Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest country, and has the second largest population. There is no better place to visit for culture and history. Ancient temples, Christian ceremonies that haven’t changed in 1000 years, and highlands littered with hidden historical treasures. Landscapes to trek in, desert to explore, and lakes to boat on. A chance to get up close to famous African animals such as elephants, hyena and crocodiles. Ethiopia will delight and surprise any visitor: get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
This is one of the lowest and hottest places on earth, which makes you feel as though you are on a different planet. It is 100m below sea level and temperatures often reach 50 degrees C. The scenery is incredible, like being in a surrealist painting, with swirling, twisting orange rocks and lava lakes. Visitors can arrange tours from Addis Ababa or Mekele. The best city: Harar The city of Harar was once a commercial hub between Arabia and Africa. The legendary tales attracted Richard Burton and French poet Rimbaud to visit here. The walled city is a maze of dusty alleyways and mud-brick buildings, giving an otherworldly, lost-in-time atmosphere. Near the city walls, every evening, a hyena feeding ritual takes place, in which visitors are welcome to join. The best for wildlife: Babille Elephant Sanctuary Take a day trip from Harar and hire a guide to take you around this wonderful wildlife sanctuary. The highlight is elephant tracking, but there are plenty of other creatures to find, including birds, gazelle, rarely seen lions, leopards and cheetahs. The best for cultural heritage: Konso Villages The Konso people of Ethiopia have stayed true to their heritage and traditions, despite modern encroachment. They preserve their unique labyrinthine villages, their architecture and their way of life. The town of Konso and the villages Busso and Machekie are the top places to visit in the region. The best lake: Lake Chamo Crocodile Market Worry not, these incredible creatures are not really for sale! You can see the lake Chamo crocodiles chilling on the banks in the sun, or gracefully gliding through the water, alive and well. Take a boat trip on the lake to get up close and personal to these massive animals, and you might catch a glimpse of some hippos too!