TOUR & TRAVEL
Ethiopia is one of the twelve bio-diversity centres in the world, and visitors with a special interest in nature, such as flowers and plants or butterflies, will find much to interest them. A butterfly tour would take in the Menagesha Forest near Addis Ababa, the Rift Valley Lakes, the Bale Mountains and the Awash Valley. (There are 8 families, 93 genera and 324 species to be found in Ethiopia.) A typical tour would take about 11 days in and out.
With flowers and plants we would take in the Bale Mountains, the Awash Valley and then cut across to ascend the escarpment of the Abyssinian Highlands. About 10 days should be allowed.
Increasingly popular are coffee tours, which Ethiopian Quadrants organises in collaboration with the Oromo Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, which featured in the award winning documentary, Black Gold. The tour would include meetings and discussions in Addis Ababa, cupping sessions, a visit to a coffee auction, and visits to the cooperatives in the coffee growing areas, such as around Harer, Yirga Chefe, Jimma and Nekemte.
Geologists will find the Awash area particularly interesting, while a trip to Mount Ertale (which has the oldest permanent lava lake in the world) would be a “must” – it can be accessed by road, with the ascent being made on foot with camels carrying the supplies, or by a helicopter flight from Mekele. A comprehensive tour, also taking in the Simien Mountains, would take about two weeks. Study tours in areas such as education or health could be made anywhere in the country, according to the other interests of the group.
Ethiopia has a number of pilgrimage sites, Christian and Muslim, visited on certain days by thousands (in some places, hundreds of thousands) of pilgrims. The better known sites include: Mariamtsion Church in Axum, Debre Damo Monastery, Hamad al-Negash (site of the first Muslim settlement in the world), Gabriel Kolubi near Dire Dawa and Sheikh Hussain near Bale.