The Ethiopian state originated in the Aksumite kingdom, a trading state that emerged about
the first century A.D and controlled most of modern-day Yemen just across the Red Sea.
Around 950 Queen Gudit led a destructive mission which started the decline of the ancient axumite era giving way to the medieval era and was preceeded by the Zagwe dynasty followed 1270 ca by the Solomon dynasty. During this same period Judaism and Islam grew to be powerful forces in Ethiopia. In the 17th century King Fasiledus, established the then capital of Ethiopia, Gondar.
The first part of the modern era colored by such powerful figures like Emperor Tewodros II was much about uniting Ethiopia. Even though succesfully defeated by Emperor Menelik II in Adwa in 1896 at one of the many attempts during this period Ethiopia experienced the arms of colonialism, facism with much impact on the progress of the nations transition into the modern era, as elsewhere in Africa. After an interlude by Iyyasu, Emperor Menelik II's designated heir and, after him, Zewditu, Ras Tafari, later Haile Selassie was proclaimed Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930.
With 14 major wildlife reserves, Ethiopia provides a microcosm of the entire sub-Saharan ecosystem. Bird life abounds, and indigenous animals from the rare Walia ibex to the shy wild ass, roam free just as nature intended. Ethiopia, after the rains, is a land decked with flowers and with many more native plants than most countries in Africa.
Gambella National Park is in the centre of Gambella Region. It lies between the Baro and Gilo
rivers, the Baro River forming the northern boundary, 15 km south of Gambella town. The centre
of the park, Abobo, is 82 km south of Gambella town. The park is the largest protected area
This Park was proposed to help protect the diverse and abundant wildlife, particularly the thousands of White eared Kob that migrated to and from the park each year.
Yangudi-Rassa National Park is in the centre of the Afar Region (in the northern section of
the Rift Valley) between the towns of Gewani and Mille, and 500 km from Addis Ababa.
Yangudi Mountain lies on its south-eastern boundary, and is surrounded by the Rassa plains.
Habitats include Riverine forests along the Awash River, marshes and small lakes, dry riverbeds,
rocky hills, sandy semi-desert and wooded grasslands.
Yangudi-Rassa National Park is in the centre of the Afar Region (in the northern section of the Rift Valley) between the towns of Gewani and Mille, and 500 km from Addis Ababa. Yangudi Mountain lies on its south-eastern boundary, and is surrounded by the Rassa plains. Habitats include Riverine forests along the Awash River, marshes and small lakes, dry riverbeds, rocky hills, sandy semi-desert and wooded grasslands.
Omo National Park is on the west bank of the Omo River in the lower Omo valley.
The park is c.140 km long, stretching from the Neruze River in the south to the Sharum plain
in the north, and up to 60 km wide where the Park Headquarters are situated.
Major land features include the Omo River on the east, the Maji Mountains and the Sharum and Sai plains in the north and west, and the Lilibai plains and Dirga Hills to the south.
Awash National Park is located 225 km east of Addis Ababa, the Park stretches 30km east to west
and a little less from north to south. The terrain is mainly acacia woodland and grassland.
At all places and all times it is possible to see game: Oryx, Soemmerring's gazelle and wild pig are common. Slightly less frequent are the furry waterbuck which tend to appear near the river in the late afternoon. The tiny Dik-dik, not easy to spot in the speckled shade of the acacia thorn, zebra grazing the plains to the west of Fantale, cheetah, serval and leopard are also there but it is not easy to spot them; baboons, both Anubis and Hamadryas, kudus, lesser and greater, the giant tortoise, hippo, reedbuck, aardvark and caracal are also represented. Klipspringer inhabits the higher slopes of the mountain and curious hyrax peer at you curiously from behind their rocks. In the bottom of the gorge you can spot the black and white Colobus monkey.
Massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular
landscapes in the world, with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices
dropping some 1500m. The park is home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon,
the Ethiopian Wolf and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world.
The simien mountain massif is one of the major highlands of Africa, rising to the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen (4543m), which is the fourth highest peak in the continent. Although in Africa and not too far from the equator, snow and ice appear on the highest points and night temperatures often fall below zero.
The national park has three general botanical regions. The lower slopes have been cultivated and grazed, while the alpine regions ( up to 3600m) were forested, although much has now disappeared.
Bale Mountains National Park is an area of high altitude plateau that is broken by numerous
spectacular volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams
that descend into deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands below.
As you ascend into the mountains you will experience changes in the vegetation with altitude, from juniper forests to heather moorlands and alpine meadows, which at various times of year exhibit an abundance of colourful wildflowers.
Bale Mountains National Park is the largest area of Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of the continent. It gives the visitor opportunities for unsurpassed mountain walking, horse trekking, scenic driving and the chances to view many of Ethiopia's endemic mammals, in particular the Mountain Nyala and Ethiopian Wolf, and birds, such as the Thick-billed Raven, Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, and Rouget's Rail.