Ethiopia

“Testing, awe-inspiring and heartbreaking – a journey you’ll never forget. You don’t explore Ethiopia for a relaxing getaway, you venture here to be moved. And moved you shall be.”
Lonely Planet

On this page, we introduce you to inspiring Ethiopian adventures. The stories are written by wonderful people who are from Ethiopia, have been to Ethiopia or love Ethiopia.

01 APRIL 2017 // DANAKIL DEPRESSION




"Torrid. Endless, unnerving heat. Beneath us, fire, magma, the heartbeat of the Earth. Above us unforgiving landscapes, boundless journeys, and untold stories of the nomadic people of the Afar. Deep in Ethiopia's rugged lands, a desert of salt and lava emerges, a depression so deep, it cradles and births crevices into our planet's core. With fire and steam adjourning every horizon and with the sun unable to give these lands more colour, it seems it is the Danakil depression itself, and its rainbow of terrains that takes away the sunshine from the land. There is pain, there is resilience, there is triumph and there is unprecedented will for survival. This is the most fragile place on Earth, a place where every day it seems all those who visit have made a pact with it's inferno to keep us safe. Yet we are all aware that the destiny of those who trust these lands is an nothing but a mirage. To the endless untold stories of the Afar, its people and its landscapes, the most inhospitable place on earth, who knew how fascinating and majestic hell on Earth could be."

This post was written by our friend Greta Francesca Iori. Follow her on instagram under @TheItaliopian and visit her website www.chroniclesofanitaliopian.com. Photocredit: Greta Francesca Iori

15 MARCH 2017 // ETHIOPIAN CUISINE


"One of the best things about Ethiopian food is that no other cuisine in the world is quite like it. Traditional cooking here blends unique combinations of spices to create distinct flavours: some hot, some savoury. Spices are the key ingredients for many types of Ethiopian wat (a dish somewhere between a stew and a curry) that are eaten with flat, spongy bread called injera."
Kerry Sullivan (Lonely Planet Writer)

20 NOV 2016 // THE FIRST PIPER


"The Simien Mountains in Northern Ethiopia have some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen, that is a bold claim but I was genuinely blown away by the scenery and how green everything is."

To learn more about the adventures of The First Piper visit www.thefirstpiper.com. and follow him on Instagram @TheFirstPiper

8 SEP 2016 // HUMANS OF ADDIS ABABA


"Its been 24 years since I first set foot into kinderdgarten. Since then I haven't discontinued schooling even for a year. I am an assistant professor now but still going forward. I have started to believe that learning is somehow my comfort zone."

This post is from our friends from Humans of Addis Ababa, a site that features stories of interesting people in Ethiopia on facebook. Please visit their page to find out more.

3 JUNE 2016 // THE STORY OF GETE


I am Gete and I am 67 years old. I was born in the Wollo Province in Ethiopia, 400 kilometers northeast of Addis Ababa. By an arrangement of our parents I was married to my husband when I was only nine years old. We lived together for six years during which time we had many disagreements and disputes. I was tired of my life. I ran away to Addis looking for a better future. It was during the time of Emperor Haile Selassie’s regime. At only 15 years old I had very few options. I began working in people’s homes as a helper, cook and maid. During that time I met my second husband. We were divorced after a short time.

After the divorce I had to find a way to earn an income, to support myself. I came to the Kolfe area so I could collect fire wood to sell. For over 15 years I carried fuel wood. There were many challenges. I had to travel long distances into the forest barefoot. Carrying the heavy bundles I would encounter hyenas and was often harassed by guards. Many times I would go back to the village empty handed because we could not bribe the guard. We walked in groups of three or four so we could help and protect each other.

One day when we were resting a lady came and registered us. She took our names and said we could be part of an association. I am grateful that I learned to weave. Today I weave scarves that are sold through our partnership with Connected in Hope Foundation*. We are selling many more scarves so my income is growing. This has changed my life dramatically. I have a good meal every day. I have friends who work with me. I am earning a more predictable income as more and more of my scarves are sold. Connected in Hope brings me messages from the people who buy my scarves. This makes me very proud and very happy.

Hardship in life has taught me a lot. I am nearing old age and feeling very tired at times. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I believe good things will come as I continue to weave and work with Connected in Hope.

*Connected In Hope is Welana's partner organization. The work of the amazing weavers can be found in our shop.

9 FEB 2016 // HUMANS OF ADDIS ABABA


"I enjoy reading history books, I believe that's how we get to know our past. I prefer reading books authored by individuals who were actually part of it. You get closer to the real experience, yet you have to see different things and discover other sides. Through books you get to relive history and experience the past."

This post is from our friends from Humans of Addis Ababa, a site that features stories of interesting people in Ethiopia on facebook. Please visit their page to find out more.

05 NOV 2015 // MERKATO


Addis Ababa (New Flower) is the capital of Ethiopia. As it is commonly referred to by its inhabitants - Addis - has many attractions, entertainment venues, shops and museums. Today, I want to take you to one of the most interesting places where the majority of people living in Addis do their shopping – the place is called Merkato. It was established in the early 1900s and the name is said to have derived from the Italian term “Merkato”, which means market. It is said that Merkato is one of the biggest markets in Africa and is quite a busy place with merchants, buyers, peddlers, and beggars. So getting around in Merkato is a journey full of surprises.
It is a place where Addisians will find their heart’s desire – you can literally find anything there as it is home to shops and stalls for clothing, footwear, food, spices, construction materials and wholesale markets. I particularly want to take you to an interesting part of the market called Menalesh Tera. The actual meaning of Menalesh is “What do you have-to sell?”. In the old days people went around this part of the market and asked traders what they got. There are so many kinds of traders who carry anything from used bottles/plastics/metals to houseware items. Especially, the recycling market is an interesting place because most of the bottles, plastic, and metals coming out of households would find their way back to Merkato to be refurbished to become new products again. Although the concept of recycling is not a common concept for most Addisians, the traders here have been practicing this for long. Next to the Minalsesh Tera is the basket market – which makes the visit to this part of the market site more interesting - it is very colorful and the production takes place in front or behind the shops. Most come from suppliers (majority women) made in their home but some are also made in this market. The main product is the basket container for our staple bread (Injera) which is a must-have for almost all Ethiopians. The other interesting basket is the (Messob) which is used as a table to present a meal when it is enjoyed in a group which is customary in the Ethiopian tradition. All basket products are made from a type of grass which grows tall called “Akirma” which once dried and colored, will be used to make the Messob. In addition to the basket market, potteries and spices stalls can be found which are of great interest to visitors. Merkato is busy everyday with plenty to see and to enjoy. The nice thing about this market is that as much as it is crowded, it is quite a safe place to be.
Merkato is one of the essential places for Addisians in carrying out their daily life. So if you visit Addis, it is a must-go-to place.

This article is written by Dawit Dejene, who is a manager at TDS Travel & Tour, which takes its visitors to on walking tours through Addis. Please visit www.tdstravel.com and or you can contact Dawit Dejene (Manager) at dawitd1@yahoo.com.

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