After facing rough historical events and times, Ethiopia, formerly called Abyssinia is transforming its economy, making astounding progress over the past two decades, and this also includes the tourism industry. This remarkable success is responsible for the 518,000 visitors that visited the country in 2020 (World Data, 2020).From discovering the wondrous landscapes, ancient religious sites, and amazing indigenous tribes.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world with a large succession of ancient treasures. With nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks, and mountain ranges, Ethiopia is on the list of Tourist favorite countries to visit. The country has a treasure base of carefully preserved historic churches, monasteries, and ancient towers. With diverse wildlife consisting of unique indigenous creatures such as the Gelada monkey and Ethiopian wolf.
The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic. Although all Ethiopian languages enjoy official state recognition, Amharic is the working language of the federal government. Currently, it is only one of the 5 official languages of Ethiopia, with Oromo, Somali, Afar, and Tigrinya. It is the most widely spoken and written language in Ethiopia. It has a total population of over 108 million people with a land area of 426,372 square miles.
On a rough estimate, two-thirds of the Ethiopian population are Christians while the remaining one-third are Muslim. A 2017 survey revealed that 43.5% of the Ethiopian population identified as Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, 33.9% identified as Muslim, and 18.5% identified as Protestant Christian (Pentay).
Sights in Ethiopia
When planning a holiday trip to Ethiopia, here is a list of some sights you should not miss:
Lalibela sits as the most visited sight in Ethiopia. The 900-year-old rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are a group of 13 medieval churches carved out of the balsamic scoria volcanic rocks. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient capital of Gondar is often regarded as the Camelot of Africa.
- Simien Mountains
For tourists who love natural landscapes, the Simien Mountains is a perfect place to visit. Home to Ethiopia’s highest peaks, the national park offers an extensive view from troops of Gelada monkeys to mountaintop monasteries. Moving from the tourist trail is the Guassa Conservation Area, a 98-square kilometer park that has been protected by the indigenous community since the 17th century.
- Lake Tana
Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the third largest in Africa, with a peaceful and conducive setting that is worth visiting to take a break from the dusty towns. This is where you get to see small pods of hippopotamus, hundreds of endemic species of birds, and ashore graced with more than 30 monasteries.
The food in Ethiopia, just the ancient treasures of the country, is some of the most diverse in the continent. The main staple food here is injera, a pancake that’s eaten for every meal in every part of Ethiopia. It is made from tef(a local cereal) prepared on a big flat pan and topped with spicy meat stews, vegetable curries, and raw cubes of beef.
When is the best time to travel to Ethiopia?
The best time to travel to Ethiopia is from mid-October to January. During this period, the rain has reduced and the countryside is still green and lush. Traveling in the rainy season which falls in the summer months (June to August), is not advisable as the roads in the mountain become flooded and slippery.
Travel essentials; Here are some travel essentials you must pack on your journey; casual and comfortable clothes, a wide-brimmed sun hat. You have to consider the weather of the year during your travel period. The wet season is between June, July, and August.
The unit of currency is the Ethiopian birr, which currently trades at around 20 birrs to 1,25 birr. The banknotes are in denominations of 100,50,10,5 and 1 birr. Changing your money is easy as you can walk into several banks and even private bureaux de change in Addis Ababa.