Ethiopian culture is typical of the continent with its own unique distinctiveness. The only thing that has been missing for the Ethiopian tourism to flourish to its true potential is the necessary infrastructure.
However, now things are changing slowly but steadily. In 2013, the Ethiopian government finally decided to push for tourism in hopes of generating more income for the country. With the rise of information technology, the world has discovered the charm that this tourism destination holds. More and more people wish to travel to Ethiopia and explore their culture and story.
What does Ethiopia hold for tourists?
While the infrastructure is slowly but steadily coming into place, there is a lot more to be done to attract more tourism. However, without further work, the country already has plenty to offer.
Its unique landscape is shaped by centuries of massive erosion, forming the most spectacular mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp cliffs with walls of about 1500 meters.
The landscape of Ethiopia is formed from a volcanic plateau with an average height of over 2000 meters. The plateau is surrounded by a low-lying desert on three sides. In contrast, more than 20 mountains rise over 4000 meters.
In addition to the mountain filled landscape, you can also find savannas and rainforests in southwestern Ethiopia. Many rivers originate in the mountains and run through the country supplying gorgeous valleys and making it fertile.
But naturally formed landscapes are not the only tourist attraction in Ethiopia.
UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ethiopia
Ethiopian cities hold numerous exciting tourist attractions and festivities. However, to really grasp the culture and history of Ethiopia, tourists are advised to head to the World Heritage attractions in Ethiopia.
There are nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia. Every year, numerous tourists are attracted to these significant locations. They reveal not only clues to Ethiopian history and culture, but also to the history of the world and our species.
Eight of these World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia are cultural sites and one is a natural conservation area. The conservation area is the Simien National Park. This tourist attraction is home to various native animals such as Ethiopian wolf and Gelada baboon.
Arguably the most popular cultural heritage site in Ethiopia is Axum – Ethiopia’s ancient kingdom. These remains of a city are the last artifact of the powerful Aksumite kingdom. Many religious people come to this tourism destination in search of a biblical artifact that was brought to Ethiopia according to the Bible.
Other cultural heritage sites in Ethiopia are series of impressive stone-carved monolithic churches of Lalibela, fortified historic town of Harar Jugol, paleoanthropological discovery of Lower Awash Valley, the Tiya Archeological Site, Lower Omo Valley Tribes, the Konso Cultural Landscape, and the fortress city of Fasil Ghebbi.
Culture of Ethiopia
Besides offering unique world heritage sites that speak of the history of the whole world, Ethiopia is a diverse tourism destination in many other ways as well.
By visiting Ethiopia, tourists are guaranteed to enjoy splendid food with extensive and colorful choices. From various vegetable dishes to raw meat delicacies, you will enjoy the most interesting cuisine.
Additionally, Ethiopia is home to arguably the best coffee beans in the world. If you enjoy a tasty cup of coffee, then you are guaranteed to fall in love with the local coffee culture. To get the most out of this experience, you can visit the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
Apart from the social event of the coffee ceremony, Ethiopians have a great culture celebrated in many festivals. There are many colorful religious festivals that have stood the test of time and are still largely celebrated in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has over 80 ethnic groups with various native languages between these groups. Therefore, after thoroughly exploring this tourism destination you won’t feel like you visited only one culture. One can experience a wide variety of different rituals and cultures. Each native group has a distinct way of living and simply witnessing that can be a one of a kind experience.
Ethiopia is a tourism destination that won’t leave you disappointed. Despite the fact that it is not the most popular destination for tourism, this country has a truly unique culture and stunning landscapes.
The fact that most Ethiopians are religious and hold high standards to the way visitors should be received, makes this tourism destination relatively safe to travel. So be prepared to explore a very social and receiving culture with great and colorful traditions that you will remember for years to come.
Showcasing breathtaking landscapes, joyful culture and traditions, ancient history, and so much more, Ethiopia should be on your bucket list.