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A unique culture and an independent spirit pervade in Ethiopia, a country offering all you might expect from Africa and much, much more. One of the Africa's most rewarding destinations, Ethiopia is a rich tapestry of landscapes, people, history and culture. As one of the Great Rift Valley countries associated with the origins of humanity, Ethiopia is home to some of the earliest recorded human history, making it a source of fascination for archaeologists and anthropologists. The country also has an intriguing religious history influenced by Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and was home to the Axumite Empire –the world's first Christian kingdom. Lalibela offers a glimpse into modern-day Ethiopian spirituality that blurs the line between past and present with ceremonies are unchanged in over 1,000 years, while Gondar, Lake Tana and the Gheralta region have ancient rock-hewn and monolithic churches with incredible biblical wall paintings. Ethiopia's dramatic, undulating landscape incorporates desert, moorland, savannah grassland and rainforest. The beautiful Simien Mountains are also home to endemic animals such as the Ethiopian wolf and the gelada baboon, and offer trekking and animal interaction like nowhere else on Earth. Ethiopians are confident and hospitable people, proud of their country's unique cultural, historical and linguistic identity: push through the wafting incense and the crackle of meat roasting over flames and you'll find a warm and welcome community ready to welcome you to the fold with open arms. Travel to Ethiopia and you will be rewarded with a bounty of treasure that's both unexpected and moving.
Ethiopia with A&K
We handpick top notch local and specialist guides, all with a passion to reveal Ethiopia's highlights. Add in the best 4WD vehicles - you'll thank us on more remote roads - and well-established contacts, and we can arrange seamless travel through this intoxicating country and its neighbours.
Take an Abercrombie & Kent luxury trip to Ethiopia and you'll discover that Christianity - its magnificent architecture and ancient rituals - are a crucial element of your trip. UNESCO listed Axum, the spiritual heart of the country since the 4th century, is believed to house the Ark of the Covenant, the holiest of relics. You won't see it, of course, but you will find copious ruins of tombs, churches and palaces.
More spectacular is Bahir Dar, where 20 of the 37 islands on Lake Tana - the source of the Blue Nile - host wooden monasteries, frescoed with Christian scenes. Then there are Gonda's 17th century churches and Portuguese-style castles, and, perhaps most famous of all, the amazing 12th century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, carved down into the earth and connected by labyrinthine passages. Visit on Sundays to see the monks joined by a flood of white-clad worshippers.
But you're only just starting. The capital Addis Ababa has Africa's largest market, an excellent national museum and two cathedrals, not to mention several fine coffee shops, while in the south Omo Valley has twenty different tribes, including the Mursi, whose women some sport clay lip plates.
And then there are the epic landscapes, none more spectacular than the Simien Mountains. One of Africa's largest ranges with peaks reaching to 4,000m, they blend into an endless blue green ocean of rippling hills; home to baboons, ibex, wolves and vultures. They're all ingredients that help make Ethiopia a truly inviting dish - one that A&K is more than happy to serve.
Best time to be there
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September. Temperatures are determined by altitude, with highlands (including Addis Ababa) rarely exceeding 25º C. In the lowlands it can get considerably hotter exceeding 40ºC, while in the Danakil Depression it can approach 60ºC
GMT + 3 hours
Visa Required for UK passport holders, obtainable on arrival at a cost of 50 USD per person.
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
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