Rugged mountains, cobalt-blue lakes, sun-drenched savannahs and smoking volcanoes are just some of the spectacular landscapes that define Ethiopia. The nation is a world-class safari destination, with the chance to spot a cast of African wildlife. Cities such as Addis showcase Ethiopia’s modern side, while monasteries, churches and archaeological sites recall the country’s ancient past.
Things to do in Ethiopia
Ethiopia will astound you with its rugged natural beauty. Treks in Bale Mountains National Park take you through windswept plateaus and mist-cloaked cloud forest. If you’re lucky, you might spot the ultra-rare Ethiopian wolf. Head to the Simien Mountains to spot gelada monkeys grazing in the grasslands and walia ibex scrambling along the cliffsides. The country is quickly emerging as a world-class birding destination, with more than 800 bird species to spot.
Unlike most other African countries, Ethiopia was never colonised by the Europeans. This has allowed it to retain much of its history, heritage, culture and traditions. Visit the charming village of Kibish to learn about the fascinating Surma people. In Addis Ababa, the National Museum of Ethiopia is filled with cultural treasures.
The climb up to Debre Damo takes you to one of the most important monasteries in Africa. The 6th-century complex is perched at the top of a 15-metre high cliff. A leather rope is used to haul you up the cliff, where you can visit beautifully restored Abuna Aregawi. The church dates back to the 10th century AD and recalls the reign of the Aksumite Empire, while the ceiling is decorated with wooden panels adorned with carvings of Ethiopian wildlife.
Thick vegetable stews, flavourful chicken curries and spicy marinated meat are just some of the local specialities on offer in Ethiopia. Most meals are served with injera, a tasty sourdough flatbread, while mornings should start with a cup of locally grown Ethiopian coffee.
Getting around Ethiopia
Taxis are a quick and comfortable way to get around major cities. You can also ride shared minibuses. Hiring a private driver is a good way to explore the country at your own pace and guided tours are also popular. Addis Ababa Bole International is the main airport.