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ETHIOPIA

Land of Origins

Ethiopia is located in Eastern Africa between the equator and the tropic of Cancer; in a region know as the Horn of Africa. Topographically, Ethiopia is a mountainous country and has a very beautiful landscape. The surface configuration of the country ranges from very high mountains (like the Simien and Bale Mountains) to one of the lowest areas below the sea level in Africa the Dankil Depression. The highest peak in Ethiopia is Ras Dashen, which is about 4620m above sea level. While the lowest the Dankil depression is about 120 meters below sea level. Another major topographic feature in Ethiopia is the central plateau, which is bisected by the Great Rift Valley into North-East and South-West. The Great Rift Valley extends from Mozambique to the Dead Sea and the Jordan valley, passing a South-North direction through Ethiopia. Ethiopia is one of the few African countries that have a large number of lake and rivers. That is why it is regarded by some as “The Water Tower of North East Africa”.

Most of the lakes are found in the Great Rift Valley and they are one of the major sites of tourist attraction. The most prominent Ethiopia lakes are Tana, Abay, Chamo, Shall, Awassa, Abijata, Koka, Hayke and Ashenge. Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and is located in the highlands outside the Rift Valley. It is the source of the Blue Nile and is the third largest in Africa, next to Victoria and Tanganyika. The major rivers of Ethiopia include Abby (Blue Nile), Wabe Seheblle, Genale, Awash, Takezze, Omo and Baro. Abbay is the largest river in Ethiopia. It is also called the Blue Nile and is the longest River in the world. The Blue Nile Fall is locally known as ‘Tis Issat” and is situated on the upper course of the river, about 30 kilometer downstream from the town of Bahir dar and Lake Tana. It is considered one of Ethiopia’s best-known tourist attractions.

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NETWORK TRAVEL & TOUR is established by highly qualified and seasoned tourism professionals who are widely known for their excellent customer services across the globe. We are also member of the Ethiopian Tour Operators Association. Our main offices are located in Addis Ababa with two sister companies located in Dubai and China working with the world’s busiest and bustling business routes.

As organizers of your tours we make sure you’ll be accompanied by guides who have full knowledge of those regions you wish to travel to. Whether it is bird watching or the historical site, you won’t miss a thing. Your travel arrangements and accommodation will all be booked by our experienced travel advisors. Any special requirements will be satisfied whenever possible.

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UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

Ethiopia is among the countries full of world heritage destinations. UNESCO have already registered 9 and still counting.

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Natural Attractions

Go east, go west and on your way back make sure you check out the north and the south, we have the most beautiful natural attraction.

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NATIONAL PARKS

Ethiopia’s many national parks enable the visitor to enjoy the country’s scenery and its wildlife,  conserved in natural habitats, and offer opportunities for travel adventure unparalleled in Africa.

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Special Offers

Either you are traveling alone or in group, we have different special offers

just for you.

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Contact us to hear about new offers available

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ETHIOPIA Wildlife

Ethiopia is a home for different species and endemic animals. From the rare Walia Ibex to Shy Wild Ass, roam free just as nature intended. To give you the best experience we have partnered with the amazing professional wildlife photographer Aziz Ahmed. He will give you a tour around Ethiopian’s  14 major wildlife reserves.

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“Henrik Fodgaard (Denmark) had an excellent tour of this beautiful country with our fantastic tour guide. Thanks!”

Henrik Fodgaard, Denmark

“Yas, we had a great time and the service was very professional. The tribes were amazing!
All the best”

Loz Charles, UK

“Be sure that our travel was really enjoyable and we thank you a lot for the very nice organization and the well balancing of the tour. I promise you to travel back to Ethiopia in January 2015 for the Timkat festival in Lalibela and the Northern part. So, you can as soon as possible prepare our next tour! But as well balanced as the last one we did !
Warm regards”

Véronique and Guy, France

TRAVEL BLOG

Traveling Makes You A Storyteller.

It’s a long drive from Addis Ababa to Bale Mountains National Park. Long, but absolutely glorious – past donkeys, sunny fields, hills, plateaus, red dirt paths and traditional circular houses painted in upbeat shades of purple, green and blue. It’s the kind of drive that lulls you into a trance as the sky slowly changes colour and the roads get rockier, until hours later, at the far reaches of the park, you stop at Bale Mountain Lodge.

A short stroll from the lodge and you’re quickly enveloped in a thick forest. Pick your way past the huge knarled trees, clumps of moss, and pink, bell-shaped flowers, gently pushing looped vines out of your path, until you suddenly find yourself in a wide clearing. And it’s here, if you’re lucky, you might just find some of the planet’s rarest creatures.

This particular clearing is in the park’s Harenna Forest, which is the largest cloud forest in the country. Solemn-faced colobus monkeys with bright white beards swing in the trees, looking after their babies and letting out the occasional hoot. Keeping them company are the noisy silver-cheeked hornbills, Abyssinian oros, with their cheerful, bubbly call, starlings and iridescent tacazze sunbirds. Down on the ground (keeping a careful distance from human visitors), a family of giant forest hogs snuffle about in the grass. Butterflies flit about and the odd bushbuck picks its way quietly through the undergrowth. You half expect Snow White to come skipping out into the sunshine with a couple of cute squirrels in tow.

Travelling to Africa for wildlife usually means one thing and one thing alone: Big Five spotting in one of the continent’s well-loved safari parks. But for anyone that wants to get further off the beaten track, Ethiopia is incredibly rewarding. Its unusual geography, particularly the more isolated regions such as those within the Bale Mountains National Park, means there is a high number of endemic species and the very real possibility of glimpsing species that only a handful of people have ever seen. Here are just some of the creatures you could encounter while you’re there.

Gelada monkeys
Gelada monkeys, which only live in the Simien Mountains, are a completely intriguing species. They’re the only grass-grazing monkeys left, and of all primates, have one of the most varied range of sounds, from high-pitched cries to gurgling that sounds almost like human speech. Elsewhere in Ethiopia you’ll be able to spot black-and-white colobus monkeys with their snowy mantles, and Bale monkeys, who also have white beards.

Birds
Ethiopia is gradually becoming known one of Africa’s top birding destinations and the numbers really speak for themselves – there are no less than 835 bird species found in Ethiopia, with an incredible 23 that are unique to the country. Serious birders may want a guide to help them spot and identify rare species, but even to travellers with a completely untrained eye, catching a glimpse of electric-bright feathers or hearing huge wings beating overhead during a forest walk is an undeniable thrill. Keep your eyes peeled for the red-cheeked cordon bleu, Ethiopian guinea fowl and the endemic blue-winged goose. It’s your ears that may twig you to the arrival of a bearded vulture soaring overhead in Simien Mountains National Park – their wings are so enormous that the wind almost whistles as it flows over them. Lake Awasa, in the Main Ethiopian Rift south of Addis Ababa, is home to some magnificent, prehistoric-looking marabou storks, while Lake Shala, to the north of Awasa is the place to go to see flamingos.

Hyenas
The ancient walled city of Harar attracts travellers primarily to see its heritage buildings and shrines, but it’s also a great place to get up close and personal with wild hyenas. The tradition of feeding hyenas in Harar began as a way for farmers to prevent them attacking livestock and later was considered to bring good luck. Nowadays it’s a full-blown tourist activity – ‘hyena men’ set themselves up around the city walls as night falls, and gradually the hyenas come out of the shadows to be fed. You can watch for a small fee, and if you’re feeling brave, they’ll even let you try doing it yourself. Nerve-wracking it might be, but feeding Africa’s second-largest predator here is considered perfectly safe by locals.

Ethiopian wolves
The Ethiopian wolf is the rarest canid in the world, with less than 500 left in the wild. You’ve got the best chance of seeing one of these glossy-coated creatures in the Bale Mountains National Park, where 60% of the population now live. Sometimes referred to as Abyssinian foxes, they have rich red fur and pointy ears and long legs, and do actually resemble a fox more than a typical wolf. They often go foraging alone for food, so if you’re lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of one wandering across Bale’s Sanetti Plateau.

Butterflies
The Bale Mountains National Park is also best for butterfly spotting, because as one researcher who works at Bale Mountain Lodge put it, “It’s an endemic utopia.” As many as 22,000 different species of butterflies and moths exist in the region, often in eye-popping colours and patterns. New-to-science species are being discovered on a regular basis, with more than 20 recorded already after recent research. There are even high hopes for a sustainable local silk industry to launch soon, after it was found that silk moths are also living in the area.

Walia ibex
Like the gelada, this endangered species is found in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, with the highest concentration of numbers living in the Simien Mountains. The males have distinctive black beards and sport ridged horns that arch backwards and reach lengths of over a metre. The latter are used in impressive head-on-head battles of dominance with other males; the sharp cracks of clashing of horns often reverberates through the thin mountain air. The confrontations can take place on impossibly steep slopes and the results can mean life or death.

 

202, 2015

It’s a long drive from Addis Ababa to Bale Mountains National Park. Long, but absolutely glorious – past donkeys, sunny fields, hills, plateaus, red dirt paths and traditional circular houses painted in upbeat shades of purple, green and blue. It’s the kind of drive that lulls you into a trance as the sky slowly changes colour and the roads get rockier, until hours later, at the far reaches of the park, you stop at Bale Mountain Lodge.

A short stroll from the lodge and you’re quickly enveloped in a thick forest. Pick your way past the huge knarled trees, clumps of moss, and pink, bell-shaped flowers, gently pushing looped vines out of your path, until you suddenly find yourself in a wide clearing. And it’s here, if you’re lucky, you might just find some of the planet’s rarest creatures.

This particular clearing is in the park’s Harenna Forest, which is the largest cloud forest in the country. Solemn-faced colobus monkeys with bright white beards swing in the trees, looking after their babies and letting out the occasional hoot. Keeping them company are the noisy silver-cheeked hornbills, Abyssinian oros, with their cheerful, bubbly call, starlings and iridescent tacazze sunbirds. Down on the ground (keeping a careful distance from human visitors), a family of giant forest hogs snuffle about in the grass. Butterflies flit about and the odd bushbuck picks its way quietly through the undergrowth. You half expect Snow White to come skipping out into the sunshine with a couple of cute squirrels in tow.

Travelling to Africa for wildlife usually means one thing and one thing alone: Big Five spotting in one of the continent’s well-loved safari parks. But for anyone that wants to get further off the beaten track, Ethiopia is incredibly rewarding. Its unusual geography, particularly the more isolated regions such as those within the Bale Mountains National Park, means there is a high number of endemic species and the very real possibility of glimpsing species that only a handful of people have ever seen. Here are just some of the creatures you could encounter while you’re there.

Gelada monkeys
Gelada monkeys, which only live in the Simien Mountains, are a completely intriguing species. They’re the only grass-grazing monkeys left, and of all primates, have one of the most varied range of sounds, from high-pitched cries to gurgling that sounds almost like human speech. Elsewhere in Ethiopia you’ll be able to spot black-and-white colobus monkeys with their snowy mantles, and Bale monkeys, who also have white beards.

Birds
Ethiopia is gradually becoming known one of Africa’s top birding destinations and the numbers really speak for themselves – there are no less than 835 bird species found in Ethiopia, with an incredible 23 that are unique to the country. Serious birders may want a guide to help them spot and identify rare species, but even to travellers with a completely untrained eye, catching a glimpse of electric-bright feathers or hearing huge wings beating overhead during a forest walk is an undeniable thrill. Keep your eyes peeled for the red-cheeked cordon bleu, Ethiopian guinea fowl and the endemic blue-winged goose. It’s your ears that may twig you to the arrival of a bearded vulture soaring overhead in Simien Mountains National Park – their wings are so enormous that the wind almost whistles as it flows over them. Lake Awasa, in the Main Ethiopian Rift south of Addis Ababa, is home to some magnificent, prehistoric-looking marabou storks, while Lake Shala, to the north of Awasa is the place to go to see flamingos.

Hyenas
The ancient walled city of Harar attracts travellers primarily to see its heritage buildings and shrines, but it’s also a great place to get up close and personal with wild hyenas. The tradition of feeding hyenas in Harar began as a way for farmers to prevent them attacking livestock and later was considered to bring good luck. Nowadays it’s a full-blown tourist activity – ‘hyena men’ set themselves up around the city walls as night falls, and gradually the hyenas come out of the shadows to be fed. You can watch for a small fee, and if you’re feeling brave, they’ll even let you try doing it yourself. Nerve-wracking it might be, but feeding Africa’s second-largest predator here is considered perfectly safe by locals.

Ethiopian wolves
The Ethiopian wolf is the rarest canid in the world, with less than 500 left in the wild. You’ve got the best chance of seeing one of these glossy-coated creatures in the Bale Mountains National Park, where 60% of the population now live. Sometimes referred to as Abyssinian foxes, they have rich red fur and pointy ears and long legs, and do actually resemble a fox more than a typical wolf. They often go foraging alone for food, so if you’re lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of one wandering across Bale’s Sanetti Plateau.

Butterflies
The Bale Mountains National Park is also best for butterfly spotting, because as one researcher who works at Bale Mountain Lodge put it, “It’s an endemic utopia.” As many as 22,000 different species of butterflies and moths exist in the region, often in eye-popping colours and patterns. New-to-science species are being discovered on a regular basis, with more than 20 recorded already after recent research. There are even high hopes for a sustainable local silk industry to launch soon, after it was found that silk moths are also living in the area.

Walia ibex
Like the gelada, this endangered species is found in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, with the highest concentration of numbers living in the Simien Mountains. The males have distinctive black beards and sport ridged horns that arch backwards and reach lengths of over a metre. The latter are used in impressive head-on-head battles of dominance with other males; the sharp cracks of clashing of horns often reverberates through the thin mountain air. The confrontations can take place on impossibly steep slopes and the results can mean life or death.

 

202, 2015

There’s a few big reasons Ethiopia needs to be on your hit list…

Ethiopia’s highlight reel is perhaps the most extensive of any African country, from the incredibly diverse tribes of the Omo Valley and the ancient coffee ceremony to magnificent rock-hewn churches and the Queen of Sheba’s legacy.

Here are 9 things that will make you consider this multifarious Horn of Africa star for your next adventure holiday, writes Steve Madgwick.

1. The tribes of Lower Omo Valley

In the extreme south of the country, the Lower Omo is home to a magnificent mind-boggle of cultural diversity. Eight tribes as aesthetically disparate from each other as they are the rest of the world call this part of the Great Rift Valley home.

The entire area is a World Heritage site, thanks to fascinating cultural quirks such as the famous Mursi lip-plates and important discoveries of early human fossil fragments.

The building of a hydroelectric dam in the mid-noughties is changing the area and community dynamics rapidly, and the ‘unspoilt tribes’ also know their cultural capital well (people tend ask for photo money, for example), but this is still one of the best cultural journeys around.

2. Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches

High in the mountains, 650 kilometres north of the capital Addis Ababa, is a small town which is home to one of the world’s most amazing religious sites: the rock-hewn Orthodox churches of Lalibela. The thirteenth-century monoliths, interconnected by passages, collectively form what is referred to as ‘New Jerusalem’.

Each of the 11 churches is said to have been dug down into the solid rock by hand during a 24-year period; a monumental feat considering the deepest, Bet Medhane Alem, stands 10 metres high and 33 metres long, with ornate chisel-worked facades. (Many scientists say it must have taken longer.)

The star of this World Heritage pilgrimage site is the cross-shaped Bet Giyorgis, devoted to Saint George.

3. The Queen of Sheba and the Ark

The rural town of Aksum (Axum) also punches well above its size in terms of religious curiosities, making a couple of seriously hefty claims to fame.

The town is said to have been the Queen of Sheba’s stomping ground (you can even visit the ruins of her palace). And, according to clergy, the original Ark of the Covenant (yes, the one that Moses is said to have carried down from Mount Sinai) is held within the confines a small chapel here. Warning: Don’t even try to take a photo of it.

Whether you believe in these tales or not, UNESCO sees some significance in the little settlement, naming it a World Heritage site way back in 1980.

4. The ‘national’ food

Ethiopian food (known as national food) is a flavoured-filled and delightfully sensory experience, but there are two very large caveats.

Number one: you must be comfortable eating with your hands, as the communal saucy dishes are required to be mopped up with the ‘injera’ pancake. Number two: you have to like the taste and texture of the slightly bitter, sometimes rubbery injera, made from teff grain.

Roll up your sleeves and get into the ‘tibs’ (sautéed meat and veg, which gets a lift from berbere, a chili focused spice mix). Even if you don’t love what some say is the best food in Africa, you can always wash it down with a Tej (honey wine), which is definitely an acquired taste.

5. Cultured caffeine: The coffee ceremony

If you think we worship coffee in Australia, we ain’t a patch on Ethiopia, which devotes an entire intricate ceremony to its preparation and consumption. The methodical procedure is supposed to take place three times a day (morning, noon and night), but in reality will be extended to visitors at other times of the day.

You will drink plenty of the black stuff because there are three rounds to the ceremony; it’s the done thing to finish all three in one sitting. The third round (baraka) is looked on as a blessing which will transform the spirit (a lot of sugary coffee will do that).

Expect a bit of banter with a side of popcorn at every ceremony.

6. The Tolkien-esque Gondar (also Gonder)

If you grew up with Live Aid famine images of a dry, dusty Ethiopia as your reference, then the verdant green Gondar will blow your mind.

The town famously gets compared to the mythical Camelot, but the regal architecture of the former capital of the Ethiopian empire set in the misty mountain-scape makes it feel like it’s from a Tolkien story.

The Fasil Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure) is the city’s ancient centrepiece, but perhaps the coolest place in town is Fasiladas’ Bath; a huge stone ceremonial bathing complex (complete with a three-storey turreted stone building in the middle), which is rimmed by trees with gnarled enchanted-forest-like roots. Every year the huge space is filled with water for Timkat (baptism) festival.

7. Hiking in the Simien Mountains

Another surprise to many visitors is not that Ethiopia has mountains, but that it has big mountains, peaking at 4,500 metres.

A trek through the Simien Mountains will take you through highland villages, with plenty of wildlife-spotting along the way. You’ll share the trail with gelada baboons, ibexes (huge large-horned mountain goats) and, if you’re really lucky, you might spy the endangered Ethiopian wolf (which sort of looks like a coyote).

The gully-ridden alpine landscape offers soul-refreshing views to the plains below (if the typically and beautifully moody mountain weather is on your side).

8. Addis Ababa: vibrant yet laid back capital

Unlike a few African cities we could mention, Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa is well worth visiting for a couple of days, offering a sprawling snapshot of the country’s paradoxes and people.

While Ethiopia was one of the only African countries not to be colonised, evidence of Italian occupation in the capital is obvious, especially in the Piazza, where you’ll find Italian cafes serving macchiatos alongside local restaurants purveying national food.

If you’re looking for a glimpse of real, raw Ethiopia, head to the in-your-face, shape-shifting Merkato (main market) for a bustling taste of African commerce in action. Keep an eye out for pickpockets.

Also, check out the National Museum to see (a replica of and plenty of information about) Ethiopia’s superstar fossilised hominid, Lucy.

9. If you have few more weeks…

Ethiopia may very well be the best bang for buck in terms of an African adventure and the above-mentioned are only the beginning.

If you have a week or two to spare, pencil in Hyena-feeding in Harar, exploring more rock-hewn churches in Tigray, a mini safari in Arba Minch, and a visit to the gritty African home of Rastafarianism, Shashemane.

Ethiopia is generally easy to travel around (by African standards) with Ethiopian Airlines offering good internal flight options.

***A little care goes along way: Ethiopia is generally a safe country to travel in, but there have been cases of unrest over the past few years. The Australian government’s travel warning is currently “reconsider your need to travel” (Jan 2017) – the same as when Steve was in the country, and he saw no trouble. Check Smart Traveller before you go to confirm the current situation. Research well and take particular care before heading to Ethiopia’s border areas with South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea (which includes the utterly amazing landscape of the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest places and lowest places on the planet). Note that travel insurance does not cover you if the warning changes to “do not travel”.