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A Travel Guide to Visiting Ethiopia

Endowed with rich historical antiquities, fascinating culture and some of the best natural sceneries on its side of the planet, Ethiopia is the place to be for a one of a kind African adventure. It is the literal land of 13 months, the birthplace of coffee and home to some of the most soulful people you’ll ever come across. If you are looking to visit Ethiopia as a tourist, you’re probably what the travel will entail and the best places to visit. This guide is for you.

Places to Visit

Addis Ababa

Established in the 19th century, Addis Ababa is Africa’s fourth-largest city. A magical portal and a gateway to another world, it is seen by the Ethiopians as a city whose streets are paved in gold. It is the best place in the country to sample Ethiopian food, incredible nightlife, and visit some wonderful museums. Top attractions include St George Cathedral and Museum, National Museum, Yod Abyssinia, “Red Terror ” Martyrs Memorial Museum and lots more.

The City of Gondar

Located in the Amhara region in northern Ethiopia, the city of Gonder and the Simien Mountains are both Unesco World Heritage Sites, and they boast some of Ethiopia’s finest attractions. Gonder is referred to as the Camelot of Africa due to its amazing collection of crumbling castles, fortifications, and palaces it houses in its Royal enclosure. They date back to the 1600s when Gonder was the capital of a large and powerful empire trading gold and ivory from the south via the Red Sea, Egyptian, and Sudanese civilizations.

The Simien Mountains National Park

The first national park in Ethiopia, The Simien Mountains National Park is 2.5 hours drive away from Gonder and it sits largely at an altitude above 3000m and provides visitors with stunning mountainous views of tumbling waterfalls deep valleys, craggy peaks, and the Gelada monkeys which are endemic to the park.

Danakil Depression

Positioned on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Danakil Depression is the hottest place on earth and during the summer months, temperatures can get up to a high of 55 degrees C. Danakil Depression sits below sea level, making it the lowest point in Africa and the second in the world(after the Dead sea). It boasts some extreme features and is dotted with lava lakes that bubble inside the volcanic caldera of the Dallol area, and hydrothermal pools and hot springs permeate the air with the distinct smell of sulfur. The beauty and mystery of this place will make your visit worth the while.

Lalibela

Lalibela is a small town in Ethiopia and it is home to one of the world’s most astounding sacred sites. Eleven rock-hewn-churches, monolithic and grand all built by King Lalibela as early as the 12th century. Each church is carved entirely out of rock with its roof at ground level. Lalibela’s sacred architecture is indeed unique and the king’s goal was to create a New Jerusalem for those who could not make the pilgrimage to the holy land and to create a sacred city to rival Axum with the Ark of the covenant.

Harar

Widely known as the oldest Islamic city in Africa, Harar was built in the 16th century and it is located on a hilltop in the eastern extension of Oromia. For hundreds of years, it was a major commercial center linked by the trade route with the entire horn of Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and the outside world through its port. The old walled city was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site in 2006 in recognition of its cultural heritage. Besides the stone walls surrounding the city, Harar boasts 110 mosques and many more shrines centered on the Feres Magala Square.

The Blue Nile Falls

One of Ethiopia’s best-known tourist attractions, the Blue Nile Falls is a waterfall on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia and it is also known as Tis Abay in Amharic, meaning “great smoke”. The Blue Nile Falls is situated on the upper course of the river about 30km downstream from the Bahir Dar and Lake Tana.

Visa Information

Many nationalities are offered visas on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole Airport. You are to pay $50 for 30 days as a tourist. E visas come in handy nowadays and you can also get one before arrival at the Addis Ababa Airport. They are now accepted at all Ethiopian land borders.

Ethiopia boasts a peerless history and a trip to the Horn of Africa will change your life forever. There’s several kinds of Ethiopia tours available today and you can be sure of finding the perfect itinerary to suit your travel style and preference.

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