The magic of Ethiopia never jades. With a plethora of wonders it showcases — phenomenal landscapes, peerless history, joyful festivals, unique calendar and many more, it is no wonder why Ethiopia is in most traveler’s bucket list, most especially Canadians who are one of the most frequent visitors in this “Land of Origins.”
So why do Canadians love Ethiopia? Here are the top 5 reasons:
#1 The landscape
Ethiopia enjoys 70% of the mountains on the African continent. It offers an incredible array of beautiful sights to be seen — arid plains, spectacular mountains, lush green areas, and vast lakes that make up scenic landscapes like the Simien Mountains, Danakil Depression and Blue Nile Falls. The country also features the Great Rift Valley which is the most visible physical detail on planet Earth. In fact, it is so visible you can see it from space!
#2 The wildlife
Wildlife in Ethiopia is exotic. With parks like Awash National Park, Abijatta Shalla Lakes National Park and Mago National Park, along with the lakes of the Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia hosts a myriad of rare species. To name a few are the Mountain Nyala, the African antelope, the Walia Ibex, the mountain horned goats, and the Ethiopian wolf.
The Gelada baboon is the world’s rarest ape. It is particularly found in the Simien Mountains along with the Ethiopian Wolf, otherwise called Simien fox. The Simien fox is the most endangered carnivore. Indeed, the extraordinary range of wildlife and endemic animals make Ethiopia even more surreal than it already is. Plus, it’s also an excellent birding country. Birds like the blue-winged Goose, white-cheeked Turaco, and Rouget’s Rail can only be seen roaming the skies of Ethiopia.
Yes, Ethiopia’s wildlife may not be comparable to the wildlife in its neighboring countries, Kenya and Tanzania, however, Ethiopia’s wildlife is definitely worth visiting, too. Not only is it an excellent complement to a safari in Kenya or Tanzania, some of the animals in Ethiopia are also only endemic to the country.
#3 The history
Ethiopia has a peerless history that fascinates people all over the world. Its rich history can be seen through its historical structures, much like the 11 rock-strewn churches of Lalibela. These churches have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries, all carved out of rock and built from the top down.
Another interesting part of human history that was discovered in Ethiopia is Lucy. Lucy is the skeleton of an early human ancestor, replicated from a fossil that’s over 3.2 million years old. You can visit Lucy at Ethiopia’s National Museum.
The country is endowed with historical sites, many of them a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
#4 The food
Visiting Ethiopia doesn’t only satisfy your eyes but your palate as well. The country features flavorful food with extensive choices, from the raw meat delicacy to an extensive vegetable dish.
Injera, the country’s staple food, makes a frequent appearance on the dining table. This consists of a huge pancake-like sponge made from Teff flour. People eat using their right hand and use injera to scoop up food served alongside it, usually a type of Wat (stew).
#5 The culture and festivals
Ethiopia is a melting pot of different cultures, with over 80 ethnic groups and languages spoken. And what better way to get a glimpse of the Ethiopian culture than to join its spectacular festivals? Whether you’re coming to visit religious events like Timket or a victory celebration called Adwa Victory Day, you will really see that Ethiopia boasts of exuberant festivals that stood the test of time.
Also, did you know that a lot of Ethiopia’s ethnic tribes still practice traditional ways of living? If you get to visit them, it’s like stepping back in time! In fact, a visit to Omo Valley in the south can really be fascinating. You will meet ancient tribes and unique peoples, and you will see interesting traditions including intricate body painting, striking clothings and other distinctive features.
#6 The weather
We all know it. Weather in Canada can be extreme. And most of the time, Canadians just really want to get away for a while and go to a tropical land for some R&R. Thanks to Ethiopia’s beautiful weather all year-round, not to mention its splendid landscapes and wildlife, it is no wonder why it is a favorite destination among many Canadians!
What’s so special in Ethiopia that Canadians would love?
✓ Abundant ancient historical sites. Canada is 150 years old whereas Ethiopia dates back to about 3,000 years. Hence, old historic sights are plentier in Ethiopia and these could really be very fascinating for Canadians.
✓ Change of scenery. Canada is in no doubt more advanced compared to Ethiopia. It is a high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, featuring modern buildings as well as European-inspired structures. The country also boasts of landscapes composed of mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast. In Ethiopia, Canadians get to enjoy an out-of-this-world scenery made of high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley. Also, Canada has a wealth of ports around the country: Fraser River Port, Halifax, Port-Cartier, Quebec, Montreal, and many more. Ethiopia, on the other hand, is landlocked. Since Ethiopia is less advanced and more into the agricultural side, Canadians get to experience something new.
✓ Cultural immersion. Did you know that there are well-preserved, original indigenous tribes in Ethiopia still living like they used to a long time ago? This is a great shift of experience for Canadians being one who lives in a fully modern society without the type of culture Ethiopia has.
✓ Lalibela. Based on statistics, the largest religion in Canada is Christianity, with Roman Catholics representing the largest percentage. Ethiopia hosts some of the world’s most important religious pilgrimages in a town called Lalibela — a UNESCO World Heritage Site deemed to be one of the most holy places and also referred to as “the new Jerusalem.”
✓ Unique natural sights. While Canada has always been known to have some of the most surreal views, Ethiopia also offer unreal vistas that are really special and not seen elsewhere: Danakil Depression, the lowest place on earth and often called “Hell on Earth”; Blue Nile Falls, majestic falls comparable to the iconic Niagara Falls in Ontario; and Simien Mountains, a mountain range similar to what you see in Canada but what makes it unique are the exotic trees and the endangered, highly endemic animals that inhabit the mountain. Since Canadians are very outdoor people who love nature, it is safe to say that Ethiopia can easily take their breath away.
✓ Amazing coffee. It is no secret that Canadians are coffee lovers. In fact, a survey made by Coffee Association of Canada revealed that Canadians drink more coffee than most people in the world — double double, short, venti, no fat, extra foam, you name it! Well, here’s the good news: Ethiopia boasts of some of the best coffee in the world. The country is a major source/exporter of coffee, plus they also have a very unique coffee tradition/ceremony!
How to get there from Canada
To get to Ethiopia, the main international hub is Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa. The airport sits in Bole, 6 kilometers southeast of the city center. It serves flights that come from all over the African continent and also from many different parts of the world, hosting nonstop and multiple-stop services to and from Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
From Canada, here’s the information you will need to go to Ethiopia, including top airlines that offer nonstop and/or one-stop flights:
Best Ethiopian tours for Canadians
Planning to visit Ethiopia soon? Here are the most highly recommended tours every Canadian would love! Also, if you need information about the entry requirements to Ethiopia, you can refer to this page.
- Classic Ethiopia Tour: A trip that takes you to Ethiopia’s top tourist spots to explore some of the glorious ancient human being civilizations in the continent of Africa.
- Absolute Adventure to the Simien Mountains: A 13-day trip perfect for adventurous travelers who enjoys challenges in the mountain hiking and dreaming to see the natural beauty of the Simein Mountains.
- Danakil Depression Tour: A tour unlike any other, you will be given the chance to explore the lowest point on Earth, one of the most extraordinary landscapes in the world.
- Omo Valley, Harar and Awash National Park: A 16-day combination tour package composed of a remarkable collection of trips to the fascinating Omo Valley, the historical Islamic Center of Harar and the wildlife- and birdlife-filled Awash National Park.