How do I get visa?
You will need a visa except if you are a citizen of Kenya or Djibouti. Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas. However, nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge.
The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and the United States.
For China including passports issued in Hong Kong and MACAO, a visa is available on arrival. Citizens from European Union can get their tourist visa on arrival.
These information may be changed by the authorities without notice. We invite you to check with the ETHIOPIAN Embassy of your residence before your travel. The passport must be valid after your return date.
Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and malaria tablets?
A yellow fever immunisation is a requirement only if you are coming from an infected area. Malaria exists in the Rift Valley, Omo Region and at Lake Tana. The highlands are not affected. You must consult your doctor at least 4 weeks before your travel.
Be sure that you update the following vaccinations: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, meningitis.
When is the best time to visit Ethiopia?
All the year round. The roads are in very good shape. All touristic places are accessible even during rainy seasons.
Ethiopia can be visited at any time of the year. The northern part of Ethiopia has a different climate than the south. The north has a rainy season during our summer months. Although there is substantial rain fall, it is still possible to make nice trips to the north at this time (July and August). Visiting Ethiopia at the rainy season has also its advantages.
The scenery is particularly wonderful green in September and early October. At this time the whole country will be a riot of wild flowers.
The best time to visit Ethiopia though is probably from October – March (the dry season). South-Ethiopia (Omo Valley) has a short rainy season in November and again in late March and early April but apart from that, this is a nice period to travel. During the rains the roads in the south can be severely affected, thus it may be necessary to adjust the route.
What is the climate in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia’s climate reflects its topography.
The highlands are classed as temperate with an average daytime temperature 60°F (16°C).
The far South and the eastern lowland are hot and dry. The western lowlands are hot and humid.
What is the local food like?
The traditional local staple is injera a large flat pancake made off teff (a type of grain grown in Ethiopia). It is accompanied by spicy stews.
There is usually Italian cuisine but we recommend you to try the local cuisine.
Ethiopia produces wine a honey-based mead, tej.
Vegetarians and people preferring gluten-free food will really be surprised by the diversity of the food.
Are mobile networks and internet access widely available in Ethiopia ?
Telephone and internet access are available in most tourist places.
There are internet services at hotels, telecommunication offices and at private internet cafes in Addis and most of the towns outside of Addis Ababa.
Is Ethiopia safe?
Most parts of Ethiopia are safe.
To ensure your safety, we avoid the border areas of Eritrea and Somalia, which are relatively insecure.
Other parts of the country are stable and safe.
Which languages are spoken in Ethiopia ?
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic and multi lingual state.
There are over 83 languages spoken in the country with 200 dialects. Amharic is the working language in Ethiopia. Other major languages include Oromigna, Somali and Tigrigna.
English is also widely spoken.
Amharic is the most prominent of the local languages. The name originates from the Amhara people, who live in the highlands of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian languages belong to one of four main language groups: Semitic (Such as Amharic and Tigrigna), Cushitic (such as Afar Oromo), Omotic and Nilo-Saharan. A useful phrase book will provide phonetic guides to aid pronunciation.
What kind of clothing is needed ?
Because of elevation, temperature rarely exceed 25 degree celcius (77 Fahrenheit) in most of the country, although in some of the lower lying areas (Awash, Omo and Mago parks) it can get considerably hotter.
Pack light clothes for the daytime and jacket or sweater for the evenings, and a good pair of walking shoes even if you are not going trekking; path ways around historic sites are usually uneven and stony.
Trekkers in the Semian and Bale Mountains will need warm clothes, waterproofs and 3-4 seasons’ sleeping bags.
A cultural note: Ethiopians are generally modest dressers and visitors should be sensitive about going underdressed into places of worship. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques-for getting around sites like Lalibela with its many churches airline socks are very useful.
Can I take pictures of places and people ?
As a matter of courtesy, permission should be sought before photographing individuals and in many parts of the country, particularly among the Afar and among the ethnic groups living by the Omo River people may/will demand a fee.
In some sites (Blue Nile falls for example) there is a charge for video photography.
Which timezone is Ethiopia located in ?
Ethiopia is in the GMT+3 hours time zone.
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar which consists of twelve months of 30 days each and a thirteenth month of five or six days.
What type of accomodation is available ?
Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all budgets, from the luxurious Sheraton, Hilton and Intercontinental hotels to a growing number of 4 star and tourist standard hotels.
Standards for lodges and hotels vary outside the capital and there are very good standard lodges and hotels in all routes.
There are also a number of eco-lodges built recently, even in the Omo and Mago areas where camping was the most common form of accommodation.
What type of domestic transport is available ?
Traveling by road allows visitors to experience Ethiopia’s wonderful scenery. The road sector has developed. The total road network has grown by some 20,262 km to about 46,812 km, of which 54% is now in a good and serviceable condition.
There is a plan to construct a new rail-road that connects Ethiopia to the Red Sea Port of Djibouti.
Ethiopian Airlines has an extensive domestic network of flights. It flies to 43 airfields and 21 landing strips. There are also many major international airlines flying in and out of Addis Ababa offering a wide range of international flight services.
How can I pay in Ethiopia ?
The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 cents.
Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, provided declaration of such currency (on the appropriate blue-colored form) is made to customs on arrival. Foreign currency may only be changed at authorized banks and hotels.
The currency declaration form must be attained as this will be required by customs on departure.
Visitors, however, will be able to change back any excess Ethiopian Birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. If you do have Ethiopian Birr to cash at the airport, you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all the receipts for exchange transaction.
If you find this a little confusing, please have a member of our team explain it fully to you and help you with it if necessary.
What are the duty-free permissions ?
Duty free imports are permitted for up to:
- 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 1/2 lb of tobacco
- 1 litre of alcoholic beverages
- 1/2 litre, or two bottles, of perfumes.
- Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding Ethiopian Birr 500, although some articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.
Can I use my electrical and electronical appliances in Ethiopia ?
Power is rated at 220 Volts.
What kind of souvenirs can I bring back ?
Many antiques cannot be exported and may be confiscated if found in airport searches. The National Museum in Addis Ababa can issue a clearance certificate.
If there was one thing we should not miss, what would you recommend ?
Lalibela is the top of the list for any first time visitor. Lalibela is considered as a replica of Jerusalem and the rock-hewn churches are utterly remarkable.
Can I create a custom tour of Ethiopia ?
Yes, certainly. Our tours can be customized to focus on photography, wildlife, birding or other general interests of our clients. We are happy to cater to special requests and interests of our guests.