Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country and its second largest in terms of population.
It has a unique cultural heritage, being the home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church – one of the oldest Christian churches – and a monarchy that ended only in the coup of 1974.
Ethiopia has suffered periodic droughts and famines that lead to a long civil conflict in the 20th Century and a border war with Eritrea in the late 1990s which ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. With some of the world’s most incredible scenery, Ethiopia is well worth a visit.
Simien National Park The “Simiens” was one of the first places to be made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. There are incredible views and spectacular scenery in every direction and it is renowned as fantastic hiking country.
Three of Ethiopia’s endemic wildlife, and mammal species live here. The graceful Walia Ibex, not found anywhere else on earth outside of the Simien borders, rare Gelada Baboons and Ethiopian Wolves. Lammergeyers, the bearded vultures, soar over incredible drops of over 1500 meters to the valley floor in places.
Lalibela The medieval site of eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches, believed to have been built by King Lalibela, in the late 12th or early 13th century.
These amazing structures are carved, both internally and externally, from the volcanic rock in which they stand and are considered among the wonders of the world. Each building is beautifully crafted and architecturally unique. Lalibela is a high place of pilgrimage and devotion.
Bale Mountains National Park The beautiful high country of the Bale Mountains is an absolute highlight of Ethiopia. With plateaus above 4000 meters, where the endangered Ethiopian Wolves roam, to mountain tarns and trout filled streams.
This area is a ramblers dream, but even if walking is not a highlight, horse trails, mountain biking and game drives, are activities all on offer here.
The national park has one of the highest concentrations of endemic species in the world. The Harenna forest is home to the rare endemic Bale Monkey and excursions into this fern laden forest can produce sightings of Black-Mane Lion and Leopard.
Omo Valley Without doubt one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world today, the Omo Valley blends a journey of understanding and rich kaleidoscope of tribal ceremonies with the languid flow of one of Africa’s most important waterways. The Omo Valley provides an insight into incredible lifestyles, simplistic yet so emotionally powerful to leave all visitors in awe.
Ethiopia is a rare journey into a land almost forgotten.
Read about Rob’s 2016 Epic Ethiopia journey here.