August 11, 2010 lia


Ethiopia — where North Africa meets Sub-Saharan Africa — offers a diversity of landscapes, historic sites, flora and fauna, delicious food and eco-tourism. Our group of four adults and a 12 month old baby traveled easily were especially surprised by how simple it was to access excellent tourism services that employed local guides and gave us both a highly informative trip and personality.

Addis Ababa – the modern-day capital of Ethiopia, the location of the African Union. Go to the National Tourism Organisation (NTO) and have them organise your whole trip around the country. Not only are they highly competent and affordable, their guides are well-educated, and they employ local guides from villages to tour you around each site, creating local capacity.

Rock-hewn Churches – 12th Century Ethiopian Christian church, The Church of St. Mary is carved out of limestone and exhibits a distinctly Ethiopian Christian character. Unlike many other parts of Africa where Christianity was imported by Missionaries in the 19th Century, Ethiopia has its own orthodox faith, was the second country after Armenia to declare itself Christian, and includes its own array of black saints.

Nearby is an archaeological site with an informative ‘museum’ that illustrates the anthropoligal history of our species.

Bahir Dar – situated on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, Bahir Dar is an extraordinary collection of monasteries and other historical sites dating from the 16th and 17th centuries peppered amongst islands accessible via boat. Our tour guide, Adugnya, took us to hear traditional Ethiopian entertainment, and participated in many lively discussions about the current state of Ethiopia, and its democratic system.

Awash National Park – a wildlife viewing National Park with lots of birds, oryx and other bovines, but do not expect to see the big 5 like in South Africa and Kenya.

Not-to-be-missed next time!
– Gondar – the 17th century capital of Ethiopia with 44 churches.
– Lalibella – Ethiopia’s 11 famous rock hewn churches, carved as crosses.
– Axum – the Holy City of Ethiopia, dating 2000 years back, including the tomb of kings and the parks of Stelae.