Ethiopia is a very different kind of Africa to the Africa imagined by most tourists, yet it is truly majestic and deeply fascinating. Not only did Christianity reach Ethiopia before much of Europe, but its short, colonial history offers a unique window into an African past largely devoid of European influence. It has an incredible ancient history with many noteworthy homonin fossils, such as ‘Lucy’ pointing to the earliest examples of human existence. Today it is the most populous landlocked country in the
world with approximately 85 million people distributed among 80 ethnic groups.
Although prone to some of the greatest droughts of modern times, Ethiopia is home to the mighty Blue Nile and contains 80 percent of the river system’s flow as a whole. A landscape of extremities creates the drama of the Ethiopian scenery; from some of the highest mountains in Africa, to its lowest points as the high central plateau is divided by the Great Rift Valley. However, being one of the hottest places on Earth, it is not for the fainthearted.
For the intrepid traveler, seeing the phreatic craters in the barren salt plains of the Danakil depression, and Mount Erta Ale – home to one of the world’s only permanent lava lakes; the enigmatic granite obelisks of Axum, the extraordinary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and perhaps most mysteriously of all, the church of St. Mary of Zion – probable location of the Arc of the Covenant, all contribute to the depth and complexity of this truly iconic land. The uniqueness of the Ethiopian experience is described in its ancient monuments, remote tribes, unique wildlife and remarkable vistas. Ethiopia is not for the luxury safari seeker, rather it rewards the traveler errant with an unparalleled sense of discovery, rare and humbling scenery and a range of thought-provoking episodes that are truly life changing.