Official language: Amharic is the official language and local languages that are widely spoken include Tigrinya and Somali.
The currency: Birr
Why is Ethiopia so unique? It might be something to do with the roaring mountain ranges, the rich cultural diversity, or the biblical artifact that is hidden within the borders. The religious wars that ran their course through the country now lends a mystery that tourist actively want to discover. The ruins that lay scattered across the country, some a little eerie, some a little soul inspiring, remains something breathtaking. Couple that with the raw beauty of nature at its best and you have got one of the most special places you’ll ever visit.
Ethiopia is famous for its collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the beautiful rock churches of Lalibela and the prestige wildlife parks. Some Islam schools believe Ethiopia to be the Queen of Shiba. Age old ruins tell tales of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that held Christianity secure during the Islamic Holy war from 1000 AD. In 1991 a civil war that was slowly causing government downfall finally came to an end, even though peace meant Ethiopia had to lose access to the red sea in order to secure peace and sustainability.
Must see places in Ethiopia
Originally home of the Axumite Empire, Ethiopia’s oldest city dates back to pre-historic times. On route to the popular Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion you can discover the beautiful moss covered ruins that lay scattered throughout the city.
Cathedrals and mud huts weaving in between Italian architecture. Addis is also the “hustle and bustle” of Ethiopia with its grand hotels and shopping destinations on offer. You have to explore Africa’s 4th largest city!
The amazing churches and medieval castles that were established in 1635 offer tourists a peek into ancient history. The architecture lends an atmosphere of nostalgia and it’s a breathtaking tour to do.
Located within the central highland, this ancient city offers tourist the opportunity to explore the solid rock churches, beautifully crafted, together with the priests wearing their colorful robes. It’s a religious site that will entice the soul.
This Muslim Holy Center offers a mind-blowing experience all together. Nestled deep within the architecture lay tales of the Islamic and Christian holy wars that raged through this country throughout history.
A hiker’s paradise! Explore the natural environment where the rare Gelada Baboons live exclusively and be amazed by the array of fauna and flora on display.
Omo River Region
Here you can explore the cultural lifestyles of over 50 different tribes while taking on the thrilling 4x4 driving routes or the wild white-water rafting which promises unrivaled experiences.
Sof Omar Caves
Spanning 15 kilometers this is the longest cave within Ethiopia. Nestled within the Bale zone in the south eastern region of Ethiopia this religious center is simply stunning with its “chamber of columns”.
Must do activities in Ethiopia
See the Blue Nile Falls
Tis Abay as it is locally known means smoking water. These waterfalls are somewhat magical and are one of Ethiopia’s biggest tourist attractions simply for its raw natural beauty and magnificence.
Visit the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion
The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion – It’s the oldest and most important church of Ethiopia and apparently contains the original Ark of the Covenant that contains the Ten Commandments.
Take a cruise on Lake Tana
The wide open waters and serene atmosphere re-energizes and lend inspiration to travelers from far and wide
Tour inside the Ethnological Museum
Explore this country’s rich history while enjoying the beautiful scenic garden in the former palace of Haile Selassie.
Jazzamba Lounge Sundowners
You have to visit this famous jazz bar to truly experience what great impact the genre of Jazz music has had on Ethiopian culture, so much so that they even invented their own version called Ethiojazz.
Enjoy the local fare at Merkato Market
Enjoy the local fare at Merkato Market just out of Addis Ababa this market offers everything from Ethiopian delicacy dishes to fine hand crafted curios.
Best time to visit Ethiopia
Tourist visit Ethiopia from October to May
Ethiopia is has some of the hottest and driest climates on earth in certain parts of its borders such as the Danakil Depression and directly contrary to that they have landmasses that are covered in snow year round, mostly in the Ethiopian highland regions. Rainy season starts mid-June through September. The best time to travel here is actually October through May during the dry season as visibility is much better during these times.
Did you Know?
Timkat - The feast of Epiphany lasts 3 days and commemorates the baptism of Christ. This lively colorful festival is a deep cultural exchange and bells ringing, trumpets blowing and the smell of incense that fills the air all contributes to an unforgettable experience (January)
Kedane Meheret - It’s literally a bread filled festival where the locals bake fresh breads and give to the poor, all in the spirit of commemorating the day that Mary took her vows (February)
Ekuntatash These New Year celebrations that are filled with vibrant music also see the start of spring so the locals all bear gifts containing flowers as to welcome the new season (September)
MeskalEach year on September 27, locals commemorate the finding of the True Cross which is now safely guarded in the monastery of Gisben Marien.
- Wat – It’s a stew mainly consisting od onions that have been sautéed and simmered for hours before red meat and spices get added and is then usually served with flatbread.
- Kitfo – This rare beef mince dish gets marinated in extremely hot chili and served with sides that will cool the pallet down such as ayibe
- Ayibe – Handmade mild and crunchy cottage cheese that also gets served along with hot dishes.
- Gomen Kitfo – Dried, diced and boiled collard greens that are traditionally served with loads of butter.
- Dobo Kolo – Similar to pretzels, these small baked bread morsels makes for a great snack.
Know you are entering a Malaria area. Take the preventative medication to avoid catching the disease.
They are common in the bigger cities and will exploit tourist at the first opportunity. Keep an eye on the things you are traveling with.
Dizziness, nausea and fatigue might get you down, considering Ethiopia’s altitude.
It’s never a good idea to be out and about on foot after dark as criminals prey near tourist attractions during these times.
The roads really aren’t fabulous and potholes along with livestock can cause allot of unwanted interferences.