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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > July-September 2018 (83) > THE INSIDE TRACK ON ETHIOPIA’S HIGHLIGHTS


Ethiopia is quite possibly the world’s most misunderstood country. So far as most outsiders are concerned, it is simply the Land of the Famine, a barren wasteland where, in the influential words of the anthem ‘Do They Know

It’s Christmas?’, “nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow”. Well-meaning they might be, but these lyrics have done few favours for Ethiopia’s international profile. They’re also less than accurate. “Nothing ever grows”? Oh yes it does: in fact, the fertile central highlands of Ethiopia form the largest tract of arable land anywhere in the eastern half of Africa.

“No rain”? Actually, half of Ethiopia receives an average precipitation in excess of the 750-850mm mark shared by, for instance, London or Dallas, and parts of the south-west are saturated by more than 2000mm annually. As for “no rivers flow”, well, doesn’t that put the world’s longest waterway in its place? For the Ethiopian Highlands are the source of an estimated 90 per cent of the water that flows into the Mediterranean through the Nile Delta, while also feeding three other substantial crossborder river systems.

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About Travel Africa

A wildlife lover's guide to Kenya • How to plan the ideal holiday to Zimbabwe • 10 Reasons to take your kids on safari • In Mandela's footsteps • Great bush dining: how they do it • Uganda, for the love of birds • Surprising Liberia • Southern Namibia • Lake Malawi • Awesome Okavango portfolio • Ethiopia's highlights... and much more!