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9 Reasons Why You Should Visit Ethiopia Right Now

Ethiopia _ Fall _ Why you should visit Ethiopia
Tis Isat Fall, Ethiopia. Photo credit : Amhara region Tourism

Gayle Aggiss
December 20, 2019

In 2018, Ethiopia’s Travel & Tourism economy grew by 48.6%, more than any other country in the world.More and more travelers are discovering the secrets of this stunning location, and if you want to be one of them then you need to act fast.

Visit Ethiopia now, before everyone else learns how much it has to offer. Ethiopia has stunning scenery, a long history that’s etched into the culture and landscape, and a unique way of life.It offers the perfect combination of history, culture, food, and adventure for travelers who want to get off the beaten path and experience the best the world has to offer.Here’s why you should put Ethiopia at the top of your travel bucket list.

1. A New E-Visa

The government of Ethiopia has recently made it even easier for people to visit.Their new E-visa is available to everyone and eliminates the need for a trip to a consulate or embassy.You can complete the application for the visa online in just a couple of minutes.

During the application process,you’ll need to answer a few basic questions. Usually, you’ll get approval within 24 hours,though it can take up to 3 days. And once you’re approved,you’ll receive your E-Visa through email.The E-Visa allows a single entry and you can choose whether you want a 30- or 90-day visa.

Once you land in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport,all you have to do is present your E-Visa and passport at customs.

2. Complimentary City Tours

One of the best ways to get to know a new city is to take a tour.And now, Ethiopian Airlines is offering a complimentary city tour of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

The tour is available for anyone who transits through Addis Ababa and has 6-8 hours to spare.It showcases the best the city has to offer,from the amazing landmarks to the National Museum and Ethiopian coffee-tasting. Basically, it’s an awesome reason to get a long layover in Addis Ababa. And it’s a great introduction to this fascinating country.

3. The Delicious Ethiopian Food

Let’s face it, one of the best things about traveling is trying all the different food. And Ethiopian food is worth the effort.You’ll find everything from raw meat to vegetarian dishes when you travel to Ethiopia and eating is a delightfully communal experience.Food is served on a common platter for everyone to share and this creates a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

Injera _ Ethiopia _ travel
Ethiopian food. Credit : Claire A Davies

One of the most common foods you’ll encounter when visiting Ethiopia is Injera, a type of flatbread that’s used to scoop up other foods.Just make sure you only scoop with your right hand or you may get some strange looks.

4. Amazing Hiking

Ethiopia is a land of contrasts.It boasts 70 percent of the mountains on the African continent and these contrast with lush green areas, endless plains, and enormous lakes.The land is incredibly beautiful and looks amazing in photographs. And the best way to see it is to explore on your own two feet.

One of the best places to hike in Ethiopia is the otherworldly Simien Mountains.This is where you’ll find primeval forests set against towering mountains and populated by strange creatures you won’t find anywhere else.You can take five- or ten-day treks through the mountains as well as shorter ones, and experience some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth.

Ethiopia _ Mountain _ Visit Ethiopia
Seminen Mountain. Photo credit: Amhara region Tourism

The Simien Mountains are in the far north of Ethiopia and must of them are protected as part of the Simien Mountains National Park.The dramatic landscape was created millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions, and this has created a landscape that’s full of contrasts.

5. Ethiopia is the Birthplace of Coffee

If you enjoy your morning brew,then you must spend some time in Ethiopia. Legend has it that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia before being transported elsewhere. So, you probably owe your morning pick-me-up to this country.

To the Ethiopians, coffee is more than just a drink. It’s an excuse to be together, to have conversations and catch up with other people’s lives. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony reflects these goals and is an aromatic and welcoming ritual to take part in.

6. Amazing Wildlife

Ethiopia has some of the rarest and strangest creatures on earth. High in the mountains lives the Gelada Baboon, the world’s rarest ape. You could also catch sight of the endangered Ethiopian Wolf or Walia Ibex.

If you prefer the world’s feathered animals,then you’ll love going birdwatching in Ethiopia.There are 924 species of birds in Ethiopia, spread out amongst the wildlife preserves and natural areas.23 of these species are endemic to the country, so you won’t find them anywhere else outside of the zoo.So, while you’re in Ethiopia keep an eye out for Rouget’s Rail, the Blue-winged Goose, and the White-cheeked Turaco among others.

7. The Rich Religious History

Islam and Orthodox Christianity are the main religions in Ethiopia and have been practiced there for years.In fact,the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest churches in the world. But although this history is amazing,it’s the underground churches that really capture attention.And they’re just as astonishing and mind-boggling as all the stories about them claim.

Lalibela _ Church _ Ethiopia
Lalibela Church. Photo : Claire A Davis

Islam’s history goes back to the 6th century, to a time when the Muslims fled to Ethiopia to escape persecution.Both of these religions have a long history and great stories and monuments.And yet the most heart-warming and hopeful takeaway is the friendly relationship between the followers of these two religions in Ethiopia.

8. The Unique Ethiopian Culture

There are more than 80 ethnic groups and languages in Ethiopia. There are numerous tribes spread out all across the country, all of them with different customs and traditions. Many of these tribes still enjoy traditional lifestyles and can offer a rare chance for you to experience these different ways of life. And the more time you spend in Ethiopia the more you will appreciate all these differences.

You can learn more about these cultures by taking part in some of the amazing festivals in Ethiopia.They range from religious festivals like Meskel and Timket to the Adwa celebration, a national remembrance day where the whole country celebrates Ethiopia’s victory over an invading army in the late 1800s. Being a part of these festivals is a good way to get to know the local cultures and customs and start to understand what makes Ethiopia unique.

When you travel around Ethiopia, you will probably feel as if you’re moving through different countries,that’s how diverse the cultures are.And this melting pot of cultures will make your visit that much more rich and vivid.

9. A Very Long History

Ethiopia’s history goes back millions of years.It was in this country that Lucy was found, a skeleton of one of the earliest human ancestors.The fossil is around 3.2 million years old and is kept in Ethiopia’s National Museum. It’s just one piece of evidence that suggests that Ethiopia is the birthplace of mankind.And you’ll get to experience that history when you visit Ethiopia.

Another piece of evidence was found in the village of Hadar in Ethiopia. Called Selam,it’s a fossil that dates back around 3.3 million years.The fossil is the skeleton of a child of the human lineage and the mostly intact skull gave researchers important insights into this early version of mankind. There are also ongoing digs in the lower Awash and Omo valleys, where there are paleontological sites that are registered by UNESCO.

The Takeaway

It isn’t often that you get to experience the history of mankind or spend some time in the place where life began.And that’s just the start of what you’ll experience when you travel to Ethiopia.So, be part of the first wave of explorers to experience this amazing country and get there before the crowds do.


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