There are some really great places to go on vacation. Europe is a popular vacation destination, as are Australia and Mexico. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might consider Tanzania or Morocco in Africa, but there are likely other countries on the African continent that you assume you should avoid. Ethiopia is likely one of those countries.
It’s true that Ethiopia isn’t a traditional vacation destination, but it is growing in popularity. This beautiful country is turning into quite the vacation spot because it has plenty of things to offer travelers that they won’t find anywhere else.
Tourism Has Become a Focus of the Government
Vacationing in Ethiopia used to be a huge challenge. That’s because the government was focusing on health, education, and communication prior to 2013. That should come as no surprise as the country was struggling with drought, famine, and revolution during that time.
Things have calmed down and the government has been able to turn their focus to tourism. A tourism transformation council was established to provide direction to the industry and make it easier and better for vacationers who are visiting.
For example, they make it easy for travelers to obtain a tourist visa for Ethiopia. It only takes a few minutes to complete the application, and the visa is sent via email, making it one of the easiest visas to obtain.
Endless Beautiful History
Because Ethiopia hasn’t been a popular vacation destination, many people don’t realize just how many wonderful, beautiful sights there are to visit in this country. There are many gorgeous natural wonders to behold, like the Gheralta Mountains and the Blue Nile, but this country is also home to a whopping nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They include:
- Aksum: This location marks the heart of ancient Ethiopia dating back to the first century A.D.
- Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region: This fortress was the residence of emperor Fasilides and others in the 16th and 17th centuries.
- Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town: As a sacred Muslim city, it is said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam.
- Konso Cultural Landscape: These stone-walled terraces demonstrate a cultural tradition that dates back more than 400 years.
- Lower Valley of the Awash: The oldest human remains at this location date back at least four million years.
- Lower Valley of the Omo: Homo gracilis was famously discovered, as well as other important fossils, at this world-renowned site.
- Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela: This marks the spot of the New Jerusalem of the 13th century.
- Tiya: This site includes 36 important archeological monuments that belong to an ancient, unknown Ethiopian culture.
Visiting all those historic sites makes for a great vacation experience, but only if you can get there easily, and you have a comfortable place to go when you’re done exploring.
Ethiopia has invested in expanded infrastructure within the last few years that makes traveling a lot easier. Not only is the airport expanding to accommodate more travelers, comfortable and luxurious hotels are popping up all over the place.
Food That You Won’t Find Anywhere Else
For foodies, there really is no better place to put on your bucket list than Ethiopia. The food in this country is unlike anything you will experience anywhere else.
Popular Ethiopian dishes include tips, which involves some form of lamb, garlic, and onion, and kitfo, which is similar to a French steak tartare. If you’re a brave culinary adventurer, be sure to try the tere siga, which is raw meat that is dipped in a sauce called mitmita.
There’s a lot to do and see in Ethiopia, but you won’t feel the need to rush around. Even if you wanted to rush from place to place, you may find it impossible!
Don’t be surprised to discover that you can’t do much between noon and two. Everywhere closes for lunch. You might as well slow down, take a nap, and rest during this time too.
Not only is the language different, which means you’ll automatically have to slow down, the time is different too. Ethiopians use the Julian calendar, which is very different than the international calendar.
The Ethiopian clock is also six hours apart from ours. That means additional math is needed, even if your clock adjusts for the correct time zone.
Although you may have shied away from Ethiopia as a vacation destination in the past, today, this vibrant and beautiful country is a safe and fun place for travelers to explore.