The political capital of Africa, hosting both the African Union and United Nations in Africa Headquarters, is a country of diversity. From the numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites to the verdant peaks of the Simien Mountains, there is something for everyone in this relatively undiscovered country.
In the capital city you should visit Haile Selassie's former palace, which is now the Addis Ababa University. Another major point of attraction is the National Museum, which exhibits prehistoric fossils, including Lucy (the oldest human hominid), along with Ethiopian art and traditional crafts. You can also choose the Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum and the Ethnological Museum.
Take a trek to Entoto Hill to visit the historic church and Menelik's palace. Stroll through Addis Ababa's mesmeric old town Piassa. Go to Merkato, the largest open market in Africa. Pay a visit to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, built to commemorate Ethiopia's liberation from Italian occupation. The cathedral serves as the final resting place of Haile Selassie and his wife.
Photo: Kenneth Dedeu, Shutterstock
How to get there:
Take a look at the flight deals to Ethiopia:
- Turkish Airlines flights from Germany to Kenya, Uganda or Ethiopia from only €348 >>
- Cheap non-stop flights from Barcelona to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for €329 >>
Where to stay:
In Addis Ababa you can consider staying at centrally located 3* Melala Addis Bed & Breakfast with excellent reviews. It offers amenities including a shared lounge and on-site dining. Staff on site can arrange a shuttle service. Free WiFi is accessible to all guests, while some rooms also boast a balcony. A continental breakfast is available each morning at the bed and breakfast. Guests at Melala Addis Bed & Breakfast will be able to enjoy activities in and around Addis Ababa, like cycling.
In Bahir Dar we recommend you to book 4* Delano Hotel. This top rated 4-star hotel offers free WiFi throughout the property and free private parking on site. Each room at Delano Hotel is equipped with a dining area, satellite TV and a telephone. The private bathrooms are equipped with a bath or a shower, and free toiletries and slippers are provided for guests’ comfort. Relax in the sauna or spa centre, or unwind with a drink at Delano Hotel’s bar. The property also has barbecue facilities available. The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, a concierge service and luggage storage. Guests can relax in the garden, on the terrace or in the shared lounge area, while the children can remain occupied at the playground.
What to do:
Although you can go to Ethiopia at any time of the year, the best time is from September to January, when major festivals happen and the country enjoys green landscapes covered with Meskel flowers.
Discover the national parks of Ethiopia, such as the Simien Mountain National Park and Awash National Park. Trekking is one of the most sought after activities to do in there. Other activities at the parks include birding and mountain climbing. While trekking, you will spot different wild animals as well as magnificent views. On a several days trek you can summit Ras Dashen the highest mountain in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains.
Enjoy boat rides and fishing at the Lake Tana. Spend the day laid out on the sand in Lake Langano. The fabulous beach is 18 km long with depth of 46 meters. Whether you want to tan on a beach all day or enjoy the night away, there is something for everyone. Langano offers water sport adventures and refreshing swim.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are a must for any traveller. Explore the prehistoric site near Lake Turkana. The discovery of many fossils there, especially Homo gracilis, has been of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution.
Visit Omo National Park and River for a rare chance to meet up close with the tribes of Ethiopia’s imperilled lower valley of the Omo. It is Ethiopia’s most remote park and not easily accessible. Wildlife found in this park include giraffe, elephants, lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo and Burchell’s zebra. A sustainable travel initiative offers an intimate experience with local peoples. A visit to Arba Minch to meet the many local tribes is also an exceptional experience.
Explore the remains of the ancient city of Aksum, located close to Ethiopia’s northern border. These massive ruins include monolithic obelisks, giant stelae, royal tombs and the ancient castles.
The Bale Mountains and Rift Valley at Debre Libanos are perfect for adventurous hikes and picnics with the family. For those with a taste for adventure, Tigray and Amhara regions offer great hiking.
Discover the Blue Nile Gorge with its abundant endemic birdlife and gelada baboons. See a bit of wildlife as well as the lush valleys and waterfalls.
Do a cultural visit with the Oromo people and experience the local life.
Go to Mek’ele, the culturally rich small town, famed for its rock-hewn church and the amazing landscape of the deserts. The Church of Tekla Haimanot is one of the oldest churches in the world.
Gheralta Rock is also hugely popular with visitors. These stunning mountains can be appreciated from below, or the more adventurous might wish to climb the rock and admire the rock-cut church at the summit.
Shop for souvenirs at Shiromeda textile market, the largest traditional clothing market in Addis Ababa. In the National Museum you can meet Lucy, the grandmother of humanity, the oldest fossil skeleton of our ancestors.
Take a trip to Entoto Mountains to enjoy the stunning view point of Addis Ababa. You can also head to Wenchi Crater Lake, located in an extinct volcano. Walk a 4-km (2.5-mile) trail to the edge of the lake to enjoy the serenity of rolling farmland, passing green fields and small villages. Ride a mule along the shore, or set out by boat to explore the lake’s small islands.
Located around 60 km from the capital city, Debre Zeyit is the popular resort town, famed for its beautiful weather, scenic landscapes and five crater lakes. Here you can enjoy a traditional spa and massage.
Make sure to sample Ethiopian cuisine, always accompanied by warm treatment.
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