Top things to do in Ethiopia
Try the staple Injera, a sourdough-risen flat bread whose taste and texture most closely resembles the Indian thosai. Made from teff flour, it is served with meat and vegetable stews. Ethiopian curry is also delicious, thick and spicy - a perfect accompaniment to the Injera bread.
Dance your night away Ethiopian-style. Ethiopians know how to have fun based on my visit to Yod Abyssinia, a "cultural" restaurant in Addis Ababa. It is the place tourists go to for a snapshot of Ethiopian culture and food.
Ethiopia is home to seven Unesco World Heritage sites. If you don't have time to visit them all in one trip, my top choices are: Lalibela (the city and the monolithic churches); Simian National Park and the geological marvel known as the Danakil Depression, officially one of the hottest and driest areas on earth with average temperatures of above 35 deg C. It is at the lowest point in all of Africa and the second lowest in the world, after the Dead Sea, and contains active volcanoes, hot springs, lava lakes and salted basins, all lying below the sea level.
Forget about finding a Starbucks or Coffee Bean outlet in Ethiopia. The Ethiopians drink only their own coffee, which contributes to about 60% of the country's foreign income. Did you know that the arabica bean originates from Ethiopia?
If you want to shop in Addis Ababa, head for the famed Merkato. It's chaotic, of course, but it's an experience you are not likely to find anywhere else.