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The Layout of Ethiopia

The Layout of Ethiopia

Ethiopia lies in the Northeastern part of the African continent, better known as the Horn of Africa. It is bounded on the Northeast by Eritrea and Djibouti, on the east by Somaliland, in the Southeast by Somalia, on the south by Kenya and on the South West by South Sudan and in the Northwest by North Sudan.

Ethiopia is also known as Abyssinia, a term coming from the Arabic ‘Habashat’; it was the name of one of the tribes of Southern Arabia that emigrated to Ethiopia at the beginning of its history.


The layout of the land:

The Rift Valley is cutting through Ethiopia like a scar. It is a 5.000 kilometers long fracture that begins in Syria and continues all the way to Mozambique. This phenomenon is still occurring and has given rise to the range of volcanoes looming above Ethiopia today: Ertale , in the Danakil Depression, is one of the most visited place today in the country. This means in fact that in about 25 millions years Africa the Horn of Africa will be separated from the main continent and will be a new island; just like it happened with Madagascar some 60 millions years ago.

The Central Massif:

Ethiopia is called ‘the Roof of Africa’ as the Ethiopian massif occupies more than half of the surface of the country. Nine peaks rise above 4.000 meters (12,800 feet) and the high flat plateaux are cut by deep valleys through which mighty rivers run (Blue Nile, Awash, Tekeze, Webe and Shebelle among the biggest)

The Rift Valley crosses the massif, dividing the country into two parts: the highlands of the West (Abyssinian massif) and those of the South East (Harar massif). These highlands gradually descend until they create plains that give way to immense semi-arid lands: the lowlands

The Lowlands:

The lowlands of the Awash and Afar lands in the East contain several notable volcanic cones with heights greater than 2.000 meters (6,400 feet): Fantale, Asebot, Boseti. The lowest point of Ethiopia (minus 156 meters) lies in the Danakil depression: Dallol, Ertale crater are definitely places to visit.

The lowlands of the West, South West and South East Ethiopia are home to nomadic herdsmen. They seem to have an extraordinary ability to bear the high temperatures of this region.

Water tower of Africa:

Ethiopia is also called ‘the Water Tower of Africa’. The combination of its high altitude, numerous lakes, and 14 large rivers had created an extensive natural irrigation system. Hydro-electric power stations and irrigation systems are being installed on many rivers nowadays to help the country to have more and more electricity power. The Renaissance Dam on the Abaye River (better known as Blue Nile) is supposed to be the biggest dam of Africa. It will be ready at the end of 2017 and will supply almost 16,000 GWh and 6,000 MW hydro power.

Since 1995, Ethiopia has been divided into 9 federal states, all with their own capital and government; in alphabetical order: Afar (with Semera as capital city), Amhara (Bahir Dar), Benishangul (Assosa), Gambella (Gambella town), Harar (Harar town), Oromia (Adama, also called Nazareth), Somali (Jijiga), Southern Peoples’ State (Hawassa) and Tigray (Mekele). Addis Abeba, the capital city is also considered as a administrative region.

Ethiopia’s awe-inspiring diversity is well represented in our tailor-made and package tours. There are options of an exciting adventure, off-road safaris, mobile camping, guided trekking as well as cultural. Prices range from budget to family, luxury and truly exotic vacation travel!