Welcome to the second episode of Region of the Month, an article series dedicated to encouraging people to fly in the many beautiful places in the world that don’t get enough attention in Infinite Flight. Each month brings a new underrated region, shows its best airports and scenery, and even suggests routes that go through the area. This month I will be writing about Ethiopia, a beautiful country located in eastern Africa. Enjoy!
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a country located in the “Horn” of Eastern Africa. It is currently the 10th largest country in Africa by area and the 2nd by population, just behind Nigeria. Although it is usually best known for its deserts, many would be surprised to find that Ethiopia has many other environments including huge rain forests, swamps, and active volcanic areas. It is also home to a large range of mountains called the Ethiopian Highland, which stretch through the middle of the country. This is one of the most diverse regions in Africa and is absolutely beautiful to fly through, but receives very little attention in Infinite Flight. Let’s start flying here more guys!
Here are top 3 areas to explore in Ethiopia in my opinion. This beautiful country is so full of amazing areas, it was hard to pick!
1. The Bale Mountains
The Bale Mountains are part of the Ethiopian Highland and are located in the southern half of Ethiopia. This area is unique in that it includes so many different landscapes in such a small area. You will find flat desert highlands, deep canyons, beautiful forests, and of course, the amazing mountains that make up one of the country’s national parks. The easiest way to find this place is to fly heading 150 from HAAB for a while.
2. Shecka Forest
This area is very different from most places you will find in Ethiopia. It is a huge biosphere researve that covers over 200,000 hectares and primarily consists of rain forest. The Shecka Forest is a lot of fun to fly through because it is full of short, forested hills. It also sits on the edge of a desert area, so there is an interesting transition from red sand to rain forest when flying into it. This amazing place is located to the south east of HAGM.
3. Erta Ale Area
Erta Ale is the largest of a range of several volcanos located in the northeast section of Ethiopia. This area is part of a large geological depression called the Afar Triangle, where several tectonic plates are slowly moving apart. Most of the ground here is covered in dark volcanic rock and ash. You will find lots of volcanos with deep craters, some even big enough to fly into! This is a very unique area to fly around if you want to try something new. To get there, fly east about 60 miles from HAMK.
Although there is only one large commercial airport in Ethiopia, there are still plenty of airports in beautiful places throughout the country. Here are my 3 favorite:
1. Addis Ababa Bole International (HAAB)
Addis Ababa is the largest city in Ethiopia and its capital. It is located in almost exactly the center of the country, where there is primarily desert terrain with a few stand-alone mountains. HAAB is the only large international airport in Ethiopia and sees about 350 commercial flights a day. It is also the hub for Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia’s flag carrier, which offers lots of regional and International flights. You can find more about the airport and its routes here.
2. Gambela Airport (HAGM)
This small airport sits in a desert near the midwestern border of Ethiopia. This is a great airport to take off from if you want to see Gambela National Park or the Shecka Forest, as both are only a few miles from it. Just like most of the airports in the country, HAGM only sees one commercial flight: Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa. More info on this airport can be found here.
3. Arba Minch Airport (HAAM)
HAAM is another tiny airport that is only served by Ethiopian Airlines. It is located on the southern end of the country, where there are lots of forests, mountains, and lakes. Arba Minch sits right next to 2 huge lakes called Abaya Lake and Chamo lake, which are beautiful and a lot of fun to fly around. It is also fairly close to the Bale Mountains which you can find by heading 80° from the airport for about 100 miles. To find out more about this airport, click here.
Here are 3 commercial routes and 3 GA routes that I recommend you try this week. Some of the GA routes are VFR due to the lack of fixes in the area.
1. Ethiopian Airlines 787-8 - HAAB to FACT
This is a great route to do if you want to experience Africa as a whole. HAAB to FACT is a 6 hour flight that flies over a large Part of Ethiopia and 6 other African countries full of beautiful landscapes before landing on the southern cost of the continent.
854N/3851E 839N/3845E SHALA 657N/3814E OKNET RUDOL 3213S/1957E 3325S/1911E 3336S/1900E 3352S/1843E FACT
2. Emirates 777-300ER - OMDB to HAAB
OMDB to HAAB is a nice 4 hour route that flies out of Africa and into the neighboring continent of Asia. During this flight you will see several points of interest including the southern edge of the Afar Traingle, the Gulf of Aden, and the vast Arabian desert.
OMDB 2518N/5517E 2514N/5510E 2509N/5517E 2509N/5528E 2503N/5540E 2455N/5548E ANVIX TARDI 2420N/5621E LAKLU NALKI MOGOK TUBSA HAI ITUVO 1822N/5518E 1809N/5511E DAXAM MUTVA IMKAD NODMA 1452N/5218E 1440N/5152E ORBAT XANLO PAXED SOKEM 1334N/4815E SEPRO MIXAN 1259N/4541E KRA 1227N/4427E TORBA DTI LAKBE 924N/3904E 919N/3855E 906N/3827E 860N/3827E HAAB
3. Ethiopian Airlines Q400 - HAAB to HAGM
Ethiopian Airlines has tons of Dash 8 operated routes that connect tiny airports in the country to their hub at HAAB. This hour long regional route will bring you through multiple deserts and forests that are dotted with stand-alone mountains.
HAAB 854N/3851E 850N/3843E 848N/3840E 850N/3819E 818N/3528E 808N/3434E HAGM
4. Cirrus SR22 - HAGM to HAJM
This is a nice short VFR route that flies through the Shecka Forest. I recommend you fly a slight southern curve between the airports in order to go right over the forest. This route is especially fun if you fly at a low altitude, because you will have to navigate through the mountains.
5. Cessna 208 - HAGN to HAMK
The Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia are the tallest mountains in the country and are part of the Ethiopian Highland. This route will lead you over these beautiful mountains and a few other landscapes. The flight plan below will lead you around the edge of the range. If you want to fly straight over them, try a more direct route between HAGN and HAMK.
HAGN 1231N/3728E 1216N/3805E 1256N/3853E 1308N/3928E 1313N/3943E 1327N/3932E HAMK
6. Cessna Citation X - HADR to HAAM
This is a nice long route to do if you want to check out the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia’s most beautiful place in my opinion. You will also fly over a few deserts, canyons, and a large lake near HAAM called Abaya Lake.
HADR DWA AXIDA 749N/4126E 716N/4118E 614N/4002E IMKIT 556N/3901E OKNET HAAM
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks so much for reading this Region of the Month article. Make sure to check out Ethiopia this month! This series takes a lot of time to research and write, so I want to make sure everyone enjoys it. Please let me know what you think of it by commenting below or sending me a PM. Also, if you have an idea for where the next region of the month could be, make sure to PM me.
Make sure to check out last month’s featured region!
Have a good day!