Wherever you travel in Ethiopia, visitors will be touched by the welcoming spirit, generosity and curiosity of the local people. The modern, bustling and vibrant city of Addis Ababa, which some people call the real capital of Africa, is a vivid contrast to little-explored countryside regions. Ethiopia offers wonderful, unearthly scenery and diverse landscapes with a mesmerising beauty unlike anywhere else in the world.
Forget what you already know about Ethiopia and check out those amazing places :
Ethiopia’s Isolated Alpine Wilderness
The Bale Mountains are some of the least explored parts of a country still opening up to intrepid tourists. It is perfect for explorers of all ages and there are plenty of interesting walks for anyone who wants to discover the real, hidden Ethiopia. The area is so remarkable that UNESCO has listed The Bale Mountains as having Outstanding Universal Value thanks to its unique flora and fauna alone. However, the environment remains largely ignored and unexplored by tourists – perhaps its greatest charm.
Ethiopia’s Magical Volcanic Landscapes
If ever there was a place that best represented the dawn of time, Dallol in the heart of the Danakil Desert in north eastern Ethiopia is it. Breathtakingly desolate, and yet remarkably vibrant, this is one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. It is also one of the hottest. Dallol is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Due to volcanic activity in the region, acidic hot springs bubbling with sulphur and salt lakes abound, their brilliant displays of colour, greens, purples, pinks, blues and yellows, reflecting the minerals contained within. For keen photographers, a day wandering around in Dallol is a heavenly treat. Surreal sculptures formed by lava and then enhanced by salt and other minerals adorn the terrain in a kind of other-worldly natural art gallery.
Northern Ethiopia, Trekking on the Roof of Africa
A landscape of chiselled gorges and deep-cut canyons, dusty hoodoos and windswept escarpments, plunging cliffs and colossal crags of ancient rock, the Simien Mountains rarely fail to leave travellers in awe. Home to many of the highest peaks in Africa, the sweeping plateaus that rise and rise here between Eritrea and the imperial Solomonic city of Gondar are the product of millions of years of attrition and erosion. Today, they come criss-crossed with hiking trails and dotted with the earthy villages of the highland tribes. No wonder this one is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site !
The Vision of King Lalibela
Hidden discretely in the remote North of the Ethiopian highlands, 150km east of Lake Tana, the churches of Lalibela have become a major pilgrimage destination for followers of the Christian Orthodox Church. There are almost 200 rock-hewn churches throughout the country. Each one excavated out of the red volcanic rock that covers the ground. However, the 11 churches of Lalibela, listed as a UNESCO site in 1978, are amongst the finest in Ethiopia. The most popular tale is that the churches were commissioned by King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela. It is said that he was visited by an angel in a dream who told him to build the New Jerusalem. And so these churches were built. Each church has its own guardian, a monk who welcomes visitors and carries a processional cross.
The Unique Wilderness in South-Western Ethiopia
The banks of the Lower Omo River in South-Western Ethiopia are home to over 200,000 tribal people. Running through the Great Rift Valley, the River Omo comes to an abrupt stop at Lake Turkana. The climate is usually hot and dry, with times of intense rain once or twice a year. The thing that unites these tribes more than anything is their use of traditional body art. Using mineral powders, pulverised from local materials, they decorate their bodies in abstract designs and colours. The eye-catching Mursi lip plates are one of the most well-known. A world away from Western civilisation, the indigenous inhabitants of the Lower Omo River are self-sufficient, traditional and artistic.