Things to Do in Ethiopia

Things to Do in Ethiopia

Ethiopia, an off-beat travel destination is a lovely African country that boasts of noteworthy history, charming scenery, and a rich cultural heritage. Thanks to the country’s natural beauty, historic attractions, indigenous villages, native communities and long-standing traditions, you will have plenty of best things to do in Ethiopia. The delectable food, aromatic coffee and teeming wildlife further make your trip to Ethiopia memorable.

Ethiopia is a hidden gem that has a plethora of sightseeing spots and exciting outdoor activities more than you would ever imagine. If you wish to explore the natural wonders of Ethiopia, you can visit Danakil Depression, Rift Valley, Blue Nile Falls, Simien Mountains and Omo Valley. Adventure junkies looking for daring Ethiopia activities can indulge in hiking to Erta Ale Volcano and taking a boat ride on Lake Tana. The Churches of Lalibela portray the architectural might of Ethiopia while the National Museum of Ethiopia portrays the mediaeval and ancient history of the country.

Visit the Danakil Depression

Danakil Depression is a geographical depression caused by the continental drift of three tectonic plates. Touted to be the hottest area on the planet, the depression is the home to lava lakes, salt lakes, volcanoes and bright acidic springs. The Danakil Depression has quite a few best things to do in Ethiopia like visiting Dallol, Erta Ale volcano and salt lakes like Karum and Afrera. You can meet the local Afar inhabitants and learn about their everyday lifestyle relying on goats, camels and cattle.

1. Location:

Afar Triangle, Northeastern Ethiopia

2. Best time:

November to March

Suggested Read: National Parks in Africa

Trek the Simien Mountains National Park

Set amidst a beautiful landscape, Simien Mountain National Park is a lovely trekking destination in Africa. With challenging hiking trails, quaint vantage points and rustic campsites, trekking in Simien Mountains National Park is one of the best things to do in Ethiopia. You can choose between 1 to 8 days of trekking based on your fitness level. As you hike through the mountains, you will be blessed with splendid views of high peaks, lush valleys, exotic wildlife and the undulating terrain.

1. Price:

Approx 0.37 USD for locals, approx 0.93 USD for foreign resident tourist, approx 1.67 USD for foreign tourist

2. Location:

North Gondar Debark, 1248, Ethiopia

3. Timings:

Monday to Friday - 7:30 AM to 5:30 PMSaturday to Sunday -8:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Also Checkout: Ethiopia Safari Holiday Packages

Explore Churches of Lalibela

Architecture buffs looking for activities in Ethiopia should visit the Churches of Lalibela. Nicknamed as ‘New Jerusalem’, this is a collection of 11 rock-hewn monolithic churches built in the 12th century by King Lalibela. The churches were constructed by chiselling the red volcanic rock beneath the feet. Saint George’s church with 40 metres height and a cross-shaped roof is the most impressive of all other churches. Recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a trip to these historic churches is one of the best things to do in Ethiopia.

1. Price:

around 50 USD

2. Location:

Lalibela, Western Ethiopian Highlands

3. Timings:

8am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm

Take a Boat Trip on Lake Tana

If you are looking for Ethiopia activities that offer a refreshing escapade, take a boat trip on Lake Tana. The Lake is famous for the 14th century island monasteries that are decorated in ancient ornaments, frescoes, and exquisite wall paintings. Exploring these monasteries is one of the best things to do in Ethiopia because it is a trip back through Ethiopia’s rich history. You can spot numerous species of flora and fauna like flamingos and hippos and witness the huge bird migration during the ferry trip.
Price: About USD 15 for two daysLocation: Amhara Region, North-Western Ethiopian Highlands

Trek to the Erta Ale Volcano

If you love adventure and are looking for challenging Ethiopia activities, trek to the Erta Ale Volcano which is the country’s most active volcano. It is a 10 kilometre long trek up Erta Ale and takes about 3 hours to reach the crater camp. The trek is moderately difficult but the hot atmosphere makes it even more exhausting. As you walk up to the volcano, you can catch a glimpse of the orange lava and a layer of grey smoke camouflaging the atmosphere. After witnessing the mesmerising sunrise, you can head back to the base.

1. Price:

approx 101 USD per day tour

2. Location:

Afar Depression

3. Best time:

October to February

Witness Ethiopia’s History at National Museum of Ethiopia

National Museum of Ethiopia is a historic place that houses Ethiopia’s artistic treasures and valuable archaeological finds like fossilised relics and memorabilia from mediaeval periods. A tour around the museum is one of the educational activities in Ethiopia that gives you an insight about the cultural richness and the ethnic groups of the country. Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Ethiopia as you can witness the Ethiopian Crown and Throne of Emperor Haile as well as explore the fossilised hominids like Lucy and Salem.

1. Location:

2QQ6+6P4, Addis Ababa Arada, Ethiopia

2. Timings:

Tuesday to Sunday – 9 AM to 5 PMMonday - Closed

Enjoy at Blue Nile Falls

Blue Nile Falls commonly known as ‘Tis Abay’ meaning ‘The Great Smoke’ is a testimony to Ethiopia’s natural beauty. The Blue Nile Falls is a gorgeous silver cascade originating from Lake Tana and dropping down from a height of 42 metres creating a spray of mist. You can take part in several exciting activities in Ethiopia at Blue Nile Falls like trekking, bird watching and exploring Bahir Dar. Hiking trails to the falls pass through lush green countryside which makes the trek one of the best things to do in Ethiopia.

1. Price:

around 0.93 USD for adults

2. Timings:

7 AM to 5:30 PM

Explore the Omo Valley

Experience the cultural activities in Ethiopia by taking a trip to Omo Valley which is the home to 88 cultural communities. This valley is famous for age-old traditions and tribal diversity, and is a must-visit place for those looking for Ethiopia activities to learn about Ethiopia and Africa broadly. As you explore the place, you will come across fortified settlements on hilltop, terraced fields, and rock impressions that date back to 5000 years. You can also visit the nearby quaint Nech Sar National Park brimming with mountains, lakes and forests which house more than 70 species of mammals.

1. Price:

150 USD

2. Location:

South-western Ethiopia

Stroll Around Rift Valley

Regarded as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’, the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia is one of the amazing natural wonders. It comprises numerous linear valleys that extend for 6000 kilometres from Bekaa Valley in Lebanon to Mozambique in South Africa. Walking along the trail of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley is one of the exhilarating Ethiopia activities as you will cross quaint villages, glistening lakes, and an array of wildlife. The trail will take you through 25 years of geological history and will give insights about the volcanic activities and earthquakes that have created a fracture on the Earth’s surface.

Best time:

October to March

FAQ's Of Ethiopia

Which are the best things to do in Ethiopia?

Some of the best things to do in Ethiopia are- Hike to Simien Mountain National Park- Discover Danakil Depression- Go on a boat ride in Lake Tana- Trek to Erta Ale Volcano- Visit Churches of Lalibela- Wander through Rift Valley- Explore Blue Nile Falls- Learn about the history of Ethiopia at National Museum of Ethiopia

What is Ethiopia famous for?

Ethiopia is widely famous for its picturesque landscapes, fascinating history, aromatic coffee and the delicious African cuisine. The country boasts of a varied topography, cultural diversity with 88 ethnic groups and traditional festivals. It is the only place to have a 13-month calendar and the only African country that has its own scripting language.

Is Ethiopia worth visiting?

Yes, Ethiopia is worth visiting with its rich history, beautiful landscape, cultural diversity, enthralling attractions and interactive festivals. The lush green valleys, exquisite waterfalls and lakes, monumental churches and thrilling activities like hiking and camping make Ethiopia even more attractive.

Which are the best places to visit in Ethiopia?

  • Danakil Depression
  • Lalibela
  • Simien Mountains
  • Bahir Dar
  • Rift Valley
  • National Museum of Ethiopia
  • Omo Valley
  • Blue Nile Falls
  • Gondar
  • Aksum
  • Harar
  • Babile Elephant Sanctuary

What is the best time to visit Ethiopia?

The best time to visit Ethiopia is during the dry months of October to March when the weather is pleasant and favourable for taking part in Ethiopia activities. The climate is mild with fewer rains and the heat is also less intense during this period. You can also participate in various festivals celebrated throughout these months.


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