Cities Of Ethiopia

LALIBELA – Rock-hewn Churches Lalibela a strikingly singular town in Ethiopia is home to one of the world’s most astounding sacred sites:12th century eleven rock-hewn churches, e…

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Ethiopia and Coffee

Many believed that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, The indigenous coffee trees first grew in ancient “Abyssinia,” which is now present day Ethiopia. These trees blossomed in an area called “Kaffa” and the trees were called “Kafa,” which may as well be the root word for coffee. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant.

In the tenth century, coffee was considered as a food for the local residents.
These people gathered the coffee beans from the trees that grew in the region, ground them up and mixed them with animal fat, forming small balls that they carried as rations on trips. Other indigenous tribes of Ethiopia ate the beans as porridge or drank a wine created from the fermented crushed coffee beans.

By the 13th century, coffee’s restorative powers were well known in the Islamic world. Coffee was considered a potent medicine, as well as a religious potion that helped keep people wake during prayers. Pilgrims of Islam spread the coffee throughout the Middle East and by the end of the 15th century; With the spread of Ethiopian from Africa, to the Middle East, India, Europe, and the Americas, make it one of the most popular bends of coffee in the world.


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Cities Of Ethiopia


LALIBEL518A – Rock-hewn Churches
Lalibela a strikingly singular town in Ethiopia is home to one of the world’s most astounding sacred sites:12th century eleven rock-hewn churches, each carved entirely out of a single block of granite with its roof at ground level.

No matter if you’ve visited other rock-hewn churches in the rest of the world; nothing will prepare you for these. UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ever since the first European to describe the rock churches of Lalibela, Francisco Alvarez, came to this holy city between 1521 and 1525, travelers have tried to put into words their experiences. Praising it as a “New Jerusalem”, a “New Golgotha”, the “Christian Citadel in the Mountains of Wondrous Ethiopia”.
The inhabitants of the monastic township of Roha-Lalibela in Lasta, province of Wollo, dwelling in two storied circular huts with dry stonewalls, are unable to believe that the rock churches are entirely made by man. They ascribe their creation to one of the last kings of the Zagwe dynasty, Lalibela, who reigned about 1200 A.D.
While You Tour in Lalibela village you will see the mountainous landscape of the region of Lasta, where the peasants labor to cultivate their patches of stony fields with the traditional hook-p lough. Strolling across a gently undulating meadow, you will suddenly discover in a pit below you a mighty rock – carefully chiseled and shaped -the first rock church.

None of these monuments of Christian faith presents itself to the visitor on top of a mountain as a glorious symbol of Christ’s victory, to be seen from far away by the masses of pilgrims on their road to the ‘Holy City’, they rather hide themselves in the rock, surrounded by their deep trenches, only to be discovered by the visitor when standing very close on top of the rock and looking downwards.
King Lalibela of the Zaghwe dynasty built a series of eleven rock hewn churches, carved into the rugged mountainsides.

The churches are carved below ground level and they are ringed by trenches and courtyards and connected to each other by a tangled maze of tunnels and passages. In size and scope, the church complex feels like a subterranean village. These churches are, and what they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, and the spiritual centre of a town’s religious life. Lalibela would rightly be celebrated as one of the wonders of the world.

Tour to Lalibela mainly includes the churches divided in three main groups, one on each side of the river Jordan and one other church set apart from the rest.

The town of Roha-Lalibela lies between the first and the second group of churches. It is situated on the higher part of a mountain-terrace on a vast plateau of rock.

The most spectacular of which is Bet Giorgis (St. George’s). Located on the western side of the cluster of churches, it is cut 40 feet down and its roof forms the shape of a Greek cross.Unlike some of the other churches, St. George’s is plain inside. A curtain shields the Holy of Holies, and in front of it usually stands a priest displaying books and paintings to visitors. In the shadows of one fo the arms of the cruciform church is its tabot, or copy of the Ark of the Covenant. One explorer was allowed to open it and found it empty. No one was able to tell him what happened to its contents.
In the “Northern Group” across the main road from St. George, the most notable church is Beta Medhane Alem, home to the Lalibela Cross and believed to be the largest monolithic church in the world. It is thought to be a copy of St. Mary of Zion in Axum.

Bete Medhane Alem is linked by walkways and tunnels to Beta Maryam (St. Mary’s), possibly the oldest of the churches. In the east wall of the church is an array of geometric carved windows in a vertical line. From the bottom up is: a Maltese cross in a square; a semi-circle shape like that on the Axum Stelae ( Axum Obelisk); a Latin cross; and a simple square window.
The windows illuminate the Holy of Holies in which the church’s copy of the Ark is placed. Other decorations include a Star of David combined with a Maltese cross, a Sun with a smiling human face flanked by eight-spoked wheels, Mary on a donkey accompanied by Joseph, and an Annunciation.
Next to Beta Maryam is Beta Golgotha, known for its artwork which includes life-sized carvings of saints on the walls. It is also home to the tomb of King Lalibela, over which stands a gold-draped Ark. The Western group is completed by the Selassie Chapel and the Tomb of Adam.
The “Eastern Group” includes:
• Bete Amanuel (possibly the former royal chapel);
• Bete Merkorios (which may be a former prison);
• Bete Abba Libanos; and
• Bete Gabriel-Rufael (possibly a former royal palace), linked to a religious bakery.

There are also several other churches in the vicinity: including the beautiful built up cave church of Yimrehane Kristos Church (from 11th century), the tiny rock church Arbatu Entzessa, Bilbala Gioris,Asheton Maryam,Nakuto Laab Cave Church , Genete Maryam and Much More .

At TIMKET (Ethiopian Epiphany. ca. January 19) a vivid ritual unfolds before the spectator: here the dances of the priests take place after the annual repetition of mass baptism in the river Jordan.


GONDOR – The Medieval Capital of Ethiopia
Gondar was founded by the Emperor Fasiledas in 1636 and was the capital of the country for the next two centuries.
The city’s main imperial precinct, known as the Royal Enclosure, covers an area of 7.7 hectares and contains five castles, raised walk ways and connecting tunnels surrounding by high stone walls build in the mid-17th & 18th century; it reflects a number of influences, Axumite, Portuguese and Indian.

Beside the royal enclosure, Visitors inspects the Bathing palace of Emperor Fasiladas, which is used for the annual Timket or Epiphany, celebration; the ruins of the palace and abbey, of the redoubtable 18th centuries Empress Mentewab at Quesquam ,the decorated church of Debre Berhan Selassie, which the walls and ceiling are completely covered in murals and the Felasha (Ethiopian Jews) village, though vacated by almost all of its Felasha occupants.

Visitors could make a day trip south to Gorgora, at the northern end of Lake Tana, and visit the very fine and recently restored medieval church of Debre Sina Mariam or a day trip or longer treks in to the awe-inspiringSimien Mountains National parks. (It is UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and Ethiopia’s popular hiking destination.)

AxumAXUMCivilization In Africa
The northern Ethiopia ancient city of Axum (Aksum), regarded as the cradle of Ethiopian culture and Christianity, is the country’s oldest extant urban settlement.

From around 200 BC to 700 AD, Axum was the seat of an empire that extended across the Red Sea to Arabia, traded with India and China, had its own alphabet and notational system, constructed great engineering works and dams was reckoned by the 4th century, Persian historian Mani to be one of the four great powers of the ancient world, along with China, Persia and Rome.

After its conversion to Christianity, early in the fourth century, Axum also emerged as an important religious center, site of the country’s most important and revered Church of St Mary of Tseyon, which, according to Ethiopian tradition, is the repository of the biblical Ark of the Covenant.

Axum Tourist Attractions

All that remains now of Axum’s past glories are the huge granite stelae (pillars), some fallen and some still perpendicular. Made of single blocks of granite, the tallest stood over 33 meters high – the largest monolith in the world.

The biggest now standing is 26 meters high that returned from Italy All three section of the 1,700-year old Axum obelisk has arrived back and re erected in Axum, 68 years after it was looted by Italian.

The 16th century Church of St Mary of Zion Church built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church and it is a chapel of the holiest Christian sanctuary in Ethiopia,

The Grave of King Kaleb and the Grave of King Gabre Meskel, the reputed Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and a Museum are other historical attractions in the town. The ruins a few kilometers out of town to the north were once the Palace of Sheba apparently.

The entrance stairs and floor plan are intact and the Palace had over 50 rooms. and Ethiopians believe that the church houses the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tables on which Moses wrote the Ten Commandments. Menelik is reputed to have brought it to Axum, along with 12,000 Jewish children.
The Chapel is constantly guarded by monks, and not even the President has sufficient authority to enter.
A visit to Axum can be extended to take in the 800 BC pre-Axumite temple at Yeha, 55 km east of Axum and a little further, the 7th century monastery at Debre Damo. (Women are not allowed to enter the latter, and the only access is by rope.) And the historical town of Adwa is among the several attractive sites that can be covered within a day excursion.

downloadBAHIR DARBlue Nile Falls & Lake Tana’s Island Monasteries

BAHIR DAR is a pleasant city; situated on the southern shore of Lake Tana its streets are lined with palm trees and plants.

Bahir Dar is one of a popular stop for travelers making their way through Ethiopia, Lake Tana monasteries, Blue Nile Falls and the colorful daily Bahir Dar Market.

About 35 km from Bahir Dar, there is the Blue Nile Falls or Tis Abay (in Amharic) where waters of the Nile plunge over a cliff that is 50 meters long and 400 meters wide. Although much of the water is now diverted to a power dam, it is still a spectacular sight: smaller than Niagara Falls, but amazingly scenic.

Lake Tana is the primary reason that Bahir Dar exists. It is a huge lake – one of the largest in Africa and it feeds the Blue Nile River ( or Abay) which flows up to the White Nile and on to the Mediterranean with an area of 3600 km sq.

There are 37 islands dotted all over the lake and 30 of them house some of the world’s oldest churches and monasteries of great cultural and historical interest. They contain beautiful manuscripts, objects of worship and crosses dating back to 14 century and after.
In some of these monasteries, women are not allowed to enter. Be aware of the traditions and rules of the Ethiopian Orthodox church when you visit. Excursions boat trip is made from Bahir Dar to explore the islands monasteries of Lake Tana one of the famous and most frequently visited monastery is Ura Kidane Meret, has the largest church – a classic tukol style building which is round kind of looks like a yurt.

There is also an interesting small museum here that has ancient traditional instruments, cooking utensils and an interesting example of a beehive. Honey is a fairly large agricultural product here and it is very good! The inside of all of these monastery churches starts out with a hallway that goes all the way around the center which is enclosed (storing the replica of the ark). The walls of the enclosed part are covered with very colorful paintings all depicting a specific religious story

Bahir Dar grew around a Jesuit settlement, founded in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, from which time the Pedro Páez building dates. One of Emperor Haile Selassie’s palaces is located near the city, and the Emperor considered moving the national capital to the town. The palace is an impressive architectural work of its time. Facing Lake Tana it provides a beautiful, picturesque scene of the Blue Nile.

HARARThe Fourth Holy city of Islam
HARAR is one of Ethiopian World Heritage Site located in east Ethiopia on a hilltop, in the eastern extension of the Ethiopian highlands five hundred kilometers from Addis Ababa with an elevation of 1885 meters.
Harar is an ancient walled city. Possessing as many as 99 Mosques, three of which date from the 10 th century and 102 shrines. Harar is considered to be the fourth holy city of Islam with Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. In Ethiopia as Axum was the window for Christianity, Harar is the same for Islam.
The wall of Harar is locally known as Jugol, The old city cramped within its ancient walls, the new extending freely. The walls are believed to have commenced by Ibn al Wazir Mujahid Nur, a nephew of Ahmed Gragn, who is said to have dug a defensive trench around the town in 16th century.

Beside the wall, the dominant features of the town are the traditional Harari house; the childhood home of late Emperor Haile Selassie; the exciting open market that presents medley of people and culture; the Rimbaud House named after the French poet who lived there in 1880 and the hyena-feeding ritual – where, after dark, the legendary Hyena Man feeds meat by hand – and mouth – to the wild hyenas that haunt the city’s fringes.
A half day excursion from Harar can be made to Babile Valley of Marvels, situated about 30km from Harar, which is noted for amazing rock formations.

Harar Jugol has been included in the World Heritage List in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage.
Harar is also famous for its distinctive, natural processed COFFEES which bear the same name.
Harar Attractions are The old town is home to 110 mosques and many more shrines, centered on Feres Magala Square. Notable buildings include Medhane Alem Cathedral, the house of Ras Mekonnen, the house of Arthur Rimbaud, and the sixteenth century Jami Mosque. The colorful Muslim Market and Christian Market. Harar Beer Stadium is the home stadium for the Harar Beer Bottling FC.
A long-standing tradition of feeding meat to Hyenas (HYENA MAN) is also an impressive night show for Tourists.
The Harar Brewery was established in 1984. Its beers can be sampled at the brewery social club adjacent to the brewery in Harar

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Ethiopia History and Geography

Ethiopia’s earliest history is rooted farther north. The ancient town of Axum , which was one of the very first capitals of Semitic culture in northern Ethiopia, was founded about 1000BC and is the first stage in Ethiopia’s famous ‘historic Route’
The earliest capital was actually at nearby Yeha. The Axumite Kingdom was known as ‘the most powerful state between the roman empire and Persia’.
Much earlier records show that the Egyptians knew the area to lie somewhere south in ‘the land of Punt’ also known as ‘the Land of the Gods’, and, from around 3000 BC they had obtained gold, ivory, fragrant woods and slaves from there.
Later, Egyptian ships sailing to India and back called at the Red Sea Port of Adulis, which served as Axum’s main outlet to the sea, just south of modern Massawa. Axum went into decline between the 7th and 8th centuries AD, when power moved south to another remarkable site- Roha, later named after its inspired ruler, king Lalibela. The project he supervised 800years ago-eleven remarkable churches, hand-carved out of the living bedrock some 250 kilometers south east of Axum- remains today for all to see. Described as ‘a creating of angels’, however, the very advanced architecture technology used suggests these churches were built by more earthly beings.

Gonder is 50 km north of Lake Tana, 500 kilometers north of Addis Ababa and situated in the foot hills of Simien mountains at 2,200 meters above sea level .Gonder was the capital of Ethiopia from the rise of Fasiladas (1632 -1667) to the fall of Tewodros (1855-68) , which is reflected in the many castles and palaces in the city. During the long years when it was a capital the settlement emerged as one of the largest, and most populous, city in the realm. It was great commercial centre trading with the rich lands south of the Blue Nile, as well as with Sudan to the west inhabitants include many rich Catholic and Muslim merchants as well as a number of Falashas or Judaic Ethiopians also know as Bet Israel’ who were predominantly weavers, black smiths and potters as well as palace and church builders.

Over the centuries the country has had many capitals, from Yeha, Axum, Lalibela, Gondor and long periods of encampments. It was some centuries before the present capital Addis Abeba was found in late 19th century by Menelik the second. At an altitude of 2500 meters (8000ft) , Addis Ababa is the third highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito in South America. It stands more or less at the centre of this vast sprawling country with its many contrasting landscapes.

Ethiopia’s historic route does not end at Addis Ababa. Some 500 km to the east of the capita, perched at the end of a spur projecting from the central plateau, lays the old walled city of Harar dating back to medieval times, a city redolent of the Middle Eastern world. Its history has been almost as violent and bloody as that of the north, but there the centuries have been marked by wars between rival Muslim factions and against the Christian Orthodox church. Five massive gates in the walls of the city centre stand testimony to the need for strong defense against past invaders. It was long the custom for the gate keys to be kept overnight only by the city’s commander.

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Attractions of Ethiopia,Ethiopia National Parks

Ethiopia National Parks

Ethiopia has been very forward-looking in its provision of national park areas and there are at present nine national parks and three sanctuaries within the country that have been designated as protected areas for wildlife. These national parks enable the visitor to enjoy the country’s scenery and its wildlife, conserved in natural habitats, and offer opportunities for travel adventure unparalleled in Africa.

Awash National Park
Awash National Park is the oldest and most developed wildlife reserve in Ethiopia. Featuring the 1,800-metre Fantalle Volcano, extensive mineral hot-springs and extraordinary volcanic formations, this natural treasure is bordered to the south by the Awash River and lies 225 kilometers east of the capital, Addis Ababa.
The wildlife consists mainly of East African plains animals, but there are Oryx, bat-eared fox, caracal, aardvark, colobus and green monkeys, Anubis and Hamadryas baboons, klipspringer, leopard, bushbuck, hippopotamus, Soemmering’s gazelle, cheetah, lion, kudu and 450 species of bird all live within the park’s 720 square kilometers.
BIRDING IN AWASH NATIONAL PARK The birds in Awash are so numerous; over 350 species are recorded for the park. They range from the great ostrich, frequently and easily observed, and the less common Secretary Bird and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, to the flashes of brilliant pink which are the Carmine Bee-eaters, and the Abyssinian Roller with turquoise and purple wings And between these two extremes, birds of the riverine forest, Coucal, Turaco, Go-away Birds; birds of prey; and birds of the Savannah.

Bale Mountains National Park
Bale Mountains National Park located southeast Ethiopia, covers about 2,200 square kilometers of the Bale Mountains to the west and southwest of Goba in the Bale is gate way for thrilling wildlife and stunning scenery.
The Bale Mountains, with their vast moorlands – the lower reaches covered with St. John’s wort- and their extensive heath land, virgin woodlands, pristine mountain streams and alpine climate remain an untouched and beautiful world. Rising to a height of more than 4,000 meters, the range borders Ethiopia’s southern highlands, whose highest peak, Mount Tullu Deemtu, stands at 4,377 meters.
The establishment of the 2,400-square-kilometer Bale Mountains National Parke was to the survival of the mountain nyala, Menelik’s bush buck and the endangered Ethiopian wolf. This wolf is one of the most colorful members of the dog family and more abundant here than anywhere else in Ethiopia. All three endemic animals thrive in this environment, the nyala in particular often being seen in large numbers. The Bale Mountains offer some fine high-altitude horse and foot trekking, and the streams of the park – which become important rivers further downstream – are well-stocked with rainbow and brown trout.

Abiyata-Shalla Lakes National Park
Abiyata -Shalla Lakes National Parks is located in the Great Rift Valley, only 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Addis Ababa, and in the Lake Langano recreational areas, the Abijatta Shalla lakes National Park attracts numerous visitors. Using Lake Langano as your base, it is an easy trip to visit the National Park, which is 887 square kilometers in size, 482 of these being water.
The altitude of the park ranges from 1540 to 2075 meters, the highest peak being mount Fike, situated between the two lakes. The network of tracks in this park is always developing. At present you can enter at four different points, three of which are inter connected. Approaching from Addis you first reach the Horakello entrance, where the small Horakello stream flows between lakes Langano and Abijatta.

It was created primarily for its aquatic bird life, particularly those that feed and breed on lakes Abijatta and Shalla in Large numbers. The park compresses the two lakes, the isthmus between them and a thin strip of land along the shorelines of each. Developments have been limited to a number of tracks on land, and the construction of seven outposts. While attention is focused on the water birds, the land area does contain a reasonable amount of other wildlife.

There are over 400 bird species recorded here, almost half the number recorded for the whole country. Although the islands in Lake Shalla are a real bird’s paradise, the birds fly to Lake Abijatta to feed. Abijatta itself is very alkaline but shallow, so flamingos can be seen scattered over most of its surface, and especially along the windward edge where their algal food source concentrates. You can approach quite closely, but beware of treacherous deep and mud if the lake is low. Large numbers of flamingos gather here, together with great white pelicans and a wide variety of other water birds.

Besides of the rich Bird life, some mammals can be spotted at the Lake Abijatta-Shalla National Park, especially Grant’s gazelle, Oribi warthog and the Golden Jackal.

Hot springs: The headquarters houses a small museum, which gives an excellent idea of the wealth of bird life in the park. A further track leads on from Dole to the shores of Lake Shalla where hot steam, mud and water bubble to the earth’s surface. Revered locally for their medicinal properties, the hot springs have a sense of primeval mystery about hem, especially in the cooler early mornings. They are relics of the massive volcanic activity that has formed this amazing country and landscape.

Mago National Park
MAGO National Park located in the South Ethiopia some 782 kilometers south west of Addis Ababa and north of a large 90° bend in the Omo River, the 2162 square kilometers of this park are divided by the Mago River, a tributary of the Omo, into two parts. To the west is the Tama Wildlife Reserve, with the Tama River defining the boundary between the two. To the south is the Murle Controlled Hunting Area, distinguished by Lake Dipa which stretches along the left side of the lower Omo. The park office is 115 kilometers north of Omorate and 26 kilometers southwest of Jinka. All roads to and from the park are unpaved.
The major environments in and around the Park are the rivers and riverine forest, the wetlands along the lower Mago and around Lake Dipa, the various grasslands on the more level areas, and scrub on the sides of the hills. Open grassland comprises about 9% of the park’s area. The largest trees are found in the riverine forest beside the Omo, Mago and Neri. Areas along the lower Omo (within the park) are populated with a rich diversity of ethnic groups, including the Ari,Banna, Bongosso, Hammer, Kwegu, Mursi Peoples.
Mago National Park is one of Ethiopia’s top safari destinations for wildlife’s ; The Mursi tribes and other tribes also offer cultural tours which will enhance your experience in Mago National Park boast the highest variety of your Safari with diversity.

Nechi Sar National Park
Nechi Sar National Park Situated 510km south of Addis near the town of Arba Minch, in between Lakes Abaya and Chamo.
A wide variety of plains game roams freely amongst 514m2 of savannah, dry bush and groundwater forest, which are also the habitat of 188 recorded species of birds. Animals to be seen are Bushbuck, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Burchell’s Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Guenther’s Dik-dik, Greater Kudu, Crocodile, Anubis Baboon, Grey Duiker. Birds seen include Red-billed Hornbill, Grey Hornbil,l Fish Eagle, Kori Bustard, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill.
A backdrop of hills and mountains combine to make this one of the most attractive national parks in Ethiopia, and its location makes it very accessible. In the far eastern part of the park hot springs bubble to the surface.

Omo National Park
Omo National Park Located in the south-west on the west bank of Omo River, 870km south-west of Addis Ababa, covering an area of approx 4,068 sq km
Wildlife found in this park include, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, cheetah, lion, leopard, zebra, kudu, hartebeest, oryx, Anubis baboon and many other animals. Over 306 species of birds can be seen.

This is also a wonderful area for visiting local peoples and experiencing their cultures.

The park is not easily accessible. The park HQ is 75km from Kibish settlement. However, a new airstrip is available close to the HQ and to a pleasant campsite on the Mui River.

Semen mountain national park
Semen mountain national park The Semien Mountains are a must for all those interested in wildlife, scenery and spectacular landscapes, the Park has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. One hundred kilometers north-east of Gondar, the Simien Mountains National Park covers 179 square kilometers of highland area at an average elevation of 3,300 meters. Ras Dashen, at 4,520 meters the highest peak in Ethiopia, stands adjacent to the park. The Simien escarpments, which are often compared to the Grand Canyon in the United States
The Simien Mountain massif is a broad plateau, cut off to the north and west by an enormous single crag over 60 kilometers long. To the south, the tableland slopes gently down to 2,200 meters, divided by gorges 1,000 meters deep which can take more than two days to cross. Insufficient geological time has elapsed to smooth the contours of the crags and buttresses of hardened basalt.
Within this spectacular splendor live the Walia (Abyssinian) ibex, Ethiopia wolf and Gelada baboon – all endemic to Ethiopia – as well as the Hamadryas baboon, klipspringer and bushbuck. Birds such as the lammergeyer, augur buzzard, Verreaux’s eagle, kestrel and falcon also soar above this mountain retreat.
Maximum temperatures during the day are about 15o Centigrade (60o Fahrenheit). At night the temperature usually drops to 3 – 5 o C (35o -40o F).

Gambela National Park
Gambela natonal Park Located in Gambela Region, its 5061 square kilometers of territory is encroached upon by cotton plantations and refugee camps.
The Baro River area, accessible by land or air through the western Ethiopian town of Gambela, remains a place of adventure and challenge. Traveling across the endless undulating plains of high Sudanese grass, visitors can enjoy a sense of achievement in just finding their way. These are Ethiopia’s true tropical zone and here are found all the elements of the African safari, enhanced by a distinctly Ethiopian flavor.
The general topography of the Park is flat, with some areas of higher ground where deciduous woodland and savanna occur; these higher areas are often rocky with large termite mounds. About 66% of the area is considered shrubland, 15% is forest, while 17% has been modified by man. Gambela National Park also supports extensive areas of wet grassland and swamps where the native grasses grow over 3 meters in height.
The Gambela Park protects two species of endangered wetland antelopes: the White-eared Kob and the Nile Lechwe. Other wildlife reported as living here include populations of elephant, African Buffalo, lion, roan antelope, tiang, Lelwe Hartebeest, olive baboon, and guereza monkey. Several birds only found in this area include the shoebill stork, the Long-tailed Paradise Whydah and the Red-throated and Green Bee-eaters.

Yangudi Rassa National Park
Yangudi Rassa National Park Located in the Afar Region, its 4730 square kilometers of territory include Mount Yangudi near the southern border and the surrounding Rassa Plains, with altitudes from 400 to 1459 meters above sea level. Sandy semi-desert and wooded grassland cover the majority of the park’s area. This Park lies between the territory of the Afars and the Issas, and while violence has been frequent between them, most of the park happens to be in an area where they avoid each other. As a result, most of the active protection of the Park is focused on managing their conflict.
This national park was proposed in 1977 in specific to protect the African Wild Ass, but the steps needed to officially establish this park have not been completed as of 2002. The park headquarters are in Gewane. large animals endemic to the park include Beisa Oryx, Soemmering’s and Dorcas gazelle, gerenuk and Grevy’s zebra Bird species of interest include Phoenicopterus minor, Petronia brachydactyla and Ardeoti arabs The Awash- Asseb highway crosses the Yangudi Rassa National Park, as does the Awash River.

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Lakes Birding Tour in Ethiopia

Lakes Birding Tour
Ethiopia’s lakes are famous for the sheer numbers of birds they harbor. In fact at each of two locations in the Rift Valley over 50% of all Ethiopians bird species have been recorded, because of the proximity of numerous aquatic and terrestrial habitats. These are the Awash National Park with Lake Basaka and the Abiata-Shalla Lakes National Park.
Abijata is a feeding ground for numerous great white pelicans and various sorts of Flamingos, as well as flocks of Little Grebes. The Pelicans nest in very large numbers on an island in neighboring Lake Shalla, which is almost fishless.
Every day the birds have to thermal up and across the isthmus separating the two lakes to feed. Every few years Lake Abijatas waters recede spectacularly, causing a rise in alkalinity occupied by major fish die-offs and a change in the algal composition of the waters. The Pelicans then have to fish further afield on lakes Langano, Ziway, Awasha and even Chamo and Abaya, while the Flamingos move further afield into neighboring countries.
An island in Lake Shalla, a regular breeding ground for Great White Pelicans, is also known to be a nesting spot for the greater Flamingo. The thousands of ice-pink birds coming and going over the water against the background of the lake shores are as wonderful bird spectacle as anywhere in the World.
In the Northern winters the shores of these lakes are ringed with all sorts of waders – Ruff, Plovers, Sandpipers, Stints and many other species well known to bird-watchers of the Northern hemisphere. At the same time a large number of Ducks, will be found further from the shores, particularly Garganey, Shovellers and Pigeon.
The waters of these lakes are especially rich as breeding grounds for the larvae of various lakes fly species that in their turn attract thousands of Swallows and Martins from the North.
For the same reason the trees and shrubs around the lakes shores are festooned in gossamer nets of dusty cobwebs as the spiders wait their turn for the hapless hordes as they hatch from the waters each day.
Fresher lakes produce a greater quantity and variety of fish. Here the day is punctuated by the haunting cry of the Fish Eagle soaring high above, with the occasional Osprey in the season. Malachite Kingfishers flit like jewels along the banks and the Pied Kingfisher carries out its spectacular bombing runs on surface fish further out. In nearby grasslands other Kingfishers species plaque the insects, the lovely duet ting call of the Gray-headed being typical of grasslands in drier areas.
The mouth of the Horcallo River, which flows from Lake Langano to Lake Abijata, is an excellent site for bird watching, as it provides fresh water for the birds to bathe.
The Goliath Heron and Marabou Stork await fish near the shore or in the case of the latter, watch for weaker birds in the milling flocks. There are also the Black-Headed and Gray Herons, which can be found inland feeding on the grass and crops. Egyptian Geese are also very common in these areas. Chestnut-Bellied Sand Grouse fill the air in their thousands near the lakes, leaving the water in groups that fly high and fast, wheeling and spinning, while giving their guttural calls. Spur-Winged Plovers are striking as they stand among the trees near the lakes, and the Crowned Plover resides closer to the shore here in more open grassland.

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Natural Tourist Attraction Of Ethiopia

Natural Tourist Attraction Of Ethiopia
Popular Sites of Natural Attractions In Ethiopia:
The natural tourist attractions in Ethiopia include the Danakil Depression, different National Parks and Sof Omar Cave. These are much less visited but among the most compelling attractions of Ethiopia.
Means of Transportation To Natural Attractions Of Ethiopia: most places can only be reached by 4WD.
The Road Conditions To Natural Attractions Of Ethiopia:
It depends on the type of tour you choose; generally roads that lead to many of the natural attractions are gravel roads that demand for the use of 4×4 jeeps. Some of these natural attractions can also be reached with bus. Detail information can be obtained on request
Accommodations in The Natural Attractions Of Ethiopia:
Mainly basic hotels and camping grounds

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Private Guided Tour In Ethiopia

Private Guided Tour In Ethiopia
We have ample experience in organizing private guides for any of your chosen tour areas. Our private guides have many years of experience, an extensive knowledge and deep passion for the areas in which they work.
Our guide will meet the guests at their arrival at Bole International airport In Addis Ababa and will be on hand to guide them personally throughout their visit of Ethiopia. They will be involved with every aspect of the journey; indeed the trip’s success and the guests’ safety will be their utmost priority at all times.
Our private guided tour is arranged for solo traveler, families, friends, and students, small and big groups. And also for variety of tour types; be it cultural, historical, natural, archeological, birding, trekking, hiking, photographing, filming and researching.
On request we can also organize independent specialist and private guides for special interest groups.

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Ethiopia Religons

Religions of Ethiopia
Ethiopia is an important country for all the three book- religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Since the Ark of the Covenant had arrived in the Axumite Empire the country was believed to be a chosen land from the beginning amongst the early Jewish settlers. As one of the first countries in the world, Ethiopia got Christianity as a state religion around 340 A.D.
Two Syrian Christians influenced on King Ezana who converted to Christianity then. He built the first church in Axum and minted coins with a cross instead of other symbols. In the fifth century nine monks from different parts of the Roman Empire came to Ethiopia and built a lot of churches and monasteries.
They are still known as the nine saints. The Christian emperors took over the legend of the Ark of the Covenant and therefore referred to their descent of King Salomon. So the Jewish David Star became almost as important as a symbol as the Christian cross, thus the combination of both symbols were used as a royal badge.
Also most ceremonies, the cult around the Ark (The heart of every church is a copy of the Ark called “Tabot”, hidden in the holy of holies) and the whole Christian tradition are strongly influenced by the earlier Jewish practices and believes.
The geographic isolation of the Ethiopian highlands and the custom to built churches out of the rock might have been a reason why the Christian Church has resisted all attempts to be destroyed and has been cemented and inseparable chained with the country’s leaders and daily life.
In the 11th to 12th century, after decades of terror towards the Christians by Queen Yudit, the Zagwe dynasty, probably from Jewish origin, came to power. The emperors were no descendents of Salomon but they strongly promoted Christian faith by building up a strong new capital with 11 marvellous rock-hewn churches, designed as a “New Jerusalem”. The town was later called after the most productive king, “Lalibela”.
The period of reign was relatively short. In 1270 the Solomonic dynasty took over again, created important and mythic books like the “Kebra Negast” (Glory of Kings), paintings, crosses, church music etc. At the same time Islam became stronger and the two religions clashed various times in the following centuries.

The prophet Mohammed himself had sent some of his closest friends and his wife to Ethiopia in 615 A.D., because they were persecuted in Arabia. The Ethiopian king protected them and allowed them to settle in peace at Negash (Tigray region near Wukro).
Mohamed was very grateful and excluded Ethiopia explicitly from the holy war. Negash and Harar are still under the most important Muslim pilgrimage places. Nevertheless Ahmed the left handed attacked and destroyed big parts of Christian Ethiopia until he was killed in 1543 with the help of Portuguese Jesuits. Several battles had to be fought with Muslims of the east and pagans of the south and west until Christianity could be re- established.
The later Emperors tried often to maintain peace by intermarriage with Muslims and concessions. Today the eastern parts around Harar, Bale Mountains and Afar are mainly Muslim while the rest of the Ethiopian highland is mainly Christian in the north and mixed in the southern and western part.
A big group of Ethiopian Jews, called “Falasha”, descendents of the early Jewish immigrants, has lived since millennia in the north- western Amhara Region. Between 1985 and 1991 most of them were airlifted to Israel. Nowadays only a handful of Jewish women and children remain around the village of Woleka, north of Gondar.

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Ethiopian Traditional Coffee Ceremony

Traditional Coffee Ceremony
The traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony is one of the best ways to feel and experience Ethiopian hospitality. Coffee is not only an important economical factor for Ethiopia; it is its heart and soul. In western Ethiopia, Coffee was first discovered and introduced to the world.
According to the legend, the young goat shepherd Kaldi was the first one to discover the stimulating effect of the beans, as his goats started to become very active after chewing from a coffee tree.
The original coffee tree is said to be found in the Kaffa Region near Jimma. From this region, coffee was brought to the monks, as they appreciated the stimulating effect which gave them the strength to stay awake and pray all night. By slave trade caravans, the Coffee was brought to the East of Ethiopia, in the Harar region, by the time one of the major trade centers of the Arab world.
From there, it spread fast across the Arab and Muslim world and by its powerful trading route to Europe and Asia.
Today, coffee is one of the main drinks in the world, and it still has the taste of its birth place Ethiopia.

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