Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, is a mountainous, landlocked country divided by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds recording back to more than 3 million years, it’s a site of ancient culture.
Driven by many dark and breathtaking gorges, crowned by vast and glittering mountains, neck-laced by a chain of lakes, water from sumptuous rivers, studded with burning deserts and magnificent slopes plunging from its peaks, Ethiopia remains a land of exceptional charm. Let’s explore a complete travel guide to Ethiopia.
How to Reach Ethiopia?
There are flights accessible to and from Bole International Airport connecting it to the rest of Ethiopia and other countries of North America, Asia, and Africa. Transportation in Addis Ababa is readily available in the form of taxis, buses, and private cars. Mini-buses are the most suitable option for people looking to travel within a city and between sites of tourist interest.
Travel Guide to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa has a population of over two million people. It is not just the government hub and capital city but also the communal and financial backbone of Ethiopia. It is inhabited on a highland plateau, enveloped by a panorama of mountains and canyons. At 2000 meters, the weather is therefore not as hot as you would assume it to be.
Places to visit in Addis Ababa:
- National Museum of Ethiopia: The National Museum of Ethiopia, is a national museum established near the Addis Ababa University’s graduate school. The National Museum of Ethiopia is a blueprint of Ethiopian culture and history if you are in Addis touring this museum is a must. This museum’s greatest treasure is the incomplete skeleton of “Lucy,” a little human thought to have lived over 3 million years ago.
- Mount Entoto: Mount Entoto is the highest peak on the Entoto Mountains, overlooking Addis Ababa. It reaches over 3,000 meters above sea level. A trip to the summit makes for a fabulous afternoon journey, whether you want to get some physical exercise while you are at it or have a peaceful and slow walk. You can walk to the summit or take a private taxi partly up the hill. Most people take a taxi up and walk down so that they don’t get too exhausted to traverse the hilly attractions. It is not merely a landscape that makes the mountain an exciting spectacle. The peak is also home to the Entoto Maryam Museum and Entoto Maryam church from a modest palace where the monarch resided as he built the capital and the Entoto Observatory of the Ethiopian Space Science Society. After your stay, unwind, and refresh yourself with a cup of regionally sourced, fresh Ethiopian coffee at one the roadside shops in the hilly stretch.
- Addis Mercato: Addis Mercato is a vast open-air marketplace in the Addis Ketema district of Addis Ababa, and the title refers to the community in which it is situated. Considered to be Africa’s largest market, a visit to Mercato is a captivating experience. You can see “human squishing” between two vehicles- it is that cramped. However, you can find almost everything here. Don’t forget to try Lentil Sambusa – an Ethiopian Sambusa.
Lalibela is an ancient town in the Amhara region of Northern Ethiopia. Ethiopia was one of the earliest countries to adopt Christianity in the first half of the 4th century, and its ancient roots date to the time of the Apostles. Lalibela preserves this legacy even to this day. Lalibela is a sacred place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of devotion.
Church to visit in Lalibela
Church of St. George: The Church of Saint George is one of eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in Lalibela Region of Ethiopia. Named Roha initially, the traditional and sacred site was named Lalibela after the King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty, who authorized its construction. This church dedicated to St. George is the most picturesque and best-preserved and is deemed the most beautiful by the many tourists who come here every year to appreciate it. It is an architectural wonder. This church is split into four levels, bordered by cornices, that twirl around the building. There are ogival windows framed in an artistic bas-relief decoration on each wall. There are 12 windows open on the top floor and nine blind windows on the level below.
What to eat and drink in Ethiopia?
If you live in a big city, chances are you’ve tried Ethiopian food. However, if you are traveling in Ethiopia, here are a few unmissable dishes. Just remember, Eating Ethiopian nearly always means eating with your hands- don’t shy away.
- Local Ethiopian coffee: Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and produces thousands of varieties, and there are still hundreds of undiscovered varieties. Ethiopia Coffee, something that I can never get over with, stars a small and greyish bean, yet is prized for its spice, deep and wine or chocolate-like taste and herbaceous aroma. You can find the seeds and coffee everywhere in Ethiopia. Do not miss it. There are coffee ceremonies everywhere in Ethiopia.
- Injera- Sourdough Flatbread: Injera is a sour fermented flatbread with a somewhat porous texture, locally made out of teff flour. It is the national dish of Ethiopia. You can find it everywhere.
- Berbere: If you love Indian food, you will love Berbere. Berbere is the name of a classic pepper and the title of Ethiopia’s most famous spice mix. In Ethiopia, people buy large bags of berbere peppers once a year and dry them in the hot sun. Don’t forget to ask your restaurant for some Berbere added in your meals for an authentic Ethiopian taste.
- Tibs: Meat lovers rejoice, Ethiopia loves beef. Tibs is made from beef cut into little chunks and sautéed in oil or butter with hot pepper, onion, rosemary, and garlic.