Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 6, 2017

Exploring Ethiopia



Last time in our armchair travels we took a look at the lovely Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Now we will explore the rest of the country and take a look at what amazing things there are to do and see.

The Danakil Depression is located on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. This is officially one of the driest and hottest places on Earth.

ethi depression

Often temperatures here rise to 50+ degrees. This is a most surreal place with active volcanoes, salted basins, hot springs and a lava lake. It sits below sea level and is the lowest point in Africa and second in the world after the Dead Sea. Despite the heat this is one amazing place to take a closer look at so come prepared and enjoy the beauty.

ethi lalibela Rock-Hewn-Churches-of-Lalibela

Lalibela is an amazing medieval settlement that was designed to be a kind of second Jerusalem. Right in the middle of the settlement is a broad church complex made up entirely of rock.

ethi Lalibela-4-of-42

There are a total of eleven churches built by King Lalibela in the early 12th century. These churches are interesting due to their architectural design and are dug into the ground.

ethi lalibela st. george

The most famous and lovely of them is St. George Cathedral. Nearby are several monasteries worth visiting.

 ethi harar

Harar is a holy, historic and walled city with narrow alleyways. It was built in the early 16th century and is the oldest Islamic city in Africa. Once the commercial link between Africa and the Middle East,

ethi harar Church-in-Harar-Ethiopia

Today it’s an amazing city that seems to be lost in time with impressive walls and century old buildings. In the city are about 99 mosques.

ethi harar hyenas

A popular attraction is the nightly ritual of feeding hyenas at the outskirts of the city.

ethi harar rimbaud

In Harar you’ll also see Arthur Rimbaud Center also referred to as Rimbaud’s House. This has become a museum dedicated to French poet Arthur Rimbaud with a series of illustrated wall panels about his life. The museum has found its home in an impressive Indian merchant house that was built on the site of the earlier house in which Rimbaud lived. There is a wonderful photographic exhibition of turen-of-the-20th-century Harar with several photos taken by Rimbaud. In front you can see basket weaving and colorful baskets for sale.

 Sherif Harari City Museum (Ras Tafari House), Harar, Ethiopia

Ras Tafari’s House & Sherif Harar City Museum is a house that was built by an Indian trader. Many of its features like the Ganesh carving above the door are Eastern in origin. Haile Selassie spent his honeymoon here so the house bears his pre-coronation name. Today it’s a well organized museum with a private collection of weaponry, coins, jewelry, household tools, old manuscripts and cultural dress.

 ethi harar st. mary

St. Mary Catholic Church one of two churches in Old Harar. This is a French Catholic Mission dating back to 1889, It has a lovely carved wooden door.

ethi babil

It is unfortunate that only about 1,000 elephants remain in Ethiopia. The largest herd can be found in the Babile Elephant Sanctuary.

ethi babil 3ethi babil 2

It is a short drive from Harar and is home to gazelles, lions, leopards, cheetahs and lots of exotic birds.

ethi babil 5

The landscape is interesting with rocky outcrops and trees. About 400 elephants live were and visitors enjoy walking safaris.

ethi rift-valley

The Rift Valley has a chain of seven lakes. There are also hot springs and plenty of wildlife. Visitors enjoy exploring the entire valley.

ethi rift valley hippos

There are different bird species and a variety of flora and fauna. The valley was formed about 20 million years ago. It runs through Ethiopia from the Red Sea to the Kenyan border.

ethi blue nile falls

The Blue Nile Falls The Nile River is the longest river in Africa. It has two tributaries The White Nile  and The Blue Nile.

ethi blue nile falls 2

The Blue Nile begins in Ethiopia and along its course you’ll come to the Blue Nile Falls. Locally it’s known as Tis Abbay or “great smoke” and the falls are about 43 meters high during the rainy season.

ethi blue nile falls stone bridge

Just downstream you’ll come to Ethiopia’s first stone bridge dating from the 17th century.

ethi gondar 2

Gondar dates from the 18th century. This was where Emperor Fasiladas built his fairy tale castles. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an impressive museum complex, showcasing the last centuries of the country’s emperors. It lies in the bowl of the hills and is the Camelot of Africa.

ethi gondar 3

Visitors enjoy seeing this ancient capital. You can stroll through it from the Italian Piazza in the city center past the tin-roofed stone buildings. There are places for shopping, restaurants and hotels. In nearby Gorgora is an impressive Christian monastery.

Askum is thought to be the home of the Queen of Sheba and the final resting place of the Ark of Covenant. It is one of the oldest cities in Africa.

ethi askum st. mary of zion

The ark is kept within the walls of the St. Mary of Zion Church Complex.

ethi askum north field

 In the Northern Stelea Field

ethi askum oblelisks

you can see the ancient Aksumite Obelisks. Visitors enjoy the mountain top monasteries and go underground to see the Aksumite Empire tombs.

ethi askum mai shum

Mai Shum is a large rock hewn reservoir that local tribes believe was used for bathing by the Queen of Sheba.

ethi simien baboon 2

The Simien Mountain range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has become known as God’s playground. It has some of the most phenomenal vistas in the country.

ethi simien baboon

Here you can see the Gelada bleeding heart baboons.

ethi simien walia ibex

Inside the Simien National Park is a wide variety of wildlife such as the Walia Ibex, a goat that is found nowhere else on Earth.

ethi bahar dar

Bahar Dar is the third largest city and first stop on the historic circuit in Ethiopia. The town is close to a lake and some monasteries.

ethi bahar dar papyrus boats

Visitors marvel at the tankwa canoe which is a vessel woven out of papyrus and is unsinkable.

ethi croc Chamo_lake

Lake Chamo Crocodile Market no crocodiles or crocodile products for sale.

ethi croc on lake

All of the crocs are alive and well at Lake Chamo. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake and get up close with these amazing creatures.

ethi croc open mouth

You’ll see entire banks covered with huge Nile crocs, some over six meters long.

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  1. Wonderful!

    • Glad you enjoyed the tour Simone.

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