Ethiopia

Brimming with contrasts and extremes, Ethiopia beckons visitors to explore from the tops of its highlands, where mountains soar over 14,100 feet, to the depths of the Danakil Depression situated below sea level.

A nation rich in culture, natural beauty and history, Ethiopia offers stunning landscapes and ancient traditions, dispelling the myth that it is just a land stricken by drought and famine. Located in what is known as the ‘Cradle of Humanity’, Ethiopia provides an extraordinary journey through spectacular landscapes, glorious vistas and stunning wildlife.

The Timkat – or Epiphany – religious festival is the most important festival in the Ethiopian calendar, best experienced in Lalibela. Taking place in January, crowds of revellers dressed in white sing in the streets to the sound of beating drums. Famous for its architectural curiosities including churches carved out of solid rock, Lalibela is believed locally to have been built by angels.

Many of the tribes in Ethiopia open their villages to visitors, allowing travellers an experience of old world charm and a fascinating insight into the lives and cultures of these wonderful people.

The Omo River Valley in south-western Ethiopia is a totally unspoilt area where a multitude of tribes co-exist in complete isolation. Running through the highlands of Ethiopia, the river provides unforgettable rafting adventures travelling through deep forest gorges and cascading waterfalls. Known as ‘Africa’s last great wilderness’, this region is also home to majestic wildlife such as lions and elephants.

Simien Mountains National Park is a particularly stunning area where you can stand atop the panoramic precipice and view the amazing Abyssinian abyss. Whether its sitting among gelada baboons or marvelling at the horned walla ibex, the park is a must for wildlife enthusiasts. With its dramatic scenery, this World Heritage Site is the fourth highest peak in Africa, made up of a rock massif which slopes down to the grasslands and gorge. Fifty species of birds can also be seen in this area, but it is the protection of the rare mammals which inhabit this lush region that offer the most rewarding experience.

First-time visitors to Ethiopia are generally amazed by the stunning natural beauty of a country that is also incredibly rich in culture and history.

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