Despite being known for famine and poverty, Ethiopia is slowly emerging as a new travel destination. With its rich Orthodox Christian culture, travelers come to witness a country steeped in tradition that hasn't changed much in many centuries.
Ethiopia and Eritrea have been in conflict over the border territory between those two countries for years now. Although Ethiopia is becoming a welcoming destination, travelers should avoid the area near Eritrea.
What to do
Ethiopia has national parks and wildlife on display to rival even the most famous parks in South Africa or Kenya. Awash National Park, Mago National Park and Yangudi National Park are a few of the many parks in Ethiopia. There is also Sodere, a pool of naturally occurring hot springs that draw tourists from the nearby town of Adama and Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. Hotels and resorts surround the springs, but more reasonably priced lodging can be found 25 km away in Adama and it's an easy trip by car.
Flights on Ethiopian Airlines are reliable and safe, in fact, Ethiopia's Bole International Airport is a major hub for travel throughout Africa and the world. Overland travel is more tricky. Car travel is complicated by washed out roads and possible banditry in some regions and the trains are discouraged for the same reason. Travel by bus is possible, but a slower and harder journey than on a car or train.
Where to stay
Ethiopia has all kinds of accommodation, from international luxury hotel chains to one-bed rooms without running water. If you do find something in between, it is acceptable to bargain for the price because unless you know someone who works at the hotel, the original asking price will be a higher tourist rate. Several hostels in Ethiopia serve the backpacking crowd.
If you need more information about Ethiopia or the rest of Africa before you book your trip, check out the message boards where you can ask and answer travel questions and learn from folks who have already been there.