Have you ever wondered what Baby Simba felt when Rafiki held him up on the apex of the rock? Yes? Well, I have as well! Fortunately, as the horn of Africa, the mountainous terrain of Ethiopia gives you the unique opportunity to recreate that scene and address the rest of the world from an elevated seat.
Ethiopia is the world’s most populated landlocked country and Africa’s second most populated country. Ethiopia is riddled with some of Africa’s most prized historical facts, as the oldest remains of early man were found on Ethiopian land. With such a coveted piece of history under her belt, it then is not so outlandish when you discover that it is currently 2013 according to the Ethiopian Calendar. You see, Ethiopia still follows the Coptic Calendar, making her the only country in the world not subscribing to the Gregorian calendar. So, you can add that to her list of history-esque personality traits.
Another staggering trait of Ethiopia is her unfiltered culture. Modernity has had little influence on Ethiopia’s ‘claim-to-fame’ – her culture. Age-old Ethiopian culture is heavily laced with the roots of Christianity and Islam taking shape in imperious landscapes. Even till today, mainstream Ethiopian ways of living are heavily mirrored by the Ethiopian lifestyle of centuries past. The rock-hewn of old, in Lalibela and Tigray for instance, are still as vital as ever and present a blueprint for the mushrooming churches in Ethiopia. Lip-plates, body painting, beadwork and metal jewellery appear just as they are in your favourite history documentaries – perhaps even better – and embody the DNA of an Ethiopia whose identity rests in its multiplicity of rural tribes.
You also have the beautiful paradox of a modern Ethiopian Airlines, a shining light and leader of Africa’s burgeoning aviation sector, and direct U.S. airline flights transporting you to the land of unique topography, economic promise and unspoiled culture and history.
So, strap up on those hiking boots, get loose with your sunglasses, get ready to explore and and feel the warm embrace of Ethiopia.