5 reasons to visit Ethiopia
Pssst, want to know a secret? Ethiopia is set to be the next big thing – and here’s why.
Words by Ute Junker
Photos by John Wollwerth, Luisa Puccini, Matej Hudovernik via Shutterstock
If you thought every African trip was just about game drives, think again. In Ethiopia, you can get adventurous exploring the otherworldly landscapes of the Danakil Depression and the tribal traditions of the Omo Valley, or take part in the time-honoured ritual of the coffee ceremony.
Here are five more reasons to add Ethiopia to your must-visit list.
- Never heard of Axum? You’re not alone. Yet 2000 years ago, Axum was the hub of a mighty empire. Its extensive ruins give some idea of its might, particularly the giant obelisks that once dominated the landscape.
- Serene Lake Tana is home to dozens of picturesque monasteries and churches dotted around its islands and peninsulas. These circular structures may look simple from the outside; inside, however, they are dazzling. Murals in explosive shades of green and red, orange and yellow and blue, cover every surface, vividly depicting saints working miracles and warriors riding into battle.
- For those who like spectacular views, the Simien Mountains is the place to go, its 3500 metre escarpments surrounded by soaring peaks and verdant plateaus. The local long-haired gelada baboons – gentle creatures that travel in large packs and enjoy grooming each other – are a delight to watch.
- Ornate stone castles in Ethiopia? Heck yes – the former of royal capital of Gondar is studded wih no fewer than 20 castles and royal buildings.
- If you see just one thing in Ethiopia, make it the rock churches of Lalibela. These massive monuments dating back to the 12th century are among the true wonders of the world. Carved out of soaring cliffs – the builders started at the top and excavated downwards – many of the churches are joined by tunnels, and are still in use today.