This cultural, historic, and geographical melting pot has
something for everyone!
In East-Central Africa, Ethiopia is bordered by Sudan on the west, Somalia and Djibouti on the east, Kenya on the south, and Eritrea on the northeast. The country is home to majestic mountain ranges, the straggling highlands, vast salt plains, sprawling forest reserves, and most famously, the wondrous geological depression.
The Danakil Depression is a geological depression in the northern part of the Afar Depression of Ethiopia, caused by the divergence of three tectonic plates in the area. It is the hottest place on Earth (in terms of year round average temperature) and also one of the lowest points on Earth. Danakil plays host to two volcanoes, a hypersaline lake, sulfur springs, and is situated within 1200sq kms of salt plains.
The notorious World Heritage site, the Semien Mountains, and the Simien Mountains National Park are a part of northern Ethiopia, located in its Highlands. The highest peak, Ras Dashen, stands at 4550m. The Simien Mountains have been formed by ancient flowing lava and is home to thousands of endemic species,mainly the Gelada Baboon, Walia Ibex, and the Ethiopian Wolf.One can do one day long trips to 10 day long hikes across the ranges.
Ethiopia is home to 9 cultural heritage sites as of 2019! The historical wonders of Ethiopia lie predominantly in the northern belt of the country. Civilization has been thriving here since 3000 B.C and the country has seen a lot of dynasties and empires changing hands over the years. It is the cradle of humankind, considered the oldest region of human settlement. From monolith churches, castles, tombs, and unique ancient wall paintings, Ethiopia is a haven for those chasing a piece of history!
The Tigray region is home to ancient churches and some fascinating wall paintings of the yonder age. The rock hewn churches of Tigray are its distinctive feature. However, the most breathtaking wonder is the Abuna Yemata Guh, situated at 2850m. To get to the church, one must complete a short trek followed by a heart stopping work alongside a narrow cliff!
The rock hewn churches of Lalibela make it one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities. These monolith churches have been carved from within the earth from "living rock". UNESCO has identified 11 churches and perhaps best known is the Church of St George, shaped in a Greek Orthodox cross. Lalibela is known to be the ‘New Jerusalem’ and there is a great similarity between the two towns.
Tribes of Ethiopia
The marvelous and distinct tribes of the OMO Valley are one of the most defining features of the country. Ethiopia consists of 52 different tribes, primarily hailing in the southern region. Each tribe has its unique characteristic, from the way they dress, the houses they live in, the language they speak, and their customs and traditions! The Mursis in Mago National park are the most famous because of their terracotta plates they put in their ears and lips! Similarly, the Hamar tribe has fascinating traditions, like the bull jumping ceremony and their marriage ceremonies.
The tribal markets are a fascinating way to see the tribes interacting in their daily lives. The weekly Key Afer Market is one of the biggest, seeing 3 to 4 different tribes- buying, selling, drinking, and resting. You will be able to witness their local attire, produce, food & drinks, and interact with them. It is also a good place to get local souvenirs. Tribes like the Dimekas, Hamars, and Aris have their local markets as well.
The tribes like the Karos or Hamars have unique ceremonies celebrating various things that happen all month long. The bull jumping ceremony of the Hamars is the most known- signifying the coming of age of the tribe’s boys. It is an enchanting celebration of culture with tribes flocking from all over the area to witness it. The marriage ceremonies, whipping ceremony, etc. are definitely a must-see on your visit.
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A TRIP FOR YOU, BY YOU!
We understand that Ethiopia has A LOT to offer, but your days of visit are few. If none of our tours fit your dates, write to us with the number of days you have, the places/tribes you may have in mind to visit and we will customize a tour specially for YOU!