In 2015, I finally made it to Ethiopia and specifically travelled around the northern cities as I sunk my teeth into every aspect of the culture, people, food and more.
The country offers so much to visitors, but if you’re planning to take part in any unusual activity then ensure that you have the right type of insurance in place, even opting for extreme sports insurance if necessary.
Below are my top tips for making the most of a visit to northern Ethiopia.
1. Do barter on everything – hotel accommodation (if you’re booking upon arrival), tour guide fees and Bajaj/ taxi journeys.
2. Protect your health with GOOD malaria tablets. I took Doxycycline before, during and after my trip but do consult your GP weeks before your departure and ensure that you take them for the right duration.
3. Book your international flight with Ethiopian Airlines. The airline monopolises all domestic flights in the country. By booking your international route in this way, you’ll become eligible to the secure maximum discount on the domestic routes which are pretty much essential if you plan to visit more than one city.
4. Travel light. I travelled from the UK to Istanbul as well as five cities in Ethiopia in just seven days with cabin baggage only. This will prevent you spending too much time in airports and more time on the ground.
5. Bring good walking shoes. The historical sites need to be explored on foot and if you have a good tour guide then you will likely cover a lot of ground.
6. Bring a scarf (or several!). Whether you’re covering your hair and shoulders, covering your face in the dusty environment or trying to stay warm during the cooler evenings, you’ll be thankful for having a flexible garment that’s lightweight and interchangeable.
7. Learn to adapt to the environment: we experienced a power cut in Lalibela and occasional low water pressure or no WiFi. Be realistic about the pressures that come with a country that’s developing it’s infrastructure.
8. Budget around £10 per day to cover all food and drink expenses per person. Ethiopia is a very affordable country to visit but it’s all in the planning.
Have you visited northern Ethiopia? Any tips that you’d recommend to visitors?