Ethiopia is already renowned as one of Africa’s top high-altitude hiking and trekking destinations, but a range of other outdoor activities is on offer, from climbing the spectacular Erta Ale volcano to ballooning above the Great Rift Valley.
Well-organized hiking and trekking routes run through the Simien and Bale Mountains National Parks, Ethiopia’s two largest and most scenic mountain ranges, as well as several less-publicized sites.
Ideally suited to photographic tours, Ethiopia will be as inspiring to landscape photographers as it is to those seeking more intimate portraits of wildlife and local people.
Overland Expeditions along Ethiopia’s extensive and rapidly improving network of surfaced and all-weather roads allows one to experience the rich mosaic of ever-changing landscapes that connect the country’s main tourist attractions.
Renowned for having produced a succession of world-beating long-distance running champions, including the legendary Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopia now also hosts several annual high-altitude running events. These include Addis Ababa’s 10km Great Ethiopian Run and the Ethiotrail, a trail running race set in scenic Abijatta-Shala National Park.
Ethiopia’s top caving site, the sacred Sof Omar Caves comprise a 15km network of limestone caverns carved by the Web River.
Commercial ballooning trips now run out of Addis Ababa, the Rift Valley lakes of Hawassa and Langano, and Bahir Dar on Lake Tana.
The Danakil Depression in northeast Ethiopia offers some spectacular opportunities for volcano climbing, notably to Erta Ale, whose 613m-high caldera contains the world’s oldest active lava lake.
Ethiopia is largely undeveloped as a rock climbing destination, but the sandstone Gheralta Escarpment and gorges of Simien Mountains National Park are rich in potential for experienced practitioners.
Cycling tours through Ethiopia are a great way to experience the stunning countryside at a relaxed pace.
White water rafting can be undertaken with suitable equipment on the Blue Nile, Omo and Awash rivers.