Southern Ethiopia, a mosaic of colorful cultures and a variety of landscapes
This is a truly unspoiled part of Earth with lakes, hot-springs, rolling green hills, rugged mountains, huge forests, wild coffee and the real African savannah and semi-desert. There are several National Parks where a great variety of wildlife and birds can be seen. A mosaic of tribes lives in this varied landscape. More than 45 languages are spoken here. The Sidama Coffee which grows in the south- especially the Yrgachefe Coffee, well known for its special aroma - is one of the major export products of Ethiopia. The Sidama area is very fertile and green. Everywhere you see the people’s huts, surrounded by Ensete, a banana like tree which is eaten by more than a third of the Ethiopian population. After a long process of preparation, a kind of sour tasting unleavened bread or porridge is prepared from it. The Wolayta people are also good farmers. When going further to the south you come to a relatively small area where many different tribes are living in their own territory. These people still use what nature provides them, proud, free and independent from all modern technical achievements. Cults, traditions, songs and dances are still as vivid as they have been for ages. But due to road construction, building of schools and growing contact with people from other parts of Ethiopia and from other (western) countries, the 21st century will also enter into this area and into the culture and life of the people. The Bale Mountains National Park is the best place in Ethiopia for those who love trekking and hiking. It is a rough, impressive landscape with forests, heather, Afro-alpine landscape, lakes, streams, rivers and is the best place to see endemic wildlife and endemic birds. In Wondo Genet you can take hot showers and swim in the natural hot spring water, surrounded by a beautiful, paradise like landscape. The surroundings are also ideal for hiking.