Ethiopia is endowed with the vast array tourism resources, in the form of cultural, historical, archaeological and natural resources, the country offers a great variety of interesting attractions and has much to offer in terms of archaeological and cultural heritage, geological and natural resources which is great potential for sustainable tourism.
Ethiopia is considered as emerging tourist destination; the country offers unspoiled products and authentic experience to international visitors including Ecotourists.
Ecotourism represents an approach to tourism that emphasizes on environmental and cultural preservation. It highlights opportunities for tourists and other visitors to experience aspects of the country’s ecology and natural endowments as well as unique features of its archaeology, history and culture .Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.
Ethiopia has immense Ecotourism resources including both Natural and Cultural attractions. The following category specifies the major highlights of the potential:-
Exotic Ethiopian Mountains
Ethiopia has so many attractive mountains like: The Bale & Semien Mountains, mountains in wag & lasta, Northeastern Tirai the Irob region, Chilalo Mountains in Arsi, Ziquala peaks and Fantalle in Awash national park. These places are best suitable for individual trekkers, hiking parties and for professional climbers
Ethiopia’s lakes have varied features of great interests to ecotourists: These includes: birds, wildlife, vegetation, colorful ethnic groups, historic churches and monasteries, unusual geologic features and much more.
Extensive and nice looking Ethiopia’s national parks, like Nechsar, Mago,Omo,Awash etc are spectacular places for ecotourists to watch the real African big wild life and enjoy the breathtaking surrounding landscapes
The underground caverns and rock arts of Sof Omer in Bale, Lega goda at the vicinity of Dire dawa, Shebe found at a short distance from Dila town are places to admire the works of nature, rock paintings and carvings of people and animals.
Battle sites like Adewa and Maqdala and places of significant political events like Boru Meda, Entoto, and Ankober etc are most interesting sites for history loving ecotourists.
The Konso village, the surrounding breathtaking landscape and the UNESCO reputed traditional terracing practices, the Hamer, Tsemay,Bena, Surma,Bode ,Dassenech and other interesting ethnic villages in the omo valley are places of interesting attractions for culture oriented ecotourists.
The north central highland areas like Mahelmeda Guasa area, Ankober, rift valley lakes regions like Langano and Abiyata Shala areas are best places for Bird Watcher tourists.
Rock churches and monasteries of the Tigrai and Amhara regions are best destinations for religion loving tourists
The Afar areas of Hadar and Ardi,the Danakil depression areas of Erta’ele are places of spectacular natural scene and activities for Archaeologists, Geologists and nature loving tourists.
Ethiopia is an ideal destination for adventure tours. The country has several parks and reserves to shelter its flora and fauna which can be visited to sight see these animals and explore their natural havens. Tourists in Ethiopia are guaranteed to see zebras, lions, giraffes and many others as they roam on Ethiopia’s wild. Among the recognized 105 animal species are the shy wild ass and the popular Walia Ibex. Below is a detailed list of nation park in Ethiopia.
Mago National Park
Mago National Park is a very isolated place on the eastern shore of river Omo, with a terrain characterized by rising and rolling grasslands, thick acacia shrubs and some deserts. It covers a total land area of 2162 sq km. It is one of the most natural but spectacular places rich with wildlife in Ethiopia. You will be able to hear a number of birds sing sweetly in the thick acacia trees and in the rolling terrain far beyond. However the greatest challenge faced by tourists who vist this pack is accessibility due to the impenetrate-able terrain of the park.
Omo National Park
This park lies on the south west shore of river Omo . it is located just 870 kilometers away from Addis Ababa the capital. It is a haven for some of the most striking wild animals in this country. The positioning of Omo National Park at the shore of river Omo has made the park a magnet for a diverse variety of birds.
Abyata-Shala Lakes National Park
Occupying an area of about 887 sq kilometers and 482 sq kilometers on water, the park was twin rift valley lakes – Shala & Abyata. The park was established to shelter aquatic birds in reside by the lake especially the few Flamingos, and the white Pelicans. This spot is also a very good resting destination fo migrating birds
Simien Mountains National Park
This is a must go-to destination for those with a passion for exploring the beautiful landscape and numerous mountain peak andwatching lots of wildlife. Semien Mountain National Park is a UNESCO recognized heritage site. It holds one of Africa’s important mountain massifs. It has a very attractive terrain dominated by Africa’s fourth highest mountain that projects to a height of 4620 meters – Ras Dashen.
Semien is a sanctuary for prevalent animals such as , Semien Foxes, Gelada Baboons and Walia Ibex. The park is endowed with numerous plant and bird species.
Awash National Park
Awash National Park located 211 Kilometers east of Addis and covers a total area of cover 827 sq kilometers. It was named after river Awash which borders the park to the south. You can also see lake Abbe a salty lake at the border of Djibouti and Ethiopia. Awash National Park has a rich wildlife population which makes it one of the most rewarding destination in Ethiopia. Among the resident animals are Wild Pigs, Soemmerrings Gazelle and Beisa Oryx.
Gambella National Park
Gambella is situates on the banks of river Baro, 600 kilometers from Addis Ababa and has a very unique history. A popular activity in this park is the guided walk through the park which usually last for 2 to 3 days. The park also has a number of wildlife.
Nech Sar National Park
Nech Sar National Park is located near Arba Minch town between Lake Chamo and lake Abaya just 510 kilometers south of Addis-Ababa. Its 514 sq kilometer terrain composed of savanna, groundwater forests and dry bushes has numerous wild animals roaming on it.
Nech Sar Zebras
The park shelters a number of animals such as Burchell’s Zebra, Bushbuck, Grant’s gazelle, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Grey Duiker Guenther’s Dik-dik, Anubis Baboon and the Greater Kudu. The park has recorded over 189 bird species and among these are the Kori Bustard, Red billed Hornbill, Fish Eagle, Grey Hornbill and many more birds. Scenery of mountains, rolling hills and a hot spring in the extreme eastern regions ranks Nech Sar Zebras among the best attractive parks in Ethiopia.
Explore the National Parks
Maybe the best contributing aspect to several tourists’ amazing encounters of Ethiopia trekking is its big collection of national parks. Ethiopia is characterized of fascinating cities, landmarks, stunning display of fauna and flora and lush valleys that make the country the best spot to visit. Majority of tourists that visit Ethiopia come to see the mountains and it’s the main attraction of the country. If you are interested in mountain trekking, there are two alternatives that will make you enjoy your hike and these include Simien Mountains National Park along with Bale Mountains National Park. Whichever you decide to visit, you will get a memorable experience of true nature. Simien Mountains are often visited and this is because of its historic secrets along with the wonderful view that it offers to its visitors. Besides it has many well maintained routes that will direct you to Simien Mountains as you enjoy the beautiful scenery. Places of interest include the wildlife spotting chances at Chenek, the summit of Ras Dashen (4543meters) along with the sights from the Immetgogo promontory with a height of 3926 meters.
Outstanding Flora and Fauna
The Simien Mountains are home to a wider collection of flora and fauna that can be viewed right on your Ethiopian trekking holiday. The gigantic lobelia is seen on spot as you proceed with your trek. Common flora seen include the endemic globe thistle, jasmine, non-fruiting olive trees, Solanon, fennel, wild lavender and thyme and the endemic Abyssinian rose. Most popular fauna include the endemic Abyssinian fox which is called Ethiopian wolf, its mostly endangered and rare to see in the wilderness. Wildlife and bird species is are easily sighted in their natural setting. The heart baboons are seen and hard to be find anywhere else in world.
Ethiopia, an old country beyond all imaginations, has culture and traditions dating back over 3 millenniums years. The Axumite kingdom was one of the great civilizations of the ancient world and has undeniably left behind the mystery of the great Obelisks found at Axum. In the late Middle Ages great religious civilizations flourished in many parts of the country making not only a religious destination but demonstrated a unique and advanced architectural structures. Monuments of Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela, Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region and Harar Jugol and the Fortified Historic Town are some of the living witness and source of major tourist attractions.
Ethiopia is one of the ancient countries who received Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Old Monuments, churches and Mosque are the living witness to this fact. Ethiopia is therefore one of the oldest pilgrimage destination. Religious rituals performed by the different religions are currently attracting a lot tourist to the country. In terms of religion, Ethiopia is undoubtedly the major destination of pilgrimage next to Jerusalem and Mecca to both Christianity and Islam. The country is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement.
The Sabean migrants who crossed the Red Sea in the first millennium B.C and settled in Ethiopia brought with them Judaism and practiced it. The visit of Queen of Sheba to King Solomon in Jerusalem is recounted there. On her return, according to tradition, she bore him a son, whom she named Menilek. When Menilek grew up he visited his father in Jerusalem, and returned home accompanied by Azerias, the son of Zadok the High priest and many other Israelites. They carried with them the Ark of the Covenant, and kept it in special place in Axum. Judaism introduced to Ethiopia and practiced throughout the country. Therefore the country became the first nation to worship in one God in the continent of Africa. A substantial population of Ethiopian Jews resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s but have since gradually immigrated to Israel.
Christianity in Ethiopia
The introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia was during the reign of King Ezana (320 - 356), the first African king to become a Christian and make Christianity the official religion of his country. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, indigenous of Africa, is one of the oldest churches in the world and a founding member of the World Council of Churches.
Ethiopian Orthodox church is one of the five Eastern Oriental Orthodox Churches. They are: Armenian, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian and the Syrian Church of Malabar in India.
With nine of the many incredible sites registered in UNESCO world heritage sites, Ethiopia presents contrasting futures of extra-ordinary adventures. Lalibela- a magnificent, hand –carved stone churches built in 12th and 13th century. A total of 11 churches offer a myriad of opportunities to visitors. Fasilides Castle is a stunning tourist destination in Ethiopia. It is an old castle built in 17th century for the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides Alam Sagad. The castle can be found in Gondar, Amhara Region. The castle’s structure is purely made of stone.
Islam in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is the site of the first Hijra in Islamic history and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. In Islamic history and tradition, Ethiopia (Abyssinia or Al-Habasha) is known as the "Haven of the First Migration or Hijra." For Muslims, Ethiopia is synonymous with freedom from persecution and emancipation from fear. Ethiopia was a land where its king, Negus or Al-Najashi, was a person renowned for justice and in whose land human rights were cherished.
The first migration [Hijra] of the Companions and relatives of the Prophet Muhammad to Ethiopia celebrates the birth of freedom of expression and beliefs, whereas, the Second Migration of the Prophet Muhammad to the Madinah celebrates the foundation of Islam in the Middle east.
Negash is known as the earliest Muslim settlement in Africa; a seventh century cemetery has been excavated inside the village boundaries. On the other hand, the principal center of Islamic culture, learning, and propagation has been Harar in Eastern Ethiopia. Harar was established by Sultan Abu Beker Mohammed in 1520. Harar, the Holy City of Ethiopia's Muslim community, is believed to be the fourth-holiest city after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. The old City Wall of Harar is the main attraction and symbol of Islamic architecture. Harar has approximately 90 mosques, which form the largest concentration of mosques in the world. Harar Jugol has been included in the World Heritage List in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage.
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. What are believed to be the oldest remains of a human ancestor ever found, which has been dated as being some five million years old, were discovered in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. This beats the discovery of "Lucy", a 3.2 million year old skeleton, who was unearthed in the same area in 1974. Tiya is best known for its adjacent archeological site, which is distinguished by 36 standing stones or stelae, "32 of which are engraved with enigmatic symbols, notably swords," marking a large, prehistoric burial complex Other points of interest near Tiya include Melka Awash, the Hera Shetan crater lake, and Agesoke a place where very tall naturally ordered stone blocks could be seen.The archeological site was designated a World Heritage Site in 1980.
Tourists can carry out many activities in Ethiopia. These include Trekking, swimming, bird and scenery photographing, horse riding, enjoying traditional dining and dancing. Ethiopia is also a major site for conference tourism. Many countries opened their embassies and consulates in Ethiopia as the country is the diplomatic city of Africa being the seat of the African Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and having the fourth largest diplomatic missions next to NY, Washington DC, and London.
Trekking Mountain Simiens
Simien Mountains is the best spot to enjoy your trekking holiday; it is located in the northern part of the country. These rocky, natural mountains offer fascinating landscapes, as well as stunning fauna and flora. There are challenges that you are bound to face as you trek the
mountain, Ras Dashen is Ethiopia’s highest peak with a height of 4,533meters.Getting to the summit is everyone’s dream and this can be achieved if you contact tangible ethiopia tour and travel. Taking a tour to Ethiopia will give you a chance to interact with the local people and get to know how they relate with each other. A trekking holiday Simien Mountains is a dream come true to every trekker.
Travel by air, with the main carrier being Ethiopian Airlines - links the country with 60 cities across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. One of the few profitable African airlines, Ethiopian AirLines(EAL) has a strong safety record, a modern fleet, and was voted African airline of the year in 2006 and won the 2007 African Achievement Award for its efforts to develop air transport on the continent.
Other major international carriers including British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, Alitalia and Saudi also land at Addis Ababa and several other airlines are planning to add service to Ethiopia. Meanwhile, domestic air travel has also seen increased competition with the introduction of one, new private operator firms.
Reviews & news
Ethiopia as the Winner of "World's Best Tourist Destination for 2015" Ethiopia's Most Beautiful World Heritage Sites Cultural: Aksum (1980), Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region (1979), Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town (2006), Konso Cultural Landscape (2011), Lower Valley of the Awash (1980), Lower Valley of the Omo (1980), Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela (1978), Tiya (1980), Natural Simien National Park (1978)