Adventures in Ethiopia, at a glance
The sheer diversity of experiences available in Ethiopia sets it apart from the rest of East Africa.
Ethiopia isn't about safari vehicles and game drives, it's a land of infinite variety, from cultural encounters with indigenous tribes in the remote Omo Valley, to the brutal, alien landscapes of the Danakil Depression.
The possibility for adventure in Ethiopia is endless, and that's why no two itineraries are ever the same.
Adventure Activities in Ethiopia
1. Hiking in the Simien Mountains
Often referred to as the Roof of Africa, the Simien Mountains have some of the country's most impressive hiking routes.
The proliferation of indigenous wildlife, including the famous Gelada Baboons and rare Walia Ibex, not to mention that vast variety of unique flowers, trees and plants, make hiking in this part of the country an absolute joy.
The first national park in the country, formed in 1969, the protected status of the Simien Mountains has kept this unique landscape free from human interference for over 50 years.
Trekking in the Simien Mountains is one of the most popular adventures in Ethiopia.
2. Exploring the alien landscape in the Danakil Depression
Known as the gateway to hell, the Danakil Depression is one of the most unique environments in the world and is a wholly alien affair.
Sitting over 400 feet below sea level, it is one of the hottest places on earth, with average temperatures reaching as high as 50°C. Aside for the hardy Afar people who inhabit this seemingly inhospitable desert, only 3 types of people flock to this region: salt miners, scientists and adventurers.
The sulphur springs of Dallol are one of the biggest attractions in the area, with its psychedelic-tinged shades of neon green morphing into vibrant yellows and reds and acid spraying from the rocky terrain. Ethiopia’s most active volcano, Erta Ale (which means “Smoking Mountain” in the local Afar language) is one of only eight lava lakes in the world.
3. Fly camping in the Omo Valley
Sleep under the stars, and spend your days trekking through the unending expanse. Spend time with the various tribes of the Omo Valley, and immerse yourself in centuries of culture and history. Eight different tribes live in this remote pocket of Ethiopia, with population numbers around 200,000. They live here now as they have done for over 10,000 years.
Fly camping in the heart of the Omo Valley, on the banks of the Omo River, is Ethiopia's answer to glamping. Sleep under the stars, in gazebo-type tents, with a shared area that includes a dining area and seating.
Constantly moving from spot to spot, you'll get a sense of the nomadic lifestyle many inhabitants of the Valley have lived since the dawn of civilization.
Lale's Camp is the flagship camp in the Omo Valley, and offers exclusive access into the country's most remote regions.
4. Helicopter Safaris in the wild west of Gambella
In the rugged, wild west of Ethiopia lies Gambella National Park. An untamed wilderness where few dare to travel, but those who spend their nights under the stars in a remote camp, with the sound of buffalo stomping in the distance, miles and miles from anywhere.
Access to this remote region is only possible via helicopter. A trip like this is the definition of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
5. Rock Climbing in Tigray
The towering Gheralta Mountains, and the rock churches found within, were for centuries only visited by the most stoically loyal practitioners, with their lofty location making them easily defensible, but barely reachable.
Over the years the rock-hewn temples were hidden behind small shack-like doors, far from prying eyes. However, as Ethiopia opens her doors, this dusty landscape has become a popular spot for the adventure traveller.
Quite a different experience than the rock churches in Lalibela, these churches require scaling a sheer cliff face, following the centuries-old handholds carved out by pilgrims, centuries ago.
Abuna Yemata Guh is the most famous church in the Tigray region, but there are many others that wait to be explored.
Adventure Tours in Ethiopia
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