Rich in history with cities dating back as far as the 17th century, Ethiopia has more world heritage sites than anywhere else in Africa. Shop in the bustling, chaotic city of Addis Ababa, or visit the modern Jubilee Palace. Join locals for one of the many Orthodox Christian festivals like Timkat, Meskal, and Genna — the Ethiopian Christmas which takes place in September. From post-harvest festivities in July and August to Bull Jumping — a right of passage ceremony for young men — in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia is for those who seek a fresh cultural experience. If you’re looking for wildlife, take a trip to the Simien Mountains to find the elusive Walia ibex or have a laugh at the antics of the gelada.

Gateway city: Addis Ababa

Best time to travel: January through March and June through December

Highlights: Addis Ababa, Bahar Dar — Blue Nile Falls and Lake Tana, Gondar — Castles and Churches, Lalibela — Rock-Hewn churches, Axum — Obelisks and Tombs, Omo Valley — Cultural Interest