Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, is a rugged, landlocked country split by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years, it’s a place of ancient culture. Among its important sites are Lalibela with its rock-cut Christian churches from the 12th–13th centuries. Aksum is the ruins of an ancient city with obelisks, tombs, castles and Our Lady Mary of Zion church.
In the capital, Addis Ababa, the National Museum displays art and archaeology collections, while the Ethnological Museum has tribal artifacts. Copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral is where Emperor Haile Selassie was buried in 1975. The Fasil Ghebbi castle complex, once the seat of Ethiopian emperors, is in Gondar. Harar is a mazelike walled town with numerous mosques. Lake Tana is the Blue Nile River’s source, with the Blue Nile Falls flowing nearby. Less-traveled Bale Mountains National Park is noted for its native wildlife. Hiking routes mark Simien Mountains National Park, an endangered-species habitat.
A land of rich traditions, religions and myths. A country of legends and contrast that possesses one of the most colourful histories on the African continent.
When to visit
Peak travel months include Jul–Aug and Oct–Jan. Ethiopia’s climate ranges from mild in the highlands to very hot in the desert lowlands. For much of the country, the rainy season is Jun–Sep, with mainly dry weather the rest of the year. Timkat (Jan) is the Ethiopian Orthodox Epiphany, with baptismal reenactments. Enkutatash (Sep), the Ethiopian New Year at the end of the rainy season, is marked by singing and bouquets of yellow flowers. The Festival of Maryam Zion (Nov) is a Christian pilgrimage to Aksum’s famous church.