Things to consider when planning a trip
Ethiopia is big. To make the most out of your time in the country, think about what excites you most...
- Landscapes, scenery and stunning viewpoints
- Trekking and hiking
- Historical monuments
- Learning about local way of life and Ethiopian culture
- Seeing the highlights
- Tracking wildlife
- Luxury lodging in beautiful regions
- Camping and getting off the beaten track
- Road trips
Places to visit
Simien Mountains National Park
Known to many as ‘The Roof of Africa’, the Simien Mountains National Park is one of Africa’s most beautiful and unique destinations. The only Ethiopian-listed UNESCO World Heritage Park, the second listed in the world after Yellowstone in the US, the Simiens comprise 412km sq of jaw-dropping plateaus, ridges, gorges, gullies, pinnacles and more. Home to some of the world’s best trekking and rarest mammals, the Simiens are another jewel in Ethiopia’s crown.
Lalibela occupies a dramatic position atop wide valleys and surrounded by weather-gouged escarpments beyond which jagged peaks rise. A place of faith, festivals, mystery and legends that will engage your heart as much as your mind. It is famous for its, the exact origins of the churches and their construction are still disputed, which is part of their attraction. What is certain is that Lalibela is no dusty relic visited by school groups and academics. Those 13 churches form the living, beating heart of spiritual Ethiopia, hosting the most famous celebrations of the festivals of Genna, Timkat and Meskel.
Experience another way of life as you’re welcomed by just some of the 88 cultural communities of the Omo Valley. Famed for its cultural traditions and tribal diversity, this remote corner of Ethiopia has been a cultural crossroads for millennia. Not only does it enable you the chance to explore unique and ancient ways of life, the Omo Valley is also a tapestry of pristine landscapes and diverse wildlife habitats that make it well worth the visit.
The result of the continental drift of Africa and Asia, the Danakil Depression is peppered with roaring volcanoes and hot springs. One of the hottest, driest and lowest places on the planet, at 100m below sea level, it is a wonderful, alien environment. Despite this, it is also referred to as the ‘cradle of humanity’ with the hominid fossil Lucy discovered here in 1974.
Erta Ale means ‘smoking mountain’ in the Afar language. It is Ethiopia’s most active volcano and home to the world’s oldest lava lake. Rising out of the Danakil Depression, Erta Ale may not be one of Ethiopia’s highest peaks, but its continuous volcanic activity and the ruggedness of its setting makes it one of the most enthralling natural spectacles in the country and well worth visiting.
Bale Mountains National Park
The home of an array of endangered species, including the Ethiopian wolf and endemic antelope species, the Bale Mountains National Park offers visitors a varied range of habitats and landscapes to explore. Rarely visited, the region combines high peaks, montane forests, and the largest expanse of African alpine moorland in the world.
As the home to the Queen of Sheba and the Ark of the Covenant – artifact of Moses’ 10 commandments – Axum is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in northern African, dating back to 400 BC. Today, residents of the ancient city seem blissfully unaware of it’s glorious past that saw the Aksumite Empire thrive as a trading nation and major player in commerce between the Roman Empire and Ancient India.
Known for its remarkable collection of crumbling castles, fortifications and 17th century churches, it’s only right that “Gonder” is often referred to as the “Camelot of Africa”. This small city in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia was the home to many emperors who ruled the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century.
Dating back to the previous millennium, the beautiful city of Harar is one of the oldest cities in Ethiopia. Located on the border of the far eastern Somali region, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has a spiritual aura that will take you back to medieval times, having a very different feel to the rest of Ethiopia.
Situated on the outskirts of the famous Lake Tana, 600 km north of Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar is the third largest and arguably the most beautiful city in Ethiopia. As the capital for the regional state of Amhara, the city is home for historic monasteries, charming lodges, exotic fish markets, beautiful lakes and of course the famous Blue Nile Falls.
Home to the headquarters of the African Union, the third largest United Nations population, and with representation from nearly every foreign embassy from around the world, Addis Ababa is often referred to as the political capital of Africa.