When it comes to visiting Africa, Ethiopia is the country, the name of which is hardly mentioned. But this hidden gem of Africa has a lot to offer to its visitors. With an Ethiopia Visa, visiting the country has become a lot easier now.
The most important thing you must know while visiting Ethiopia is that you should avoid the summer in the northern hemisphere: June, July, and August are the rainy season in Northern Ethiopia. But fall is the best time to visit Ethiopia. During fall, both nature and people tend to be vibrant. Many Ethiopian festivals are held during September and October.
If you are visiting Ethiopia for the first time, this short itinerary will help you explore the ‘must-visit’ attractions of the country.
Day 1: Addis Ababa
You’ll begin your Ethiopia itinerary from Addis Ababa, the capital. The name ‘Addis Ababa’ means ‘new flower,’ but don’t be fooled by a city full of greenery. In fact, the fourth largest city in Africa and the fifth-largest city in the world can be a chaotic, crowded, and heady start to any Ethiopia itinerary. However, it’s worth a day to explore, with some nice parks and plenty of museums providing more than enough entertainment for the day.
Start your Addis Ababa tour by visiting The National Museum of Ethiopia, which houses Lucy’s plaster cast skeleton (one of the earliest human ancestors ever found at 3.2 million years old). You can also check in to the recently opened Unity Park, a complex that includes museums and exhibitions about Ethiopian history in the former Grand Imperial Palace, as well as a 15-acre landscaped park with pavilions dedicated to each of Ethiopia’s 11 regional states.
In the evening, go to Fendika, Addis’ leading cultural hub, led by the wonderfully talented and lovely Melaku Belay.
Day 2: Bahar Dar
Most travelers continue to Bahar Dar, not only to the city, which is dusty and quite uncharacteristic, but also to Lake Tana on which it sits, and one of the top destinations of the Ethiopian list. And, more specifically, the lake’s monasteries, some of which date back almost to Christ’s time. It’s simple to arrange a half or full-day boat trip from Bahar Dar’s lakeshore, though keep in mind that many of the monasteries don’t allow women.
Blue Nile Falls is the second main attraction of Bahar Dar and is only 35 kilometers away from Lake Tana. Still, it takes approximately 4 hours, thanks to the bumpy road. To be honest, it’s worth a visit if you visit just after the rainy season when they roar.
Day 3: Gondar
Only a three-hour drive from Bahar Dar, the city of Gondar is a land of Medieval mystery. Once the center of an influential trading empire is an excellent addition to any Ethiopia tour, due to the faded ruins of this time and the warm welcome you’ll receive.
If you leave early from Bahar Dar, you’ll have enough time in the afternoon to see one of Gondar’s main attractions, the 16th century UNESCO Royal Enclosure. It is this location that has earned Gondar the name “Camelot of Africa,” and is a must-visit place of Ethiopia. You can also visit Fasiladas’ Baths (where King Fasiladas used to bathe) and Debre Berhan Selassie, a beautiful church in a peaceful setting, nearby the Center.
Day 4: Simien Mountains National Park
Begin your last day in Ethiopia early in the morning and head towards nearby Simien Mountains National Park. It’s best to leave early for the Simien Mountains, which is a 2.5-hour drive from Gondar. One of Ethiopia’s first established national parks, the Simien Mountains, offers some incredible hiking and wildlife opportunities, including the chance to see the endemic Gelada Monkeys.
You must be accompanied by a guide and scout during the trip to the Simien Mountains. The best and the cheapest way to do this is to plan a tour from Gondar, which includes lunch, park transport, and entrance fee. You’ll be treated with some breathtaking views as you walk gentle paths that take you higher and higher. And, you’ll end your day at a fantastic waterfall view.
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