20 Interesting And Fun Facts About Ethiopia [Explained]

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Many people have heard of Ethiopia, but there any many lesser-known facts about Ethiopia that makes the country what it is. This destination is often overlooked due to conflicts in the region. However, the landscapes are incredible, and the wildlife is nothing short of breathtaking. 

So, if you want to know more about Ethiopia, you have come to the right place. Here are some of the interesting Ethiopia facts that you need to know. 

Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.

Common Facts About Ethiopia 

These general facts about Ethiopia will provide you with an insight into the country and what it has to offer.

Ethiopia Has Its Own Calendar 

The country runs on its own calendar because it has thirteen months in a year. The last month has five days, and six when it is a leap year. Because of this, the Ethiopian calendar runs at least seven or eight years behind the calendar we use. 

For example, if we are in 2022 right now, then Ethiopia is probably in 2015. You will take a leap back in time when you visit the country. 

More Than Eighty Languages Are Spoken Here 

Ethiopia is known for its cultural diversity and this is perhaps one of the most impressive Ethiopian facts to both know and experience if you have the chance.

More than eighty languages are spoken throughout the various regions of Ethiopia. For now, the country has five official languages, which include Tigrinya, Somali, Oromo, Amharic, and Afar. 

Besides that, English is the most common foreign language that people speak here. For example, all classes at the University level take place in English. 

Some Of The Oldest People In The World Lived Here 

Some of the earliest human populations probably lived in Ethiopia. According to researchers, this is the region where Homo erectus probably evolved more than a million years ago. There are many archaeological findings to back this theory. 

It Has The Second-Highest Population In Africa 

The second-highest population in the continent lives in Ethiopia. The country with the highest population on the continent is Nigeria. As of 2021, the population of Ethiopia is more than 117 million, and it will only increase in the coming years. 

Another fascinating fact about Ethiopia is that it is the most populous landlocked country in the world.

Fun Facts About Ethiopia For Travelers 

Here are some fun facts about Ethiopia to know if you plan on traveling to this country. They can help enrich your trip and vacation.

It Is Home To The Lowest Place On The Continent 


The Danakil Depression is the lowest place in Africa, and you will find it in Ethiopia. It is more than 125 meters below sea level. The place is 50 meters wide and 200 kilometers long. You can think of it as a small desert that also includes many volcanoes on the continent. 

Keep in mind that this place is incredibly dry, as it only gets between 100 and 200 millimeters of rain annually. However, this is the place where many ancient fossils have been discovered. That is why it holds incredible importance for the continent. 

It Is The Nation Of Festivals 


One of the literal fun facts about Ethiopia is that people here love to celebrate anything and everything. That is why it is also called the nation of festivals.

The annual and largest festival in the country is known as Timket, and it goes on for three days. Thousands of people come to the festival wearing traditional dresses, ceremonial clothing, and much more. 

The Country Has The Longest Lava Lake 


The longest lava lake in the world is Erta Ale Volcano, and it has been here since the 20th century. It is known as the gateway to hell because the temperatures here are boiling. Keep in mind that it is perhaps one of the most active volcanoes you will ever find. 

There Are 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites Here 


Another Ethiopia fun fact to not miss is that there are 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. They are some of the most famous landmarks in Ethiopia that you can visit.

These include churches, national parks, valleys, and much more. That is because the country is known for preserving its cultural heritage. 

Interesting Facts About Ethiopia That Will Wow You 

Most people know a little bit about the country, but many haven’t taken a deep dive into everything it has to offer. There are many interesting facts about Ethiopia that you probably didn’t know before.

The Country Has The Most Orphans Worldwide 


This is one of the unfortunate facts of Ethiopia. The country has the highest population of orphans in the world. That is because around 13% of the children born here are without one or both of their parents. Most of these parents lose their lives because of the problem of AIDs in the country. 

It Has A Rich History Of Queens, Emperors, And Rulers

The country may not be what it used to be because it has a rich history of royal people. The emperors ruled Ethiopia till the 20th century. The last emperor in the country was Haile Selassie I. 

Before that, there was a tradition where all ancient queens in this country were named Candace. However, for a small period, there was also a Jewish Queen that ruled the throne. All of these historical facts about Ethiopia make it one of the most interesting places to visit. 

The Abyssinian Lion Is The National Animal 


There are less than a thousand Abyssinian lions you will find in Ethiopia, and this is the national animal of the country. These lions have a unique black mane, and they are a little smaller than other lions on the continent. You will find the last of these animals at the Addis Ababa Zoo. 

The zoo was built during Emperor Selassie’s reign in the late 40s. The primary aim of the zoo was to rear these lions for display. That is because the animals were symbolic of the rule of the emperor. 

The Rastafarian Movement Was Born Here  

The Rastafarian Movement mostly came from Jamaica, but many people don’t know that the movement originated in Ethiopia. The name Rastafari comes from the Amharic language and translates to Prince Tafari. A fun fact about Ethiopia’s national flag is that the colors on it also represent this movement. 

Ethiopian Culture Facts 

Now that you are familiar with most Ethiopia facts, you must understand the culture and the people. Here are some of the top cultural facts about Ethiopia that you need to know about to make your visit even more interesting.

People Here Count Time Differently Than Others

You might be surprised at the different calendars, but the country also has its own time. The day begins as the sun rises at 1’oclock, and the sunset happens and 12’oclock. They also have a night clock of twelve hours, so be sure to check the time twice when you visit. 

Scars And Lip Discs Are Considered To Be Beautiful Here 

At least six months to a year before marriage, mothers of young women pierce their daughter’s lips. Besides that, even scars are considered beautiful in many parts of Ethiopia, as they are known to be sensual and desirable. So, if you have any scars, you can own them and roam freely in this country without judgmental looks. 

Stick Fighting Is A Way To Win Potential Wives 

One of the most popular sports in Southern Ethiopia is stick fighting. It is done to test the strength, zeal, and coordination of men. The winners of these competitions win potential wives, and there is a fighting season dedicated to this sport that lasts around three months. 

Men from different villages come together to compete with one another. The primary aim behind the fight is to knock the other person out without sustaining a knockout yourself. Only the strongest men survive and they get to take the best prizes home. 

The People Have Their Unique Version Of Halloween

The Ethiopian version of Halloween is known as Buhe, and they celebrate it each year on the 19th of August. Boys gather in groups and go from one house to another as they sing songs. They do this until the house members give them pieces of bread that they can consume. 

Besides that, there are also some places where the boys are given money once they are done singing. Such a tradition is most common in the cities than in the villages where people give bread. 

Ethiopia Food Facts 

The food of a country can make or break your trip, and Ethiopia is a haven for vegetarians. Here are many Ethiopian food facts that you need to know.

Vegetarian Cuisine Is The Pride Of Ethiopian Food 


The best thing about Ethiopia is the variety of vegetarian cuisine you will find throughout the country. Almost all restaurants have vegetarian dishes on their menu that will blow your mind. So, if you don’t consume meat, you will fall in love with the food here. 

People Here Are A Fan Of Raw Meat 


In an ironic contrast, while most people are vegetarian, raw meat is also a delicacy in the country. You will find such meat on various special occasions. These include festivals, weddings, and much more. 

That said, regardless of your food preferences, don’t miss out on some of the most delicious traditional Ethiopian food.

There Are Endless Ways To Make And Drink Coffee Here 


Coffee lovers will love coming to Ethiopia because this is where coffee was born. The goat herder Kaldi discovered coffee in the Kaffa region of the country. Of course, this is probably where the word coffee also originates, which is why the people here have endless ways to drink and make coffee.

The Leanest People On Earth Live Here

People in Ethiopia consume an average of 1,800 calories in a day. Because of this, it is the region where people consume some of the least calories out of all. So, the people of Ethiopia are some of the leanest people you will find anywhere on Earth.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Ethiopia 

Here are some of the most interesting facts about Ethiopia that you need to know to boost your knowledge or visit the country. It is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with some excellent landscapes, culture, history, and much more.

You are sure to uncover more fun facts about Ethiopia on your adventures in this African gem, if you get a chance to visit.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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