Five Reasons to Visit Ethiopia

25th October 2017


Ethiopia is a country rich in history, culture and nature. It is home to the Queen of Sheba’s palace, ancient rock-hewn churches and some say even the Ark of the Covenant itself. Not to mention the alien landscape of the Danakil, the rugged peaks of the Simien Mountains or the mouthwatering cuisine.

Here are just five great reasons to visit Ethiopia:

Rock-Cut Churches of Lalibela

Ethiopia is home to what many consider the eighth wonder of the world, huge monolithic churches cut straight from solid rock. These 12th century rock-cut churches are unique to Ethiopia and they symbolise the country’s long history of Christianity, an association that goes all the way back to the apostles.

Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1978, no visit to Ethiopia would be complete without taking in a visit to this ancient holy site. Fortunate visitors may even be able to witness an Ethiopian Orthodox service or see one the priceless ancient manuscripts used by the priests.

Ethiopian Cuisine

Ethiopia isn’t particularly famous for its cuisine, it’s definitely not a restaurant type that you will find in many towns or cities outside Africa. However, it is delicious and is often a pleasant surprise for many visitors to Ethiopia.

Typical fare consists of a fantastic array of spiced meats and curries, tasty dishes with lentil and chickpeas, all served on injera, a large, slightly sour, flatbread that is eaten communally. And any visitor should remember that Ethiopia is where the coffee bean was first cultivated and the coffee ceremony is a distinctive part of Ethiopian culture. Read more about Ethiopian cuisine here.

Ethiopian cuisine
St George's Rock Church Lalibela

Ethio-Jazz in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia may not be the first place you would think to find dozens of late night jazz clubs but since the 1950s, Addis Ababa has moved to the rhythm of Ethio-Jazz. It’s a fusion of traditional Ethiopian music combined with jazz, creating a unique sound that is best experienced in the bars and clubs of Addis Ababa.

The Ethio-jazz movement was forced underground by the Derg during the 18 year rule of the communist junta, after Emperor Hailie Selassie was dethroned. However, it was never extinguished and in the last decade the movement has seen a renaissance.

The Danakil Depression

The Danakil Depression lies at the meeting point of three tectonic plates and is one of the hottest places on Earth. It’s a geological and ecological goldmine, fascinating scientists and visitors alike.

Bright green and yellow algae grows in the little remaining water, which gives the entire area an otherworldly feel. Huge pillars of rock salt dot the landscape while lava pools and active volcanoes occasionally erupt. It's a surreal environment but it is also an unforgettable one.

The Simien Mountains

Situated on a high plateau, Ethiopia has an incredible mix of landscapes from vast grasslands and deserts to steep canyons and fast flowing rivers. But it is the splendor of the Siemen Mountains that stands out in the memory of most of our clients.

One of the few places in Africa that receives regular snowfall, these rugged peaks are home to bountiful wildlife including the rare, and endemic, Siemen wolf.

Danakil Depression
Simien Mountains

Josh Hansen

Josh has always had an interest in the world – many an hour of his youth was spent reading an atlas when he should have been doing other things. The t…

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