Ethiopia is a fascinating nation packed with dramatic landscapes, historic religious sites and extraordinary indigenous tribes. This country is not only the most populous land-locked country in the globe, it is also the second-most populous nation on the African continent, after Nigeria. Even though it is one of the most ancient Christian countries in the globe, it is multi-cultural in nature with people from different faiths living harmoniously with each other.
Kick-start the tour by visiting the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Abba. The picturesque capital is brimming with a treasure trove of gems. This bustling city is comfortably sheltered in the towering Entoto Mountains. Be sure to expand your knowledge about the nation by visiting the Ethnographic Museum and the National Museum. Head over to the incredible St. George's Cathedral for it exhibits Ethiopia's orthodox faith. Adama, also called Nazareth, is a famed weekend destination for inhabitants of Addis Ababa and has hosted several governmental and non-governmental conferences.
Don't forget to head over to Lalibela for it is considered to be the focal point of pilgrimage for most of the country. This metropolis is brimming with a huge complex of rose-pink rock-hewn churches. These ancient religious shrines is one of the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia. Head over to Aksum to find several ancient tombs and stelae fields housed there. Some of the notable highlights are the Aksumite Obelisks of the Northern Stelae Field as well as the St. Mary of Zion Church Complex.
Some of the other prominent sight-seeing points are the fairytale castles of Gondar and the walled city of Harar. Fan of wild-life especially elephants? Then take a daytrip from the walled city of Harar where tracking elephants is a major highlight during your visit to Babile. This particular sanctuary also features birds, gazelles, lions, leopards and cheetahs.
Inspite of cosmopolitan and uber-modern cities in Ethiopia, the true heart of the nation lies in its traditional tribal villages. Visit the town of Konso and villages such as Busso and Machekie to witness the life of Konso people who have preserved their cultural heritage and retain their maze-like village architecture and means of living.
Visit Lake Tana for it is one of the most incredible places of Ethiopia. Be sure to catch a glimpse of fishermen drifting across the lake in quintessential paprus boats as well as view the round thatched monasteries adorned with extraordinary biblical murals. Close to Lake Tana lies the remarkable Blue Nile Falls. Need a getaway? Then be sure to go trekking in the towering Simien Mountains which offers one of the most magnificent panoramic views on the continent. Catching glimpses of troops of Gelada 'bleeding heart' baboons while trekking is quite common.
If we're talking about natural wonders, then the incredible Danakill Depression easily tops the list. Housed in the northern part of the Afar Triangle, a geological depression has resulted from the existence of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. It is one of the lowest as well as the hottest places on the planet with it being 100m (328ft) below sea-level and the temperatures rising up as much as 50?C (122?F). This enchanting wonderland offers incredible vistas of the swirling orange twisted rock and lava lakes.
When it comes to shopping, some of the common souvenirs to be purchased are local jewellery, woodcarvings, illuminated manuscripts and prayer scrolls, wood and metal crosses, leather shields, spears, drums and religious triptych paintings. As for cuisine, be sure to try some of their local delicacies such as Wat - spicy stew prepared from red meat (kai), chicken (doro), fish (asa) or vegetables or Dulet - breakfast dish of pan-fried minced tripe, liver, beef and chilli.
The stay options in Ethiopia are abundant with those who are heavy on the pocket opting for the best luxury hotels. Budget travellers and backpackers can go for modest accommodations and cheap apartments.
The climate of Ethiopia differs from region to region. The best time to visit the country would be during the dry season (November - February) as the temperatures are conducive and pleasant to travel.