Ethiopia is the oldest independent nation in Africa and it is known as the cradle of mankind due to its recorded histories and because of the abundance of archaeological discoveries. Ethiopia is located in Eastern Africa between the equator and the tropic of Cancer; in a region know as the Horn of Africa. At present, it lies between 3N – 15N latitude and 33E-48E Longitude.
Ethiopia has become a landlocked country since 1991, due to its separation from Eritrea. It is bordered by five countries; on the north and north east by Eritrea, on the east by the Djibouti and Somalia, on the South by Kenya and on the west and northwest by the Sudan. Ethiopia is currently the 10th largest country in Africa that is said to have a surface area about 1,1006,000km2.
Topographically, Ethiopia is a mountainous country and has a very beautiful landscape. The surface configuration of the country ranges from very high mountains (like the Simein and Bale Mountains) to one of the lowest areas below the sea level in Africa the Dankil Depression. The highest peak in Ethiopia is Ras Dashen, which is about 4620 m above sea level. While the lowest the Dankil depression is about 120 meters below sea level.
Another major topographic feature in Ethiopia is the central plateau, which is bisected by the Great Rift Valley into North-East and South-West. The Great Rift Valley extends from Mozambique to the Dead sea and the Jordan valley, passing a South-North direction through Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is one of the few African countries that have a large number of lake and rivers. That is why it is regarded by some as “The Water Tower of North East Africa”. Most of the lakes are found in the Great Rift Valley and they are one of the major sites of tourist attraction. The most prominent Ethiopia lakes are Tana, Abay, chamo, Shall, Awassa, Abijata, Koka, Hayke and Ashenge.