Ethiopia is one of the newest tourist destinations in Africa, only considered a holiday destination since the end of the war in 2001. But the ancient country has a history and landscape that will impress any traveller from the moment they step off the flight to Ethiopia.
Referred to as the “lap of civilisation,” Ethiopia has the longest history of any country on Earth. It was here that the bones of Lucy, the oldest human fossil, were found, dating back more than three million years. Today, the country is home to nearly 100 different tribes and, due to the relative lack of developed tourism, its rich culture can easily be explored by visitors.
The natural scenery is another attraction. Look out of the plane window on the flight to get a sense of the vastness and diversity of the country: its landscape includes the Simien Mountains, lakes, waterfalls, the lunar landscape of the Danakil Depression and huge expanses of desert.
This is a country gradually overthrowing its image as a place of poverty and war; instead travellers are starting to explore all it has to offer. Tours are opening up, from Addis Ababa to the churches of Lalibela. Book a flight to Ethiopia now, before the rest of the world catches on…
Ethiopia usually has rain from June to September and no rain from October to May. The temperature ranges with the altitude, with hot and humid conditions in the lowlands and mild, cool temperatures in the highlands.
October through May is the dry season and is most popular with visitors. Though there is never a real stampede of tourists stepping off flights to Ethiopia, the dry season is the time when hotels are more likely to be booked and attractions will be busier.
June to September is when the country receives the most rain, however, this can still be a good time to visit as there is plenty of sunshine.
Ethiopian Airlines has an excellent network, with domestic Ethiopia flights to more than 40 destinations in the country. Prices are reasonable. Ethiopia is a big country and this is by far the quickest way to travel. Be aware that there is a US$10 tax on departure for each flight.
There is a good bus and inexpensive bus system, but services can be very slow and tickets may be sold out a day in advance. Book ahead if possible. Buses are regulated and drivers can’t continue past a certain hour in the evening, so if you haven’t reached your destination on time, you may just get dropped where you are for the night.
Car hire is possible in Addis Ababa. It is necessary to get a 4WD due to the poor conditions of the roads.
(prices quotes are from London)