Ethiopia is the second most populated country of Africa with ‘Addis Ababa’ as its capital. Countries that surround Ethiopia are Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. Ethiopia is the land of great historical importance and has only recently joined the league of major Tourist destinations of the world.
It is ethnically, religiously and culturally diverse as people from various regions dwell in this part of Africa. The country offers its tourists a wide array of topographical features which range from highest peaks in Africa to the world’s lowest depression below sea level.
The country also experiences diverse climate. It is also a land of natural beauty surrounded with rivers, rugged mountains and hot springs that originate from craters formed by Volcanic Eruptions. Archeologically too this place is world renowned, as some of the oldest human remains and archeological treasures have been unearthed here.
The best part of Ethiopian Tourism is the fact that Government has taken the initiative of developing the country’s infrastructure to attract more tourists and hence support and enhance various tourists spots of the country.
There are various diverse attractions in Ethiopia that are unique and unmatched. Many of these historical, cultural and natural attractions are located in or near Addis Ababa which is the political capital of the place.
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The city is densely populated as millions reside here, But infrastracture is no where neat western standards and many modern facades popup here and ther,e among the reigning chaos that is quite typical in this part of the world The place is business hub of the region, as a result various hi end hotels and low cost inns are located in the city making it a perfect destination for tourists.
Restaurants in Addis Ababa are abundant and they serve various exotic foods for the tourists. Despite all these features this place is unstructured as most of the constructions are random and unplanned.
Ethiopia hosts various National Parks and Lakes which has unparalleled natural beauty. The country is a treasure trove of animal ecologies that have prospered unhindered in the multiple grasslands and Valleys. In rivers like Omo, Baro, Awash, Blue Nile and Tekezze rare and threatened habitats have prospered.
Omo National Park
Omo National Park is located on the boundary of Ethiopia. It is a must-see place for tourists and nature lovers. This river system supports some of the most rare species of wildlife and birds. Spread across 4000 sq.kms, the area is inhabited by Burchell’s Zebra, Eland, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant and Giraffe who graze freely in the grasslands that cover the banks of the river.
Tourists are taken to vantage points from where they can spot wildlife. If you are lucky you can catch animals in the act of hunting. Kingfishers and Turacos are often seen snatching fishes and roosting on the serene shores.
Gambala and Bale Mountain National Park
Gambala National Park is another renowned tourist attraction. Here visitors can find large numbers of birds of different species. Wildlife like zebra, Warthog, lion, elephant etc can also be spotted frequently. Bale Mountain National Park is located in the southern part of the country. Here the scenic beauty is simply breathtaking.
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The park covers an area of 2200 sq.kms and is situated in a region intersected by treacherous tall mountains of Ethiopia. The sanctuary falls in the Rift Valley districts of Ethiopia and is hence punctuates by various hot springs and water bodies that provide sustenance to a wide array of wildlife animals and birds. Among various lakes in Rift Valley, Lake Abiatta is considered as the most suitable place to watch varied colourful birds.
This is the region why the place attracts fair amount of bird watchers. Each of the seven lakes in Rift valley supports diverse entwined eco systems of myriad flora and fauna across the valley.
Simien Mountain National Park
Simien Mountain National Park is another tourist attraction which flaunts the tallest peak in Ethiopia. Among the parks, animals such as Gelada Baboon and Simien Fox are found. Many species of birds dwell in this tranquil place. Trekkers can enjoy the thrill of climbing jagged mountains. Adventure sports like river rafting can be experienced here in the Blue Nile which is the biggest river of Ethiopia. If you are in the Blue Nile region do not miss the Tissat falls.
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The area around the falls is breathtakingly scenic. The cascading water gushes down the steep slopes of the cragged hills shrouded in canopies of giant trees and ferns. An excellent assortment of animals are found in Awash National Park situated on the shores of Awash River. It is another bewitching destination drawing tourists and wild life photographers from all over the world.
Brush with History
Axum Historical site in Axum is one of the key tourist hot spots. Magnificent Monolithic Stone structures or obelisks adorn this place. The tallest of these structures was recently removed from its foundations, renovated and then restored to its former glory. Another impressive structure is Dohre Damo church which is one of the oldest shrines of the country.
Dotted with castles, churches and minarets, Gondar is another place of historical importance. This place was founded by Emperor Fasilidas in 1965. arious castles were added by different rulers who controlled the region.
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The majestic structure display intricate period facades that have typical Auxamite architectural features. The shrine at Harar is a place where devotees and tourists flock to find spiritual solace. Lalibela is another famous edifice known for its monolithic stone structures in the form of churches.
Ethiopia is a confluence of many cultures. It is blessed with natural splendours and amazing man-made archaic structures that have survived the onslaught of turbulent times and are now preserved for admiration. Moreover tourism is very well developed because it is one of the backbones of the fragile economy.
Although the lack sophisticated transport system in the country is lamentable, still the places are well connected both by private and air conditioned buses as well as by cabs. However you must hire cabs from reputed agents to avoid harassment of any form. Moreover major towns are connected with direct flights from airports of France and Germany.