What to seeCultural and Historic Sites
The northern historical circuit is the country's most visited region, and encompasses Axum, Lalibela, the Simien Mountains, Gondar and Bahar Dar. The 16th century, Portuguese influenced castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile at Bahar Dar and Lalibela’s rock hewn churches can easily be combined in an inspiring week-long itinerary.
Also in the north, although less visited, are the rock-hewn churches of Tigrai, accessed from Mekele. Carved into the sandstone cliffs, these religious sanctuaries are likely to attract the second or third time visitor to Ethiopia.
Journey south of Addis Ababa through the scattered lakes of the African Rift Valley to Arba Minch, a small town surrounded by green hills. Southwest of here is the South Omo region, where it is possible to visit local tribes and gain an insight into their way of life.
Most of Ethiopia is more than 1,500m above sea level and some areas are as high as 4,550m. For this reason, it is often referred to as the ‘Roof of Africa’.
Ethiopia has two highland national parks. The Simien Mountains in the north is a region of jagged peaks and unparalleled mountain views, and provides an interesting contrast to the monuments on the northern circuit. The park is also known for its endemic walia ibex (mountain goat) and gelada mountain monkey.
Meanwhile, the wild alpine scenery of the Bale Mountains is a favoured habitat of the Ethiopian wolf and is the best place in Ethiopia to spot endemic birds.
Accommodation in Ethiopia is simple but we strongly believe that the country’s cultural wonders more than make up for any shortcomings.