Ethiopia is truly a land of contrasts and extremes; a land of remote and wild places. Some of the highest and most stunning places on the African continent are found here, such as the jaggedly carved Simien Mountains, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites – and some of the lowest, such as the hot but fascinating Danakil Depression, with its sulphur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape. Ethiopia is old; old beyond all imaginations. As Abyssinia, its culture and traditions date back over 3,000 years. And far earlier than that lived “Lucy” or Dinkenesh, meaning ‘thou art wonderful’, as she is known to the Ethiopians, whose remains were found in a corner of this country of mystery and contrasts. Many people visit Ethiopia – or hope to do so one day – because of the remarkable manner in which ancient historical traditions have been preserved. And, indeed, the ceremonies and rituals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, open a window on the authentic world of the Old Testament. In no other country is it possible to find yourself so dramatically transported back in time or to participate with such freedom in the sacred rituals of an archaic faith.
Ethiopia is a land of natural contrasts, from the tops of the rugged Simien Mountains to the depths of the Danakil Depression, at 120 meters below sea level one of the lowest dry land points on earth. The cornucopia of natural beauty that blesses Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of landscapes: Afro-Alpine highlands soaring to around 4,300 metres, moors and mountains, the splendor of the Great Rift Valley, white-water rivers, Savannah teeming with game, giant waterfalls, dense and lush jungle… the list is endless. Ethiopia’s many national parks enable the visitor to enjoy the country’s scenery and its wildlife, conserved in natural habitats, and offer opportunities for travel adventure unparalleled in Africa. The wildlife consists mainly of East African plains animals, but there are now no giraffe or buffalo. Oryx, bat-eared fox, caracal, aardvark, ccolobus and green monkeys, Anubis and Hamadryas baboons, klipspringer, leopard, bushbuck, hippopotamus, Soemmerings gazelle, cheetah, lion, kudu and 450 species of bird all live within the park’s 720 square kilometres.
Sunshine is virtually guaranteed. There is a rainy season between the middle of June and the end of September, but for the rest