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 Ethiopian Travel Tips

Few Information about Ethiopia

Ethiopia has every variety of scenery, from the peaks of the Simien mountain in north Gondar to the Dalol depression in the Afar region, tropical forests, lakes, savanna and deserts. In Bale National Park in Oromia, home to many endemic mammals and birds, visitors can see unique alpine fauna and flora, volcanic lakes and trout filled streams. For big game safaris, there are the Omo and Mago National Parks in the Southern Region, with their fascinating Mursi and Hamer villages.

Ethiopia covers an area of 1,133,380 sq km (437,600 sq mi). The heart of the country is a high tableland, known as the Ethiopian Plateau, that covers more than half the total area of the country. The plateau is split diagonally in a northeastern to southwestern direction by the Great Rift Valley. Although the average elevation of the plateau is about 1,680 m (about 5,500 ft), it is cut by many rivers and deep valleys, some of which are 600 m (2,000 ft) below the level of the plateau. The area is capped by mountains, the highest of which is Ras Dashen (4,620 m/15,157 ft). These heights and indentations occur in northern Ethiopia, in the region surrounding Lake T’ana (the lake in which the Blue Nile rises). Occupations in agriculture support 89 percent of all Ethiopians. Most agriculture consists of subsistence farming. The population is concentrated heavily in the central plateau region, where agricultural resources are most developed. The ethnic composition is extremely diverse, as a result of racial and linguistic integration that began in ancient times.

Ethiopia is a land of enormous ethnic diversity, with people of Semitic, Hamitic, Nilotic and Omotic stock. There are more than 80 ethnic groups and as many languages. In terms of religion, Christians and Muslims make up approximately 40% of the population each (Christians being slightly more preponderant), the remaining 20% animists and others.

Under the new constitution, religious rights, and the cultural and political rights of all ethnic groups are guaranteed. What unites Ethiopia’s many people is primarily their shared independent existence. Ethiopia was never colonized and though occupied by Mussolini’s Fascists from 1935-1941, its people put up a continuous, spirited and vigorous resistance. While ex-colonies are characterized by their resonances of former colonial powers, Ethiopia is Ethiopian and this will be obvious to the visitor from the moment of arrival in Addis Ababa. Courtesy and hospitality are prized qualities throughout the country. With its combination of history and culture, ethnic diversity, stunning and varied scenery, wildlife and birdlife (there are more than 850 species recorded, with 29 endemics), Ethiopia is truly unique in Africa.

Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or family who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek. (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.)

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