Ethiopia is an ancient country whose unique cultural heritage, rich history and remarkable biodiversity are reflected in a tally of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites - more than any other country in Africa. Within its borders, you'll find the world's fourth-holiest Islamic city, along with as the oldest continuously-occupied town south of the Sahara. Compelling antiquities include the medieval rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Gheralta, ruined palaces and temples dating back 3,000 years, the magnificent 17th century castles of Gondar, and the oldest human fossils unearthed anywhere on the planet. Add to this the beautiful Simien and Bale Mountains, the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the Danakil Depression, and a wealth of mammals and birds found nowhere else in the world, and it's little wonder that Ethiopia has become the most attractive and popular emergent tourist destination in Africa.
Ethiopia’s fascinating and enigmatic recorded history stretches back 3,000 years to the reign of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.
Ethiopia's rich biodiversity is reflected in a varied flora and fauna embracing more than 50 endemic species of mammals and birds, ranging from the iconic Ethiopian wolf to the spectacular Raspoli’s turaco.
A stable and peaceful democracy since 1994, Ethiopia Today is a federal state whose progressive economic policies are reflected is a post-millennial average annual growth rate of around 10 percent.
A unique musical heritage and cuisine, together with an ancient coffee culture and thriving arts and crafts scene, ensure that the Ethiopian lifestyle has much to offer curious visitors.
Ethiopia can be visited at any time of year, but different seasons have different advantages.
Conventional wisdom is that visitors should avoid the rainy season, which usually starts in June, but peaks over July and August in the central and northern highlands. Certainly, highland towns such as Gondar, Lalibela and Addis Ababa can be very damp and cool during the rains. That aside, however, recent improvements in the northern circuit’s road network makes the rains far less of an obstacle to travel than would have been the case few years ago. The countryside is also very green and scenic during the rains, and you’ll encounter fewer tourists at popular sites such as Lalibela.
The late rainy season, from September through to early October, is a lovely time of year. There’s a significant drop in precipitation over this period, but the countryside is very green, and punctuated by yellow meskel wild flowers. On 27 September (a day later in leap years), Ethiopia erupts into festival mode to celebrate Meskel, which commemorates the finding of the True Cross more than 1600 years ago.
(Photo Courtesy of Ethiopia Tourism Organization)