Top 7 Places To Visit In Ethiopia

african elephant

Before now if you used to think there are no nice places in Ethiopia to visit, you can be pardoned a little bit because you haven’t read this article. However, if you still think the same way after reading this article, you won’t be pardoned. Do you love adventure? let’s explore some of the best places in Ethiopia.

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1. Danakil Depression

Positioned on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea is the Danakil Depression. It’s officially one of driest and hottest places on Earth.

With temperatures that often reach 50+ degrees, it’s easy to see why.  This is a surreal piece of real estate that’s strewn with active volcanoes, salted basins, hot springs, and a lava lake – all of which combine to create a very lunar-like landscape.

Sitting below sea level, it’s the lowest point in Africa and second in the world (after the Dead Sea).

Do a bit of planning before you go as the climate can be harsh if you aren’t prepared.  But the beauty and mystery of this place make any preparation well worth it.

2. Lalibela

Lalibela pretty much blows the mind of everyone who visits.  This medieval settlement was designed to be a kind of second Jerusalem and modern day inhabitants remain proud of this distinction.

Lalibela is perched in the middle of a broad church complex made entire of rock.

There are 11 churches in the settlement, monolithic and grand, all built by King Lalibela as early as the 12th century.

Remarkable because of the architectural design, the churches are actually dug into the ground.

The most famous, and most beautiful, is St George’s Cathedral.  An awe-inspiring sight.

If you’re so inclined, there are several monasteries in the nearby area that are worth visiting.

3. Harar

This holy, historic and walled city is a mesmerizing web of narrow alleyways. Built in the early 16th century, it’s the oldest Islamic city in Africa.

It was once the commercial link between Africa and the middle east and today is an enchanting lost-in-time city that’s famous for the impressive walls and centuries old buildings.

There are roughly 99 mosques within the city.  A popular attraction is the nightly ritual of feeding they hyenas which happens on the outskirts of the city.

It’s been taking place for generations and you can participate if you’re feeling adventurous.

4. Babile Elephant Sanctuary

Babile Elephant Sanctuary

Only about 1,000 elephants remain in Ethiopia, and by far the largest and most visible herd lives in the Babile Elephant Sanctuary.

A short drive from Harar, Babile is also home to gazelles, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and tons of exotic birds.

The landscape morphs from rocky outcrops to lovely tree dotted landscapes.

Roughly 400 elephants live here and you’ll really love the walking safaris that run each day.

5. The Rift Valley

The Rift Valley is a chain of seven lakes – each with its own distinct feel.  The passage includes wonderful lakes, hot springs, and lots of fun wildlife.

If you’ve come to Africa for the wildlife, you’ll love the Rift Valley.  Tourists and locals love to spend time near the hot springs for its therapeutic benefits and because it’s a fabulous way to relax.

It makes for a nice road trip to travel the entire length of the valley.

6. The Blue Nile Falls

The Nile River is the longest in Africa and its two tributaries are the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

The Blue Nile begins in Ethiopia and along its course you’ll find the   Blue Nile Falls – a spot to rival Niagara.

About 90 minutes from Bahar Dar the scenery here is truly breath-taking. Locally known as Tis Abbay, or ‘great smoke,’ the falls are about 45 metres high during the rainy season.

Just downstream from the falls you’ll find Ethiopia’s first stone bridge, built in the 17th century.

7. The Omo Valley

This is a wonderfully unique look into the tribal people of Ethiopia.  Similar to the Maasai in Kenya, the villages in the Lower Omo Valley haven’t been influenced by the outside world.

Here you’ll interact with people whose culture is dramatically different from your own.

Visit Daasanach village, try not to stare at the Mursi’s unbelievable lip-plates, or view the jumping of the bull’s ceremony with the Hammer.

The region itself is a lovely open savannah leading up to forests in the hills. And if you’re interested, you can also try an African safari while you’re here.

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