The bounty of northern Ethiopia’s historical African treasures is only rivalled by that of Egypt’s. In Aksum, elaborate pre-Christian tombs underlie ancient obelisks; in Lalibela a medieval maze of rock-hewn churches lies frozen in stone. The wealth of history continues in Gonder, where grand 17th-century castles overlook the celebrated source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana. The lake’s waters host centuries-old island monasteries and countless religious artefacts.
Northern Ethiopia’s landscape is equally captivating and is unparalleled in Africa in both scale and beauty. Although the amazing backdrop of endless canyons, chasms, gorges and high plateaus covers most of the north, there’s no better way to absorb it than trekking the Simien Mountains. You’ll also be able to experience some of Ethiopia’s endemic wildlife.
Nature takes on hostile tones in the Danakil Depression, where harsh conditions make molten lava feel more at home than you. At over 100m below sea level it’s one of the lowest, hottest and most inhospitable places on Earth.
Depending on your mood and budget, getting around northern Ethiopia can be as easy as hopping a plane or as difficult as wedging your big toe into a precarious cliffside crevice.