Ethiopia is mainly known for its Origin of mankind, a home to the first remains ever known. Besides being the capital of Africa, Ethiopia has very diverse cultures and languages that harmonizes with each other. Ethiopia has over 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including National Parks, unique Castles and Rock-Hewn Churches.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of the world’s third consumed drink, Coffee. Kaldi the shepherd and his goat were the founders of this magical drink(Coffee Arabica). The forest coffee grown with no fertilizer is hand picked and consumed by the local and International consumers.
Ethiopia is a home to one of the world’s ancient civilization that connected the three continents namely Greco-Roman, Africa and the Arab world. The occupation of the kingdom stretched to Kush(Egypt and Sudan) to Yemen. The Queen of Sheba(Aksumite Kingdom) was even the first one to have currency(coin) for exchanging goods. Huge Stelae(monoliths) and castles were built during the Axumite Kingdom for the purpose of worships and the ruler’s residence that can still be found in the city of Axum.
Later the Zagwe Dynasty(Ethiopian Orthodox) was another Kingdom that came into power that led Ethiopia for centuries. The Zagwe Dynasty was known for their construction of Rock-Hewn Churches and monasteries to show their submission and love to their God. The symmetry and designs of the buildings is still a puzzle that has been studied for decades and still under investigation.
The Blue Nile is the largest river that feeds the Nile(Egypt), the longest and second largest river in the world. The Blue Nile is found in Bahir Dar Northern Ethiopia where the Tana Lake and numbers of Island monasteries are found. A few kilometers away is the Semien Mountains National Park, home of the endemic Gelada Baboon and the Walia Ibex and the highest lodge in Africa the Simien Lodge, an eco-Friendly Lodge.
The Lower Omo Valley is a home to a remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups not only the Burne and the Karo, but also the Geleb, Bodi, Mursi, Surma, Arbore, and the Hammer to name a few. Lifestyle are as various as the tribes themselves. The Burne and the Karo mingle with the pastoral Geleb and the transhumant Hamer. The Mursi and Surma, meanwhile mix basic subsistence cultivation with small-scale cattle-herding lives of harsh simplicity uncluttered by the pressures of the modern world.
Religion and culture is the most influential aspect in the urban and rural areas of Ethiopia. Urban and city parts are mostly being influenced by the western culture due to globalization. These can be seen in the way people dress, eat, technology, consumer goods and so. Even in the rural areas the construction of asphalt roads to access vehicles and mobile phones has introduced the western culture more than anything. Different cultures and customs like giving birth and other medical and commercial activities has been simplified and modernized due to the introduction of roads.
Christian and Muslim are the main religions practiced in the country. Even Though other cultural religions are being practiced, among these is the Geda system that is practiced by the Oromo people, and Errecha(Thanksgiving) being the biggest celebration in the system. In rural areas besides the common religion most believe in cultural healers and fortune tellers.
Ethiopian nature is one of the most diverse. The Dallol Depression being the Lowest in the world and the Semien Mountains being the highest point in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has numbers of National Parks that are home to numbers of endemic animals. First of is the Semien Mountain National Park. The eroded Ethiopian Plateau comprises jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys, and sharp precipices dropping about 1,500m(4,900ft). The decrease of the Walia Ibex, Bushbuck, and Bushpig populations as well as an increase of the human population once prompted the World Heritage Committee to place it on the World Heritage in Danger in 1996, but in late 2017 the park was out of the list by the help of the locals working to preserve the park and prohibiting unlicensed personnel trespass the boundary.
The Great Rift Valley Lakes are the Northernmost of the African Rift valley lakes. The Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes occupy the floor of the rift valley between two highlands. Most of the Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes do not have an outlet, and most are alkaline and a home to Pelicans, Flamingoes, crocodile, Hippopotamus, and more.
In Bahir dar Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls(Tissisat) and Island Monasteries are the main attractions. The blue Nile Falls is located about 30km to the South. Nowadays the amount of water running through the falls is being reduced and regulated due to the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Nevertheless the Blue Nile Falls are still one of the main tourist attractions of Bahir Dar, especially during the rainy seasons when the water level rises and the falls become greater.
Regarding climate Ethiopia is gifted with the driest and hottest region of Afar and Dallol Depression as well as the Bale Mountains topped with dry ice throughout the year.
Ethiopia’s climate differs in two seasons: summer and winter. During the summer heavy rainfalls last from mid-June to early September. And the rest of the year is mainly dry, but in some regions like the Afar the climate is the reverse i.e. dry during the summers and rain and cooler weather is expected during winter(December-February) , even though the climate of Afar is very hot in general it is recommended for tourists to travel during winter season.
Current Time & Date:
The Ethiopian currency is Birr(ETB).
Even the US Dollar, Euro, and British Pound are the most easily convertible currencies. Automatic tellers and banks can easily convert these currencies to the local Birr. Visa Card and Mastercard is applicable in some Hotels to do payments, but it is always advisable to carry notes.
Amharic is the most spoken language in the country, in addition to the local languages of the specific region. Educated people in urban areas speak English to communicate with foreigners.
Food & Drinks:
In Ethiopia foreigners usually enjoy international cuisine, that is since Hotels and Restaurants serve a high standard quality food to their visitors. In addition to International Cuisine, one of the most enjoyed local dish is Kitfo, ground beef seasoned with seasoned butter and paprika, and the most famous drink is Tejj(brewed honey). Other local foods include Yetsom Beyaynetu(Different vegetarian stew served with Injera), Tibs(Grilled minced meat)and Doro Wot(Chicken Stew served with Injera).
Ethiopia is one of the healthiest and fully equipped with medical equipments when it comes to medication.
It is advisable for travellers to have Health insurance while travelling to Ethiopia, but it is necessary to get information about the insurance being valid with the tour operator. Hallelujah Hospital, St. Gabriel, iCMC and Girum Hospital are private Hospitals that are fully equipped and advised in case of emergency.
Visitors are advised to take the necessary precautions against HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
The risk of malaria is low in the capital and the Highlands but high in the Lowlands and Lake regions.
As the strains of malaria, and the drugs used to combat them, frequently change, and as certain strains can become drug resistant, it is best to seek medical advice before your departure and take any medication prescribed. Pregnant or very young children are not advised to travel to malarial areas.
Other precautions are: to wear long sleeves, socks, closed shoes, and generally keep the body covered, to sleep with a mosquito net and to use mosquito coils and repellent.
You will need a visa to enter Ethiopia. Visas on arrival are being given for only 50USD but it is advisable to get your visa from the Ethiopian Embassy in your country. Passports should be valid for 6 months from the date of entry into Ethiopia. And there must be two blank pages and two passport size photos on arrival.
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
Capital: Addis Abeba
Currency: Ethiopian Birr
Population: 103 million
Official languages: Amharic