Why you should travel to Ethiopia

In black Africa, with a shy and fearful step, I made my entry from Ethiopia. I approached for the first time the sub-saharan African continent from its eastern gate with my heart in my throat and the typical fear of who is about to venture into unknown lands of which he knows nothing of.
It could be paradise as it could be hell.

Ethiopia was both, a route starting from infernal, or maybe something closer to a limbo, I am referring to the Addis Ababa market, where the further you get into it, the more you will lose yourself in the smelly and dark alleys where the eyes of those who work, stare, without saying a word, and is characterized by the confusion on the streets where it is hard to make sense of.

And then to sublime moments when all this now seems to be a thing of the past and to find yourself, then, instead in boundless and desert territories like those of the north and of the hot and inhospitable depression in which the world opens up and sucks you into the searing and vital land whose burning fire, reminds you that she is alive and that you can do nothing against her.
The Erte Ale, the lava lake on the border with Eritrea, is the volcano where fire and earth boil, dragging the observer to breathe in a difficult way, due to the strong smell of sulfur, in the meanders of what the Latin Americans call the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and that is the way I like to call it too.

Africa is said to be of earth, of blood, of virulence, of depth and of strength.
The earth that I felt inside the ears and the eyes, the windows of the hot minibuses closed to keep out the dust that inevitably would have plagued the crowded van that flashes around the streets dodging animals accompanied by shepherds perhaps in the direction of some market, could not make me think otherwise.

From 2,600 meters I have gone down to -116 meters of sea level, a passage that has sealed the union between the high peaks and the warm heart of the earth that throbs. It is the earth, and I heard it in a way I never had before.

But it is also earth, the road that is ground on foot in enormous and desolate spaces in which it becomes clear that nature has thought of everything with a reason.
The trees that instead of extending in height do so in breadth, to give shade and refreshment to lean and long-legged women and men for whom the 60 km walk is a possible walk that can be done in less than 24 hours. It is earth, arid and that does not give a way out to those who cannot get used to it.

Ethiopia, mixture of bitter tears and sincere embraces, multitude of people, and excessive noises, here where everything seems excessive, where the state of mind is important to move forward, there where the community triumphs over the individual, where languages, religions, skin colors and ethnic groups seem to have found a happy meeting point.

Ethiopia, a country where, if at first you feel out of place after a while you realize that, in truth, you are nothing else but one in a land of many.

Erte Ale - Etiopia

Erte Ale, the boiling lava lake - Etiopia

Ethiopia explained in proverbs

I could not imagine that Ethiopia would have been the reason why, then, I decided to spend the next upcoming years among Africa.

When I got back home after 2 months in the Country I was so excited that I couldn't believe, and it still happens 2 years after, I had spent so much time in such an incredible Country.
Past the enthusiasm of the two months of travel in what I consider one of the most beautiful and interesting countries that I have had the pleasure to travel to, the time has come to deal with what has meant for me a trip to this land that I like to define full of surprises.
There are many why and I summarize them by picking up some African proverbs that represent my perceptions well:


The sense of community

[su_pullquote]"If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together"[/su_pullquote]

The Ethiopian strong sense of community (I do not speak of Africa because I do not know, but I believe that this concept can be extended to a good part of the Continent) is an important part of the trip, probably this made my trip.

Traveling alone and being accustomed to spending a lot of time in solitude, appreciating it, among other things, the stay in this country has been punctuated by the constant presence of locals who were perplexed by my desire, sometimes explicit request, to be on my own.
The all Western individualism, I would say, in Ethiopia gives way to sharing, which is also clear, or perhaps especially important at moments like meal times as everyone eat from a single dish. Times to be alone are cut down to a minimum, and even where there seems to be nothing, in truth, every night the families of the tukul neighborhood meet to talk and spend hours chatting together around the central fire on which coffee is prepared.


Tukul - Etiopia

Tukul - Etiopia



[su_pullquote align="right"]" Give a fish to a person, and that person shall be full for a day, teach a man to fish, and that person will be full for life"[/su_pullquote]

Ethiopia's poverty has disarmed me, it took weeks for me to ride it out and to accept it for what it is.
But I have had the good fortune, in my encounters, to meet young Ethiopians who keep busy to learn and to be able to accomplish something in their lives and, to them, I wanted to help out by doing something for them, sometimes help that goes beyond giving out a few Birrs, is called for.
I personally have given help in schools because I was asked for them, and I could see the desire to learn to work with tourists. I bought school books, I got in touch with tour guides of different areas in the country to begin to create something together and let them work more and better. They could do it, didn't just know how.
Countries like this show you the dark and painful side of the world, on the other hand, however, behind this shadow there is always a light of hope that those approaching to these realities should/could give confidence and, in turn, tend a hand.


Io a Turkana Lake

Io a Turkana Lake

The tribes and the role of the elderly


[su_pullquote]"What an old man sees sitting down, a young man cannot see standing up"[/su_pullquote]

Amazing how that area of the country that when I arrived I had not wanted to consider is to be revealed at the end the one that I prefer, the Omo Valley.
A place light years away from the West if not from Ethiopia itself.

A tribal world of which if you can get past the picturesque photos, you will discover a reality aside, made of solid and narrow traditions in which the knowledge of the elderly, the village chief, is law and where all decisions are taken sitting in a circle under a tree.

A tribal world of which if you can get past the picturesque photos, you will discover a reality aside, made of solid and narrow traditions in which the knowledge of the elderly, the village chief, is law and where all decisions are taken sitting in a circle under a tree.
There where livestock is a symbol of wealth and scars the sign of strength and courage, the journey to Ethiopia has brought me to where I could never have believed to be able to do so one day, but above all, it reminded me how attachment to our own roots is part of our identity.


Poverty is not necessarily synonymous of danger

[su_pullquote align="right"]"It is not enough to be clothed in order to seem not poor"[/su_pullquote]

The poverty of mind will come to you when you are in contact with those who are poor in things but rich in their love and goodness of heart, at that point you will well understand the difference. It was complicated at the beginning, when, surrounded by so much poverty, it seemed absurd to me that violence and crime were concepts away from the world in which I was, perhaps walking in the night to take a bus with a backpack full of things of value.

There was not one time when I thought I could be in danger, although all around me were people without shoes and with tattered clothes. It took a while to understand that poverty is not necessarily synonymous with violence or danger. Therefore I am free to say that Ethiopia is a safe country where violence has been reduced to historical minimums ... or that really I could feel more at risk in some European capitals than here.


The nature

[su_pullquote]"The sun and the moon are the best lamps"[/su_pullquote]

Ethiopia is about tribe, history, traditions, rock-hewn churches, but it is also violent and sensational nature. The Erte Ale is an example, as the Danakil depression of which temperatures sometimes become unbearable, then the green nature of the highlands immediately after the rainy season and the arid and sunny land of the South. Lakes inhabited by crocodiles and hippos and mountains to climb.
It is big, it's beautiful and it’s varied. A polyvalent country that is not limited to the tribal communities but leads straight into the heart of the earth.




Why you should travel in Ethiopia?
Because it is a multicultural country with a number of tribes incomparable to other African countries, because it is a safe country, because it is a very beautiful country, because here different and numerous religions coexist peacefully, and although each one is strong in his membership there are no walls between them, because it offers a journey where history, culture, nature, traditions are intertwined masterfully managing to make it so that a trip done would seem to have been 4.



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Travel to Ethiopia with local tour operator

If you want to travel to Ethiopia and need help from local tour operator for planning your trip, write me an email at [email protected] and I will be happy to design and customized a travel trip to Ethiopia with reliable and passionate local partners.
Let me know more about your trip and what you'll like to do and see, adding also these info:


  • How many people will travel
  • How long
  • Interests or places you don't want to miss
  • Activities you don't want to miss
  • When you want to travel

I will reply to you within 48 hours for having a chat together and getting more info from you about your travel plan! We will design and customized your travel itinerary that our friend Nure, a super guide from Addis Abeba will make real!
If you do not hear from me, check your SPAM folder, I might ended up in there!


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Aggiornato il: 21 Dicembre 2016
Scritto da: Giulia Raciti

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Scritto da Giulia Raciti

Esperta di Africa e Latino America sono in viaggio dal 2011. Attualmente a bordo di un van. Ho fatto un giro del mondo in solitaria durato 3 anni. Scrivo delle destinazioni che visito. Mi occupo di realizzazione viaggi personalizzati e su misura in Africa e Sud America sul sito dedicato Kipepeo Experience.

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