Tourism: Uncovering Ancient Rituals And Secrets In Ethiopia
Famed for its coffee, wildlife, and ancient architecture, Ethiopia is fast becoming one of Africa’s biggest tourist draws, and for good reason. We’ve done some investigating and highlighted some of the most extraordinary sites that the country has to offer.
Addis Ababa—a name that means ‘New Flower’—is home to over 3 million people, and is certainly a city in blossom. Over the past decade, tourism rates have risen by 10 percent, a figure which is increasing every year, and it’s not difficult to see why. Addis Ababa offers everything from dancing (swing, salsa, and traditional Ethipian options available), museums, cathedrals, spacious parks, and of course, the best of local cuisine.
We recommend you try a thick slice of sourdough bread with some spicy Kifto, a marinated beef delicacy which is truly out of this world.
Of course, no trip abroad is complete without engaging with local cultures and traditions, and Ethiopia has some of the richest around. Lightfoot Travel agent, Steph—who was born and raised in Ethiopia herself—was approached by clients who were eager to be introduced to the Hamer tribe, an Omotic community based in the southwestern region of Ethiopia, famous for their ‘bull-jumping’ coming of age ceremony and distinctively dyed red hair.
Steph tailored the trip with characteristic care and consideration. Clients were invited to assist in preparations for the bull-jumping festival, and to partake in a celebratory feast following this exhilarating and ever-so-slightly hair-raising experience.
Into the wild
Move over Out of Africa, because the landscape of Ethiopia’s national parks can easily beat the finest cinematography on offer. Ethiopia is host to one of the most diverse and rich eco-scapes on the planet, and with baboons, capras, nyalas, and turacos to observe, you’ll be narrating your own nature documentary alongside David Attenborough in no time.
In Ethiopia, a total of 20 national parks constitute over 17,000 square miles of natural landscapes and protected habitats.
For Indiana Jones enthuisiasts, young and old, Ethiopia is a treasure chest of ancient archaeology. Structures and buildings from as early as the eighth century still stand in extraordinarily good condition, largely owing to the country’s warm and dry climate, which range from Mesopotamian-inspired houses to Askumite monasteries—each site revealing a unique picture of the country’s diverse history.
Ethiopia is also rumoured to be the home of the legendary ‘Ark of the Covenant’, and while it hasn’t been discovered yet, it highlights one of the most joyful aspects of Ethiopian travel—the secrets and wonders yet to be unveiled.
BY EMMA HEYN