Lephis Tourism Village Ethiopia
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Lephis Ecotourism Village in Ethiopia

As you embark on this extraordinary journey, Lephis welcomes you with open arms, inviting you to explore its pristine hills, valleys, and glades adorned with diverse flora and fauna. The crown jewel of this idyllic setting is the breathtaking Lephis Waterfall, a cascading masterpiece that adds a touch of magic to the lush green cliff face.

The Lure of Lephis Forest

 Lephis Forest
Lephis Forest

Lephis Forest, a hidden gem within the Gambo Forest Zone of Negele Arsi, Oromia, boasts an ecosystem teeming with endemic bird and wildlife species. Here, leopards, warthogs, bushbuck, mountain nyala, colobus monkeys, thick-billed ravens, African white-backed vultures, and blue-breasted bee-eaters find sanctuary in the unspoiled highland forests.

More than just a backdrop for stunning landscapes, Lephis is a thriving community of over 2,000 households, each intimately connected to the forest’s natural resources. These residents, in their pursuit of conservation and sustainable use, have transformed Lephis into a beacon of eco-friendly tourism.

Lephis Forest Local
Lephis Forest Local

A Community United

The birth of Lephis Ecotourism Village was a community-driven initiative, guided by the principles of the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance (ESTA). Through meticulous planning, feasibility studies, and active community engagement, the village has become a model for successful eco-tourism, earning acclaim both nationally and globally.

The Lephis Ecotourism Cooperative, a pivotal force behind the initiative, ensures that the benefits of tourism are shared among community members. Professional tourist guides lead immersive tours on foot or horseback, revealing the secrets of the region. The Mishikie Handcraft Association, run by 17 women and 3 men, adds a touch of local artistry with their exquisite baskets, beaded jewelry, wood, and horn carvings.

Awards and Recognition

Lephis has not only captured the hearts of travelers but has also earned prestigious accolades. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) honored Lephis as one of the Best Tourism Villages in 2023, recognizing its commitment to preserving landscapes, local values, and culinary traditions.

Forbes, in its list of the 54 best towns to visit worldwide, bestowed this accolade upon Lephis, placing it alongside global destinations. As you step into Lephis, you enter not just a village but a destination recognized for its commitment to sustainable tourism and community well-being.

In the pages that follow, we unravel the wonders of Lephis, guiding you through its natural splendors, community initiatives, and the intricate tapestry of an eco-friendly village that has left an indelible mark on the world stage. Join us on this virtual journey into the heart of Lephis Ecotourism Village, where every discovery is a step toward preserving nature’s beauty for generations to come.

The Charm of Lephis: What Makes It Unique?

Lephis Ecotourism Village beckons with a charm that transcends the ordinary, offering an experience unlike any other. Discover the unique elements that weave together to create the enchantment of Lephis, making it a destination that lingers in the hearts of those fortunate enough to visit.

Secluded Serenity

Tucked away in Ethiopia’s Central Rift Valley, Lephis enjoys a sense of seclusion that allows visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. Just a four-hour drive from Addis Ababa, this village unfolds like a well-kept secret, inviting travelers to a world where time slows down, and the serenity of nature takes center stage.

Untouched Natural Wonders


Lephis Forest, a natural wonder in itself, encompasses hills, valleys, and glades of unspoiled highland forests. The region’s diverse topography, including mountain chains, adds layers to the breathtaking views that unfold at every turn. The Lephis Waterfall, a masterpiece of nature, cascades down a lush green cliff face, leaving visitors in awe of its tranquil beauty.

Rich Biodiversity

Beyond its stunning landscapes, Lephis is a sanctuary for a rich tapestry of flora and fauna. The resident wildlife includes leopards, warthogs, bushbuck, mountain nyala, colobus monkeys, thick-billed ravens, African white-backed vultures, and blue-breasted bee-eaters. This biodiversity adds a dynamic element to every exploration, offering encounters with Ethiopia’s unique wildlife.

Community-led Tourism Initiatives

What sets Lephis apart is not just its natural beauty but the vibrant community that calls it home. The establishment of the Lephis Ecotourism Cooperative, supported by the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance (ESTA), marks a community-driven effort to harness tourism for sustainable development. From guided tours to handicrafts and horse riding festivals, every aspect of the village reflects the collective spirit of its residents.

Accolades on the Global Stage

Lephis has not gone unnoticed on the world stage. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recognized Lephis as one of the Best Tourism Villages in 2023. This acknowledgment celebrates the village’s commitment to preserving landscapes, local values, and culinary traditions. Forbes, in its list of the 54 best towns to visit globally, placed Lephis alongside distinguished destinations, showcasing its prominence on the world tourism map.

A Living Tapestry of Culture and Craft

While the landscapes and wildlife capture attention, Lephis is equally adorned with the vibrant tapestry of local culture. The Mishikie Handcraft Association, comprising 17 women and 3 men, adds color to the village with their skillfully crafted baskets, beaded jewelry, and wood and horn carvings. These handicrafts not only showcase local artistry but also provide an avenue for sustainable livelihoods.

In the heart of Lephis, each element combines to create an allure that goes beyond the surface—a charm that emanates from the seamless integration of nature, community, and the preservation of Ethiopia’s cultural and ecological heritage. As we delve deeper into Lephis, this charm will unfold, inviting you to witness a destination where every nuance tells a story of sustainability, community resilience, and the timeless beauty of the Ethiopian landscape.

Explore the Natural Wonders

Lephis Ecotourism
Lephis Ecotourism

Lephis Forest: A Hidden Gem

Nestled within the embrace of Lephis Ecotourism Village lies the hidden gem of Lephis Forest. This pristine woodland, located in Ethiopia’s Central Rift Valley, is a testament to nature’s untouched beauty. The forest encompasses hills, valleys, and glades, creating a haven for biodiversity and offering visitors a glimpse into an ecosystem that has stood the test of time.

As you venture into Lephis Forest, towering trees create a natural canopy, dappling sunlight on the forest floor. The air is crisp with the scent of endemic flora, and the symphony of bird calls fills the atmosphere. Lephis Forest is home to a remarkable array of wildlife, including leopards, warthogs, bushbuck, mountain nyala, colobus monkeys, and various bird species.

Guided tours, led by knowledgeable members of the Lephis Ecotourism Cooperative, take visitors on a journey through the forest’s trails. Whether on foot or on horseback, each step unveils the secrets of this biodiverse wonderland. The forest, an integral part of the village’s identity, stands as a living testament to the community’s dedication to environmental conservation.

Wildlife Encounters

Leopards: The elusive leopards of Lephis Forest add an air of mystery to every exploration. While sightings are rare, the knowledge that these magnificent creatures roam freely adds an element of excitement to the forest experience.

Colobus Monkeys: Playful and agile, colobus monkeys are a common sight in the treetops. Their distinctive black and white fur makes them easily recognizable, and observing their antics is a highlight of any forest excursion.

Birdwatching Extravaganza: Lephis Forest is a haven for bird enthusiasts. With species like the thick-billed raven, African white-backed vulture, and blue-breasted bee-eater, birdwatchers are in for a treat. Knowledgeable guides ensure you don’t miss a single fluttering wing.

Flora Highlights

Endemic Plant Species: The forest floor is adorned with endemic plant species, contributing to the region’s ecological significance. The Mishikie flower, in particular, adds bursts of color to the green canvas of the forest.

Ancient Trees: Towering trees, some centuries old, create a majestic backdrop. These ancient sentinels have witnessed the evolution of the forest and stand as guardians of Lephis’ natural heritage.

The Enchanting Lephis Waterfall

No visit to Lephis is complete without witnessing the majesty of the Lephis Waterfall. Tumbling down a lush green cliff face, the waterfall is a spectacle that captivates the senses and leaves an indelible impression on all who behold it.

Tranquil Beauty

The Lephis Waterfall, surrounded by verdant foliage, creates a tranquil oasis in the heart of the forest. The soothing sound of cascading water adds to the serenity of the surroundings, making it an ideal spot for reflection and connection with nature.

Accessibility and Viewing Points

Visitors can reach the waterfall via well-maintained trails, offering both ease of access and opportunities for a leisurely hike. Viewing points strategically positioned along the trail provide stunning vantage points, allowing you to marvel at the waterfall from different perspectives.

Conservation Efforts

The Lephis Waterfall is not just a scenic wonder but also a focal point for conservation efforts. The village actively engages in initiatives to preserve the waterfall and its surrounding ecosystem, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy this natural masterpiece.

A Community United for Sustainable Tourism

Lephis Forest

The Lephis Ecotourism Cooperative

At the heart of Lephis’ success in sustainable tourism lies the Lephis Ecotourism Cooperative. Established as a community-driven initiative, the cooperative plays a pivotal role in ensuring that tourism benefits the entire community.

Community-led Guided Tours

Knowledgeable guides, often members of the local community, lead immersive tours through Lephis Forest. These tours provide insights into the rich biodiversity, cultural significance, and conservation efforts that define Lephis.

Horseback Riding Festivals

For a unique and exhilarating experience, visitors can partake in horseback riding festivals organized by the cooperative. Riding through the scenic trails of Lephis Forest, participants connect with nature while contributing to the livelihoods of local residents.

The Mishikie Handcraft Association

Adding a touch of local artistry to the Lephis experience is the Mishikie Handcraft Association. Comprising 17 women and 3 men from the village, this association creates exquisite handmade crafts, including baskets, beaded jewelry, and wood and horn carvings.

Sustainable Livelihoods

Through the sale of their crafts, members of the Mishikie Handcraft Association not only showcase their artistic talents but also contribute to sustainable livelihoods. The association empowers local artisans, promoting economic independence within the community.

Cultural Exchange

Visitors have the opportunity to engage with members of the Mishikie Handcraft Association, gaining insights into the traditional crafting techniques passed down through generations. This cultural exchange adds depth to the overall Lephis experience, fostering a connection between visitors and the local community.

Awards and Recognition

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Recognition

In 2023, Lephis Ecotourism Village earned the prestigious recognition of being one of the Best Tourism Villages by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This accolade highlights Lephis’ commitment to sustainable tourism practices, conservation efforts, and the preservation of local cultural heritage.

Forbes’ Global Recognition

Forbes, in its list of the 54 Best Towns to Visit Worldwide, placed Lephis Ecotourism Village among distinguished global destinations. This recognition not only showcases Lephis on the world tourism map but also emphasizes its unique charm and sustainable tourism initiatives.

Plan Your Visit

As you embark on the journey to Lephis Ecotourism Village, here are some practical details to help you plan your visit:

Contact Information

How to Get There

Lephis is approximately a four-hour drive from Addis Ababa. Visitors can take the scenic route through the Central Rift Valley, enjoying picturesque landscapes along the way.

Accommodation Options

For a truly immersive experience, consider staying in one of Lephis’ eco-friendly lodges or guesthouses. These accommodations not only provide comfort but also contribute to the community’s sustainable tourism initiatives.


As you conclude your virtual journey into the heart of Lephis Ecotourism Village, envision yourself amid the serene landscapes, vibrant culture, and sustainable initiatives that define this remarkable destination. Lephis stands as a testament to the possibilities of harmonizing tourism with nature and community, creating a model that resonates globally.

Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or someone seeking tranquility away from the urban hustle, Lephis welcomes you with open arms. As you plan your future travels, consider adding Lephis Ecotourism Village to your itinerary—a destination where every step you take is a stride towards preserving the beauty of our planet for generations to come.

Safe travels!

Where is Lephis Ecotourism Village located?

Lephis Ecotourism Village is located in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia, four hours from Addis Ababa, in the Gambo Forest Zone of Negele Arsi, Oromia.

How can I book a tour with Lephis Ecotourism Village?

ou can contact Lephis Ecotourism Cooperative through their website visitethiopianow.com or by phone at +251 968495624.

What are the tour options and prices at Lephis Ecotourism Village?

Lephis Ecotourism Village offers three tour options: Waterfall Hike, Dungago Hike, and Overnight Camping Adventure. The prices vary depending on the number of people, the duration, and the services included. You can find more details on our website visitethiopianow.com.

What are the attractions and activities at Lephis Ecotourism Village?

Lephis Ecotourism Village has many attractions and activities for visitors,
such as:
The Lephis Waterfall, a stunning cascade of water that crosses the forest and falls from a high cliff.

The Lephis Forest, a rich and diverse ecosystem with endemic bird and wildlife species, such as leopards, warthogs, bushbuck, mountain nyala, colobus monkeys, thick-billed ravens, African white backed vultures, and blue-breasted bee-eaters.

The Mishike Handicraft Association, a group of local women who produce and sell artistic handicrafts made from local grass and bamboo trees, such as baskets, mats, hats, and bags.

The Horse Riding Festival, a traditional and cultural event that showcases the skills and talents of the local horse handlers and riders.

What are the benefits of visiting Lephis Ecotourism Village?

By visiting Lephis Ecotourism Village, you will not only enjoy a unique and memorable experience in nature and culture, but you will also support the local community and their livelihoods, as well as the conservation and sustainable use of the forest resources. You will also contribute to the recognition and promotion of Lephis Ecotourism Village as one of the best tourism villages in the world.

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