What everyone should know about Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a country with one of the richest histories on the African continent, home to hospitably and friendly people who are descended from the world's oldest civilizations. This unique country never been colonized by a foreign power, and as a result the people have retained a strong cultural and religious identity. Its capital, Addis Ababa, is the diplomatic capital of Africa and the third largest diplomatic hub in the world, here is the headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa as well as others regional and international organizations.
In the rain forests of Ethiopia is the birth place of the coffee ‘Arabica’’. The attractive coffee ceremony is enjoyed daily by locals and tourists.
The stories tell us Ethiopia is also believed to be the depository of the lost biblical Ark of the Covenant in the St.Mary Zion church in ancient Aksum.
Did you know that?
- Ethiopia is the 10th largest country in Africa.
- The 2nd-most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and with almost 1,5 % of the world population.
- more then 100 mts. below sea level lowest pt ( the Danakil Depression)
- 4620 mts the highest pt. (Ras Dashen)
Danakil Depression is the hottest place on Earth - the average year-round temperature is 34.4 degrees Celsius.
- Ethiopia has upwards of 80 languages spoken across its regions but English is the most commonly spoken foreign language.
While the most widely spoken local languages are Amharic, Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya.
Ethiopia is one of just two African countries that are considered to have never been colonised.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, known as Tewahedo, is one of the oldest forms of Christianity in the world and came to Ethiopia from Egypt, where Egyptians belonged to the Coptic Church.
Their year starts on 11 September of the Gregorian calendar (that is the international calendar followed by the rest of the world), and on this day they celebrate their “New Year”.
- Although that may be a bit confusing to the rest of the world, at least they may legitimately claim to have “13 months of sunshine”. The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months. Their 13th month has only five days though, and six in a leap year, hence their calendar runs between 7 and 8 years behind the Western, or Gregorian calendar.
Except for the Arabs, the Ethiopians are the only people in Africa that also uses their own indigenous written alphabet too.
In Ethiopia there is many endemic animals and birds. There are popular bird watching routes here. As well as a fabulous country for photography hunters in the Omo Valley, home for the almost untouched by civilization ancient tribes.
The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue Nile or Abbay, which flows a distance of 1,450 kilometers from its source to join the White Nile at Khartoum. From the north and running down the centre are the Abyssinian highlands. To the west of the chain the land drops to the grasslands of Sudan, to the east to the deserts of the Afar. South of Addis Ababa, the land is dominated by the Rift Valley Lakes.
Ethiopia is in the +3 hrs GMT time zone. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that in addition to this Ethiopia also has its own time. This is based on the conception that the Ethiopian day is constituted of roughly 12 hours of daylight, starting at 6.00am and roughly 12 hours of darkness, starting at 6.00pm. So, 7.00am is 1.00am Ethiopian time.
Urban Ethiopians often use both systems as appropriate. Nevertheless, in general, when asking about dates and times, it is always worth checking which system is being used!
There are two seasons in Ethiopia:
- in most of the country the dry season prevails from October until May with short rains in March;
- the wet season runs from June until the end of September.
In the Omo and Mago NP however, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November.
Travel to Ethiopia that is like an adventure and discovering a beautiful country, barely touched by modern society. It’s an unique combination of history, tradition, culture and nature.