• Ethiopia
    © iStockphoto.com / Bartosz Hadyniak
  • Ethiopia
    © iStockphoto.com / Maurizio Giovanni Bersanelli
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Travel to Ethiopia: a truly unforgettable trip

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Ethiopia is filled with mysteries and legends. A Christian state, Ethopia is known for the three wise men (magi). It shares borders with Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, and Eritrea. It does not have direct access to the Red Sea, but this doesn't take away from its charm. Its beautiful lakes contrast with the dizzy heights of the mountains without forgetting that it is from here that the Nile River originates. With lions, elephants and gazelles running free everywhere,the different national parks are in charge of ensuring the animals' tranquillity and security. Ethiopia is a vast volcanic plateau with desert landscape. However, in the north, you can also see many of the spectacular waterfalls of northern Africa.

Security: the FCO advises against travel to several of Ethiopia's regions. See full official advice.

Our Editorial team's advice

Since the cease-fire between Eritrea and Ethiopia on 18th June 2000, airline connections across nearly the entire territory have been restored and tourist areas, such as Lalibella, Gondar, Bahar Dar and Axoum, are all under surveillance. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against visiting the volcanic Lake Wonchi and going out at night in the city of Dire Daoua. The regions of Somalia and Afar should also be avoided at all costs.

pros

  • +The country, kingdom of the Queen of Sheba, has an extremely rich past.
  • +The wildlife is extremely diverse.

cons

  • -The country has been in conflict with Erytrea since May 1998, which can sometimes affect travel.
  • -Many roads and tracks are impassable during the rainy season (from June to September).

Food

Ethiopians enjoy eating wats (meat, chicken or vegetable dishes) served with spicy sauces and often injera (bread) and tibs (pieces of grilled meat). Other specialties include shivro (a chick pea dish) and misir (cooked lentils). Ethiopians also eat a lot of fish, such as trout, perch and shrimp. Meals are served in a large dish with guests sitting around it to eat. Hands are always washed before meals, as your right hand is used for eating. Ethiopians drink a lot of coffee, which comes from the province of Kaffa. They also drink talla (beer), which has a very special taste, kaitaka (a sort of alcohol made with grains), cognac (locally-made) and tej (a honey-based fermented alcoholic drink).

Souvenirs

Fabrics, coffee, religious figurines, silver jewels, rugs, icons, parchments, old books, ceramics. Shops are open Monday to Friday, from 8:00am to 12:30pm and from 3:30pm to 7:30pm; and Saturday, from 9:00am to 1:00pm and 3:00pm to 7:00pm.