Ethiopia is one of the largest and most populous countries in Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti and the former Ethiopian autonomous region of Eritrea on the north, Somalia on the east, Kenya on the south, and Sudan on the west. Ethiopia’s landscape varies from lowlands to high plateaus and its climate from very dry to seasonally very wet. The Ethiopian population is also very mixed, with broad differences in cultural background and traits, methods of gaining a livelihood, languages, and religions.

Ethiopia is a beautiful and historic country, in the area of eastern Africa known as’ The Horn’. It is mountainous, and has a mixed population of Muslims and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. 85% of its population are subsistence farmers, growing cereals and pulses or keeping sheep, goats and cattle. Coffee is grown for export, but low world prices and recurrent droughts have contributed to Ethiopia remaining one of the poorest countries in the world. It is prone to famine and food shortages, and has an average life expectancy for the population of around 47 years.

Ethiopia is divided into 13 self-governing regions, each with their own languages, cultures and traditions. While Amharic is Ethiopia’ s official language, there are nearly 80 local languages in Ethiopia , many of which are spoken languages only.

Ethiopia is a land of wonder and enchantment, a country with one of the richest histories on the African continent, a land of contrasts and surprises, of remote and wild places, home to cultured and friendly people who are descended from some of the world’s oldest civilizations.

This is the land of the fabled Queen of Sheba, home of the Ark of the Covenant, the birthplace of Coffee.’ Lucy’, the world’s oldest known almost complete hominid skeleton, more than three million years old, was discovered here.

Ethiopia has so much to offer visitors: the Historic Route , covering the ancient town of Axum , with its amazing carved obelisks, Christian festivals and relics, including the Ark of the Covenant; Gondar , with its castles and palaces; Lalibela, with its remarkable rock hewn churches; and the walled Muslim city of Harar . At Dire Dawa you can see cave paintings considered to be thousands of years old.

Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile, is one of a string of Great Rift Valley Lakes, many with national parks, home to a wealth of bird and animal life .The high, rugged, Simien Mountains in the north and the Bale Mountains in the south are also home to some unique wild life, and are ideal for trekking, whilst some of Ethiopia’s fast-flowing rivers are becoming famous for white-water rafting.

Addis Ababa , Ethiopia’ s Capital City , has so much to offer, too, with its first-class hotels and restaurants, museums and palaces, and the Merkato-Africa’s largest open-air market.

Ethiopia has been called’ the land of a thousand smiles’.