I have decided without a doubt, that Ethiopia is the perfect country to begin with if you’re venturing to Africa for the first time. I have visited Africa many times but as soon as I would enter an airport I would feel a little unsettled; I was always acutely aware that I was in Africa especially with the presence of armed police. There was just something different about Ethiopia when I landed in the capital of Addis Ababa on my non-stop Ethiopian Airlines’ flight form Toronto. I hadn’t consciously realized it but days later when talking with my guide we spoke of Ethiopia’s culture, the way of life and the people. I did not feel unsafe in any way, I could leave my belongings in a car with my driver and I did not feel the need to wear a money belt. People are so kind here, their smiles wide and bright and warmth exudes from their eyes. As for police presence? None that I could see.
What’s the reason for it you might ask, as I did? It could be because the country is primarily Orthodox Christian. I’m told that perhaps it is also because it’s a nation that has never been colonized, conquered by Italians for five years but never colonized. I think this means to them that there isn’t an underlying anger, which still brews in the people. There is a pride here that stands out and a desire by Ethiopians to share their country with foreigners. Their joy is simply contagious.
I would like to quickly mention that in the past I have offered up South Africa as the first African nation to visit but that’s because it’s considered the “white Africa,” and it is where I believe many would feel the most comfortable. But, it can be very dangerous in parts and at times, its racist history and unfair persecution is abhorrent and the gap between the rich and the poor is startling. While beautiful in its topography and attractions, its history is hard to forget and nor should it ever be forgotten. So, it’s official, Ethiopia should be your first African stop and at the top of any bucket list.
Plus, there is simply nothing better than an eleven-hour direct non- stop flight from Toronto to continental Africa. Ethiopian Airlines began their twice-weekly direct non-stop service this past summer on July 17th. And not only is there the direct non-stop flight but with a quick connection you could be in the Seychelle Islands (honeymoon and scuba diving paradise), in Cairo visiting the pyramids, or Kenya and Tanzania for a safari watching the annual majestic wildebeest and zebra migration, on the Masai Mara or Serengeti respectively.
It has all the comforts of economy we’re used to on the Boeing 777 as well as top quality meals such as beef tenderloin, cod fillet or chicken, plus great wines and liquors, individual movie screens and outlets to plug in your computer.
A few things to know about Ethiopian Airlines and its direct flight non-stop flight from Toronto to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.
- Like Air Canada it is part of the Star Alliance so collect your Aeroplan points or redeem them.
- The check in counter opens at 6am and closes at 9am. Get there at least two (2) hours ahead. Ethiopian Airlines takes the security of their passengers seriously so the check in process can take longer than you might be used to. Departure is 10:15am.
- The return flight from Addis Ababa to Toronto is via Rome. It is known as a direct flight but not non-stop. It is a fuel stop only and it is not an option for a stopover.
The Added Bonuses of Business Class?
- Larger seats, which almost lay flat. A great little toiletry bag filled with goodies.
- An upgraded menu in addition to the same options in economy. Also enjoy the option of Ethiopian food, a dessert cart and upgraded wines and liquor.
- Use of the Air Canada lounge and other Star Alliance lounges around the world.
- Priority check in, baggage, boarding, increased baggage allowance to name a few.
- Book Ethiopian Airlines to Africa and as you’ll read as you follow my adventures, visit and LOVE Ethiopia. I promise you will.
- Enjoy the complimentary alcohol and hydrate with one glass of water to every glass of alcohol you consume.
- Take your Cold Fx to avoid coming down with something t the beginning of your trip – I do this religiously before and after any flight.
- And, spread the word!
Thinking about travelling to Africa? Check out the DIRTY DETAILS.