Horn of Africa
It’s been bubbling under for some time, and now more than ever, Ethiopia is getting the attention it truly deserves. From the Blue Nile and the lush Omo Valley, to the fascinating hill tribes rich with culture, it’s truly a unique country worth stepping foot into. Offering a plethora of peak travel moments, it’s making all the bucket-lists for 2018 – read on for just few of the reasons why.
Visit: Turmi and the Omo River Valley
Ethiopia has more than 50 tribes to discover. Get a fascinating culture-fix as you come face-to-face with the likes of the lip-stretching Mursi, the bull-jumping Hamer Village people, and the body-painting Karo tribe, who all appear untouched by 21st century life. Each culture has its own traditions and rituals that are truly captivating.
Savour: Traditional Ethiopian Fare
Visit chef Chane’s restaurant in the Kazanchis neighbourhood of Addis Ababa, a hugely famous spot where the family of the late royal chef serves traditional Ethiopian dishes such as wat (a cross between a stew and a curry) and injera (a flat, spongey bread). You won’t be able to find a Facebook page, website or contact details online, but just ask the locals and they’ll point you in the right direction. When Chane was in the kitchen he would serve food from 12pm to 1pm and then it would run out. Even after Chane’s passing, his clients still continue to queue out of the door for the traditional dishes. As there’s no menu, take it as a local ‘omakase’.
It’s a Unesco site for a reason, but don’t just make a visit purely because of its label. Lalibela and its majestic monolithic rock-cut churches were carved from the ground in the 12th and 13th centuries, but today, retain a near-pristine condition. Set a few hours aside and marvel at the 11 medieval structures that locals believe were constructed by labourers during the day, and angels at night.
Do: Catch A Glimpse Stunning Wildlife, Including The Wolves Of Ethiopia
Bale Mountain National is home to a staggering 60 per cent of Ethiopia’s wolves, the world’s rarest carnivore. But don’t worry, you can keep a safe distance and encounter plenty of other wildlife, including 78 species of mammals (like Nyala, the Starck’s hare, and Bale monkeys), 310 species of birds (including the Yellow-Fronted Parrot and Abyssinian longclaw), reptiles and amphibians. And after a long day of hiking, put up at the beautiful Bale Mountain Lodge that’s nestled deep within the park for a night or two.
Visit: Bahir Dar
Bahir Dar is the lakeside capital of the Amhara region. Here you can explore the largest lake in Ethiopia, Lake Tana; the Blue Nile Falls, known as Tis Isat – or ‘Smoke of Fire’ due to the continuous spray; and 14th century monasteries that dot the islands on the lake. Ura Kidhane Mihret is reputed to be one of the most beautiful in the country, and the elaborate and colourful murals make for spectacular viewing.