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A couple enjoying the sun set
A couple enjoying the sun set | © goodsophism / Flickr
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How Couples Can Explore Ethiopia

Picture of Serkalem Tafesse
Updated: 20 April 2018
For couples searching for a nice romantic getaway, Ethiopia is undoubtedly a wonderful place to visit. You can go sight-seeing and do fun activities that will make your stay worthwhile. Here are some exciting things you can do as a couple in and around Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Take your romance to new heights

For couples out to collect moments, a serene flight in the skies of Addis Ababa in a hot air balloon is definitely an unforgettable experience. Not only will you have a birds-eye view of Addis Ababa but you will also get to see the beautiful sunrise. As you feel the solid earth under your feet again, there will be a short, charming ceremony to celebrate the safe return of the balloon to the ground. And you get to be called a count and countess!

Birds-eye view of Addis Ababa f
Birds-eye view of Addis Ababa from a hot air balloon | © Serkalem Tafesse

Take a walk by the lake

Soothing wave sounds, cool wind blowing through your hair, and the beautiful sun shining on your face—nothing speaks of more romance than a walk by the lake and Ethiopia has many beautiful ones to offer. Set off on a walk from the shores of Lake Hawassa, affectionately called the “Lake of Love,” in Southern Ethiopia. Should the travel tides take you to North-Western Ethiopia, a walk by Lake Tana is also an experience you will definitely enjoy. Make the most out of your trip—hire a boat and do some hippo watching.

Lake Langano
Lake Langano south of Addis Ababa | © Richard Mortel / Flickr

Enjoy the latest Hollywood flicks

If you are looking for a simple R&R at the movies, Edna mall is probably the best place in Addis Ababa where you can share a good movie with the one you love. You can enjoy a good dinner at one of the restaurants in the area before settling for a box office movie. That’s everything you need for a classic date night.

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Matti Multiplex cinema screens box office movies | © Matti Multiplex cinema

Learn Horse Riding

When it comes to spoiling your loved one with a treat, nothing beats a picturesque horseback ride on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. If you’re a first-time rider, you can take lessons from Beka Ferda Ranch, with its well-kept horses. The experience is guaranteed to make you feel euphoric. Your ride will take you through local farms, which will give you a peek into the Ethiopian countryside, and you will occasionally cross paths with deer, monkeys, and birds. Saddle up and enjoy the view overlooking Addis Ababa.

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Horseback ride with a picturesque view | @ Beka Ferda Ranch

Shop from the local markets

The colorful Shiro Meda is one of the local markets you can visit to get some beautiful, traditional Ethiopian clothes as a souvenir. You can pick some items to your liking from the handmade and embroidered scarfs, shirts, dresses, and/or shoes. Strolling through the incredible maze of shops in Merkato, the biggest open market in Africa, is also a great experience. Put your haggling skills to the test while buying gifts for each other that will last long after you’ve left the country.

Shiro Meda market in Addis Ababa
Shiro Meda market in Addis Ababa | © Jenn / Flickr

Immerse yourself in nature

About an hour drive from Addis Ababa, you will find yourself in the dense Menagesha Suba Forest, away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Put on your hiking boots and discover the serene environment with endemic birds, baboons, and colobus monkeys (gureza). You can also do some mountain biking and enjoy the panoramic view at the top. Huddle up in a cozy tent afterwards in one of the three camping sites in the area for a romantic night. Reassure your love’s timelessness in the oldest national park in Africa.

Colobus monkey
Colobus monkey is one of the animals you will see at Menagesha Suba Forest | © David Stanley / Flickr

Enjoy the night life

The different cities of Ethiopia have a variety of places where you can enjoy both traditional and modern music. If you’re in Addis Ababa, the likes of Fendeka Azemari Bet, Yod Abyssinia, and 2000 Habesha present jaw dropping traditional performances with live music. While you’re here, have a taste of one of the local alcohol beverages, tej, a drink made of honey. If you want to have fun on the dance floor, clubs like the Vault, Gas Light, and Flirt Lounge are a few of many with a pleasant ambiance.

Yod Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant
A traditional performance at Yod Abyssinia Cultural Restaurant | © Ninara / Flickr

Hike to Mount Entoto

A breathtaking view of Addis Ababa awaits couples up for the lovely hike to the top of Mount Entoto. You can take a walk through a forest in an area called “The lung of Addis Ababa,” known for its fresh air. While you are there, you should visit the historic Entoto Mariam church, King Menelik’s palace, and the Yaya Athletics Village.

The view of Addis Ababa from Mount Entoto
The view of Addis Ababa from Mount Entoto | © Jenn / Flickr

Splurge on a nice hotel or romantic dinner

With Ethiopian cuisine, it’s truly the more the merrier. It has extensive choices and you will get to try a bunch of things in one dish. If you want to indulge your taste in European dishes, there are plenty of restaurants that fit the bill. Try something new and create memories with your significant other.

Ethiopian cuisine
Ethiopian cuisine has extensive choices | © Ninara / Flickr

Make a stop at the museums

If you’re a couple who find museums fascinating, some stops with historical artifacts will resonate with your interest. A highlight you shouldn’t miss is the skeletal remains of Lucy, who has lived in Ethiopia over 3.2 million years ago. Called Dinkinesh in Amharic, the local language of Ethiopia, the grandmother of humanity is housed in the National Museum in Addis Ababa. The Harar Museum and Wukro Museum are a couple of the many museums you will find on your visit out of the capital city.

The National Museum of Ethiopia
The National Museum of Ethiopia holds the skeletal remains of Lucy | © David Stanley / Flickr