Southern Ethiopia

Top things to do

Top ChoiceVillage in Southwest Omo Valley

Kibish

The main settlement in this area is the colourful village of Kibish. Set in a bowl in the forested hills, it is a fascinating place populated by the striking Surmi people. Photographing the Surmi attracts a fee...

Top ChoiceNational Park in Bale Mountains National Park

Bale Mountains National Park

More than any other park in Ethiopia, this national park is known for its wildlife, but it’s a very beautiful place, too. As you approach from Dodola, ridges to the east are punctuated with fortress-like...

Top ChoiceLake in Awasa

Lake Awasa

With its mountainous backdrop, Lake Awasa is a lovely sight. You could easily spend a few pleasant hours strolling the lakeshore trail at the end of town, watching men fishing from papyrus rafts, seeing the...

Top ChoiceItalian in Awasa

Venezia

Run by an Italian-Ethiopian couple, this upmarket trattoria-like venue wouldn’t be out of place in Roma, and gets top marks for its flawlessly prepared Italian specialities. You’ll find it hard to choose between...

Top ChoiceCafe in Dilla

Lem Cafe

Hands-down the best bakery/cafe in Dilla, with such a tantalising array of cakes and pastries that we almost made ourselves a nuisance here. It also has salads, burgers and pizzas, as well as excellent breakfasts...

Top ChoiceInternational in Lake Ziway

Castel Kuriftu Wine House & Restaurant

Surprise! Easily one of the most characterful restaurants in Ethiopia, the Castel Kuriftu is a huge venture built from stone, wood and thatch. On top of its eye-catching architecture, it is noteworthy for the...

Top ChoiceEuropean in Arba Minch

Paradise Lodge – Abaya Restaurant

Inside Paradise Lodge, the lovely ridgetop dining room, together with menu choices like poached fish or beef stroganoff, make this the most atmospheric restaurant and best sundowner spot in Arba Minch. There's...

Top ChoiceMarket in Awasa

Fish Market

Lake Awasa’s fishermen head out in their little wooden boats in the afternoon and return the next morning laden with tilapia and catfish. The men are amazingly deft at gutting, scaling, skinning and flicking the...

Top ChoiceEthiopian in Awasa

Luwa Bar & Restaurant

Far more welcoming than some of the other traditional restaurants around Awasa, Luwa attracts a predominantly local crowd who come for the freshly prepared Ethiopian food – their lamb tibs is a cut above average....

Top ChoiceItalian in Awasa

Dolce Vita Bar & Restaurant

Many people, apparently decompressing after a long time travelling in the south, rave about this Italian kitchen, and we share their unbridled enthusiasm. The food here (and the shady terrace) is clearly above...

Top ChoiceEuropean in Arba Minch

Arba Minch Tourist Hotel Restaurant

Though the wait staff can be a touch clueless at times, this leafy compound with resident dik-dik roaming around looking for hand-outs is a great place to dine, and the food is tasty. Western dishes are popular,...

Top ChoiceCafeteria in Bale Mountains National Park

Harena Coffee

There's no more pleasant spot to hang out and grab some food and drinks than this surprisingly snappy cafeteria on the main drag in Goba. Expect zesty salads, well-prepared burgers and sandwiches, toothsome pasta...

National Park in Southwest Omo Valley

Omo National Park

Omo National Park has long been one of the most remote parks in Ethiopia and travelling here can be incredibly tough – but never less than fascinating. Because there is virtually no tourist infrastructure within...

Cave in Southern Ethiopia

Sof Omar Cave

Around 100km east of Robe, the fast-flowing Web River runs through a deep gorge and then cuts straight through a limestone hill. Though underground for only 1.5km, the aeons of erosion have carved 15km of...

National Park in Abiata-Shala Lakes National Park

Abiata-Shala Lakes National Park

West of Lake Langano lie the twin lakes of Abiata and Shala, which form part of the national park. Identical twins these lakes are not: Shala’s 410-sq-km surface sits within a collapsed volcanic caldera, and...

Village in Dorze

Hayzo

Hayzo is one of the few Southern Nations’ villages that has succeeded in turning the influx of tourists into a positive experience for all concerned. You can see the traditional way of life with few hassles from...

Wildlife Reserve in Southern Ethiopia

Senkelle Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary

Senkelle was established to protect Ethiopia’s endemic Swayne’s hartebeest, and though the population of around 700 is a far cry from the huge herds of the past, it’s large enough to make a visit enjoyable. A...

National Park in Mago National Park

Mago National Park

Although by Ethiopian standards wildlife is fairly abundant in this dramatically beautiful 2162-sq-km park, there’s no chance of an East African-safari-style experience. Poaching remains a problem and the thick...

Viewpoint in Nechisar National Park

Crocodile Market

Where the Kulfo River empties into Lake Chamo you’ll find oodles of crocodiles sunning themselves. Both the size of the congregation and the size of the crocs (6m is common) make this one of Africa’s best...

Area in Shashemene

Rastafarian Community

Shashemene’s Rastafarian community, known locally as Jamaica, straddles the main road just north of town. It’s readily distinguished by its tri-coloured buildings, dreadlocked inhabitants and rounded vowels of...