ethiopia? why on earth would you go there..?

This was the common response I received from people in Australia after telling them I was moving to Ethiopia. And it seems I’m not the only one who gets this kind of response. I’ve had some good friends from home recently visit and they too were faced with the same question. The thing is not many people know much about Ethiopia. Which led me to make the below list of things you definitely wouldn’t want to come to Ethiopia and see:

It’s not like Ethiopia knows how to make damn good coffee:
(it is the birthplace of coffee after all)


The tea is just as bad (so full of spices):

And the music scene is just so boring:

Actually the nightlife in Addis is pretty lack luster:
IMG_2005 IMG_1939

Foodwise – there’s way too much choice for a vegetarian:


And the restaurants – so common:
benabeba1 benabeba2

Then there’s the scenery – don’t get me started on the scenery – it’s clearly terrible:imagehudad1simiens2simiens4The churches are pretty standard:

And so inaccessible – they’re either carved out of rock underground or hidden in a cave at the very highest point on top of some very steep mountains:


Decorated with a few paintings here and there:church3Oh and the people don’t smile much:
kids1 boys1 couple1 girl1


The endemic animals aren’t that interesting either:
gelada gelada2ibexgeladasmates

The basket weaving needs a bit more colour:


There is nothing cool about an active volcano and bubbling lava pit:
volcanoe1 volcanoe2 volcanoe3

Or floating about on the most buoyant salt lake around:
saltlakeSulphur lakes are just so dull:

Speaking of lakes, this land locked countrys’ lakes are so uninspiring:

lake2 lake1

photo 1

Particularly the hippos that lurk about:hippo

The accommodation around the country is pretty much same same as everywhere:



accom3 accom2

And notorious for bad views:

The hiking is just as bad (so many wild flowers on the path):
trek You see such horrible things along the way:babydonkeyAnd my friends had a terrible time visiting:
AP1 group

So why on earth would you go to Ethiopia!



35 thoughts on “ethiopia? why on earth would you go there..?

  1. VERY well done!! I have lived most of my life in the state of Utah in the US. A while back I set out to see the world and I visited about thirty countries. Then six years ago I found Ethiopia. I don’t need to see any more of the world. I found life there very difficult for the indigenous people as well as myself. But I found happiness and love there. I spend ten months each year living in the southernmost part of the Omo Valley. I live way out in the bush in a Hamar village. There are no roads, no water or electricity and very little can be grown to eat. Water and firewood must be carried on their backs for miles every day just to survive. But they are happy and care for one-another like no other people that I have found anyplace else on earth. They have made me a member of the Hamar tribe and they accept me as if I had been born there. They refer to me as a “donsha” which in their language means “respected elder”. Their language has never been written it is only a verbal language. I happen to be the first person to actually write their language and have translated about 3000 of their words into English. So I can communicate with them although their grammar structure is still a bit of a challenge to me. I am not an anthropologist or a linguist, I am just a grandfather (or “aike” in Hamar) that loves people especially those in Ethiopia. If you are really going to Ethiopia to live and you ever find yourself in the southern part of the Omo Valley around the small community of Turmi, just ask about Jakimba, that’s my familiar Hamar name. Everyone knows me and can direct you to my village of Kaina. I can’t offer you much in the way of accommodations in my traditional mud hut. But there are some small mud hotels in Turmi that are clean and have fairly good food. Like you said most of it is vegetarian much of the year due to religious fasting but if you like meat I know where to get beef, sheep or goat meat almost any time. I actually like the goat meat the best! Maybe one day I will see you but in any case, ENJOY ETHIOPIA!!

    • Wow, Jakimba, i love the Hamar and am so jealous that you live amongst them. I stayed in Turmi and was fortunate to see Evengadi and a Jumping of the Bulls. Maybe they were from your village of Kaina – I don’t remember now, however I have some wonderful memories. I lived in Ethiopia for three years 2010 – 2013 and consider it my home – it is in my heart. Yes, goat is the best!!!!

  2. Mark Twain visited my country first and made a beautiful comment. I believe he has not seen the raw beauty of Ethopia. Amazing and never ending. Thanks for sharing

  3. A couple of more things .. Do I even care about the true Ark of the Covenant being there? Or that the land is never colonized ever in history? Or that the runs its own calendar where it is 25th of Meskerem, 2008 today when it is 6th Oct. 2015 everywhere else? Or that it is first among all countries mentioned in the Bible and more than 45 times afterwards? … What do Africa’s largest collection of UNESCO heritages do to me?

  4. I have visited Ethiopia twice in the early 1990ies. I was overwhelmed by the many things to see and understand in Addis but also in the rural parts. Ethiopians have a great culture and history they can be proud of, it is dating back to the biblical ages (see also, reportedly they have the Ark of the Covenant (see also, and it is the promised land for Rastafarians. Ethiopia was never colonized. All this you can feel when you talk to Ethiopians, they are kind and wise. From my experience I am glad to say that Ethiopians are strong and serious friends and visiting their country will foster your esteem of them and broaden your horizon.

  5. Asayew lalayew ale….

    Terrific staff..

    May God bless you more !

    There is more to ethiopia than people think in the west. 1984 gave ys a bad image. She is the most under sold country in the world but that is changing fast

    Enjoy it love

  6. I too have had similar questions of me when we moved there for 5 years from Australia! Still get questioned about it and never quite sure how to describe the diversity. Great post, you have obviously seen a lot of Ethiopia.

  7. Lived in Addis for 19 years. Worked with the ECA. Ethiopia is my country after Mauritius my native country. With love

  8. let me add some unique attributes of Ethiopia:
    biblical way of time keeping(we start the day when the sun rises and end the day when the sun sets.)
    Unique alphanumerical characters.
    Fully developed traditional musical instruments.
    Women do not take husband’s name upon marriage.
    The first empire to approve Islam.
    Injera, a staple food, which is almost consumed 3/day.
    13 months calendar.
    Arc Of Covenant 🙂

    so much much more uniques that ii could not exhaustively list them down here.

    just simply
    Come to Ethiopia!!

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