One of Africa’s largest countries, Ethiopia retains the regrettable image of poverty and famine planted in our minds in the 80’s and beyond. Climate, terrain and structural problems still affect Ethiopia more than many other countries. The landscapes vary from a mountainous north with drops of gut churning depth, to high montane plateaux in Bale, some of the harshest desert areas in the world in the Danakil depression, a country split from top to toe by the great African Rift Valley.
It has a long and independent history, beset from all sides by would-be invaders, the terrain proving its strongest defence. The people vary a lot through the country, a stronghold of very early Christianity, with a discrete enclave of Islam in the southwest. The country is claimed as the origin of coffee, as the base for the Queen of Sheba, and is home to some of the earliest traces of human development.