Ethiopia Travel Guide

Ethiopia is located in the horn of Africa, bordered on the west by the Sudan, to the north by Eritrea, to the south east by Djibouti, the east by Somalia, the south by Kenya and Sudan 7 South Sudan to the west. As one of the fore independent nations in Africa, Ethiopia is one of the most populated countries – second after Nigeria.

Ethiopia was also historically called Abyssinia, derived from the Arabic form of the Ethiosemitic name meaning Habesha. The English name “Ethiopia” is thought to be derived from the Greek word derived from Greek terms meaning of burnt which describes its landscape and volcanic soils.

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia located on foot hills of Mount Entoto. It is one of the biggest cities in Africa, an important stop for many European Flights to Africa and Asia.

Facts & History

Originally called Abyssinia, Ethiopia is sub-Saharan oldest country known to have been established some 5 million years ago. Its beginning is biblical and associated with the times of Solomon ascendant of King Menelik I believed to have been the son of the queen of Sheba and King Solomon. The country today is a consolidation of smaller kingdoms under federal governance and allegiance to the emperor.

Ancient Ethiopia reached its peak in the 5th century during the Rise of the Romans Empire thanks to its Red Sea ports and Islamic feudal wars then led to its downfall. Modern Ethiopia was engineered by Emperor Menelik II, who established its independence by routing an Italian invasion in 1896. Tafari, Menelik’s son was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1930 after the death of Menelik’s daughter’s death (then Empress of Abyssnia). Haile Selassie, called the Lion of Judah, outlawed slavery and consolidated the state that then include more than 70 different languages and tribes.

Haile Selassie was forced into exile in May 1936 by the Italians after making a constitution in 1931 however he returned in 1941 with the help of the British troops that routed the Italians. In 1952, Eritrea was incorporated into Ethiopia but a civil unrest arose in 1993 that led to the independence of Eritrea in 1993. Today Ethiopia and other countries in the Horn of Africa are typically stricken by drought, famine and extreme poverty.

Tourist Attractions

Ethiopia is truly blessed with enormous beauty in its landscape and geographical features. Much of the country’s landscape is under high plateau and mountains. The highest being Ras Dejen at 4,620m above sea level. The Blue Nile, or Abbai, rises in the northwest and flows in a great semicircle before entering the Sudan. Its chief reservoir, Lake Tana, lies in the northwest

The jaggedly carved Simien Mountains are one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites with fossils of alleged early man. And far earlier than that lived “Lucy” or Dinkenesh, meaning ‘thou art wonderful’, as she is known to the Ethiopians, whose remains were found in a corner of this country of mystery and contrasts.  The ceremonies and rituals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church today are an insight into the ancient traditions of Abyssinia that are 3,000 years old.

A dry country like Ethiopia offers great opportunities of African safaris and holidays like Kenya and South Africa. There are nearly 6 Ethiopian National Parks with incredible species of mammals and birds like lions, zebras, Ethiopian endemic mammals and birds among others. Some of the most visited parks include Abyata and Shala Lakes National Park, Awash and Mago National Park.

The Rift valley lakes of Abyata and Shala among other define the wealth of Ethiopian safaris and wildlife tours. The Blue Nile, or Abbai, rises in the northwest and flows in a great semicircle before entering the Sudan.

Culture and Religion

With over 70 distinct and fascinating ethnic groups, Ethiopia provides a mix of cultures and traditions making it a rich country to explore on culture tours in Africa. Among the many highly celebrated church festivals include the Ethiopian New Year, Finding of the True Cross, Ethiopian Christmas and Epiphany. Ethiopia’s Islamic tradition also provides a colorful contrast of tradition, particularly in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the country.

Ethiopia uses the Ethiopian calendar, which dates back to the Coptic calendar 25 BC, and never adopted the Julian or Gregorian reforms. One Ethiopian year consists of twelve months, each lasting thirty days, plus a thirteenth month of five or six days hence the “Thirteen Months of Sunshine” tourism slogan.


The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. As a highland country, Ethiopia has a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator.

The weather is likely the same as in Addis Ababa the capital. The dry season starts from October and ends in February while the rain season is from March to May and the longer rains from June to September. Temperatures are up to highs of 25◦C and lows of 5-10◦C for the cold mountainous regions.

Travel guidelines and Tips

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the most successful and reputable airlines in Africa. Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa is the main international Airport  receiving Ethiopia flights from Lufthansa, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Egypt Air and fly Dubai among other renown international airlines

You can also travel by car from Sudanvia Metema or form Kenya via Moyale town using bus or private car hires. The official currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB) and any traveler or tourist to retain some Dollars or pounds at hand for any emergencies and shopping in only Addis Ababa.

Hotels and Accommodation

There are some cheap Ethiopian hotels to get your accommodation with 5star amenities. In Addis Ababa, some options include Holiday Hotel Addis Ababa and Sheraton Addis Ababa Hotel. Nevertheless, there are budget options like Taitu hotel and Wutma and Park hotel. Other towns with 5 star hotel include Dire Dawa, Nazaret, Bahir Dar and Gondar among others.

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