Saturday, 20 April 2013

5 great reasons to visit Ethiopia

If you are anything like me this is the time of year when you start to think ahead and wonder how you might holiday in the next year. I absolutely love planning for our holidays, in days gone by this might have been the time that dh and I were looking at a map and wondering where we might like to discover this year, nowadays it is more about practicalities and where will be fun for three lively children.

In October last year I spent eight days in Ethiopia; five in the capital of Addis Ababa and three in the North at Bahir Dar. I have never in my life travelled anywhere like Ethiopia before, the nearest I had probably got was the Dominican Republic.  I've mentioned in many blog posts and soundclips that I was blown away by Ethiopia, it is the most awesome place and one I fully intend to visit again in the future. It will be my privilege and pleasure to take my family there and show them the sights.

My visit to Ethiopia was very unique and quite different to what I might experience as a tourist but I saw and learnt enough to know that it would be a super place to travel to if you are happy to travel in a manner that allows you to experience the real country and not to worry about things like toilet facilities and English food.

I thought I'd share for you in words and pictures 5 great reasons to visit Ethiopia for a holiday -

1. Good hotel accommodation
In Adidis Ababa we saw lots of great hotels and the prices are pretty reasonable with our exchange rate.  There is the 4 star Intercontinental and Hilton or the 5 star Sheraton or Radisson Blu as well as many more local brand hotels of 2 or 3 star rating. Out in the countryside the hotel accommodation does become more variable but I can highly recommend the Kuritfu resorts, especially for couples. The bedrooms with their outside lounge for a romantic evening together in front of a real fire are just beautiful and very unique.



2. Fantastic food and great variety


The stews are amazing in Ethiopia, I can't recall all the names but I remember a meat stew called Wot and there was an excellent lentil one too. I am not that partial to spicy food and that was OK in Ethiopia as things were not over spicy. The national bread is Injura made with a crop that just grows in Ethiopia, it was very filling and just perfect for dipping into the stews.


3. The most amazing coffee experience - ever!
Once you have had your meal, what is better than to enjoy some coffee and boy do they do really good coffee over there? It is a full ritual, the beans are roasted by hand and popcorn is served with the strong, sweet black coffee. All you need is a tiny cup but it will keep you going for ages.

Photo credit:  ONE/ Karen Walrond

4. The landscape is beyond beautiful
One minute you feel as if you are in the UK, the next it looks like the USA and then you remember you are in Africa   There is no sea here but many beautiful lakes and why look for a beach when you can travel a country which has a little bit of everything. I'd highly recommend a visit in the lush time just after the rains stop, October when we travelled was perfect.




5.The Ethiopian people are gorgeous - both inside and out
These smiles were evident in every person we met, they are a beautiful nation of people who choose to look on the bright side and hold a very deep and reassuring faith.



Image credit for these 3 photos - Karen Walrond/ ONE

6. Interesting places to visit
Of course I was not a tourist whilst we were in Ethiopia but if you are, there are a ton of great places you can go and see. I am told it is especially good if you like visiting places of faith, such as the 'The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela', often referred to as the eight wonder of the world. Or what about visiting Lake Taha, the source of the Blue Nile and home of the spectacular Tissiat Falls.


Image Credit

Ethiopia is an amazing place, I have been home for 6 months now and it is still firmly under my skin and if I was given the chance to get back on a plane tomorrow and go back, I would!
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