Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: A Beginner’s Guide

Kakona, the Silverback Gorilla - Bwindi National Park, Uganda

I followed just behind our lead mountain gorilla tracker. In the hush of the moment under the canopy, I remembered our guide’s advice earlier that morning: “On your way to the gorillas, don’t forget to enjoy the sound of the jungle. There’s nothing like it.”My focus had been on climbing through the tendrils, on getting there. I could feel the heat around me, … [Read more...]

Travel to Rwanda: First Impressions

Fishing Boats on Lake Kivu - Kibuye, Rwanda

Rwanda.  A country where the first thing that comes to mind when people hear the name: the horrific, tragic genocide of twenty years ago. When we mentioned that we were looking forward to visiting Rwanda, we weren’t entirely surprised by the confused looks and cocked heads: “Why?” … [Read more...]

Should Travelers Give to Kids Who Beg?

Young Students in Rural School - Nalbata, Bangladesh

We paused along the side of the road in what seemed like the middle of nowhere for a view over the hills outside of the Ethiopian town of Lalibela. Moments later, a boy of about four years ran up. He was shepherd to his family’s goats on a nearby hill. His clothes were torn, he poked curiously around us foreigners, using our guide as an interpreter.One of the … [Read more...]

Ethiopian Food (An Overview of Ethiopian Cuisine)

Ethiopian food

When we headed to Ethiopia recently, I went packing with high expectations of the food. Years ago, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Ethiopian food fresh out of university. In Washington, D.C., just new to world cuisine, I clearly recall my first pull of a round stretchy pancake-like injera bread, beautifully colored mounds of what looked to me like … [Read more...]

Travel to Ethiopia: First Impressions

Ethiopian monk

When I was growing up, I remember Ethiopia having a long run on the nightly news. Unfortunately newscasts all pointed to the grim. Newsreel images featured fly-ridden babies with distended bellies, drought-ruined landscapes and a ravaging famine made only worse by civil war.Sounding familiar?Prior to our visit, we figured some distance between the Ethiopia … [Read more...]

The Ancient Rock-Carved Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia [360-Degree Panorama]

Lalibela churches

The story goes: almost 900 years ago in Ethiopia there lived a visionary king named Lalibela.Lalibela traveled far and wide, including an extended pilgrimage he took to Jerusalem, after which he brought back home to Ethiopia all he'd seen and learned.When Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the late 12th century and it became too dangerous for devout Ethiopian … [Read more...]