Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations is the world, and now the second most populated country in Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya and the earliest traces of human evolution have been found in this fascinating country.
Ethiopia used to be known as the Aksumite Empire, a land that is said to have 13 months of sunshine. It is a country of extremes, you’re either on top of the Simein mountains, or down low in the Danakil Depression. Visitors marvel at the way that Ethiopians have kept their faiths and traditions alive.
Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia and it grew almost naturally with no urban planning until a few years ago. It has now grown into one of the most developed and interesting cities in the continent.
It was founded by emperor Menelik and it has a population of about two million people. Addis Ababa is located at the foot hills of the Entoto mountains, and it is bordered by imposing hills on all sides.
Holding over 861 species of bird, Ethiopia proves to be a bird watchers haven. The places to go to bird watching are the highland plateau, the lakes region, the lowlands Entoto, Gefersa, Debre Zeit and the Menagesha forest. The Gambella national park is one the very least developed and receives hardly any visitors.
Visitors must be aware that it poses a high malaria risk but it was initially created to preserve the swamps of Ethiopia. Wildlife thrives in these conditions and there are about 154 bird species. One such bird is the Whale-headed stork, which is a white bird with an unusually large bill.
Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and many tourists marvel at its sheer splendor. It is the source of the famous Nile river, the very spot from where its journey to the Mediterranean is marked. When there you can hire a boat and explore this magnificent lake.
Axum is one of the oldest cities in Ethiopia and the ancient capital of the Axumite empire that flourished over 3000 years ago. This grand city will leave you impressed at the sight of its obelisks or stelae. It is home to the 16th century Cathedral of St.Mary of Zion, the holiest church in all of Ethiopia, and the locals say that the original ark of the covenant rests here.
Lalibela is where King Lalibela left something behind on his passing for the rest of the world to admire. It consists of eleven rock-hewn churches, often referred to as the “Eighth wonder of the world”. It is carved out of one rock and protected by the environment.
A visit to these churches at any time will leave you with a lasting impression of this amazing country. Many tourists visit during Genna (Christmas) or Timket (Epiphany) and are astounded by the events and as a result have memories that last a lifetime.
Ethiopia has had many problems over the last few years but is now working hard to develop its tourist industry. The money that it generates helps to stimulate the local economy and as a result helps improve the lives of its impoverished friendly population.