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Ethiopia
Ethiopia Travel Guide

"Ethiopia is truly a land of contrasts and extremes; a land of remote and wild places. Some of the highest and most stunning places on the African continent are found here, such as the jaggedly carved Simien Mountains, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites - and some of the lowest, such as the hot but fascinating Danakil Depression, with its sulphur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape. Ethiopia is old; old beyond all imaginations.

Travelling in Ethiopia won't be everyone's cup of chai: there's not much tourist infrastructure here, and checking your email rivals carrier pigeon for speed. But the landscape is splendid, the people are welcoming, the sense of history is tangible and you won't have to worry about crowds of tourists."

Festivals Place to Visit Fast Facts
Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash)
"Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days and 6 days in leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8."

Meskal
"is a two-day festival at the end of September celebrating the Finding of the True Cross. Bonfires are lit and singing and dancing take place around them, while the priests don their full ceremonial regalia."

Timkat
"Timkat usually falls on the January 19, 12 days after Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

Festivities take place the day before as well as the day after. This date varies by a day during leap years. The festival is celebrated throughout the Ethiopian highlands in Orthodox Christian strongholds, but nowhere is it quite as spectacular as in Lalibela, an isolated mountain town in the arid north of the country."

Ethiopian Christmas (Genna)
"Christmas, called Lidet, is not the primary religious and secular festival that it has become in Western countries. Falling on 7 January, it is celebrated seriously by a church service that goes on throughout the night, with people moving from one church to another. Traditionally, young men played a game similar to hockey, called genna, on this day, and now Christmas has also come to be known by that name."