Our Ethiopia tours will take you to a country with lots of mystery. A lot of things get their start – some even say humanity itself. The fossil of our oldest human ancestors (fondly known as Lucy) was discovered and still hangs out here, the roaring waters of the Blue Nile begin in the north-west, and the rock-hewn Christian churches of Lalibela date back to 11th century. Historical, natural, flavourful – even if all that officially starts here is your desire to see as much of Ethiopia as possible we offer tailor made Ethiopia tours and combined tours with neighboring countries such as Kenya, South Sudan and others.
Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa whose history goes back to the 9th century BC. The oldest human skeleton to date has also been found here; Ethiopia is therefore considered the cradle of humanity. It is the only country in Africa that has never fallen under colonial rule. At that time it was still known as Abyssinia. Due to its long history and ethnic diversity, Ethiopia also has an immense cultural wealth.
In addition, Ethiopia tours offer an impressive landscape as well as an flora and fauna that is one of the most diverse on earth. It is also home to some of the highest mountains in Africa. Ethiopia is known for its hospitality – a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony should not be missed in the “country of birth” of coffee.
Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa and, at 1,127,127 km², is approximately three times the size of Germany. It borders Kenya in the south, Somalia, Somaliland and Djibouti in the east, Eritrea in the north and Sudan in the west and also in southern Sudan. Ethiopia is the highest country in Africa – a quarter of the country is over 1,800 meters high. Most of the country is occupied by the so-called highlands of Abyssinia. The capital Addis Ababa is also located in this high mountain range. However, the country is also determined by the central Great Rift Valley (also known as the Great Rift Valley), a trench formed by tectonic movement that runs through the whole of East Africa in a north-south direction. Here, among other things, one suspects the origins of human history. The Somali highlands join in southeastern Ethiopia. In the northeast, the highlands fall very steeply and here is the Afar valley (also called Danakil valley), the deepest point in Ethiopia – 114 meters below sea level.
Ethiopia’s vegetation zones range from alpine coniferous forests to mountain rainforests, extensive marshlands, savannas and deserts. In the north-west of Ethiopia, the Blue Nile rises in Lake Tana, which at Karthum merges with the White Nile to form the longest river in the world. In addition to Addis Ababa, there are a large number of medium-sized cities including Dire Dawa, Gondar, Adama and Bahir Dar.
Ethiopia’s tropical location divides the year into dry and rainy seasons with only minor changes in temperature. The normal rainy season extends from June to September, the dry season from October to May. In the very south, however, the opposite is true – here it rains between March and May and October and December. It is warmest between January and April. Due to the high altitude of Ethiopia, the temperatures are much lower than in the neighboring countries. Overall, the country is divided into four climatic zones, which depend strongly on the respective altitude. The tropical-hot zone, in which the desert climate prevails, is mostly in the eastern part of the country. The average temperature here is around 27 ° C with very high drought. The center around Addis Ababa is warm and temperate. The average temperature here is only 22 ° C, and more precipitation falls. For this reason, there are significantly more pastures here.
Areas above 2400 meters, especially in the north and west, are temperate with average temperatures around 16 ° C. At night it cools down significantly to 5 ° C. There is also much more rainfall in these parts of the country, which is why more forests can be found there. From a height of 3,900 meters, snowfall and frost can also occur at night. Most precipitation falls in the far west and north of the country. The south is a bit drier.
Society & Politics
About 96 million people live in Ethiopia. It is the second largest country in Africa in terms of population. Like most African countries, Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country. Around 80 different ethnic groups live here with their own languages. The largest group are the Oromo, which make up about a third of the population. Although the second largest group, the Amhars, make up only a quarter of the population, they have the greatest influence in the country. The official language of the country is also Amharic. This makes Ethiopia, together with Tanzania, the only country in Africa that has an indigenous language as the sole official language. Other ethnic groups are the Tigray, the Afar and the Somali.
Ethiopia was an early religious center, especially of the Christian faith. The churches and icons of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which date back to the 4th century AD, still bear witness to this. Together with the Protestant Christians, they make up about half of the population. But Islam also has a long history here. For example, Harar is considered the fourth holiest city in Islam. Most Muslims live in the eastern part of the country. They make up a little less than half of the population. A specialty are the Ethiopian Jews, of whom there are only a few thousand left.
Until 1974, Ethiopia was an empire under the leadership of Haile Selassie. After its fall, the country was rebuilt into a socialist People’s Republic that existed until 1991. Ethiopia has been acting federally since then. Although the country has made significant economic progress, it still suffers from high levels of poverty.
Ethiopia has only 4,400 km of paved road compared to many European countries. The main road is between Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti, but it is often overloaded. The government is making great efforts to rapidly expand the network to provide relief. During the rainy season, some unpaved roads can only be passed with restrictions or not at all. There are two international airports and several small national airports, so travel within the country is also possible by plane. The airlines are operated by Ethiopian Airlines.
The water supply poses a major problem regionally, and the power supply only covers the larger towns. Power outages must be expected, with hotels mostly having generators to bypass them. The telecommunications network is relatively well developed, but the connection costs, especially abroad, are very high. Internet is available in most cities, but very slow.
Ethiopia is generally a safe travel destination. Nevertheless, there is an increased potential for conflict in some parts of the country. Although the political situation in Ethiopia is rather stable, we point out a potential danger, especially in the border regions. For more detailed information, please also check the current assessments of the Federal Foreign Office. There have also been occasional riots at mass meetings in the past. We therefore recommend avoiding demonstrations and large crowds. Ethiopia is not a rich country and has a large social gap. Therefore, be careful when dealing with your valuables. We will be happy to advise you to protect you from theft. You should also be aware Ethiopia is a country with a different culture and partly strong cultural and religious values. Avoid behavior that could be considered provocative or offensive. We and our local partners will also be happy to advise you.