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Anisha Shah
Created byAnisha Shah
Luxury & Emerging Destinations Travel Journalist

Northern Ethiopia: Making an Entrance

Featured Guide

Considered the cradle of humanity, North Ethiopia is home to some of the world’s oldest communities, lays claims to the Ark of the Covenant and is bathed in immense natural beauty. Mountainous highlands descend to bottomless lakes laden with UNESCO sites and treasures: here exists the grandest collection of archaeological legacies in sub-Saharan Africa.  Ousting the legacy of famine, the country is emerging as a hot destination for its deeply ingrained identity and glorious antiquity. Traversing fabled territory feels ground-breaking and deeply resonates with this Emerging Destinations travel writer. As a journalist of BBC TV & Radio background, history, culture and nature satiate my appetite. In Ethiopia they converge, exuding the essence of mankind through a richly woven tapestry of time.

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Four Sisters Restaurants

Four Sisters restaurant in Gondar is one of the best. Ethiopian food is popular worldwide; Injera is the country’s staple; made from indigenous crop cereal, ‘Teff’. It’s a spongy flatbread. Alone, the texture is akin to a foam mattress. But its topped with 7-8 stewed spiced lentils ‘wat’, as a large...

Lake Tana 12th Century island monasteries

30+ islands dotted on Lake Tana house ancient embellished and adorned monasteries and churches, filled with original paintings, frescoes and murals. Their location was thought to protect them from Muslim invaders. Ura Kidane Mihiret is the most famous, revealing precious religious relics in a...

Lake Tana Cruise

Slicing through placid still waters of a seemingly infinite lake, chug chugging by motorboat, feels remarkably pacifying. The vital lake is the source of the Blue Nile, which primarily feeds the River Nile. Be startled to see a papyrus canoe with solo fisherman, rowing hours from land. Lake Tana...

Blue Nile Falls

Trekkers and adventurers will delight in the majestic scenes of wilderness unfolding along the walk and boat crossing en route to ‘Tis Abay’ in Amharic. Several streams filter over dramatic boulders, providing a much-needed refreshing spray. Neighbouring the falls, Ethiopia’s first stone...

Kuriftu Resort and Spa

Set on the serene banks of Lake Tana, this sanctuary is ideal for some pampering and recuperation. With a good spa, pool and restaurant, it can be a sweet ending or interlude to a hectic itinerary of adventure travel. Stay in a suite with outdoor daybeds, lake view and wine to kick back and toast the most...

Aksumite Stelae

Once the capital of Africa’s oldest empires, Axum city is cited from 400BC. Littered with UNESCO Heritage sites including famous Stelae; granite monoliths from pre-Christian times, decorated with symbolic engravings. This former centre of the Axumite kingdom acted as connecting point of...

Rock-Hewn Churches

The most famous sights of Ethiopia, the UNESCO protected 12th Century churches are carved into steep stone sides. Navigate a network of trenches and alcoves to get into each narrow hollow dingy altar to witness religious rituals. Elderly faces wrapped in white muslin cloth, creased like walnut...

Simien Lodge

The ‘highest hotel in Africa’ is the sole hotel within the national park, sitting atop an escarpment. Lammergeyer soar at these heights, clearly visible. ‘Tukul’ village style circular huts are comfortable accommodations encircled by breath-taking scenery, incredible cliffs and endless...

Simien Mountains National Park

The ‘Roof of Africa’ encompasses UNESCO World Heritage Simien National Park. Trek or drive through rocketing rugged Amethyst-tainted peaks and plummeting canyons, spot the 4th highest mountain of Africa - Ras Dashen (4543m) and get close to a gamut of wildlife such as Gelada primate with it’s...

Merkato

All routes begin in the Capital, Addis Ababa. Mercato is the largest open-air market in Africa. It employs tens of thousands and spans a 5 km width. Be warned, you can literally find anything. A guide is essential for safety and comfort. A walk-through is a cultural assault of all the senses....