Ethiopian
Tour Guide

Welcome to Ethiopia

Ethiopia, the oldest independent nation in Africa, is a land of stunning natural beauty, covering an area twice the size of Kenya, France or Texas. A rich diversity of culture and geography that will captivate the visitor. The welcome that comes from the mosaic of people with over 80 different languages and as many cultures is warm and spontaneous.

The attractions of Ethiopia are of world renown, and the development of the country as the foremost tourist destination in North East Africa has opened up Ethiopia to new generation of tourists, to whom a visit to the land of Queen of Shaba, the birthplace of the Blue Nile and the Cradle of Mankind was previously just a dream.

The climate is dependent on the physical terrain and position clothes to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, but for much of the year it is warm and pleasant in low-lying area and cool and bracing in the high lands. There are two principal seasons, rainy from June to September, (although the sun still shines on most days), and dry for the rest of the year. Just perfect for discovering the riches of Ethiopia.

HISTORY OF ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia has a heritage from the beginnings of mankind was underlined when the remains of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) dated from 3.5 million years ago, and the 4.4 million years old Homo ramidus, mans’s oldest anthropoid ancestor, were uncovered.

Traders from Greece, Rome, Persia and Egypt knew of the riches of what is now Ethiopia, and by the first century AD, Axum was the capital of a great empire. The realm became one of the first Christian lands of Africa. Late in the 10th century Axum declined and a new Zagwe dynasty, centered in now Lalibella, ruled the land. Axum, Lalibella and Gondar now provide our greatest historical legacy.

It was in the 16th century that the son of great explorer Vasco da Gama came to Ethiopia, but then found a land of many kingdoms and provinces beset by feuds and wars. In the 19th century the great Emperor Menelik led us towards the modern state of Ethiopia, and the country’s passage to modernization began.

GEOGRAPHY OF ETHIOPIA

The natural beauty of Ethiopia amazes the first-time visitor. Ethiopia, a land of rugged mountains (some 25 are over 4,000 metres high), broad savannah, lakes and rivers. The unique Rift Valley is a remarkable region of volcanic lakes, with their famous collections of birdlife, great escarpments and stunning vistas. With 14 major wildlife reserves, Ethiopia provides a microcosm of the entire sub-Saharan ecosystem. Birdlife abounds, and indigenous animals from the rare Walia ibex to the shy Wild Ass, roam free just as nature intended. Ethiopia , after the rains, is a land decked with flowers and with many more native plants than most countries in Africa.

THE CULTURE OF ETHIOPIA

With over 80 different peoples, the cultures of our communities are prominent in our lifestyle. With traditions going back to the days of Axum, and a strong religious setting, celebrations and festivals play an important part in our daily lives. Our greatest festival is Timket (Epiphany), where tourists are welcome to celebrate with us. But other festivals such as Enkutatash (the Ethiopia New Year, in September after the rains), Meskal, Gena (Christmas), Id and Easter are all glorious celebrations. In every region you will discover local festivals and ceremonies where you will be welcomed as an honored guest. Remember, when checking any dates, that Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, and we are unique in having thirteen months. Our traditional calendar remains almost eight years behind the Gregorian calendar of the West. (See right)