Sitting landlocked in the horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a country of remarkable contrasts and diversity with an ancient Christian history, unique wildlife, spectacular cultures and jaw dropping scenery.
The country is bordered to the north by Eritrea, to the east by Somalia and Djibouti, to the west by Sudan and South Sudan and to the south by Kenya.
Once known as Abyssinia, Ethiopia is thought to be one of the earliest cradles of mankind and has produced some of the earliest hominid skeletal discoveries, including that of Lucy who dates back 3.2 million years. Lucy can still be seen today in the National Museum in the capital, Addis Ababa.
With 3.3 million people, Addis Ababa has the largest share of Ethiopia’s 102 million population. Much of the country is surprisingly fertile with many grains such as teff, wheat, barley, corn and millet grown and exported through the port in Djibouti.
Ethiopia is famous for its fascinating ancient history and tribal cultures. The spectacular rock-hewn churches of Lalibela dating back to the 12th Century, the ruins of Axum and the impressive monasteries in Bahir Dar are among its best known archaeological sites.
Ethiopia is special within Africa for having truly dramatic mountain scenery: indeed, the Simien Mountains are often referred to as the “The Roof of Africa”. With such an abundance of breathtaking highland scenery and endemic fauna and flora, Ethiopia reveals landscapes and wildlife not often associated with Africa.
Among its most striking species are the graceful Ethiopian wolf, ground-dwelling gelada baboon, sure-footed Walia ibex, majestic lammergeier and magnificent mountain nyala. The birdlife is particularly remarkable for its tameness, as birds are rarely hunted and thus allow close approach by humans.
As well as mountain scenery, in Ethiopia you can also see lush primary cloud forests to the south and vast lakes and more typical African savannahs along the Great Rift Valley. With such a range of extraordinary landscapes, charismatic endemic wildlife, fascinating culture and ancient history, Ethiopia is a destination to be savoured.