Both Illona and Bridget were totally captivated on the first of their respective travels to Ethiopia. After heavens knows how many visits to Ethiopia, they can confidently steer you through the right choice of accommodation and comparisons of festivals, tribes and length of stay.
WHY WE LIKE ETHIOPIA
The landscape is magnificent, the people incredibly welcoming and the sense of history tangible. The old, decorative art in its churches, the castles at Gondor, the rock-cut churches at Lalibela and the 1,700 year old monolithic stelae at Axum all inspiring. Ethiopia is fascinating, both historically and culturally, a magical country to visit.
The focus of most holidays to Ethiopia is on the natural world, but there are also parts of the country to delight any nature lover. The endemic wildlife is truly unique with Ethiopian wolves, Gelada baboons and Walia ibex to be found in the Simien and Bale Mountains.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR ETHIOPIAN HOLIDAY
If spas, luxury hotels and fine food are high on your list of priorities, then Ethiopia is not for you. The standard of accommodation has improved with the emergence of a few new and exciting properties, but a holiday to Ethiopia is about what surrounds you rather than the luxuries in life.
What you will find is a safe, delightfully friendly country of dignified people. A country that will smash all your preconceived ideas. Ethiopia is one of the most unusual counties in Africa, complete with myth, wonder, relics and stories of emperors and queens. It is said to be home to the Ark of the Covenant and Harar is the fourth most important haj city of Islam.
One of the first countries to adopt the Christian faith, northern Ethiopia tells a story of persecution of Christians by the Arabs and dogged resolution. In the south, the roots of Africa dig deep into a remote and esoteric tribal wilderness.
SOME IDEAS FOR AN ETHIOPIAN HOLIDAY
- Plan and coincide your visit with a Christian festival.
- No visit is complete without seeing the remarkable rock-cut monolithic churches at Lalibela
- Try a few days trekking in the beautiful Simien or Bale Mountains
- If time allows head south to the tribal areas, where women have large lip plates and men indulge in bull jumping and stick fighting
- Soak in the tranquillity of Bishangari Lodge
- Visit Harar, the only predominantly Muslim city in Ethiopia, which was founded in the 7th century
BEYOND THE ORDINARY
- Venture onto the depths of the western Omo (not on the tourist route) or to the hottest place on earth: the Danakil Depression
- For the ultimate holiday, explore Ethiopia by helicopter and visit otherwise inaccessible areas