WanderingTrader

First Impressions of Ethiopia: Beyond Fascinating

I decided to visit Ethiopia not because I was interested in visiting the country, but because I wanted to visit every country in Eastern Africa. It was the easiest way to enter Somaliland since getting a visa to Eritrea and Djibouti is harder than Angelina Jolie adopting an American baby. Once I arrived in the country I realized that this was one of the most interesting and fascinating countries that I have never been to.

Ethiopia easily turned into one of my favorite countries in the world

That is saying a lot since I have been living overseas for most of my life; the country has a perfect combination of whether, people, food, and very reasonable prices. I was concerned about the safety in the country when I first arrived but was reassured by the locals that the crime is so low that only a handful of cars are stolen in most populous and capital, Addis Ababa.

feeding hyenas, hyena feeding, feeing hyena

Feeding a Hyena in Harar Ethiopia

The first thing that threw me off guard was the fact that Ethiopia’s culture is unlike any other in the world. You can see many similarities in neighboring countries throughout Latin America, Europe, and even North America, but nothing that is remotely similar to Ethiopia.  The country caught me completely off guard similar to when I first visited Madagascar and realized that it’s more like Asia than Africa. The people look, act, speak, and dress completely differently than any other country in the world.

I was immediately hooked since Ethiopia is such an ancient civilization

There is so much history in the country from the real life Camelot in the city of Gondar to the fallen empire that stemmed from the city of Axum.  I quickly became fascinated with the unique language that they speak, Amharic, and became enamored with how taxi drivers and locals would be surprised when I spoke in their language.

The country is extremely cheap for westerners and when I was able to purchase two round-trip tickets for $205 to three different cities I knew that wouldn’t cost me a lot to explore the entire country. It’s a Christian country with a Muslim flare, the fourth holiest city for all Muslims in the world lies in the east called Harar.

st georges cathedral, cross church, cross cathedrail

St. Georges Cathedral Lalibela

The crime in the country is almost nonexistent and it is one of the safest countries in all of Eastern Africa. Once I arrived in Ethiopia, I decided to move from Kenya because almost everything was perfect.  Not that Nairobi, Kenya, is a bad place to live, it simply doesn’t compare to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

One of the very unique aspects of the country is that they are just getting over a very tumultuous communist government. Ethiopia has a stigma for starvation which can be traced back to the previous ruling party.

Now that a new government has emerged, like all other countries in Africa, they have changed their name to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. I really think it’s funny how many African countries try to convince themselves that their democracies.

Who are they kidding?

Now the people of Ethiopia are very open to new ideas, cultures, music, and even people. I found a taxi driver playing Reggaeton music and I even found salsa at two different clubs in Addis Ababa. Even in Nairobi, the largest city and financial hub of Eastern Africa, I couldn’t find a salsa club.

There are many things I didn’t see and experience when I was in Ethiopia and I plan on returning after my stint in Brazil. I would love to provide detailed information on my guides about the Omo Valley and explore some of the surrounding areas of some of the major cities as well.  One thing that I am extremely interested is the Jamaican city near Ethiopia, you do know the last king of Ethiopia is the god for Rastafarians (most Jamaicans)?

I think everyone should visit Ethiopia, especially now when the prices are so low.  It is only a matter of time until tourism explodes in the country.

7 Comments

  1. Interesting about the crime rate – given the conflicts with Somalia and Eritrea, I always thought Ethiopia would be more dangerous. But now I’d love to go there myself! Not to mention they have KILLER food!

  2. I really want to visit Ethiopia and one of the main reason is that whole Rastafari God thing. I want to talk to the locals and know more about what they think about it.

    If I may ask, on an average how much does it cost to visit Ethiopia? Costs per day for accomodation and food (on a budget), how much does alcohol cost…etc?

  3. Great article – I had never really considered as I thought it might be a dangerous place to visit. Did you go outside the main cities at all? I always wanted to see the Simien Mountains and possibly do a trek.

    1. I was in the North where you book tours to the Simien mountains!! lol. They are gorgeous and Ethiopia is one of my favorite countries in the world so far…. you should definitely put it on your list David

  4. Hi, I am enjoying your blog as so many places you have been I have been also.
    I loved Ethiopia and the long standing history…but the most fascinating places are all the way down South……hire a jeep with driver …and guide if you like…. and spend at least 2 weeks exploring all the different villages and tribes…….do it before they finish the big highway that they are building going all the way down south. When this is finished everything will change and the villages will slowly change and disappear. It is an experience you will never forget….it is the exact opposite of the Northern part of Ethiopia!

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