Ethiopia invites you to discover why it is the origin of so much history and culture, vibrantly alive in a landscape of dramatic beauty. For this is a land of origins. It is the cradle of humanity, where our ancestors first walked on two legs. It is also the source of the Blue Nile that flows from mystic Lake Tana, and it is the origin of coffee that grows wild in the cloud forests of the Biosphere Reserves of Kafa and Yuyu.
Ethiopia is old beyond imagination but there is much that is still tangible: the remains of great civilisations like Aksum with its giant stelae, the mystical churches of Lalibela and Tigrai -hand-hewn from rock-, colourful Harar -the fourth most holy city in Islam-, and powerful kingdoms that gave splendour to Gondar with its 17th century fairytale castles. UNESCO has recognised this wealth with 9 World Heritage Sites. Ethiopia’s mysterious ancient cities contrast with lively Addis Ababa, the diplomatic capital of Africa that has developed an excellent reputation for top-level international meetings.
Today Ethiopia is a mosaic of cultures, a living kaleidoscope of peoples from many different ethnic back-grounds and speaking over 80 different languages. They offer genuine warmth towards guests in the land of which they are so proud.
Flamboyant and spiritually uplifting, Ethiopia’s religious and ethnic festivals – such as Timket, Meskel, Ethiopian Christmas, Ramadan, Irreecha and People’s Nations & Nationalities Day - give you the chance to be part of an authentic experience unlike any other and to leave with enduring memories.
Ethiopia is also a land of dramatic landscapes of extraordinary contrasts.
From the Afro-Alpine Simien Mountains with peaks over 4000m and the Bale Mountains, both in the highlands, to the Danakil Depression - the lowest and hottest place on Earth.
For Ethiopia has weird geothermal features, active volcanoes, and huge salt beds but also lush rain forests, rolling savannah and glistening lakes such as those dotting the Great Rift Valley.
The range of terrain and climate make Ethiopia the fourth largest bio-diversity zone on Earth – with more unique species of flora than any other country in Africa.
Touring Ethiopia you will see the world’s rarest wolf, the twisted horned mountain Nyala and the Walia ibex. You will enjoy mingling with the endemic gelada baboons in their natural habitat. There’s all this plus typical African fauna.
With over 860 species, Ethiopia’s birdlife is among the best in Africa thanks to its incredible range of different habitats and proximity to the Equator.
This is also a paradise for high altitude trekking as well as walking and hiking at every level and all year round.
You can also join the country’s legendary long distance runners in the annual Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa or one of the increasing number of trail running events.
Ethiopia is truly a wondrous land. It is hard to believe how old it is, and yet how new. Make it your travel destination and take the time to be enchanted by her extraordinary past and to share in her dynamic present. Come, and you will discover why Ethiopia is original in many ways.
© Ethiopian Tourism Organization