I have traveled extensively throughout East Africa in last few years and it is really hard to pick my favorite country out of them all. Having said that, I was asked recently which of the East African countries was my favorite and I have been somewhat forced into making a decision. First of all I just want to mention that for anyone who hasn’t yet been to East Africa, it is a truly beautiful place with a huge range of cultures, landscapes and natural beauty which is just waiting to be explored. If you haven’t been yet then do not believe the hype, it is a truly special place and you should get there as soon as you can.
Without further ado then, my favorite country in East Africa is Ethiopia, a vast and incredible land which I will never get tired of exploring. Ethiopia has seen a lot of troubles in recent years but it is a place of true beauty and here are just a few reasons why I love it so much.
This incredible town is the perfect place for history buffs and it is a place which has really been lost to the annuls of time. Here you will find no less than 13 churches which have been hand-carved into the mountains, a truly incredible feat. To sum this place up perfectly, I will take a quote from the 16th Century Portuguese writer Francisco Alvares.
“I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more … I swear by God, in Whose power I am, that all I have written is the truth”
I really love hiking through nature and up here on the Simien Mountains you can do exactly that in incredible surroundings. Take the 5 day hike if you want to explore the true beauty of this region, a fascinating insight into Ethiopia’s vast and expansive natural landscape.
It doesn’t get more remote than the Lower Omo Valley and your 12 hour journey will be well worth it once you have arrived. Here you will find a tribe which has not been touched by modern society and they practice and operate in the same way that they have done for centuries. If your idea of traveling is to get away from it all then there is nowhere better on the planet to do so than here in the valley.
It is very easy to say how much the locals make an impact on the journey but in Ethiopia I found this more than in any other location that I have been to. Despite some of the worst poverty in the world, the people here are so welcoming and friendly when it comes to visitors and they truly made my trip extremely special. From tour guides to shop workers, people on the street to those outside the churches, everyone is ready with a smile and a greeting and it felt very safe indeed.