Intercultural Study Trip to Ethiopia
What’s awaiting you
Have you ever considered traveling to the fascinating country of Ethiopia? If you haven’t so far, you better put it on your list! Ethiopia is a country of great diversity in many senses: Geographically with green highlands, mountains reaching up to 4’000 meters, deserts and lush tropical forests. Culturally with a Christian Orthodox tradition going back almost 2’000 years, Holy Cities of Islam and many other unique traditions and festivals. Culinarily with the local staple food “Injera” and many local varieties of different dishes. But the most valuable aspect of diversity is Ethiopia’s people, with more than eighty different languages and customs, and all of them with a warm sense of hospitality and pride to share their traditions.
Ethiopia could be considered a perfect country for classic sightseeing. However, the concept of our trip is very different from what most of the tourists do, when they visit Ethiopia. Our aim is to take you to everyday life in this country, to get in touch with locals, learn about their stories, their visions and challenges. At the same time, we focus on mutual exchange, which means that you will not only learn new things, but can also share a piece of your life too. We work in cooperation with local Ethiopian organisations and persons, who would usually not have a share on tourism and we support them by creating some additional income for them.
Our trip starts in Addis Ababa – the “New Flower” – the country’s capital and the seat of the African Union. Spending four days in the city, we will learn about Ethiopia in general and its culture, and meet some of our local “culture brokers”, who will share some aspects of their lives with us.
After a few days in the big city, we’ll start our road trip and travel south. Our first stop will be the Gurage region, famous for its hard-working people and the tasty staple food made of “false banana” (Ensete). We will stay in a local village, where we will follow the daily flow of work, including various activities.
After Gurage, we continue our trip to Arba Minch, the city of the forty springs, located between two of Ethiopia’s biggest lakes. With a bit of luck, we’ll spot great wildlife in the Nechsar (white grass) National Park including crocodiles and big mammals. On a day trip to the village of Gidole, we will interact with pupils and teachers at a local school.
The last days of our trip will be spent in Hawassa – an important town in the region of the Southern Nationalities, Nations and Peoples, located right by a lovely lake. There, you can explore some natural attractions, relax and reflect about all the insightful moments you will have on your mind after almost two weeks of travelling in Ethiopia.
Meet the Organizers
Diana Gigova has visited Ethiopia four times so far. She is the co-funder of Inside Travel (www.insidetravel.ch) – a not for profit initiative aiming to organise an alternative form of tourism, giving travellers an insight into the daily life of a country and thereby fostering mutual understanding and intercultural exchange. Diana studied Social Sciences and European Studies. She has worked in different NGOs and state organisations, mainly in the field of youth work and volunteering. Recently, she led the administration of a Swiss school for creative leaders.
Abiye Ghenna grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He owns and runs a travel agency (https://www.easterntravelandtour.com/), which is in service since 1975. Together with Diana, he developed the concept of social tourism, a new kind of authentic traveling focusing on local people and their everyday life. Abiye would like to support the development of his country by giving something back and by including people and communities which usually do not get their share from classic tourism.
Stephan Brun lived and worked in Addis Ababa about 12 years ago. He fell in love with the country and its people and culture and has since then returned to Ethiopia many times, recently mainly for the Young Entrepreneur Exchange Project (www.yeeproject.org), which supports young Ethiopian students to start their own business. Stephan has a background as an economist, but has worked in various fields such as statistics, youth work and public health.
First discoveries in Addis Ababa. We will meet our culture brokers, ordinary people like you and me from Addis Ababa, who will introduce us in a playful way to their life and their city. First excursion to Mount Entoto, where we can get an overview of the big size of the city.
We will spend the entire day with a local family. They will show us their home and give you some insight into their life. Depending on the family’s programme, you might go to church, play a game, practice the Ethiopian coffee ceremony or prepare local food.
We will challenge you: take part in our treasure hunt through Addis Ababa and learn to find your way through the hustle and bustle of the capital city.
You will spend the day in a local organisation that works with children living on the streets of Addis Ababa and families at risk. Get to know the staff and the challenges they face in their professional lives.
On this day, we’ll start our road trip to the south-west of the country into the Gurage region. There will be several stops on the way where you can discover different types of landscape while traveling down into the African Rift Valley.
Experience life on the countryside in a small rural village. We will adapt ourselves to the local rhythm and to what is currently going on in the village. You might participate in a harvest, work with the animals, try out local handicraft or taste local dishes.
On our second day on the countryside, we will continue yesterday’s programme and get an inside view into different activities. In the evening, we switch roles and will cook for some of our hosts and present something from our own everyday life.
Time to say good bye and to get back on the road. We’ll continue our trip south and arrive at the town of Arba Minch (the forty springs), located right between two of the biggest lakes in Ethiopia.
We will visit Netchsar National Park, where we may spot wild animals and enjoy the breathtaking landscape.
On this day trip, we will visit the small town of Gidole, located on top of the nearby hills. There, we will visit a local hospital and a school and interact with the pupils (you will prepare a little programme for them).
Slowly but steadily, it is time to head back towards Addis Ababa. However, we do not take the direct road, but travel to Hawassa, an important regional town located at a wonderful lake.
You have the option to relax by the lake of Hawassa, meet some locals who will show you some special spots of their town or join a day trip to Wondo Genet with its steamy hot springs.
On our last day, we travel back to Addis Ababa. On our way, we’ll have several stops to enjoy an ever-changing landscape with lakes, savanna and agricultural land. Before boarding the plane back home, we will enjoy one last evening in Addis Ababa.