E is for Ethiopia: What to Do in Ethiopia
Apparently getting a tourist visa to Ethiopia is surprisingly difficult. There are no visas-on-arrival, so it’s a trip you kinda have to plan for in advance or do a visa-run for, which is fairly annoying. However, I was surprised yet again by how fascinated I was by Ethiopia. It’s quickly climbing my list of countries I’d like to visit (like…every country I’ve explored on A-Z)! However, their situation with some bordering nations isn’t always great, and the border with Eritrea can see rebels crossing and attacking people. As such, I probably wouldn’t visit here, particularly by myself, until things calm down – seeing the Danakil Depression (this post’s featured picture from Pixabay) would be an absolute must for me, and it is right on the border. What to do in Ethiopia? Let’s find out!
Amharic and Oromo. While Ethiopia is home to 86 languages, Amharic is the language used by the Ethiopian government. Oromo is the most commonly spoken language. Every state (of which there are 9) has its own working language.
Currency: Ethiopian Birr
One US dollar buys about 27-28ETB, and the currency is on a long-term trend where your dollar will buy you more in the future. It’s slow, so it’s not going to make much of a difference when you go, but the exchange is currently favorable 🙂
What I’d Do There
Addis Ababa: I would take an organized trip to the Simien Mountains for a couple days, which apparently will cost around $80. The formations look fascinating, Most guidebooks seem to say not to stay in this city very long so I’d probably stick with another person and see what I can in 24 hours unplanned. But, as always I feel I need to see a capital city in order to understand a place!
Harar: Many people apparently come here to feed hyenas. I’m not really about feeding the wildlife and I have no real interest in a hyena snapping at my face, even if they’re supposedly fairly docile. I won’t be partaking. However! There is more to do here than just that, and I’d love to visit the Old Town as it is known to have been marked by multiculturality for years by foreign traders.
Aksum: I don’t know if I’ve really mentioned it before, but I have one fear and one fear only, and it’s of dead things. It’s irrational and doesn’t make any sense for my self-preservation, but it’s the way it is. I’ve been working on it but it’s slow going so far. As such, I’m not really excited by the idea of tombs, for which Aksum is known for. But the call of Indiana Jones is loud and exciting, and I would wait to go here for when I’d be able to see the discovered tombs. Aside from the tombs, the landscape, filled with obelisks, is particularly fascinating and I’d love to see it. The church that holds the Ark of the Covenant (supposedly) is also here. It’s a fascinating story that I’ll link to here: link. However, you cannot enter to see it, and there are replica processions 7 days a month that can be seen just about anywhere. I’d catch one of those.
Remote Areas: I try to keep these posts fairly concise and to the point, but visiting rural areas in any country is important, but even more so (for me) for countries I know nothing about. The Omo valley tribes have been mentioned by a few people, but I’d love to go other places. This is a country that I’ve quickly concluded would need far more that a week or two visit to truly experience. However, I am absolutely fascinated and I’m going to continue researching it. This has been: What to do in Ethiopia!