17 Inspiring Photos of the People of Ethiopia

By Mark Wiens 32 Comments
1. 4 Boys in Lalibela
1. 4 Boys in Lalibela

Ethiopia, with friendly people, an ancient and fascinating culture, and amazing food (and coffee), is truly a fantastic country to visit.

While I mainly travel to eat, people are also a major contribution to the greatness of any country.

1. Boys in Lalibela

Unfortunately, plenty of kids will ask you to take their picture and then ask for money. But when kids asked, I would kindly tell them “no money” with a smile, and many of them would still ask for a photo just to see themselves. These four boys were on their way home from school and wanted a photo.

2. Meskel Festival
2. Meskel Festival

2. Meskel Festival

I didn’t catch the full Meskel celebration, but I did see a few parades marching down the street in Addis Ababa.

3. Priest at Yemrehana Krestos
3. Priest at Yemrehana Krestos

3. Priest at Yemrehana Krestos

In an ancient cave church known as Yemrehana Krestos, about an hour from Lalibela, the priest held out the original ancient bronze cross.

4. Happy Girls
4. Happy Girls

4. Happy Girls

These girls were extremely excited to see themselves in the screen!

Walking through Lalibela
Walking through Lalibela

5. Walking through Lalibela

Lalibela is one of the tourism capitals of Ethiopia, and there are so many friendly people.

6. My Fruit Man
6. My Fruit Man

6. My Fruit Man

I’m afraid I can’t remember his real name, but he has one of the many delicious fruit stalls in Addis Ababa. I purchased 1 kilo of avocados (among other fruits) from him nearly everyday.

(And despite his not so friendly face that I caught on camera, he was a really nice and friendly guy)

7. Lalibela Pilgrims
7. Lalibela Pilgrims

7. Lalibela Pilgrims

Lalibela is one of the most important Ethiopian Orthodox towns, and the churches attract many local pilgrims from around the country.

Funeral Attendees in Lalibela
Funeral Attendees in Lalibela

8. Funeral Attendees

While touring the churches of Lalibela, our guide walked us through a local memorial service, where the entire village seemed to be in attendance. At first I wasn’t going to take any photos, but they said it was alright.

9. Shepherds
9. Shepherds

9. Shepherds

Despite plenty of Ethiopian vegetarian food, livestock is a huge part of Ethiopian culture and its economy. Everywhere from the countryside to the center of Addis Ababa you’ll find shepherds tending their flocks.

10. Ethiopian Orthodox Nun
10. Ethiopian Orthodox Nun

10. Ethiopian Orthodox Nun

This Ethiopian Orthodox nun was sitting on the ledge of St. Georges stone hewn church in Lalibela, Ethiopia.

11. Roasting coffee
11. Roasting coffee

11. Roasting coffee

Step into a closet sized shop in Addis Ababa and you’ll be enchanted by the aroma or roasting coffee beans.

12. Pounding coffee
12. Pounding coffee

12. Pounding coffee

Coffee is so good in Ethiopia, it’s impossible to resist.

Nearly every restaurant you go to, you’ll be able to have either a machine made coffee (such as espresso or machiato) or a traditional cup of buna (Ethiopian coffee made in a clay pot known as a jebena).

13. Man and Son taking a breather
13. Man and Son taking a breather

13. Man and Son taking a breather

Lalibela (and also Addis Ababa) is located at a very high elevation, 2,630 meters to be exact, and walking around you’ll lose your breath quickly – but don’t worry, many locals do too.

After walking up a hill, this man and son needed a break, as did I!

14. Addis Mercato
14. Addis Mercato

14. Addis Mercato

The Mercato, or market, in Addis Ababa is a bustling shopping district that’s continually packed with action. It’s a lot of fun to watch the men who distribute massive loads, often on their heads, around the market.

Streets of Addis Mercato
Streets of Addis Mercato

15. Streets of Addis Mercato

You could walk around and people watch all day at Addis Mercato!

Entoto Hills
Entoto Hills

16. Entoto Hills

One of the best things to do in Addis Ababa is take a drive (or hike) up to the Entoto Hills. Along the way you’ll get incredible views of the countryside, of Addis skyline, and you’ll also see people carrying huge loads of branches and wood back home to use.

Shepherd in the Countryside
Shepherd in the Countryside

17. In the Countryside

While driving through the countryside of Ethiopia, not far from Lalibela, we came across this young boy who wanted a ride in the back of our truck. We gave him a ride, and I took his photo when he got out.

Ethiopia is amazing, and it’s surely one of the most memorable countries I’ve visited, mainly due to the food and the people. I hope this may inspire you to travel to Ethiopia someday!



32 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • salismih bihon

    3 months ago

    Ethiopia for ……i have no words to explain. in general long live for my mother land.

  • Dereje

    11 months ago

    Ethiopia is one of the most fertile,green and beautiful full country in africa. I love Ethiopia!!!

  • Tekle

    11 months ago

    I loved the incredible shots but there is much in to it. You could have found more astonishing pictures if you could have spent a little more on other people and culture diversity just to see from different perspective. Hope you or some enthusiasts will bring more of such in your future trip.

  • Ashton

    1 year ago

    Just stumbled across your blog. Ethiopia is one of my favorite countries in the world, and your photos certainly do it justice. I found the people to be some of the most beautiful and kindest I’ve ever met. After reading through your posts, I’m craving Ethiopian food, specifically the the Derek tibs 🙂

  • Bob Hill

    2 years ago

    These pictures bring back wonderful memories of my 2 years living in Ethiopia (1967-1969).

  • Marlene Cowan

    2 years ago

    Mark, Your photos are so revealing. I’ve begun posting them on Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project Facebook page (crediting you as photographer). We don’t have funds to hire a photographer, but are trying now to start a Child AIDS Prevention (CAP) project in Ethiopia for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS during birth and breastfeeding. Our Rotary AIDS Project has already funded 3 trainings of healthcare workers in Liberia and is poised to start another training in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa West. Any suggestions?

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hi Marlene, good to hear from you, thank you very much. Hmm, I’m not sure if I have any suggestions, but if I hear of anything I’ll let you know. Thanks!

  • Jay B.

    3 years ago

    When I hear Ethiopia I can´t help but think of that devastating 1984 famine..I feel like the country´s international image is still haunted by that disaster, which of course must hurt the growth of the tourism industry. Nonetheless, it´s one of those places that I ´d love to visit once in a lifetime! I hear Ethiopia’s wildlife parks are teeming with game, but unlike Kenya, where packs of tourists compete for a glimpse of lions, here you might have the animals all to yourself.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Jay, good to hear from you. Yah I understand about the image, but I believe Ethiopia has a much better government now and has really turned around. You’re right too, so many amazing sites to see, and not very packed with tourists yet! Hope you can visit in the future!

    • bethelhem hailu

      2 years ago

      Hello , yhaa I am from Ethiopia and this is just very fewwww part of Ethiopia. It is also very ignorant to say I can’t help but think blha blha … I mean if you say that people should still think of great depression then… It was decays ago… Now Ethiopia is get in very modern even few Ethiopian student go to NASA for competition with American kid and they won… Just don’t be ignorant

      • Laeke G.

        8 months ago

        Please Bethelhem! Don’t be disrespectful. I am from Ethiopia, and if we Ethiopians were unequivocally out of that terrible shadow yet, you wouldn’t get such comments.

  • The Roaming Coconuts

    3 years ago

    Great pictures! I’ve been reading all of your Ethiopia blogs and loving them. I’m heading there in March and can’t wait, especially for the food!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Thank you and great you’ll be going to Ethiopia. It’s an amazing country!

  • George Rajna

    3 years ago

    Mark,

    This was an enjoyable grouping of photos. I especially liked the Shepard photo and the coffee grinder. Did you travel there independently? Can it be recommended if so?

    Thanks,

    George
    Wesaidgotravel

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey George, thank you. Yes I traveled there independently (with my wife), and high recommended, it’s an amazing country!

  • Zara @ Backpack ME

    3 years ago

    Great shots!
    Ethiopia and its people are so photogenic. It’s like everyone’s face tells a story!..

  • Barbara

    3 years ago

    This is indeed very inspirational. Your images convey a story of the people of Ethiopia, somewhere we do intent to visit in the near future. Thank you for sharing your images and wonderful commentary as well.

  • Gabriel

    3 years ago

    Love the shots, really gives you a feel for the culture!

  • Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER

    3 years ago

    Really lovely photos Mark. That woman with the bundle looks like a cross between a Vietnamese motorbiker and a mountain farm woman in Nepal. Crazy, those branches are like wings. Haven’t been to Ethiopia yet; it kind of intimidates me. Did you feel like it was easy to get around?

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Christine, thanks a lot! Overall, it wasn’t too difficult to get around in Ethiopia, but we didn’t do too much traveling around the country. We actually stayed mainly in Addis Ababa and then caught a flight to Lalibela.

  • Stephen

    3 years ago

    Awesome photos…really gives you an intimate look into life in what appears to be a fascinating country. Hope I can make it to Ethiopia soon!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Stephen, thanks a lot, hope you can visit Ethiopia in the future, you’ll enjoy it!

  • Mike | Earthdrifter

    3 years ago

    Entertaining post! What a photo friendly and photogenic country. Definitely a super worthy destination.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Mike, yes great country with incredibly friendly people!

  • Rita Khoo

    3 years ago

    Awesome pics Mark, v inspirational indeed. Although I will not travel to Ethiopia perse, I can imagine the beauty and mystery of the destination. I will continue to view your other blogs on Ethoiopia. Great work Mark and many thanks for sharing your experience!

  • ian

    3 years ago

    Thank Mark, I love all of these pics, especially pic number four names “Happy girls”, yes, their smile make my day, they’re so hilarious!!!