My good friend Colm Donohoe recently went to Ethiopia on a two week cultural and trekking excursion, and upon his return, he has had nothing be really great things to say about the country. He was very impressed with how beautiful the scenery was and how warmly he was received by the Ethiopian people.
While there, Colm trekked two very different and unique areas. First he visited the Lalibela area where he had a first hand look at the fabled Churches of Lalibela that are carved out of solid rock below ground. From there Colm struck out into the surrounding mountains with TESFA Trekking on a four day adventure that included wildlife viewing and interaction with villagers of the region. You can check out those churches in his Lalibela gallery and get a sense of what the trekking was like in the Lalibela trekking gallery.
After that, he joined Abyssinia Travel for a completely different trek in the Semien Mountain area. This region had even more wildlife on display as Colm had the opportunity to catch antelopes, ibex, babbons rock hydrax, many more. He was also stuck with the complete isolation of the area, as there are few travelers in the country as a whole and fewer trekkers on the trail. To see some of the amazing views, click on his Semien trekking gallery.
In our e-mail conversations about his latest adventure, I was struck by how much Colm enjoyed his journey through Ethiopia. He can’t say enough about how wonderful the trip was, and how the two trekking services listed above were so helpful and organized along the way. Colm is a very experienced traveler who has been to many places, but I think it’s safe to say that Ethiopia has earned a spot on his favorites list. Having traveled the World, he was amazed at how safe the country was and how friendly the people were without a hidden agenda. No one tried to sell him things he didn’t want and they were genuinely happy to see visitors and interested in who the were. All of this is especially hard for me to hear considering that I was VERY close to going along, but the trip was derailed by my recent surgery. To say I’m a bit jealous is a major understatement.
The country is just now starting to open up more for tourism, and they see it as a potential boon for their economic health in the years to come. They clearly have a lot to offer the adventurous traveler with a healthy dose of culture, history, and outdoor activities to keep you plenty busy. For those of us who prefer to get of the beaten path, Ethiopia is an excellent choice as well, as it remains a bit of a hidden gem for the moment. This is likely to change in the years ahead as it’s “discovered” by more travelers. So, if you want the pure version that hasn’t been trammeled by too many boots, go now! It really does seem like an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve come home.
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