This is the 4th country that I have visited in Africa and I can tell that it is a lot better than what I have imagined, well or what was propagated on me. I thought that it is going be very poor, underdeveloped and have people dying (I know it is a bit drastic but this is what our media tells us). However, rich in wonderful deserted areas, mountains, amazingly carved churches, nice people, amazing cultural dances and food, Ethiopia is a true jam of Africa worth exploring.
I have travelled with my future husband and we had 3 weeks to explore, so here are 9 things you could do while you are there:
#1 Danakil Depression the best changing landscape ever
Now with this, Danakil Depresession, is nothing you’ll see anywhere else in the world, I promise. A colourful landscape full with bright yellow, green and red coloured shapes and areas caused by sulphates’ release in the air due to the seismic activity, will surely take your breath away. It is a must do when you are in Ethiopia! You will pass amazing salt lakes on the jeep, sleep in the million stars hotel and see few spots created by this moving activity underneath your feet. You’ll also be able to float in a salty water basin too.
#2 Simien Mountains Hike
Simien Mountains are just mind-blowing, they are big and vast and rich with wildlife. To get there we drove from Shire to Dabark and literally we thought our bus is not gonna make it while zigzagging on top of these hills. The steepness sometimes makes your heart stop but you still want to look at it. As part of our trecking 3-day tour, we climbed the 2nd highest peak, Mount Bhawit, (4400m) above the sea level with truly beautiful and diverse scenery.
The wildlife is so varied and these mountains are very famous for the goats that make this a Unesco protected national park. Birds with 3m wings with also have nests that look like a large animal’s nest. The community of red-chested baboons that don’t mind you at all and you could even take selfies with. And I even got my lunch sandwich stolen by an eagle from my hands, can you imagine that ( it happened in literally 3 seconds and it is my highlight of the trip). It is truly amazing here, being fit is an advantage when on these mountains, however, we had people in the group for whom it was their first hike ever and they did very well. If you are in Ethiopia, don’t miss the opportunity.
#3 Tigre Churches in high rocks
If you are not a fan of religious monuments or buildings, your perception might change or you’ll appreciate it even more when visiting Tigre Churches. It is unbelievable that religion in Ethiopia came about the 4th century and that some of the churches happily function to this date. Engraved walls holding century’s history, prayers in Gozo language makes this place so unique and so igniting that it will leave this impression on you forever.
Getting into the church is adventurous too, as some of them are in as much as 300m height and difficult to access. However, all people of all ages can get into them with the help of guides, monks and other helpers. You can book 2-day tour, but usually, you can see the main church Abuna Yemata Church in 1-day tour.
#4 Foodilicious Ethiopian Food
If you haven’t tried it yet, Ethiopians have one of the most unique and tasty dishes. Injera is the signature dish that comes with the sour bread pancake and a variety of sides or sauce. It is also gluten free so good for everyone. Firfir made using similar bread and mixed in the spiced sauce with paprika is also a great choice. And for breakfast, you can try a traditional dish, ful, which is made with beans and served with bread.
#5 Fresh juice, coffee & nice beer
If you aren’t convinced yet, Ethiopians are known for their coffee ceremonies, beer and juices. Their lager beers are quite mild and refreshing. Best known beer brands to try are: Habesha, Walia, Harar and Dashen.
For those that are looking for healthier options, get amazing taste of just made coffee or fresh juices avocado, papaya or mango… Freshly picked and made on spot.
Lalibela is a small town, however very impressive and even Unesco protected. It is famous for its churches, but it is not like anything you have seen, they are carved in stone. The most impressive is a cross-shaped St George church, which is accessible for everyone and it will surely get stuck in your memory as it is so unique. Besides it, there are 10 other churches accessible in a single tour that you can walk through and all of them are different. Truly astonishing.
#7 Axum monuments
Axum used to be the first capital of Ethiopia and surely it is still a special place of the country. We have just passed by quite quickly due to the time limitations of our trip, but it is very famous for its 24m tall Axum Monuments that are visible from far distances as they are so high. It is crazy to think about how people had built them with their bare hands.
It’s a shame as we haven’t visited this city, it is a Muslim city of Ethiopia rich with its colourful culture, the most famous attraction is feeding hienas in the evening. Most importantly, this city alone was one of the most recommended places to go in 2018 by National Geographic.
#9 Addis Ababa
Ethiopia’s Capital city is a very and chaotic city, however, it offers really nice tourist attractions, amazing places to eat that are very Western-like. We had also seen artistic entertainment with hair dance, and cultural songs, musical instruments and dances from different regions to enrich our stay even more.
Another very interesting opportunity that was waiting for us was in National Museum of Ethiopia, this is where we had to really connect with our ancestors like Lucy, who is the oldest primate to be linked with human evolution.
So there you have it, hope you enjoy this article. If you need some advice before going let me know 😉