Ethiopia is located in East Africa, in the area also known as the Horn of Africa; Ethiopia is a country withunique characteristics.
The capital of the country, Addis Abeba, is an African metropolis that preserves beautiful examples of architecture and precious museums, such as the National Museum of Ethiopia where, among other things, you can see the famous australopithecus Lucy’s skeleton, who testifies to the presence of hominids in Ethiopia as early as 3 million years ago.
Ethiopia can ideally be divided into three main areas, this ideal division of the country is useful for understanding the main characteristics of each area and for deciding which trip to organize accordingly: the Historical Route is located in the North of the country, the Cultural Route of the Omo valley extends to theSuth and the Danakil depression, that is located in the Eastern area.
The Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia
Different ethnic groups and tribes live in the Omo Valley and still live according to a traditional lifestyle, here it seems to take a step back in time and go back to the time of the first explorations by adventurers and anthropologists.
Main tribes that you meet in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia:
- Kara or Karo
Even today, these tribes in the Omo Valley practice traditional celebrations and rituals and wear the typical clothing and ornaments that have been handed down from generation to generation.
The Mursi with their labial plates are the most famous and most recognizable tribe among the various tribes found in the Omo Valley; being able to walk among the huts of their village and observing their life is a unique experience.
The hairstyles of the Hamer and Banna women, beautiful and very elaborate, the hairstyle of the Hamer, Banna and Dassanech men that almost looks like a sculpture; women’s leather garments decorated with beads and shells.
The rite of passage of the Bull’s jump of the Hamer, the Kara or Karo and the Banna, is a festival that involves the entire village and passing the test guarantees the beginning of the transition to adulthood and the possibility of getting married and training your family.
Traditional villages where life flows slowly following the rhythm of nature and where visitors are joyfully welcomed by all the villagers, happy to receive guests interested in their culture.
Danakil in Eastern Ethiopia
The Depression of Danakil is one of those magical places that are at the same time among the most inhospitable on the planet and the most fascinating; an adventurous journey that offers unique emotions.
Danakil offers incredible landscapes, infinite expanses that are still traveled today by camel caravans carrying salt; active volcanoes, saline lakes, sulphurous springs and salt cones that give rise to a very suggestive landscape with surprising colors.
The Historical Route in Northern Ethiopia
The historical route is located in the North of Ethiopia, this area is characterized by the presence of numerous castles, Coptic churches and monasteries, here are located: Axum, Gondar and Lalibela.
Lalibela, also known as the Jerusalem of Ethiopia, is a mystical place pervaded by a strong sense of spirituality; the rock churches, carved out of the rock, are a masterpiece of sacred architecture.
The climate and temperatures in Ethiopia vary greatly from one area of the country to another, especially based on altitude: the areas of the highlands, such as the Addis Abeba area and the North of the country, are cooler, while the areas at lower altitudes, such as the Omo Valley or Danakil, can be torrid.
The climate of the highlands of Ethiopia is mild and is characterized by cool nights and hot days, the rainy season is concentrated in the months between June and September.
The Danakil Depression has a desert and torrid climate all year round, the lowest temperatures are recorded in the months from October to February; some areas have infernal temperatures, such as on the slopes of the Erta Ale volcano.
The areas that are located South and East of the plateau have lower altitudes; they are arid and semi-arid areas that have scarce and irregular rainfall with rather high temperatures throughout the year.
The best time to go to Ethiopia is in the months from October to February, when the temperatures are milder and the rains are almost completely absent; the months from June to August are a good solution to avoid the too intense heat in the Omo Valley, although in this period it is more difficult to witness the Bull’s jump of the Hamer tribe.
The time zone of Ethiopia is two hours ahead of Italy, one hour when daylight saving time is in force in Italy.
Vaccination against yellow fever is not mandatory but, if you intend to visit the Omo Valley, it is strongly recommended; malaria prophylaxis is also not mandatory but is recommended.
To enter Ethiopia, a passport with a validity of not less than 6 months from the date of entry is required, and a tourist entry visa is also required, that can be done online or directly at the airport.
The local currency in Ethiopia is the Birr but dollars and euros are often accepted, although it is always better to ask first; while it is better not to rely on credit cards as they often don’t work.
The official language in Ethiopia is Amharic, but an infinite number of dialects and tribal languages coexist; English is fairly widespread especially in large population centers.