A colorful nation and home for more than 80 nation nationalities and peoples, believed to be the cradle of human civilization, Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most beguiling destinations. The only country on the continent never to be colonized, it wears its ancient past with pride and has largely shrugged off a turbulent recent history. Ethiopia’s nature, culture, and history merge to form a timeless appeal.
A land truly apart from the rest, the place where man first walked the earth, where age-old cultures resonate and a profound spirituality imbues everyday life. Ethiopia moves to its own rhythmic drum, even measuring time on its own calendar that runs seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar used in North America, Europe, and much of the globe. The most mountainous country in Africa with epic landscapes, abundant yet underrated wildlife and a melting pot of different cultures with over 80 ethnic groups and languages, Ethiopia rewards travelers at every turn.
Here’s Lucy…! The 3.5 million-year-old fossilized hominid Lucy. Then fly to Bahir Dar on the shores of Lake Tana, origin of the Blue Nile, for a visit with the Weyto people and a cruise on Lake Tana. Tours of the churches of the Bahir Dar Peninsula are followed by a visit to the Blue Nile Falls where guests hike to the top for commanding views.
The journey continues with a tour of Gondar’s Fasil Ghebbi ruins, followed by the Simien Mountains Park, one of Ethiopia’s nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites (more than any other country in Africa).
A full-day safari in Simien Mountains National Park showcases Ethiopia’s rare and endemic wildlife, including the sociable gelada baboon, the world’s rarest ape (and not actually a baboon despite the name); the endangered Walia ibex, and the Simien fox.
The country has animals that are like baboons but aren’t baboons, and animals that are like monkeys that aren’t monkeys. It has ibex related to the white ghosts of the Sahara, Ethiopian wolves that are the rarest of all canidae, and Swayne’s hartebeest, an endangered antelope seen nowhere else.
To the east, the many-colored and dangerous (from both bandits and sinkholes) Danakil Depression is the hottest and one of the lowest (more than 400 feet below sea level) valleys on Earth. Nearby is another of the many Ethiopian oddities—a volcano that has continuously spouted lava since 1964.
Other tour highlights include a visit to the Palace of Queen of Sheba, the archaeological sites of the holy city of Axum, and the legendary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the Bale mountains, Harer and it’s Jagol Wall.
Source Oddessy Unlimited,