Ethiopia Things to Do

  • A typical view of a market street
    A typical view of a market street
    by GrumpyDiver
  • Fron of the museum
    Fron of the museum
    by GrumpyDiver
  • Painting by Afewerk Tekle
    Painting by Afewerk Tekle
    by GrumpyDiver

Ethiopia Things to Do

  • Museum

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    The National Museum of Ethiopia is a rather small, three story building that houses a wide variety of artifacts from some of the earliest pre-human bones right through to some very recent art pieces by important Ethiopian artists. At the time of writing, the most famous inhabitant "Lucy". a pre-human homind is not on display there, but casts of...

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  • Mercato

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    The Mercato (from the Italian for "market"), is huge covering several square kilometers (and square miles) of space near downtown Addis Ababa. It is crowded and total mayhem and not nearly as picturesque as the Souks in North Africa. It is the largest outdoor market in Africa. There is a bit of organization here as vendors of similar goods tend to...

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  • Holy Trinity Church

    4 out of 5 stars

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    The centrally located Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa is the most important Orthodox church in the city and is located near the parliament buildings. For the photographers visiting, this is a great place for street photography / people shots. Emperor Hailie Selassie I's tomb is located inside the building.

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  • The Piazza Area

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    Piazza is the backpacker area. The hotels are cheaper and the area is pitoresque and very crowded. The name is a legacy of the Italian invasion era, and you will find some Italian cafe's and restaurants here. There are also many bars and clubs in Piazza area. The area is a "must see" when you are in Addis Ababa. See GPS coordinate below the...

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  • The Lion of Judah

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    The Lion of Judah is the personal symbol of Emperor Haile Selassie I. This monument was one of several unveiled for the Emperor’s coronation in 1930 in Addis Ababa. In May 1936 the invading Italian army occupied Addis Ababa and began to make plans to seize the monuments they liked to send back as spoils of war to Rome. They demolished several...

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  • Bole Road

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    Bole road, or Africa road which is the official name, is a long road crossing through the south-east part of Addis Ababa from the airport to Meskel Square in the city center. The upper and middle part of the street is an area for the wealthiest people in Addis Ababa. The street has a lot of restaurants and bars. Friendship Supermarket is located...

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  • St George's Cathedral

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    The octagonal St. George's Cathedral is a traditional Ethiopian shaped church that was built in 1896. It commemorates the relic of St. George which was carried into the Battle of Adwa where the Italian Army was soundly defeated. In 1930 the church hosted the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I. There is an excellent museum within the grounds and...

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  • Meskel Square

    Addis Ababa Things to Do

    This is the parade ground of Ethiopia. There are always displays, festivals or at least some kids playing football (soccer) here. It’s worth a look to see what’s going on in Addis. The Addis Ababa museum is up on the hill to the left. Also along the square are banks, the Post Office, Tourist Information, restaurants and a grocery store.

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  • Debre Berhan Selassie Church

    In my way from Bahir Dar to Gorgora, on the shores of the Lake Tana, the place where the Spanish Jesuit (born near Madrid) Pedro Paez died in 1628 (he was the discoverer of the sources of the Blue Nile), I resolved to spend, first, a couple of days in Gondar, to admire its castles erected in a clear Portuguese style in a time when Portugal sent...

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  • A FOOD TIP: BREAKFAST

    HUNGRY? Really hungry? The largest and most filling breakfast food in Ethiopia is Injera Fir Fir. ‘Fir Fir’ means literally ‘torn-up’. Its hundreds of tiny pieces of injera soaked in kai wat (somewhat hot red sauce) and some meat and served folded in injera. Some places use more meat than others and ask for it 'with meat' to ensure it’s in there....

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  • HIRE THE BEST GUIDE IN ETHIOPIA!

    This is my good friend and one time guide: Solomon Kasaye. Solomon was the first person I ever met in Ethiopia and we still keep in touch. He is a close friend and a very excellent guide. Would you like to see the real Ethiopia? Solomon is the man. He can show you how shared taxis work, take you to a chat house, any museum and also guide you...

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  • Debre Birhan Selassie Church, Gondar

    The Debre Birhan Selassie (Trinity and Mountain of Light) church was built by the Emperor Eyasu II in the 17th century, not long after Gondar had become the capital of Ethiopia. In 1888 it was the only church in Gondar not destroyed by the Mahdist Dervishes in the last Christian-Muslim war.The outside of the church is unremarkable. The interior is...

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  • Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa

    Begun by the Emperor Haile Selassie in 1931 to honor Ethiopians who died fighting the Italians in the 1895-96 war, the Holy Trinity Cathedral was completed in 1945. It was then dedicated also to those who resisted Mussolini's 1936-41 attempt to add Ethiopia to an Italian Empire. It is the seat of the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and...

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  • VISIT THE STELAE OF AXUM

    Of all the cities on the ‘Historical Route’ of Ethiopia, Axum is the most overlooked. It shouldn’t be. What other city is home to the following?• The Arc of the Covenant/original 10 Commandments• The Queen of Sheba• The golden crowns of Ethiopian Emperors• The traditional city for all Coronations • Massive Stelae over 200 years old• Tombs of...

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  • Jijiga.

    The city has a typical Ethiopian atmosphere. It reminded me a little of Harar, Djibouti and Dire Dawa with the same busy dusty streets, the old coffee shops and restaurants and the beautiful colors of the houses. It also has a few modern buildings and hotels where you can have a more “western” meal. If you have time to spare this city is not a bad...

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  • Debre Birhan Selassie Church

    This church is a real wonder and if you visit Ethiopia you cannot miss it. Built at the end of the XVIIIth century on the top of a hill, it is famous for its stunning pictures that decorate the inside walls. Like all the buildings that I visited in Gonder, this church is surrounded by an enclosure with several towers covered with egg-shaped domes...

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  • Meet the baboons!

    Baboons are Old World monkeys. There are 5 species in Africa. The Ethiopian species is called “gelada baboon” and they are very funny with a big red mark on their chest. I thought that it would be difficult to see them, that it was a rare species to meet but there are hundreds of baboons and they are not afraid of people, I would even say that they...

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  • Simien Mountains - Day 1

    We decided to do the Simien Mountains trek as late as possible. That was because we were in the rainy season (August – September) so we thought that if we started the trek later we would have more chances of good weather. That turned to be a wise decision because one week before, in Bahir Dar, we met a couple of Scots that could not do the trek...

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  • Simien Mountains

    The National Park of Simien Mountains is a great break during the Historical Route. Gorgeous valleys, canyons, rivers and mountains . . . at an average height of 3.300m are a delight for photographers and trekkers. In Simien Mountains you will also find three endemic animal species of Ethiopia: Walias, Simien Jakals and the so funny Baboons. You...

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  • Harar things to do

    One full day in Harar was enough to us to catch the spirit of the city and visit its main spots. Harar by day is a busy, brilliant and noisy city. The colorful souq (picture 1) is an immersion to the Harar’s everyday life with interesting smells and colors. Take your time also to explore the city's narrow streets and the walls (pictures 2 and 3)...

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  • Gonder

    During the XVth and XVIth centuries Ethiopia had its first cultural contacts with Europe. But it was also a busy period due to never ending wars against Muslims, who invaded the north west and the south of Ethiopia. In 1535 Emperor Lebna Dengel, desperate, had to ask for the Portuguese help –who were already in the area- to fight against the...

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  • Tis Isat Falls - Part two

    Once you are face to face with the falls go down again to have another side view from below. It is a muddy path but there is a pleasant corner at the end where you can sit on the rocks, admire the falls and take more pictures without getting another shower (picture 1).It was during this excursion to Tis Isat when I understood the meaning of the...

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  • Tis Isat Falls

    Once Lake Tana is left behind, the Blue Nile travels between papyrus and cultivated fields for 32 km to fall 45 m down on the Tis Isat falls. Tis Isat (smoke of water in Amharic) was described on my guidebook as a “melange of mists and rainbows” and it is really how I saw it. It seems that falls are more impressive during this period (rainy season,...

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  • The Nile Outlets

    On the skirts of Mount Gishe there is a small stream called Gilgel Abay (Small River in Ahmaric). The Ethiopian tradition considers this stream as the source of the Abay Wenz (Big River) or Blue Nile River and a small church built nearby testified that. The birth of the Blue Nile was until only few years ago almost unknown by Europeans. Although it...

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  • Ura Kidane Mehrat

    Founded by Empress Mentewwab in 1747 on Zegue Peninsula, this is the most famous (and visited) church and also my favourite one in Lake Tana.To visit this church, a local guide is compulsory and he will come to offer you his services as soon as you go out of the boat. To arrive to the church you will have to walk for a while along a path crossing...

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  • Lake Tana Paintings

    Tana churches hide ancient paintings created with a style that came from Byzantium and has not changed since then. Designs remind the parishioners the truth of their faith. The colour is as important as the shape having both the purpose to catch the observer’s mind and spirit. Topics are always the same: the Virgin (much venerated in Ethiopia), the...

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  • Lake Tana Churches

    Lake Tana is not only interesting for its natural beauties: its more than twenty islands were also the spiritual retirement of orthodox monks. Between XVI and XVII centuries many monasteries and churches were built in Lake Tana. The oldest of these forty or so churches have their origins in the fourteenth century. They reflect the native building...

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  • Beta Giyorgis Church

    This cruciform church, the most spectacular church in Lalibela, is separated from the two other groups. It seems that when King Lalibela finished the two groups of churches, he had an unexpected visit: Saint George, Etiopia’s saint patron, was sad because any church was dedicated to him. The king was very sorry to have offended Saint George so he...

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  • Lalibela Churches - Second Group

    This complex includes Biet Abba Libanos, Biet Emmanuel, Biet Mercurios, Biet Lehem and Biet Gabriel Raphael all linked through a variety of inner passages and tunnels. It is very different from the first group, let’s say more chaotic in its organisation and some buildings don’t look like churches and don’t display the East-West orientation. That’s...

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  • The Ark of the Covenant is in Aksum!

    Indiana Jones was definitely loosing his time in Jordan and Egypt because the Ark of the Covenant is in Aksum!According to Christian tradition, this Ark was constructed on Mount Sinai by Moses to host the two stone tables containing the Ten Commandments. This Ark was later housed in King’s Salomon Great Temple in Jerusalem until the Temple’s...

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  • Aksum and its stelae

    The Aksumite kingdom was born in the north of Ethiopia by the I century BC. Situated on an important trading crossroad, it quickly became a wealthy civilisation who did business with countries like Egypt, Arabia and India and had its own currency. Aksumite society was rich and well organised and worshiped solar and lunar gods. Today, some huge...

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  • The National Museum: paying our respects...

    You cannot talk about the Man’s origins without mentioning Ethiopia. In this region (Great East African Rift) appeared sooome years ago the man’s oldest ancestor. 5.3 – 4 Millions of years ago, we already find the first vestiges related to our origins. The Palaeontologist discoveries grow in number during the Middle Pliocene, 4-3 Millions of years...

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  • Simien Mountains - Days 2 and 3

    The second day we did the path between Buyit Ras and Geech Camp, via Sankaber (13 km, 7-8 hours). This day was more enjoyable for me, I was already used to the height and walk so I felt less tired. Landscapes were also more beautiful than the previous day, with terrific views along the escarpment on the west, between Michibi and Sankaber.I...

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  • Lalibela Churches - First Group

    I would describe this group as an ensemble of churches, grottos, tunnels and drainage channels. This complex includes the Tomb of Adam, Petros and Paulos grottoes, the churches of Micael, Golgota and Selassie, Biet Mariam, Biet Maskal, Biet Denghuel and Biet Medhane Alem. Nowadays there are different entrances but the original path –also called the...

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  • Harar, the Muslim Holy City

    Harar is a place apart, far away from the North Historical route. This place has always been a crossroad for commerce in India, Africa and Middle East. During XVIIth and XVIIth centuries Muslims, who were already there one century before, converted Harar in a cultural and religious focus being considered Harar the forth holiest city of the Islam....

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  • Debark

    Debark is a sleepy village without any interest but if you want to visit the Simien Mountains then Debark is your place! The Park Headquarters, where you will pay the entrance fee and arrange all the logistics for your trek, is located in Debark. Debark also has a small market (main picture), a bakery and some groceries so you can buy your supplies...

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  • Fasil Ghebi

    Fasil Ghebi is the royal ensemble in Gonder. Its more than 900 m long walls close inside different palaces and buildings built by Emperor Fasiladas and his successors, from 1632 until 1770. Fasil Ghebi is the most important example of a unique architectural style called “Gonder Style”: a mixing of Arabic style with Baroque influences brought by...

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  • Arriving to Lalibela

    The journey to Lalibela (2630m high) is an experience by itself. The holy town of Ethiopia was almost inaccessible for centuries, protected as it is by the mountain chains of Lasta Region. Even if the town has become more accessible recently and you can travel comfortably (well more or less!) by minibus, the winding and narrow roads still give the...

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  • Lake Tana and Bahir Dar

    Lake Tana, with its 3.600 m2, is the second largest lake in Africa only beaten by Victoria Lake. Papyrus and fishermen boats cover its shores and it is the habitat of lots of species, from colourful birds to big hippos. Lake Tana became the political centre of Ethiopia in the XIII - XIV centuries, when the Zagwe Dynasty wiped out and the Solmon...

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  • The Legend of Lalibela

    Lalibela represents a break in terms of history with Aksum. Aksum declined around the VIII century and a “dark period” started. By the end of the Xth century, Aksum was invaded by a barbarian queen named Gudit (“the monster” in Ahmaric). She was the responsible of the collapse of the Aksumite Kingdom. Later in the XII –XIII centuries we find in...

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  • Aksum's Monasteries

    During the IV century some missionaries from the Middle East arrived to Ethiopia to evangelize the country. The most famous ones were the so called “Nine Syrian Saints” and they are considered the founders of the Ethiopian Church. These saints chose each one a mountain top and founded a monastery. These monastic communities did amazing religious...

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  • THE COFFEE CEREMONY

    The Coffee Ceremony is an elaborate way of being welcomed into someone’s home. A lot goes into it. First fresh grass is placed all over the floor. This means that when you walk inside your guest’s home you have a pleasant smell and feeling of freshness. Your host will then put incense on the coals of the charcoal burner and the house is now full of...

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  • Harar... !

    The old city of Harar took my heart with its magnificent colors, the beautiful houses with the small gardens and the women's colorful costumes that match perfectly with the romantic ambient of the city. Harari people are known for their skill in constructing two storey houses which are particularly beautiful. Walking in the narrow streets of the...

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  • Dire Dawa

    I had to stay several times in this city as it was on my way to Djibouti. It is lively and interesting with friendly and warm people. I liked the wide tree-lined streets, the smile of the people, the lively markets and the simple way of life I enjoyed with my local friends. I would never compare it to Harar, my favorite, but I used it to relax...

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  • Tour to the South – SIXTH DAY

    We visited the Dimeka market the next morning. People of all tribes around the area gather here to sell their products. They are mostly Hamer and Bana. Then we visited the villages of Turmi, Arbore, Weyto and Konso and had lunch in Yabelo.The way back was really a trial for our nerves and the driver's too as it was raining so hard that we had to...

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Ethiopia Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Ethiopia things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Ethiopia sightseeing.
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