The walled city of Gondar, also called the “Camelot of Africa”.
In a busy world where emails, gadgets and current events are top priority, it becomes very difficult to leave our devices behind – even on vacation. But in the following destination, a place with underrated natural beauty, travelers are practically compelled to get away from it all.
Hailed as the “Cradle of Mankind,” Ethiopia stuns the world with its antique charm and undeniably breathtaking terrains. With historical significance dating back as far as the famous Lucy, the oldest human fossil which is about 3.5 million years old, Ethiopia is among Africa’s thriving destinations for both ancient and contemporary culture. As the fastest growing economy in the region, it has been awarded the World’s Best Destination for Tourists in 2015 by the European Council on Tourism and Trade.
With its emerging presence in Manila, Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, is providing Filipinos more opportunities to travel to the hottest travel destinations in the world, with Ethiopia on top of its list. Here’s why:
7. UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES
The Church of St. George (Bete Giyorgis), among the 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia.
Home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, Ethiopia boasts of its outstanding natural beauty, dramatic landscapes, and ancient culture. Among its most notable tourist spots are Gondar, The Camelot of Africa, with imperial castles dating back to the 16th-17th century; and Lalibela, a holy city, where one can find the 11 monolithic rock-hewn churches built by the ancient King Lalibela in the 12th century. Called the “New Jerusalem”, the site attracts about 80,000 to 100,000 visitors a year and has been considered as an alternative to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, having great influence on Ethiopian Christianity.
6. NATURAL BEAUTY
The majestic Blue Nile Falls of Lake Tana, Ethiopia.
Located at the horn of Africa, Ethiopia takes pride in its spectacular highland landscapes, formed from a 2000-meter high volcanic plateau and surrounded by a low-lying desert. With sunny slopes and fertile volcanic soil, Ethiopia became the birthplace for Arabic Coffee growing wildly in Ethiopia’s mountain forests.
5. RELIGIOUS RELEVANCE
The Church of Our Lady Mary of Mt. Zion in Axum, Ethiopia. It is said to house the original ark of the covenant.
Predominantly ruled by Christians since the 4th century, it hosts a variety of areas that are historically relevant. Axum, the historical and religious heart of Ethiopia, is among the most sacred destinations of the world. The Ark of the Covenant is said to contain the Ten Commandments or Tablets of Law to the Christians.
4. ANCIENT CULTURE
The Hamar people. Among the many ethnic groups in Ethiopia.
Aside from the place, Ethiopia is known for its people. Their mosaic culture is evident in a population consisting of more than 80 ethnic groups with different traditions and values. A notable cultural trait that unites Ethiopians is their love for music and dance. Ethiopian folk dance is composed of body movements and rhythm that are unique and upbeat, an interesting form of self-expression.
Among the most fascinating things about Ethiopia is their sense of time. The year and time in Ethiopia is different from the rest of the world. Following their own 13-month Julian calendar, the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar, Ethiopia is 7.5 years behind most countries in the world. Basing the historical calculation of dates to the annunciation of Christ, it is also said that time counting only begins when the sun starts rising.
A night shot of the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is proven to be remarkably safe. Its capital, Addis Ababa, meaning “New Flower” in Amharic, is considered the political or diplomatic capital of the African continent. Its historical, diplomatic and political significance has made it the headquarters of The African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Merkato, Ethiopia. It is said to be the biggest open-air shopping destination in all of Africa. (Photo credit: Instagram.com/rajolaurel)
Contrary to popular belief, Ethiopia is among the cheapest places to visit in Africa. It houses the biggest open-air market in Africa making it the top destination for global travelers in search of rare spices, art pieces, and other African-made merchandise.
787 Dream Adventure Treat
To make travel much easier and more accessible to Filipinos, Ethiopian Airlines provides serviced flights from Manila to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, four times weekly. As the leader in African aviation technology and a proud member of Star Alliance, the world’s largest Airline network, Ethiopian Airlines is allowed access to 1,329 destinations within 194 countries. For passengers from Manila looking for a multi-destination deal, Ethiopian Airlines has a flight offering that allows passengers to visit two different countries for the price of one.
In celebration of the arrival of its 787 Dreamliner Service in Manila, Ethiopian Airlines gives travelers the opportunity to go on that great African adventure with the 787 Dream Adventure Treat which covers roundtrip travel from Manila to more than 22 African destinations and over 15 cities within Europe and the Americas. Starting from just USD 787 for Economy Class and USD 1,787 for Business Class, travelers bitten by the wanderlust bug are given the opportunity to cover two unique destinations in one world class flight.
For flight bookings, interested parties may visit www.ethiopianairlines.com or call the Ethiopian Airlines Philippine Reservations Office (GSA – Pan Euro International) at (632) 8480978/79, (632) 5222095 or (632) 5224869. For more information on destination packages to Ethiopia, please visit https://www.ethiopianholidays.com/. Promo period for the 787 Dream Adventure Treat is from 15 July 2016 to 30 September 2016. Travel period is from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017.
What are you waiting for? Travel now!