It is not so easy to convince people to come to Ethiopia for a visit. Ethiopia, why!??? is theethiopian air response they receive from people when they plan to come.

It is frustrating to hear this if you are a tour operator, one who wants to promote the country as a destination.

But it has a bright side of it. Many are they who don’t know the country even where it is located.

Also there are others are who know the country but there knowledge is limited to the dark sides of its recent past. The latter are the overwhelming majority who know the country mainly from medias excerpts of drought or war that happened decades ago. I think it is unfair to stick to the past while ignoring the current facts.

But what is a bright side of it that I can talk about?

For both types of people, Ethiopia is unknown…either it doesn’t exist in their world or known for no good. So this means that it is a place for them to ‘discover’ like or any other explorer does to a new place.

Many are they who have traveled a lot …been in the mainstream destinations….got enough of the world. I think they now look for something new, an emerging destination yet to be discovered.

I think this mystery destination would be no other but Ethiopia. This is what I observe with many visitors after concluding their trip. A feel of an explorer!!!

Have you heard about Lalibela?
lalibela st giorgeIt was not long since I had traveled to the northern part of Ethiopia, been on a trip for about two weeks.

I was traveling almost daily, each day was exciting and at times challenging to cop up with the difficult road conditions.

Thanks for the attention given to roads by the government, now they are much better almost everywhere in the country.

I was covering long distances, thousands of kilometers. Had it been in Europe, I would have covered three or four countries.

You may want to note that Ethiopia is as large as Spain and France (the largest landmass in Europe) combined.

My last stop was Lalibela, considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. How can I speak of it! Usually I found it so difficult as most of the visitors I talked to are short of words either.

The locals are better in this I think, they tell you that angels were assisting King Lalibela to build the churches. Is that true? The travel guide Lonley Planet said on one of their guide books, “If angels did it, they must be Ethiopian angels”.

Indeed Lalibela, a far and remote, ancient, sophisticated, is one of the wonders of our world that had been hidden for more than 700 years. I say it is something that one should not miss.

You will like the people
If you have ever been in Ethiopia, you might have noticed a contrast. A child, worn-out clothing, may be on bare foot, yet with a seemingly cheerful face and pretty smile.  Such faces are common to see especially in the country sides.

Many people who visited Ethiopia agree with the fact that the country has lots of historical and cultural heritages. But what is more interesting is the people; looking grateful despite the fact that they are living under different hardships.

Yes this is the feature of most Ethiopians, grateful with the minimum they can make in life. Some might wonder whether it is the right way of living. But isn’t life something to enjoy with what you have?  Isn’t it that we have to look for an excuse to be grateful instead to complain?

Many say Ethiopians are so beautiful
I hear almost every visitor I met in Ethiopia says that Ethiopian are very beautiful quite different from the rest of Africans. I agree with this not just because I am Ethiopian myself but because it is honestly true.

Well they say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. True! But the beholders are the one who said Ethiopians are beautiful. How and why are they beautiful? I don’t know. May be the skin color? Or may be the genetic combination, they are in the middle, between Africans and Arabs?

I agree with the popular belief that beauty should be more about an internal than is an external appearance. Yet if you ask someone who have a good experience of Ethiopians, he or she witnesses for the people’s soft and calm behavior, not demanding so much, cheerful personality and a smiley faces.

This is mainly because the culture and religious values have shaped many lives.  It is not so easy to find an Ethiopian who is not influenced by the culture or religion in one way or another.

I invite you to visit Ethiopia to discover it before it becomes too touristy. More than just a traveler be an explorer.

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
Turning Your Dream Vacation Into a Reality

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