Major Tourist Attractions: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Lake Assal, Simien Mountains National Park, Ras Dashen
Ethiopia is one of four countries that create the Horn of Africa, a peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea, on the northeastern side of the continent. Amharic is the official language, though there are many more regionally, recognized languages. English is also spoken as it’s the primary foreign language taught, though it gets scarcer the farther out from larger cities. There are many reasons to visit this landlocked country, including volcanic lakes, tribal safaris, and historic churches and mosques.
Ethiopia is a country of mixed cultures with a range of sights just as diverse for travelers. From modern conveniences and shopping in its largest and most visited city of Addis Abba to rural villages where traditions and customs go back thousands of years, it offers up something for everyone. All visitors must obtain a visa, but most can obtain one upon arrival at Bole International Airport in the capital of Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian dining is an experience all its own and the national dish, injera, is a must eat. The community style of eating matches the Ethiopian friendly nature and is centered around the injera, which is more or less a thin pancake-like bread, that’s served on a large round plate with various traditional foods on it to share. It is also used as the eating utensil, but be sure to only use the right hand, as eating with the left would be considered disrespectful.
Travelers to Ethiopia won’t find much in the way of youth hostels, but there is plenty of affordable lodging with cheap hotels and private guesthouses being the most common arrangements. Luxury accommodations are also available in the capital with chains like the Sheraton and Hilton Hotels. For more rural experiences there’s also bungalow style lodging at places like the the Babogaya Lake Viewpoint Lodge among the crater lakes of Debre Zeyit.
Here is a look at some of the adventures that await travelers to Ethiopia:
- Go kayaking in the crater lakes of Debre Zeyit.
- Trek in the Simien Mountains National Park.
- Visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
- Head to Harar, an ancient walled city filled with mosques and shrines.
- Visit the Bale Mountains by way of a bungalow at Bale Mountain Lodge.
- Dine on injera and wot in the Ethiopian way by sharing with a friend.
- Experience the coffee ceremony consisting of three servings while munching on roasted barley or popcorn, but be wary of scams.
- Visit the Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum in Addis Ababa for a history of the Derg Era.
- Experience the way of life of local tribes in the Omo Valley.
- See the Blue Nile Falls outside Bahir Dar.
- Learn about Ethiopian culture and history at the Ethnological Museum.
- Visit the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Abba to see Lucy, the most famous skeleton fossil of early human ancestors ever discovered.
- Check out spectacular views of the surrounding city at the top of Entoto Hill in Addis Ababa.
- Go eco-trekking and enjoy breathtaking views in Lalibela.
Address: Entoto Street
P.O. Box 1014