Known as the ‘Roof of Africa’ due to its elevation, Ethiopia offers some diverse sights – from churches carved out of stone to stunning, lush mountain views, and wildlife such as the rare Ethiopian wolf and Gelada monkeys. As the only African country that was not colonised, Ethiopia is considered to be one of the most unique countries in Northern Africa, compared to its neighbouring countries, for its Orthodox Christian heritage.
On a tailor-made itinerary to Ethiopia, visit the third highest capital in the world, Addis Ababa – home to some of the earliest evidence of human existence, which includes the 3.5-million-year-old bones of ‘Lucy’ exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum. Hewn into the rock faces of Ethiopia, explore Wukro Cherkos and Abraha Atsbeha churches en route to Hawzien, or discover the 11 rock-hewn churches at the world heritage site of Lalibela, built in the 12th century by King Lalibela.
Journey to the Godar, located at the foot of the Simien mountains to go in search of gelada monkeys and the endangered walia ibex. These mountains are also home to one of Africa’s largest ranges with as many as a dozen peaks over 4,000-metres high. For those who are looking for a challenge, climb up Imet Gogo to witness the spectacular views from its 3,926-metre-high peak.
Alternatively, experience the many tribes of Ethiopia, predominantly found in the southern Rift Valley. The most well known tribe out of the 46 ethnic groups of the Omo Valley is the Mursi. The women are adorned with a large lip plate, once they reach 20 years old, the lower lip is split and a clay plate is inserted, stretching the lip even more to allow for a larger plate to be added. It is said that throughout a lifetime, these plates can reach up to 15 cm in diameter.
A benefit of travelling to Ethiopia on a tailor-made itinerary is that we can arrange it around the many festivals that take place each year. Timkat is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of the Epiphany and takes place in January. In September, celebrate Meskel in Addis Ababa, which commemorates the finding of the true cross by Queen Helena. Lastly, in Axum, witness the annual pilgrimage of Hidar Tsion in November. Speak to our travel consultants to find out the exact dates of each festival.