Ancient temples, wild hyena feedings, the most delicious cuisine in Africa, cheap as chips – now that sounds like a backpackers dream. Welcome to Ethiopia! If you’re looking for a list of the best things to do in Ethiopia, I wrote that here.

Rock-hewn churches lalilbela

I spent just shy of a month in Ethiopia and even that didn’t seem to be enough. Every corner of this amazing country offers great sights and experiences so wherever you venture you’re sure not to be disappointed. The only place I’d recommend you don’t stay too long is the capital, Addis Ababa. I agree it’s a cool sounding name but that’s where the coolness ends! Everything is overpriced and it’s full of touts, drug-dealers, hookers and general reprobates – only stay as long as you have to. On a brighter note, here are the amazing must-sees in this captivating country.

Harar: Potentially the highlight of my time in Ethiopia. Harar is the Islamic centre of Ethiopia and you can feel the Islamic culture seeping from every nook and cranny. The old town, in the city centre, feels like a time machine. You waltz through the old city gates and you’re transported back to the 16th century. Everyone is wearing traditional clothes, English is non-existent (as is electricity seemingly), the alleys are narrow and the buildings ooze character. You can enjoy a day wandering around this mesermizing place for sure.

Then prepare for the evening… The hyena man! Near the old city, a family have passed down the hyena feeding skills for generations so now the ‘wild’ hyenas flock to his area each evening as he feeds them raw meat. You should pay around $4 for his services. When I was there there were probably 20 hyenas running around and howling, you can even feed them yourself if you’re feeling brave, or stupid:

Feeding a hyena in Harar

Bahir Dar: Sitting on Lake Tana, the scenery is beautiful. Spend a couple of days here – one of which you can rent a boat for and visit the monasteries on islands on the lake. Half a day is more than enough here because once you’ve seen a couple, you’ve seen them all trust me! Well worth a look though.

If you have a second day, jump in the rickety bus or grab a taxi to the Blue Nile Falls – a very impressive waterfall and a great way to spend a day. It’s a pleasant walk from where you get dropped off and the waterfall is a sight to behold.

Bahir Dar Monastaries Blue Nile Falls

Lalibela: Wow! I’m not going to say too much but get yourself to Lalibela and check out the churches, how I have never heard of this place before I came to Ethiopia must be indicative of my ignorance because Lalibela should be on every tourist map, everywhere. Number 1 attraction in Ehiopia for sure!

Lalibela churches

Simien Mountains: The peaks exceed altitude of 4000m so it’s not to be sniffed at. Trips can be organized from Addis or Gondar but try not to be tempted by a day trip from Gondar  – realistically it’s too far, regardless what your new best friend salesman says. If the budget allows, go for 2 nights/3 days (should costs around $80 with guides, cook etc.) and guarantee yourself a look at the devilish Gelada baboons. The topography is unreal so make sure your camera is charged, you’ll be blown away.

simien mountains

Aksum: UNESCO declared the whole place a World Heritage sight and rightly so. There are endless tombs and ruins to waltz through but for me the highlight should be visiting one of the chapels which allegedly contains the Ark of the Convenant!! One ticket, for about $5 USD, grants you access to most of the city so it’s not too pricey but before too long you may feel yourself a little ‘templed’ out!

Dankali Depression: Expensive, difficult, hot as hell and ridicously amazing! You can reach the lowest point on the entire continent (and if you’ve summited Kilimanjaro you’ll touch the highest and lowest point, pretty cool huh?!). The best (only?) way to do this effectively is to rent a 4WD between a few people or book a tour through when your in Addis. It will end up costing about $150 to $1500 depending on reputation and safety, all in so if, like me, you’re on a tight budget it may be beyond your means this time round.

danakil depression ethiopia


Budget: $15 or even less.

Food: A meal in a restaurant costs around $1, on the street about $0.5 and it is amazing. Make sure you order minchet, tibs and kitfo – you won’t be disappointed! Macchiatos, the most delicious drink in the whole world (aside from Guinness naturally) is readily available in Ethiopia, a snip for less than $0.15.

Accommodation: Private (dingy) room costs between $2 – $6 depending on your tolerance for grime.

Transport: Cramped large buses, bumpy roads, a worrying amount of crash sites on the side of the road and all for less than $1 an hour. Seriously, a whole day on the public bus (12 hours or so) costs around $6. There are a couple of luxury liners – Starbus and Salambus, they are 3 times the price and take about one hour less but they come with A/C and a lot less people. Also, there are no night buses in Ethiopia

People: Unsurprisingly for Africa, the people here are very friendly. Aside from the real tourist areas, just send a big smile their way and they’ll accept you as readily as family.

Weather: Quite nice actually, hovers around the high 20s most of the year, peak rains in June-August.

Religion: Divided between Christianity and Islam and generally each city tends to have a dominant religion (Islam in Harar, Christianity in Lalibela etc)

Currency: $1 USD – 17 Ethiopian Bir

Visa: Bloody difficult! Get an Ethiopian visa before you come to Africa. Recent legislation prevents visas being issued in neighbouring countries and there is no visa on arrival (VOA) by land, anywhere. If you’re already in Africa the only option will be to fly, and get your VOA in the airport (ok for EU citizens, check your eligibility). The cheapest flight tends to be Nairobi to Addis with Air Ethiopia for around $150. If you’re coming from the north you’re in trouble if you’re in Sudan already – Khartoum to Addis is pricey!

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward