Ethiopia is an amazing country with pleasant temperatures and friendly people Ethiopia is not just about historical sites, it has exceptional natural features and a rich bio-diversity.
The country’s scenery varies from high mountain ranges with alpine flora and fauna, like the Simien and Bale Mountains, to deep gorges, wide valleys, volcanic lakes, savannahs, and semitropical forests, to the lowlands of the Omo Valley and the Danakil Depression (Dallol), one of the earth’s hottest places. Ethiopia’s extraordinary geography are its diverse ecosystems, placing the country among the foremost in the world for its numerous endemic mammals, birds and plants.
Simien Mountain National Park
Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP), with its remarkable vistas ,landscapes and deep valleys is often dubbed the Grand Canyon of Africa and called as most spectacular mountain scenery in the world.. The park is located in the North Gonder Zone of the Amhara National Regional State. It is 870km from Addis Ababa in the mountain massif to the north of the famous Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia. The Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP) has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1978. Simien is home to Ras Dejen, the highest mountain in Ethiopia (4,533m). With a plethora of endemic species of birds, mammals and plants, there’s no other place on Earth quite like Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains National Park. .This ecotourism destination is popular with wildlife watchers including bird watchers, researchers amd cultural enthusiasts. The park also features the giant Erica forest. The park is of global significance for biodiversity conservation because it is home to globally threatened species, including the iconic Walia ibex, a rare wild mountain goat, the gelada and the Ethiopian wolf. They’re also an important watershed for the region, with several year-round rivers originating inside park boundaries. These rivers are an essential source of water for communities downstream in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
Sof Omar Cave
Located in the Bale Mountains South East of Addis Ababa Sof Omar is the largest Cave System in Ethiopia and in Africa.With Winding caves systems 15 Km long,it boasts impressive pillar structures that are Fascinating to Explore. the Sof Omar is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty. Sof Omar, a tiny Muslim village in Bale, is the site of an amazing complex of natural caves, cut by the Wab River as it found its way from the nearby mountains. The settlement, which is a religious site, is named after a local Sheikh.
Armed with torches and official map, visitors to Sof Omar make their way underground, far into the bowels of the earth, beside a subterranean stream, and there can see an extraordinary number of arched portals, high eroded ceilings and deep echoing chambers
The Blue Nile River
The Blue Nile, locally known as Abbay, is the major tributory of the great Nile river – the longest river in the world. The Blue Nile river starts from Ethiopia’s lake Tana and merges with the smaller tributory White Nile at Khartoum Sudan to form the Nile River. The mysterious Nile was long hidden from Western geographers and explorers. It was not until the expeditions of such great travellers as Bruce, Burton, and Speke that the secret of this grand river—which had fascinated, and eluded, even the ancient Romans and Greeks – was revealed. It was then confirmed that the White Nile originates in East Africa’s Lake Victoria, while the Blue Nile pours out of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana. The Blue Nile flows generally south from Lake Tana and then west across Ethiopia and northwest into Sudan. Within 30 kilometres (19 miles) of its source at Lake Tana, the river enters a canyon about 400 kilometres (250 miles) long. This gorge is a tremendous obstacle for travel and communication from the north half of Ethiopia to the southern half. As it plunges more than 2,000 metres (6,560 feet) in its 800-kilometres (497-miles) course from Ethiopia to the Sudanese plains, the Blue Nile is what embodies the drama and mystery of the great river of history. The power of the Blue Nile may best be appreciated at Tis-Isat Falls, which are 45 metres (148 ft) high, located about 40 kilometres (25 miles) downstream of Lake Tana.
Known locally as Tis-Isat- ‘Smoke of Fire’ – the Blue Nile Falls are the most dramatic spectacle that the whole Nile system has to offer. Four hundred metres (1,312 feet) wide when in flood (which normally occurs in September and October, after the rainy season), and dropping over a sheer chasm more than forty-five metres (150 feet) deep, the falls throw up a continuous spray of water droplets which drench onlookers up to a kilometre away. This misty deluge, in turn, produces rainbows that shift and shimmer across the gorge and a perennial rainforest of lush green vegetation – much to the delight of the innumerable monkeys and multi-coloured birds that inhabit the gorge.
It is only a five-minute drive from the lakeside town of Bahir Dar across the Blue Nile Bridge, to the spot where the famous river flows out of Lake Tana. But the falls are about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the town and are best approached from Tis-Isat village, a market settlement of the Amhara people who live in this area farming crops like wheat, sorghum and teff (from which injera, the national bread, is made).
Erta Ale is often called as the embodiment of hell for some people has been formed has formed over the East African Rift system.. The Erta Ale volcano is an open lake of molten rock, spewing noxious gasses and it lies in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia, where it is part of the Erta Ale Range. It is one of the four volcanoes in the world with a permanent lava lake which has been active since its discovery in 1969. A basaltic shield volcano with a 600 X 1700 m caldera or crater, the Erta Ale Volcano is only 613 m high, as it gradually slopes down to a 40 km diameter wide base.
The volcanoes here are not cone shaped giant mountains which from time to time explode, killing all around them. Erta Ale is a typical basaltic shield volcano with very gentle slopes. This mountain is some 50 km wide and rises approximately 700 meters above the Danakil Depression. The caldera of Erta Ale is complex, approximately 1.7 km long and 0.6 km wide, with several opening of craters in it.
Erta Ale is one of the driest, lowest, and hottest places on Earth. Temperatures during the year range from 77 degrees Fahrenheit to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The area is beset by drought, bereft of trees, and has little in the way of roads.
Known by the Afar as the “smoking mountain” and “the gateway to hell,” Erta Ale is a 2,011-foot-high constantly active basaltic shield volcano. It is one of only a handful of continuously active volcanos in the world, and a member of an even more exclusive group: volcanos with lava lakes. While there are only five known volcanos with lava lakes globally, Erta Ale often has two active lava lakes, making it a unique site.
Tana is Ethiopia’s largest lake, covering more than 3500 sq km, and its waters are the source of the Blue Nile, which flows 5223km north to the Mediterranean Sea. This lake is located on the foothills of the Simien Mountains and is where sub-Saharan Africa and medieval churches meet and it is home to hyenas, leopards and fish eagles, but also hundreds of white-robed pilgrims who pour in from around the country. The lake’s surface covers 1,418 square miles (3,673 square km), with a surrounding drainage of 4,500 square miles (11,650 square km); its maximum depth is 45 feet (14 metres). The islands and peninsulas of Lake Tana are easily reached by boat from Bahir Dar on the southern side of the lake, and also obtained at Gorgora on the northern shore. One of the most striking features of Lake Tana is the extensive Papyrus beds from which the local boats, ‘tankwa’, are made. Other large plants in the reedbeds are Typha, Echinochloa spp. grasses and Polygonum. Several aquatic plants, including Nymphaea coerulea, are noticeable.
BBC once called Danakil Depression as the hottest place on earth and other travellers described it as a journey to furnace. Even though life exists here it has one of the most extreme climates found on earth and is one of the hottest, driest and lowest places on the planet. When we walk around the area we feel like we are on another planet. There are volcanoes with bubbling lava lakes, multi-coloured hydrothermal fields, and great salt pans that dazzle the eyes. For people who want genuine, raw adventure, few corners of the globe can match this overwhelming wilderness. The Danakil is accessible by 4 x 4 jeeps over hundreds of kilometres of bumpy roads, tracks in the desert, and lines in the sand and continues through the contested border with Eritrea.