Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, is a rugged, landlocked country split by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years, it’s a place of ancient culture. Among its important sites are Lalibela with its rock-cut Christian churches from the 12th–13th centuries. Aksum is the ruins of an ancient city with obelisks, tombs, castles and Our Lady Mary of Zion church.

Ethiopia was the home to the most ancient kingdom in Africa, one of the first monarchies in the world. It is the sole African country to possess an alphabet more than 2000 years old. It is the only country on the continent to have maintained independency file of European colonies.

If you’d like to visit during a festival, Ethiopia hosts some jubilant celebrations – from the Timkat festival in January, celebrated by orthodox Christians to the Hidar Tsion; a pilgrimage to Axum by Ethiopians from all over the country.

Best time to travel to Ethiopia

Generally, the best time to visit is between October and June, when it is the dry season. Rains tend to stop in early October, meaning afterwards the highlands are lush and green – perfect for trekking amongst pretty wildflowers that have sprung up. Be sure to bring a sweater all year round due to Ethiopia's elevation.