Tourism in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a land of contrasts, a land of extremes. Ethiopia’s pride is the diversity in culture, tradition, cuisine and attractions. However, it is amazing how little the tourism industry has evolved. The main issue concerning the scarcity of tourism, like most problems in Ethiopia, is due to poor infrastructure. It is unfortunate that a problem so obvious such as infrastructure may hinder the lucrative industry which is tourism. But the potential for greatness is in the cultural and natural attractions in Ethiopia. Not to mention the people and cuisine. Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee, need I say more?
It’s difficult choosing where to start in mentioning the best places to visit in Ethiopia. So let’s begin with the most interesting and controversial place. The Nile river. The Nile river, its origin being, lake Tana is the most well known and probably most beautiful attraction in Ethiopia. 3,000 sq km it is the largest body of water in Ethiopia consisting of 37 islands. Twenty of these islands are homes to churches and monasteries dating back to the 14th century. The Great Rift Valley is another must see tourist attraction where there are various national parks. This provides an amazing opportunity to catch up on bird watching, camping, and experience the wild life. Semien mountains, located in the north, includes many summits above 4,000m and is the highest point in Ethiopia. Ras Dashen, fourth highest mountain in Africa, at 4,543m and is home to the Walia Ibex a unique indigenous mammal. The Bale Mountains, in the south east are also home to some unique wild life and rich flora.
Historical attractions in Ethiopia are plenty. The ancient town of Axum, for instance, the capital of the far reaching Axumite Kingdom, which dominated the vital crossroads of Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years, with its amazing carved obelisks, Christian festivals and relics, including the Ark of the Covenant, Lalibela, with its 11th century remarkable rockhewn churches that the world have ever seen until Gondar, the capital of Ethiopia during 1632-1667,with its castles and palaces. Negash is one of the earliest holy Muslim centres from the Prophet Muhammad Era. The Negash Amedin Mesgid is the walled Muslim city of Harar and Lega Oda, near Dire Dawa where one can see cave paintings considered to be thousands of years old. It’s beautiful how such a diverse country with a rich history can be as peaceful and hospitable.
In terms of cultural attractions Ethiopia has 80 nations and nationalities all of whom have their own culture and language. That in itself is enough to make potential tourists come and visit this wonderful land. There are various cultural restaurants which serve incredible traditional food. Some places have interesting entertainment along with the wonderful food. The entertainment could be music, dancing and/or the traditional coffee ceremony.
Everything is intense in Ethiopia which means you’ll never be disappointed after a visit. It is with reason Ethiopia is known as a very hospitable place and its ever famous quote “13 months of sunshine”, so choose Ethiopia as your next vacation destination.
For more on Ethiopia and Addis Ababa visit www.yp.et