For many people, Ethiopia is not the first thing that comes to mind when considering a trip to Africa, but it is one of the world’s most remarkable, fascinating, and beautiful countries. With nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the country is well-known for its incredible diversity of landscapes, architecture, religious monuments, relics, art, fossils, and rich cultural heritage (there are over 80 tribes).
Some of the country’s gems include: the Castles of Gondar; the walled city of Hara; Axum – where Ethiopia’s oldest church, believed to house the Arc of the Covenant is located; and Lalibela, known for its rock-cut churches. Ethiopia is also a country of outstanding natural beauty, with stunning scenery and parks. The vast plateaus and craggy peaks of the Simien and Bale Mountains are home to endemic species such as the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox, and the Walia Ibex, while the scorchingly hot Danakil Depression with its noxious, boiling hot springs is one of the most alien places on Earth.
You can further explore Ethiopia through its culinary delights, with rich and flavorful spices, experience a traditional coffee ceremony – Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and perhaps take in an evening of lively Ethio Jazz music.
Ethiopia is an undiscovered gem and a wonderful destination for adventurous travelers with an interest in culture and history. It combines well with other East African countries, but be sure to give yourself enough time to make the most of your trip.