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In spite of this glamour, Ethiopia’s image has been badly tarnished by a series of famines, notably the ‘biblical’ one that led to the first Live Aid concert. These problems, caused by overpopulation and deforestation, only affect the north and east: governments have been trying to persuade, and sometimes force, people to move to the well-watered south. For those interested in history and art, the country is eminently worth a visit – the rock-hewn churches at Lalibela, the painted ceilings of monasteries, the stone colums at Axum, the ‘theme park’ of castles at Gondar, the ancient city of Harar. There is plenty of good scenery too – Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Falls, lakes in the south, desert in the east and several national parks. The food, music and dance are equally unlike anywhere else in Africa. The people are welcoming but also proud, and you can get mildly hassled by kids wanting pen friends, footballs and the like.