My customer’s picks, my descriptions
In a country with a wide contrast and diversity, I will suggest what you should see once I know your areas of interests and disinterest ( see how my tours work). What this page features are my customers top picks in different parts of the country. Just take them as the most voted places in my years of experience.
The best: Must- Sees
In the south
In the North
East and west
The best: Must- Sees
These are the places that all of my customers happened to enjoy the most. They all feature in my customer's highlights of their tour in Ethiopia. As Jonathan would put it, they should all be part of itinerary.
An adventure in the middle of nowhere and an experience with no resemblance as many travelers put it. A live volcano from close up, walking on salt, stepping foot on the lowest and most colorful place on earth, camel rides, driving through a wild desert, sleeping out doors, trekking under the moon… as some of my customers put it, no four days are packed with so unique experiences. If any of my customers had to pick just one place in Ethiopia, it would be the Danakil.
I picked this bad picture that I took to show the person on a wheel chair on the left. I was told that he made the difficult journey to lay eyes on what are one of the unofficial 8 wonders of the world.
This iconic church, Bete Giorgis, is one of the 11 churches of Lalibela which are carved from a single rock. This in the 10th century where there was no mechanization. Engineering like no other, how these inter tunneled churches were so flawlessly carved out both from the inside and the outside with nothing but chisels is a mystery that defies imagination.
THE SIMIEN MOUNTAINS
“Just like the grand canyons but greener”. The Simien mountains is home to the most majestic mountain chains. Full of breath taking views, the Simien mountains are a heaven to the passionate trekker.The serene and the beautiful camping sites are quite refreshing. The wildlife in the Simien are mostly endemic and if you can see the unique Chilada baboon from close up, it will only be in the Simiens.
In the south
The top three sites that my customers enjoyed most from their tour in Southern Ethiopia.
THE OMO VALLEY
Tribes who have still embraced our ancestral simplistic way of life call the Omo valley home. The amazing lip plates of the Mursi, the bull jumping of the Hamer , the stick fighting of the Surma, the bodies to whom obeisity is something to die for… there is much more that fascinates.
THE BALE MOUNTAINS
It might be eclipsed by its brother in the north over popularity( the Simien mountains).But the Bale national park is a beautiful place which warrants a few days. It is the best place for a game drive. You are not only guaranteed to see the endemic Ethiopian wolf, you might even take a photo while it is hunting i.e if you are luckier than me. Aside of the other endemic Ethiopian icon, the walia Ibex, Bale is home to a variety of wildlife and birds. If you are into hiking and trekking, Bale warrants a few more days, with each promising a different kind of landscape.
THE NECHSAR NATIONAL PARK
A boat trip taking you close to the gigantic Nile crocodile and the calm hypo precedes your adventure in the Nechsar national park. This Savanna like park is home to a variety of birds and the place where sighting of Zebras and antelopes is guaranteed.
In the NorthAll the three sites featuring in the Best and must see selection are from the North. These 2 attractions have also been highly rated by my customers as best sites in the north.
The ancient churches in the tigray region, with some dating back to the 4th century, are architectural marvels. All different in design, what most of them share is that they are rockhewn churches. With beautiful paintings and relics who have seen centuries fly by, these ancient structure can’t fail to impress. If sightseeing is too dull for you, you still won’t disappointed. The hikes to Abune Yemata or Mariam Korkor are adventures, rewarded with stunning top views from the highest cliffs. Like wise, the climb to Debredamo tied up to a rope is not an experience you find anywhere. If such challenges are too much for you no worries: Tigray is home to 100+ churches and choosing one that suits your needs is not too hard.
If you are passionate about archeology, history or even architecture, be sure that you will be fascinated by Axum. Archeologists say that only 10% of this mysterious town is properly explored but it was enough to have it registered as a World heritage site. With plenty to see and admire in and around Axum, it is its iconic steleas which are the most impressive. These sky scraping grave markers where each flawlessly carved out from single rocks. Some date back to the first century B.C Made from stones from a different location, it remains a mystery how these gigantic stones were transported to their current location, nor how they were erected in such a way that defies the toll of time.
East and westTop customer picks in the East and Western parts of Ethiopia
HARAR: A world heritage site with an Arabic flair. An ancient city enclosed by all with the highest density of alley ways and mosques. Beautiful interior decorations and colorful people. It is hard to describe Harar properly: it is just a town that everyone falls in love with. Not to forget of course the unique experience of feeding hyena.
BONGA: Home to one of the remaining Ethiopian rain forests. The Kefa forests is where coffee was first discovered. This beautiful unique landmark offers a great opportunity to trek in one of Ethiopia's non touristy and beautiful corners. The forest is also home to what is known as the bridge of God where the river flows through a beautiful natural cave.
KIBISH: An interesting part of Ethiopia if you are looking for a tribal experience. It is different from the lower Omo in that Kibish is less touristy and promises a more genuine experience. The most popular tribes there are the Surmas, famous for their contentious stick flighting.