By Getachew Teklu
Sight Seeing: Ethiopia, the oldest independent nation in Africa, has proud and long history dating back to the first century AD. The country further provides a mix of cultures and traditions that ranges between the modern and sophisticated lives of the cities to the most untouched and authentic African tribes of the remote parts of south western Ethiopia
Fishing: With rivers and lakes full of a wide variety of fishes, some with extraordinary sizes. A typical day’s fishing may also include the bonus of seeing giant crocodiles, families of hippo, pink clouds of flamingos, exotic tropical fruits ripening on the trees near the water.
Birdwatching: No other aspect of Ethiopia’s biology typifies its unique situation more than does its bird fauna. The extensive highland-island of Ethiopia hosts 862 known bird species, of which 23 are considered Endemic, limited within the confines of the Ethiopian borders, and some 225 winter migrants including 176 from the Pale-arctic.
Eco–tourism: The best way to travel off the beaten track—to the outstanding natural sites in every part of Ethiopia, filled with numerous species of birds and animals that are native only to Ethiopia—is by trekking and camping. Owing to the growing need for responsible travel various ecotourism projects are underway in most part of the country.
Safari Tours: Millions of years of isolation of exten sive areas with unusual conditions in the highlands of Ethiopia have led to the evo lution of unique species at all levels, especially those smaller spe cies less able to travel or be carried across inhospitable habitat. Other species from temperate regions have found a habitat similar to their usual homelands and have established populations here.
Camping: Camping often is the only way to see some of the more beautiful, but remote, areas of Ethiopia. With the increasing construction of some local hotels in nearby towns its also possible to get acceptable standard rooms in some remote areas. For those who intend to travel within national parks and to some of the more remote parts of Ethiopia camping is always a good option and exciting.
Climbing: Ethiopia, an ultimate adventure with mountains and cliffs that are virtually unexplored, which offers astonishing and varied landscapes for any climber who likes the challenge of trying cliffs and mountains that are unexplored. Much of Ethiopia is rugged mountainous country, and the opportunities to conquer demanding peaks and crag are endless.
Trekking: Do you know that over 75% of Africa’s landmass (mountains) with above 3,000m meters and above are found in Ethiopia? Blessed with this grand mountain scenery and a temperate climate, the Ethiopian highlands offers one of Africa’s finest high mountain trekking opportunities. Among the most famous trekking highlands in Ethiopia include the SEMIEN MOUNTAINS, Bale Mountains.
Hiking & Walking: The Ethiopian highlands, blessed with a temperate climate and grand mountain scenery, offer superb hiking and trekking opportunities. The principal well-established areas for hiking and walking is the Bale Mountains National Parks. Recently Western highlands & the Omo valley, where strong and colourful cultures compliment the appeal of scenery, flora, and fauna.
Water Sports: Although water sports are not quite common in the country, for those interested in rafting, kayaking and canoying, Ethiopia offers an unspoiled environment for white water rafting and other sports. The Omo River, rated as one of the world’s great rafting trips, has a challenging whitewater, abundant wildlife, excellent birds, superb scenery, and some of the most unique unvisited people in Africa.
Caving: The fantastic limestone caves of Sof Omar is one of the most spectacular and extensive underground cave systems in the world. The Sof Omar cave system is one of the most spectacular and extensive underground caverns in the world. Formed by the Weyb River as it changed course in the distant past and carved a new channel through limestone foothills, the 16 km cave system is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty.
The Food: Ethiopian cuisine is one of the world’s best kept secrets. Ethiopian food is an exotically spicy mix of vegetables, slow-simmered meat or grain stews, and fresh meat sautés.
Ethiopian dishes are prepared with a distinctive variety of unique spices, which lend an unforgettably striking dimension to its exotic cookery. Grains like millet, sorghum, wheat and ancient teff , a tiny round grain closely resembling millet, form the basic breadstuffs of the diet. Most farming in Ethiopia is subsistence, so the vegetables and animals are often grown and raised at home. The ancient practice of beekeeping produces exquisite honey. It is fermented to make tej, the Ethiopian honey wine.
Essential components of Ethiopian cooking are berbere, a spicy red pepper paste, niter kibe , a spice-infused clarified butter, and injera. Injera, the sourdough pancake-like bread of Ethiopia, is made from a fermented sourdough teff. Most traditional dishes have a stewy consistency. Alicha indicates a mild stew while Wot are stews with the spicy flavor of berberé. Sautéed meats add to the variety of a meal.
Dining in Ethiopia is characterized by sharing food from a common plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty, family, and friendship. The traditional Ethiopian meal is served on a large platter that is draped with the crepe-like injera bread, with the selection of foods decoratively arranged around the center dish. To eat, diners simply tear off a piece of injera, use it to scoop up some of the various dishes and pop it in their mouths. The whole thing is a communal affair and is eaten using your hand. Some Ethiopian girls will even hand-feed you. This is a common Ethiopian tradition of welcoming tourist and guests to their home.