Seeing Ethiopia by road is a great way to see the county up close and personal, but it can also be a long, tiring, and dusty trip on Ethiopia’s sometimes bumpy and windy, though vastly improved, roads. On top of that, if travelling by hired Landcruiser rather than bus, it is a lot more expensive than it was 10 years ago. The other option is to travel by air. Ethiopian Airlines flies to Lalibela, Gondar, Axum, Bahir Dar, Harrar, and many other places. But, in doing this, many of the sights (and all of the sounds and smells) in between tourist sites are missed. Additionally, Ethiopian doesn’t fly to some destinations, such as the Simien Mountains.

For a little bit of the best of both worlds, travel by chartered flight, especially helicopter, does the trick and is a real treat, for those with a little sense of adventure. When travelling by chartered flight, such as with Abyssinia Flight Services, the pilot can fly low over the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela or through the jagged peaks and canyons of the Simien Mountains. Helicopters can even fly through narrow river gorges or land on mountain precipices.

In short, chartered flights can go more places, get closer to sights on the ground, and can even be fairly economical, when costs are shared with enough passengers in a group. Currently, Abyssinia Flight Services, National Airways (formerly Air Ethiopia), Trans Nation Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines offer chartered flights around Ethiopia and beyond.