From atmospheric rock-hewn churches to one of the world’s most singular cuisines, Ethiopia offers a wealth of different cultural experiences to interested visitors.
The coffee route into the rainforests that swathe Ethiopia’s western highlands bring the visitor to the original home of coffee and the site of the Mother Coffee Tree, the oldest living plant of its type anywhere in the world.
Ethiopia has three main cultural routes. The northern historic route focusses mainly on Christian and pre-Christian sites, while the eastern route leads you to holy Islamic citadel of Harar, and the southern route explores the animist African cultures of the Omo Valley.
Pancake-like injera, heaped with a tantalisingly spiced selection of vegan or meat dishes, and washed down with honey-derived tej, make Ethiopia a delight for visitors with adventurous palates - though the range of eating and drinking options also embraces many more familiar dishes and drinks.
A host of colourful Christian and Islamic festivals is topped by the Meskel Ceremony held in Addis Ababa or Aksum, and Timkat in Gondar.
A remarkable series of palaeontological discoveries, mostly in the Afar region of the northern Rift Valley, makes it almost certain that Ethiopia was the main crucible of human evolution.
Found all over Ethiopia are a wonderful assembly of timeless and characterful old monasteries, mosques and rock-hewn churches that are still in use, making it one of the world’s top destinations for religious travel.
Markets and craft stalls in Addis Ababa and elsewhere provide a great opportunity to go shopping for high quality crosses, handwoven fabrics and other uniquely Ethiopian handicrafts.