Ethiopia is a place of great diversity, from rolling mountain ranges to lakes teeming with wildlife and some of the world's most incredible churches.
If you're on a short trip, why not check out this list of highlights to help plan your itinerary.
Tribal Area- Omo Valley
This area is the more unique I’ve ever seen. Each village has a distant tribal flavor. The décor, clothing, jewellery and customs change dramatically from village to village. Although it can be very difficult to access, this area is the more interesting and unique in Ethiopia (if not Eastern Africa).
This is the home to dozens of hippos and crocodiles. They are only accessible by boat, but the rates are fairly reasonable and it's a great experience. The town itself is nothing special, but if you like animals, then it is well worth a stop!
Although the Simien Mountains are better for trekking, the Bale Mountains have some unique features as well. The trails are well suited for horseback riding. There is a smaller concentration of animals, but there are more varieties. The rare Ethiopian wolf can be found here, as well as warthogs and many species of antelope.
On the edge of this modern Ethiopian town is a lake filled with small islands. On these islands are churches. They have colorful, vibrant artwork, mostly of martyrs being murdered. Although the scenes are grim, the craftsmanship is impressive. For those who enjoy relaxing, there is also a spa that is equal parts affordable and relaxing. The source of the Blue Nile is only a short drive away from the town. It is a beautiful sight, which is well worth the trip!
Lalibela is home to the most amazing rock hewn churches I’ve ever seen. The intricate designs are carved right out the rock. The most amazing of these is around an hour outside of the town. It is called Yemrehanna Kristos Church. The church is behind a small waterfall in a cave. Inside there are over 5,741 bodies. It is a shocking site to see these bones piled up. It is a unique experience that was one of the best things I saw in Northern Ethiopia.
The capital of Ethiopia has great museums, but is not a true representation of the country. It is much bigger, cleaner, and wealthier than the other Ethiopian towns I visited. It is a nice place to take a break and enjoy some Western food! The museum featuring ‘Lucy’ is particularly interesting.
These churches dot the mountainsides in northern Ethiopia. They vary in quality and accessibility, but are all very unique. Some of the priests can be quite aggressive when it comes to tipping, but if you keep a calm demeanor then it will be a positive experience.
Ethiopia is a trekkers delight! The Simien Mountains are filled with amazing scenery and rare animals. There seems to be a different stunning view around every corner. Baboons fill the hills and the rare Ibex can be found if you look close enough.
History buffs and religion lovers can’t miss a trip to Askum. This town is the rumored home to the Arc of the Covenant. Although only men can enter the church where it is said to be houses (Mary of Zion Church), everyone will enjoy the beautiful façade of the church. The town also has some interesting Stella fields and tombs. Finally, there is a small ruin that is said to have been the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. That’s a lot of history in such a small town!
About the author: Michelle is a young Canadian who has been traveling the world for 9 months. Keep up to date on her journey on her website, Global Jaunt
If you want to see the highlights of this stunning country for yourself, why not head to our website and see which tours take you there.