The Best You Can Do With Us in Ethiopia

Welcome-to-Ethiopia

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is known as the capital of Africa due to it hosting the headquarters of the African Union, of which all but 1 country in Africa is a part of. If you need a visa for any country in Eastern Africa, or any country in Africa for that matter, you should come here. It is home to the largest market in Africa, has gorgeous churches, cathedrals, and mosques to see, and incredible nightlife (there is salsa in Addis Ababa!). You can also find the museum that houses the oldest humanoid in the world, Lucy. Addis Ababa is one of my favorite places to live while living overseas, it has a perfect combination of safety, great people, and cheap living.

Axum (Aksum)

Axum happens to be one of the oldest cities in Africa and home of the ancient Aksumite Empire. There are ruins around the entire city and you can find some of the best relics and artifacts in the center of the city. Axum also is the supposed location of the Ark of the covenant. I had the most fun creating the travel guides for Axum because the city has so much history. Building Where the ark of the Covenant is “supposedly” housed Bahar Dar Ethiopia’s 3rd largest city gives you access to Lake Tana which feeds the Nile where you can see some of the countries oldest monasteries (I went, would not recommend it). One thing you should see is the Blue Nile Falls which are a bit smaller than Niagara Falls, but very scenic.

Feeding Hyenas in Harar

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Ethiopia, most people would be absolutely mortified to do this. At two different locations in the city you are able to feed the Hyenas every single night. The city of Harar is also extremely interested being the 4th most holy city for Muslims; great museums, food, but not much nightlife. I would definitely recommend checking out the stories on my travel blog about the city. Gateway to Somaliland There aren’t many people that would be this daring and venture into one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Even though I joked around about preparing for a kidnapping, there are actually many misconceptions about Somaliland and I ventured into new territory to find out on my own what was going on. Ethiopia is the only country that has an official location in Somaliland and the easiest way to access the self proclaimed territory as well.

Gondar (Gonder)

You thought the things to do in Ethiopia stops with feeding Hyenas with your mouth? Think Again. There isn’t any imagination in Ethiopia, Gondar happens to be the real life Camelot of Ethiopia (Africa). An entire castle complex that includes an entire complex of castles! There is also a small monastery in a nearby city called Gorgora which is very impressive.

The famous St. Georges Cathedral in Lalibela

Lalibela If Lalibela is a must see for the attractions in Ethiopia then I don’t know what is. This is a city designed and built to be the 2nd Jerusalem, many Ethiopians from the city still claim that fact. It is home to an extremely impressive array of churches that are carved out of stone including the famous St. Georges Cathedral you see above. There is also a variety of monasteries in the region that you can visit.

Simien Mountains

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Simien Mountains are often called God’s playground because of their unique formations. There are treks available into the national park where you can find a unique combination of animals and incredible landscapes.

The Omo Valley

Much like the Maasai in Kenya, this is one of the only places in the world where you can still find indigenous people that haven’t been influenced by the outside world. A very unique look at the different cultures in the country and how they live. The south is also an excellent location for African Safaris, many people are surprised that Ethiopia actually does offer safaris.

Ankober

front

Located on the eastern fringes of the Ethiopian highlands, around 170km (or a 3½ hour drive) from Addis Ababa, sits the tiny town of Ankober.

Bearing in mind its historical significance, Ankober is a deceptively small settlement. Once the epi-centre of the Kingdom of Shoa, it only diminished in status in 1886, when Emperor Menelik moved the capital to the current location in Addis.

Founded by Merid Azmatch Amha Iyesus, a powerful leader descended from the Solomonic dynasty, Iyesus’ descendents would rule from Ankober’s for around a century. A number of Shoan rulers are buried in churches in the surrounding environs.

Indeed, Ankober serves as a good base for discovering the many fascinating and famous religious buildings in the area, including Mantiq, a nearby monastery with Judeo-Christian traditions; the 19th century Catholic missionary Aba Massayas, making this one of the most important historical centres of Catholicism in Ethiopia; and the Ankober Medhane Alem Church, where Menelik married his bride Itegue Taytu, and where the golden wedding cloak is still kept.

On a nearby hilltop can be found the crumbling ruins of Menelik II’s old palace. Meanwhile evidence of the diplomatic missions – that Britain, France and Italy established here during that Menelik’s reign – can also be distinguished in the town itself.

South of Ankober, lies Aliyo Amba, once an important trade centre connecting the highlands with the Red Sea port of Zeila. The cobblestones of the famous coffee caravan route which joined the two still remain.

The highlands surrounding Ankober, which sit at an elevation of some 2,500m, are great for hiking and even more rewarding for birdwatchers. The very rare endemic Ankober serin can be found here, while two breeds of seedeater, the white throat and the yellow throat may also be spotted.

http://www.journeysbydesign.com

Lip Disc, Ethiopia

1412836131177_wps_2_EXCLUSIVE_VIDEO_STILLS_Au 1412836280247_wps_7_EXCLUSIVE_VIDEO_STILLS_Au

The discs are a tradition dating back further than 1896, and a way of attracting a husband amongst the the Surma woman of the lower Omo Rover valley in Ethiopia.

There is evidence of woman wearing the discs in this region from 1896. The procedure, which also involves knocking out the bottom two teeth, is done at the age of 15-18.

In recent times, the Ethiopian government has taken measures to ban the discs, and the frequency amongst the younger generations is reportedly dwindling.

The discs carry a multifaceted significance. They are intended to attract a husband, as well as a dowry for the family of the wife, who are given a contingent  of cattle respective to the size of the disc.

But they are also a form of self-expression.

MESKEL – Finding of the True Cross (September 26th and 27th)

meskel_package

Meskal has been celebrated in the country for over 1600 years. The word actually means “cross” and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on 19 March 326 AD. but the feast is now celebrated on 27 September.

During this time of the year flowers gloom on mountain and plain and the meadows are yellow with the brilliant Meskal daisy. Dancing, feasting, merrymaking, and bonfires salutes mark the occasion. The festival begins by planting a green tree on Meskal eve in town squares and village market places. Everyone brings a pole topped with Meskal daisies to form the towering pyramid that will be a beacon of flame. Torches of tree branches tied up together called “Chibo” are used to light the bundle called “Demera”.

We offer Meskel holidays of all destinations for groups and individuals of all size.

Bale Mountains National Park

bale1

Nominated in 2009 to the World Heritage Tentative List, Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP) is a national park in Ethiopia with one of the highest incidences of animal endemicity of any terrestrial habitat in the world. The Park encompasses an area of approximately 2,150 km2, and is divided into five distinct and unique habitats: the Northern Grasslands (Gaysay Valley), Northern Woodlands (Park Headquarters), Afro-alpine Meadows (Sanetti Pleateau), Erica Moorlands, and the Harenna Forest. The park is known for being home to the largest populations of both the endemic and endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) and Mountain Nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni), as well as the endemic Bale monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) and giant mole rat (Tachyoryctes macrocephalus). The endangered Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus once existed in the Park (with relict packs reported in the 1990s), but may now be extirpated due to human population pressures in this region.