessive tipping is internationally discouraged as it spoils people from the culture of dedicatedly working and instead look forward to simply receiving tips.
Tips can be offered to your Safari guide at the end of the trip, to your drivers, to the hotel staff as well as to any local guides that you may use during your adventure.
Is there internet access in Ethiopia?
Majority of the large towns as well as tourist destinations offer internet access. In your hotels you might be provided for with Wi-Fi, and also there are a number of internet cafes found in most of the cities which will make your communication with the people back home very easy. fax and telephone services are also readily available here
Is photography allowed in across Ethiopia?
yes you are allowed to take as many photographs as you wish however you should keep in mind that there are a couple places where photography is prohibited such as military camps, the main Palace, the bridge over the River Nile (abay); and also in case you are taking photographs of the local people it will be very kind if you first request for their permission.
Are there limitations on items that can be exported from Ethiopia?
Holidaymakers are allowed to carry souvenirs from Ethiopia back to their home country however items like antiques plus animal skin will require a special export permit.
What to pack when visiting Ethiopia?
As a main reminder for anyone visiting Ethiopia especially those doing so for the first time is that the country experiences very hot temperature, therefore you will need comfortable summer clothes to enable you cope with the scorching heat. Ladies however should be careful not to wear clothing that are very short as they are looked at as inappropriate by the locals. When visiting holy places, a scarf to cover up any exposed flesh around the neck area and the shoulders will be very appropriate, while men will need shirts that are long sleeved and trousers.
A personal First aid kit will come handy as well since it might be challenging to get all the necessary medication from the local drug stores or pharmacies. Items such as an insect repellent, Eye drops, Band-Aids, A heartburn relief, Pain tablets, Small Kleenex packets, Itchy spray to use for bug bites, Antiseptic cream and a sunscreen having high SPF-factor. However you are highly advised to visit your physician back home to help you come up with the appropriate items and list of medication you will need. Do not forget to carry a copy of your prescription to avoid any interference at security check points.
A camera with its appropriate lenses plus several memory cards; don’t forget to pack spare batteries as well as the camera charger. This will enable you capture all the shots you want to help you take your good memories back home
Make copies of all your essential documents including passports, insurance cover and driving license (in case you have one) and move with them at all times while you leave the original well locked up in your hotel safe box.
Don’t forget your credit cards and debit card to enable you access your cash while in Ethiopia.
If you are going on a self drive adventure, don’t forget to bring your international driver’s license
A small flash light
Long sleeved clothes and trousers to be worn in the evening to protect you against insect bites
A sun cream to protect you against the hot sun
Strong good walking shoes preferably with ankle support for hiking
Lightweight clothes (summer clothes) which will be best appropriate for the hot weather caused by the high temperatures experienced in Ethiopia.
A hat with a wide brim to protect your face from the hot sun
A re-usable water bottle; It is very important that you hydrate regularly because of the overall heat experience.
What is the time zone in Ethiopia?
The time calculating system in Ethiopia is quite different and it id three hours ahead the Green witch Mean Time (GMT 3). When calculating Ethiopian day, it is done in a way very identical to that in equatorial countries and the day and night have the same length all year round.
What local food and drink is consumed in Ethiopia?
Coffee is the primary export for Ethiopia and during your visit you will get an opportunity to engage in a coffee ceremony during which you will see how the local Ethiopians traditionally roast the coffee beans, grind them and stew them at least three times. You will get an opportunity to even buy the well known Machiato from any of the coffee shops across the country.
The country enjoys several scrumptious dishes local and I am sure to many holidaymakers they will be a new treat. Some of the common dishes you can enjoy on your safari in Ethiopia include: the hot spicy Key Wot, Doro Wot and Kitfo and then Alicha Wot as one of the less spicy dishes, and injera which nearly accompanies every meal. There are a couple of local made drinks such as Araki which is a very strong alcoholic drink that is similar to a Gin and its made from either maize plus millet, Gudar a commonly consumed Ethiopian wine and Tela which is brewed from honey.
How are the people of Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is considered to be blend of different cultures and has a population of approximately seventy seven (77) million people including eighty different ethnic groups. despite the cultural diversity, the Ethiopians can be divided into four (4) major groups which include: Omotic, Semitic, Nilotics and Hamitics. These people are generally peaceful, sociable and very welcoming and area eager to learn and gladly accept development.
Why Ethiopia is called the cradle of mankind?
Ethiopia has a number of archaeological sites where various discoveries important in the revolution of mankind where made. Most important of these is ‘Lucy’ a very old female skeleton believed to be about three and a half million years old. It’s from such significant discoveries that Ethiopia attained the high-status of being the cradle of mankind. The fossil ‘Lucy’ was discovered in a place known as Hadar found in the northeastern region of the country and today can be seen in the National Museum of Ethiopia found in Addis Abba.
When is the Best Time to Visit Ethiopia?
The dry season which begins in October until the end of February is considered to be the best time to have a holiday in Ethiopia as the country is sunny and dry. This is considered to be the peak tourist season when the country is receiving a very high number of tourists which in the long run results into high demand for accommodation increasing the cost of a safari this time of the year. So in case you are a budget traveler, this is not a good time to visit the country. Also if you are specifically interested in the different festivals in Ethiopia, we recommend that you plan appropriately as some festivals come during the rainy season.
How is Ethiopia’s Weather?
The Rainy Season: The climate of Ethiopia varies from one region to another; however the rainy / wet season begins in June to September whereas the short rains start in March. The country receives the highest amount of rainfall in June and July especially within the northern highlands. The advantage of visiting during this time is that there are fewer tourists within the country at this time of the year giving you a less crowded experience and best of all a number of accommodation facilities and tour operators offer a discount on their fares. The month of June and July should be avoided since they receive heavy rain.
The Dry Season: this season begins in October all through to February. It is the best time to visit the country as it is warm and pleasantly sunny through the days however we should warn you that the temperatures at night drop so you should pack some warm clothes to help you layer up.
The spring in Ethiopia is also referred to as the harvest season beginning at the start of September to the end of November.
Also referred to as Kiremt, the summer season, begins in the month of June through July to end of August. During this time of the year, most of Ethiopia is experiencing very heavy rains.
The best Time to Visit the Northern Highlands
In case you are interested in exploring the northern Ethiopian highlands to see the different attractions such as the ancient churches –cut out of the rocks, the best time to do so is during the dry season from October to February. In case you plan to visit during the rainy season, we recommend you do so in March or April when the rains are lighter.
Best Time to hike the Simien Mountains
With the highest point standing at a height of 14,901 feet, the Simien Mountains are a large mountain range and ranked among the highest mountain-ranges in Africa. The mountain hike will reward you with spectacular views, good sights of water streams and gorges, as well as an opportunity to see some endangered wildlife such as the walia ibex and the unique gelada baboon. This mountain range can best be hiked from mid – September to November when it is green but also dry. The wild flowers on the mountain slopes fully bloom in the month of October so visiting during this time of the year will surely reward you with amazing sights.
Best Time to Visit the Omo Valley
The region around the Omo River has over fifty (50) different tribes living there and this is in the southwestern part of Ethiopia. It is a good place to visit especially if you are interested in seeing the unique culture of these people. The place is generally very remote and can only be accessed by a four-wheel drive vehicle that is well maintained. the ancient traditional practices and culture as well as the way of life of these people to date has been minimally impacted by the modern-day lifestyle so you will get an opportunity to have an authentic African cultural adventure. This part of the country experiences two rainy seasons with the first one beginning in a march up to end of June and then the second short one is in the month of November. During the wet months it is nearly impossible to access this part of Ethiopia for that reason the best time to visit the Omo valley is during the dry season.
Best time to visit the Danakil depression
One of the hottest places on the entire planet is the Danakil region. during the day the temperatures may rise to about 122 degrees Fahrenheit (122°F), it however is a very unique destination that will reward its visitors and opportunity to see the locals go about the old traditional way of extracting salt, they will also be able to witness the unique Afar culture as well as see the unusual landscapes in this region. Because of its very hot nature, people interested in visiting this depression are recommended to visit during the cooler months starting in November up to March
Best time to engage in the festivals of Ethiopia
Because of the diverse culture of the people in Ethiopia it is no doubt that Different festivals in this country are worth planning for a trip. a number of these festivals may last a couple of days especially the religious ones. The Orthodox Christian festivals for instance are the most visible as well as prominent within the country and they are celebrated basing on the Ethiopian calendar. The Ethiopian Christmas which is known as Ganna for instance is celebrated on the 7th of January every year instead of the traditional 25th December in other countries. The Ethiopian New year according to their calendar is also celebrated on 11th September and it is referred to as Enkutastash. So don’t forget to plan your holiday wisely if interested in the festivals.
Some of the major festivals in Ethiopia include:
Timket – a feast of Epiphany is celebrated on the 19th January every year is one of the major festivals in the country during which the baptism of Jesus is celebrated. During this festival there is a procession during which they carry an imitation of the biblical Arc of the Covenant. The three (3) day festival includes rituals of performance of baptism. At the end of the formal ceremony, participants get an opportunity to enjoy music, dancing as well as feasting. This festival can best be enjoyed in Addis Ababa, Gondar and Lalibela
Meskel – this is an ancient Christian festival celebrated every 27th of September. This feast is believed to be celebrated in Ethiopia for more than 1600 years, year after year in commemoration of the discovery of the cross (on which Jesus was crucified) and it includes long processions of choirs, priests and deacons. a huge torch decorated with several olive leaves is set ablaze and the following day the participants head to the bon-fire where they acquire some ash and make a sign of the cross on their foreheads before having a big feast through the day. it is alleged that pieces of this cross were brought into Ethiopia several years ago, and today Meskel Square found in Addis Ababa is the best place to observe this.
Enkutatash – regarded as the New Year’s Day of Ethiopia is celebrated on the 11th of September annually.
Heritages in Ethiopia
UNESCO has named some of the tourist sites in Ethiopia as world heritage sites and these are visited by many to get to know more about Ethiopia as a country. Some of the heritage sites found in Ethiopia include the following:
- The Konso landscape
The Konso landscape is filled with villages that can be seen at the hilltop and the best thing to spot when you go to Konso are the Waka which make grave marks using wood.
- The Tiya
The Tiya is located in the southern part Addis Ababa and it is the best archeological site in the country. There are several markings that you can see in Tiya and these show how the Stone Age times were and how the early man lived.
- The Lalibela churches
Just like the name suggests, churches that were constructed during the 12th century can be seen when you visit Lalibela and these amount to two chapels and twelve churches all curved from stone.
- The Fasil Ghebbi
The Fasil Ghebbi is filled with medieval buildings that were constructed during the 17th century and it is known as African Camelot due to the way the buildings are constructed.
- The city of Aksum
Aksum was constructed over 3000 years ago and it was a home to the Ethiopian queen Sheba. It was glamorous to look at but at the moment you will see the ruins of the palace and also get to know more about the queen and the history nestled in the place.
- The Harar Jugol
If you ever want to see a place that has many mosques in one place then this is the right place to be. The Harar Jugol is the fourth largest holy city in the world with over eighty 430 shrines and 82 mosques.
- The Omo River
Down below the Omo River you will find a place where the human fossils were found that were dated back to 2.4 million years ago. A tour guide will be there to tell you more about the fossils and where exactly they were located.
- The Simien National Park
The simian National Park is mostly known as a home to the rare gelada baboon and it was declared a UNESCO heritage because of the good scenery created by the mountain and the greenery that is found in the area.
National Parks in Ethiopia
Ethiopia has numerous National Parks that can be visited and these include the following:
The Chebera Churchura is a good place for game trekking especially elephants. These can be trekked on foot and the park is located in the western part of the country and the trekking is only done with the help of trained tour guides to avoid accidents.
- The Yangudi Rassa National Park
The Yangudi National Park is located near the Yangudi Mountain and is one of the less known national parks in the country. It is filled with a lot of bushes and thickets and wildlife that you can get to see when you visit and enjoy trekking up the Mountain.
- The Bale Mountains National Park
The bales Mountain National Park is a top spot for all those who love birding. The National Park has a lot of trees and its location help in creating a good habitat for the birds and the different wild life that is found in the Park.
- The Gambella National Park
Like the great migration in East Africa, Gambella National Park in Ethiopia has a large antelope migration that happens between March and August and the migration also includes the white tailed Kob. This is one place that you need to visit when you go to Ethiopia.
The Awash National Park is a home to various wild life but most especially the dry country Antelope that is found in the Great Rift Valley. It is also a top spot for birding as it is a home to more than 500 bird species.
- The Simien Mountains National Park
The Simien national Park was declared a UNESCO heritage and it is a home to many wildlife animals and different bird species and you will also get to see the beautiful peak Mountains that create an excellent back drop when you are taking photos.
The Mago National Park is not as big as others and the wild life in the Park is a bit scarce as compared to others due to the constant poaching that is done by the locals. The few animals that can be seen in the park are being protected so that they do not go into extinction in the country.
- The Netch sar National Park
Netch Sar National Park is a home to a number of birds especially the Nechisar night jar which is one of the rarest birds in the world and it is surrounded by the beautiful scenery which is created by the Abaya and Chamo twin lakes and the green plains.
- The Abijatta Shalla National Park
This is located in the southern part of the country and it is a home to various bird species, wild life and a lake which provides water to the animals. It has one of the largest aqua life in Ethiopia and this is one of the few reasons as to why the Park was preserved.
- Omo National Park
The national Park is located in the southern part of Ethiopia in a remote place which makes getting there a bit hard. But even with its remoteness, it has quite a lot to offer like the hot springs, different tree species for all botany lovers, bird species, wild animals and you also get to visit the various locals that live in the area and get to know more about their culture.
As you head into Ethiopia, there are clearly marked routes that lead to the different tourist destinations and this was made so as to avoid congestion on the roads and to make sure that tourists get to the destinations on time without getting lost. The five destination routes that are used include the following:
- The southern route
The southern route passes through the Rift valley into the highlands. It is also referred to as the Rift valley and cultural symbol route and it is filled with good scenery that will make your journey exciting even before you get to your destination. You get to view the Great Rift Valley form a different point of view and carry out some activities along the way like birding, relaxing on the lake shores and also getting to know more about the culture practiced by the locals.
- The Eastern route
The Eastern route passes through the Bale Mountains and that is why it is sometimes called the Bale Mountains route. When you use this route you will be able to see the Holy city in Ethiopia which is considered to be the fourth largest Holy city in the world.
- The Addis Ababa route
This route starts from the capital city of Ethiopia Addis Ababa and is mostly used by all those that have less time when it comes to touring Ethiopia and it has various tourist attractions like Museums, National Parks, restaurants and many other things.
- The Western route
The Western route has a good scenery for all those that use it like the beautiful coffee gardens, the green forests, beautiful birds and the route leads you straight to the Gambella National Park where you will have a lot unlimited fun.
- The Northern route
The Northern route runs through the Simien Mountains and on your way to the various destinations you will be able to see the vast cultures that is expressed in Ethiopia and get to visit the numerous heritage sites that are in the area.