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Ethiopia

Our verdict:

If you're looking for an exciting new destination, try Ethiopia. This beautiful diverse country is packed with cultural treasures, dramatic mountain scenery, ancient churches and monasteries, wildlife, national parks and volcanic lakes. The people are welcoming, the food is delicious, and the coffee is pretty good too.

Recommended tour operator: Tadele Travel

Tadele Travel says

Ethiopia delivers the unexpected like no other country in Africa. Dubbed the “Cradle of Humankind”, Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonised – a visit feels like taking a step back into ancient times.

  • Cultural treasures
  • World class trekking
  • Community tourism

We’re passionate about Ethiopia and offer tailor-made private itineraries for couples and family holidays as well as a range of cultural and active escorted group tours (for up to eight people). Whichever you choose, we aim to bring together unique experiences, cultural insights and authentic hospitality which reflect the expectations of our travellers and the incredible diversity of Ethiopia.

Our group cultural tours bring ancient Ethiopia to life. The country’s churches and monasteries include nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among the must-see highlights are the extraordinary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the remote churches of Tigray, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the towering stelae of Axum, the palaces and fortresses of Gonder, the ancient walled city of Harer and the spectacular views of the Simien Mountains. You will most likely also be able to experience spectacular religious festivals.

We have created a superb range of trekking holidays in Ethiopia’s Simien, Bale and Abune Yusef mountains and national parks. For an otherworldly experience, you can join a four-wheel drive expedition through the salt pans and volcanic lakes of the Danakil Depression, known as one of the hottest places on earth.

Take part in our community tourism initiative that benefits the locals directly. With no traffic noise and no electricity, you will stay in a community-run eco-lodge in a rural village. The walks and treks off the beaten track along the Lasta massif escarpment, Ethiopia’s third highest mountain range, are incredibly special, led by the locals with a donkey carrying your bag to the next village.

We can also create a trip for you which is focused on wildlife or bird-watching for example.

We’re seeing increasing numbers of families travelling with us – we tailor-make each itinerary to ensure it has the right mix of sightseeing and activities to suit your interests and priorities.

Whether you travel as part of a small group or on a private trip, we arrange everything for you, including your flights (we are ATOL protected), transfers, guides, vehicles and drivers, accommodation and meals. Our guides all have personal connections with and first-hand knowledge of the communities you’ll be visiting.

The best time to travel to Ethiopia is between September and June, the dry season.

We practise the principles of sustainable tourism and responsible travel. We also understand what Ethiopians need for tourism to benefit them directly, working only with guides, lodges and community initiatives that we know help make this happen.

Find out more about our full range of holiday ideas in Ethiopia.

Note: All the travel companies featured on this site are personally recommended by our editors. Companies pay us a flat annual fee; we don’t get any additional payments if you click on their sites or make a booking. Those fees pay for the upkeep of our site, so we can keep it current and reliable. See more about how we work.