Fascinating history, ancient culture, spectacular landscapes and endemic wildlife make Ethiopia an exciting African destination.

Ethiopia is not for the first-time traveller to Africa—rather, the seasoned and intrepid explorer will find the continent’s highest concentration of spectacular mountainous landscapes, significant populations of unusual mammal and bird species and the medieval Christian UNESCO World Heritage Site rock churches, to name a few of the highlights, completely irresistible. The country is new to tourism, particularly in the high-end category; John has visited Ethiopia a few times, now, and with the help of knowledgable on-the-ground experts, we understand where the quality accommodations are and how to get to the must-see destinations and experiences.

Life has not changed, in many ways, from biblical times for most Ethiopians, where over 70 languages are spoken over 82 ethnic groups. The landscapes are just as diverse, from the stunning trails along the Bale and Simien mountain ranges to the awe-inspiring Erta Ale volcano; from the lakes along the Rift Valley floor to the blistering heat of the Danakil Depression.

History and culture are strong attractions for visitors to Ethiopia. The atmospheric rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are on everyone’s to-see list, being one of the world’s most astounding sacred sites: eleven rock-hewn churches, each carved entirely out of a single block of granite with its roof at ground level. Then there are the castles of the ancient city of Gondar – Gondar is a royal and ancient historical city. It was the home of many emperors and princesses who led the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century and is also where you’ll find the highest mountain in Ethiopia, Ras Dashen, and the Simien Mountains National Park. Then there are the towering obelisks of Axum, Ethiopia’s most ancient city. Each carved from a single piece of solid granite stone, the largest of these massive stelae is believed to have fallen to the ground over a thousand years ago and measures just over 33 metres in length.

Cultural interactions and spending time with locals on homestays (TESFA) are also popular on visitors’ itineraries….

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About TESFA

Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives (TESFA) was established as an NGO in 2003. The aim was to promote cultural tourism in such a way that it benefitted its local communities. The idea was to set up a network of community-run lodges to allow tourists to trek through the Basalt Mountains and stay at accommodation provided by each of the communities in the area, thus creating extra income to supplement their farming lifestyle and ensuring the money goes directly to the people.

The Simien Mountains were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to their spectacular scenery and native wildlife – and three of Ethiopia’s endemic large mammals live in this area; the gelada baboon, walia ibex and Simien fox. Trekking in the Simien Mountains is spectacular, with breathtaking views every step of the way. We try to combine both the awe-inspiring scenic, cultural and historical north of Ethiopia with a little of the south, as some surprisingly good wildlife viewing is to be had in this part of the country.

Chebera Churchura National Park and the Bale Mountains National Park are without doubt favoured destinations for our Ethiopian colleagues. In the Bale Mountains National Park, you can see many of the mammals and birds that are unique to Ethiopia, such as the rare Ethiopian wolf and many species of antelope. A trip through the Southern Nations is a step back in time and parts of this are definitely worth the experience.

Ethiopia can be visited at any time of year. Sometimes people are advised against going during the rainy season (June to early October) but, as with the rest of Africa, this can be a particularly good time to go as you can avoid the crowds and enjoy the greener countryside scenery. One of the best times of year to visit is September to early October, when the whole country is a riot of wild meskel flowers. Many travellers try to schedule their trip to coincide with important festivals such as Ethiopian New Year, Ethiopian Christmas, Timkat or Meskel.

Anita Desai

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
2018-06-25T16:25:31+00:00
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.”
2018-06-25T16:27:58+00:00
“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.”

Richard Ferris Burton, Explorer 1821 – 1890

“The gladdest moment in human life is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands.'
2018-06-13T14:46:08+00:00
“The gladdest moment in human life is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands.'

Mark Twain

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
2018-06-25T16:29:07+00:00
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Charles Kingsley (Writer 1819 – 1875)

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
2018-06-25T16:24:08+00:00
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

Anon

“Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you've been all along.”
2018-06-13T17:55:59+00:00
“Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you've been all along.”

Karen Blixen

“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and makes you feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.”
2018-06-25T16:24:43+00:00
“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and makes you feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.”

Marcel Proust

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
2018-06-25T16:26:19+00:00
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Bill Bryson

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
2018-06-25T16:29:37+00:00
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”
2018-06-25T16:28:31+00:00
“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”

Bartle Bull, Safari. A Chronicle of Adventure

“Even today, to visit Africa is a feast for the senses. The bush literally brings one’s faculties to life, as you learn to see better, to smell for the first time, to be silent and to listen.”
2018-06-13T17:55:34+00:00
“Even today, to visit Africa is a feast for the senses. The bush literally brings one’s faculties to life, as you learn to see better, to smell for the first time, to be silent and to listen.”

Gustave Flaubert

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
2018-06-25T16:27:12+00:00
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

John Muir

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
2018-06-13T17:56:23+00:00
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Sylvia Dolson, Joy of Bears

“If you reconnect with nature and the wilderness you will not only find the meaning of life, but you will experience what it means to be truly alive.”
2018-06-25T16:22:53+00:00
“If you reconnect with nature and the wilderness you will not only find the meaning of life, but you will experience what it means to be truly alive.”