5 Amazing, Fun and Interesting Activities to do in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is still a relatively unexplored country when it comes to tourists, but those who decide to venture out will be rewarded with archaeologic discoveries millions of year's old, breathtaking natural scenery, and a rich culture.
While the more popular sites are certainly worth seeing, if you really want to make your trip special, you'll want to think outside the box. Through our own experience and others, we've detailed 5 activities you're sure to love.
1. Bird Watching
With almost 900 bird species, the country is one not to miss, even if you've never bird watched before.
From September to February will be your best time to go, though between November and February, you'll be able to see some migrant birds you may not otherwise spot.
To take full advantage, try watching at the Highland Plateau, the Lakes Region, and/or the Lowlands.
If you select the Highland, you'll find over 60% of species are endemic! Little spots of forest on the edges of the gorge can yield the best results, along with hilltops and areas near churches.
The Lakes Region consists of the following lakes: Ziway, Langano, Shalla, Abijatta, Awassa, Chamo, and Abaya.
That's quite a few locations to choose from, though each offers a unique variety of birds. For example, Lake Abijatta and Shalla are home to an array of Great White Pelicans and flamingos.
As the altitude and climate change, so does the distribution of birds. The Simien Mountains hold the Lammergeyer and Bone Breaker, and in Borena you can find the Ethiopian Bush Crow and Prince Ruspli's Turaco which can only be found here.
No matter where you head, though, you'll wish you'd done it sooner. This relaxing experience is the perfect contrast to the more intense tours you may find at tourist hotspots.
Golf isn't one of the most popular sports in Ethiopia, but if you're big into the sport and want to take your skills abroad, the country has a couple great courses.
One is located in the capital of Addis Ababa with 9 holes, and there's a 6-hole alternative at the British embassy.
Though golf used to be widely seen as solely a sport for the elite, native Ethiopian and pro golfer, Haile Ghebreegziabher, has helped to change that.
With such a large amount of land available, it's the perfect place to expand and add in even more courses. You can expect near-silence here, letting you take in a great golf game and let some stress melt away.
Make sure you bring the right equipment to keep your gear safe, like a travel bag, gloves, and shoes!
Being one of the safest countries in Africa along with a dry, generally warm climate, Ethiopia is a wonderful destination for biking.
It's ideal to go in groups of at least 8 and with a guide, but no matter where you'll go you'll feel your legs burning and be able to take in some captivating vistas.
Back to the Simien Mountains, you'll find the country's highest peak: 14,928-foot Ras Deshan. As you can imagine, it's quite the challenge.
The 10-day route can be filled with rugged terrain, while other parts are clearly marked and easier to maneuver around.
The high altitude can make this even more difficult if you're not prepared, though you'll be able to encounter baboons, canyon views, untouched valley towns, and emerald pools.
If you're not quite ready for that physically or are on a time crunch, there is plenty of amazing road cycling available to you.
As you're going to need your own bike, make sure you keep it properly protected during travel with a bike travel case or bag.
4. Walking and Trekking
Perhaps a more light-hearted alternative to the former activity, walking and trekking is perfect in the Ethiopian highlands.
Beautiful mountainous terrain and a temperate climate make it a viable option for most travelers. The most popular areas for trekking are the Simien and Bale Mountain National Parks, though the highlands both east and west of the Omo valley will feature a stunning combination of views, animals and flora.
If you're looking to take a breather and not challenge yourself too much, the local trails that wind through the banks of the Rift Valley lakes or the resort areas close to the capital are going to be your best bet.
The vineyards of Ambo are also a great option and perfect for taking photos to commemorate your trip.
However, if you really want to get the blood flowing, the Simien Mountains are there waiting for you.
You'll obviously be able to experience the high-altitude views, though if you're lucky you'll also spot 3 endemic mammals: the Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboon, and the Simien Fox.
5. Swimming and Water Sports
While Ethiopia isn't generally overly hot, there are occasions where the sun may beam down particularly hard on you. For those days, you'll want to head to the lakes!
Lake Langano and Shalla are free of bilharzia, and you'll even be able to soak in the natural springs in Awash National Park or hot springs at SodereFilwoha!
Taking out a boat on Lake Tana is quite common, and many local fishermen are friendly and are more than happy to take you on their own.
If not, you can choose from a dugout canoe, traditional papyrus boat, or even go windsurfing and waterskiing!
If you find yourself on the Omo and Awash Rivers or the Blue Nile, things get more intense with white water rafting, thanks to their countless canyons and waterfalls!
Of course, you can always just hang out at your hotel pool, too.
Experience an Unforgettable Ethiopian Visit
Ethiopia truly is a one-of-a-kind country, filled with sights and adventures you can't take advantage of anywhere else on the planet.
However, it's up to you to take full advantage of this place, and not let any stone go unturned. Whether you take part in just one or all of the aforementioned activities, we can assure you it's going to make your trip even more memorable.