flag Ethiopia Ethiopia: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs e-Visa service
For Further Information
List of diplomatic missions of Ethiopia
 
Check IATA Travel Website for visa requirements and health advices.
 

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Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Most roads are not named, making travelling on your own harder. Addis Ababa has a light rail transportation system, with two tram lines. However, by car or by taxi is still the quickest way to travel around the city.
Maps of Urban Networks
Interactive map of Ethiopia
Maps of Ethiopia

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Addis Ababa Airport - ADD 8 km/5 miles Tuk Tuk - ETB 200-300/10-15 min
Taxi  ETB 30/15-20 min
ETB 5/20-25 min not available available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The railway network is not well developed, whereas there is a comprehensive network of cheap buses along the major roads. Ethiopian Airlines offers some domestic flights. Using a car, however, remains the easiest way of travelling around Ethiopia.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Ethiopian Airlines Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
Ethiopia's road network has gone through an extensive maintenance program in recent years, also thanks to foreign investments. The major roads are paved and adapted to all type of weather, although not all roads have a lightning system. Foreigners can drive in Ethiopia with an international driving permit for a maximum period of three months. For longer periods, an Ethiopian driving license is required. Normally, there is no assistance service in case of breakdown.
Road Maps
Ezilon
Find an Itinerary
ViaMichelin

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
Ethiopia currently has 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including: the Ruins of Aksum (one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa), Rock-Hewn Churches at Lalibela, Fasil Ghebbi (the remains of a fortress city), Harar Jugol (a fortified historic town), and the city of Tiya.
Cultural
Some of the main museums of the country include the National Museum of Ethiopia, the Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum, the Zoological Natural History Museum in Addis Ababa and the Rimbaud Museum in Harar.
Nature
Ethiopia offers a wide variety of landscapes, with mountains, lakes, savannah and rivers. Volcanic lakes can be found in the unique Rift Valley, which is also famous for its collections of birdlife. The waterfall of Tisisat, on the blue Nile falls, is considered as one of the greatest natural spectacles in Africa. Ethiopia also counts 14 major wildlife reserves and national parks, including the Awash National Park, the Simien Mountains National Park, the Omo National Park and the Bale Mountains National Park.
Religious
Ethiopia is a country where several religions coexist, thus there are several points of interest for tourists too, including: the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, the  Azwa Mariam Monastery in Bahir Dar, the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela and the New Church of St. Mary of Zion Axum.
Thermal
The country has many hot springs, such as those in Filwoha (with public baths and showers), Wondo Genet (outside of Addis Ababa), Woliso and the Lakes Abijata and Shala.
Beach
Ethiopia is a landlocked country, thus has no beaches by the sea. However, the country has several lake, both with salt and freshwater (like lakes Abaya, Tana and Langano).
Winter Sports
Being a tropical country, Ethiopia does not offer winter sports activities, though it is one of the few countries in Africa where it may occasionally snow.
Outdoor Activities
Ethiopia has a rich natural variety in terms of landscapes, flora and fauna. In the country, there are several national parks, Awash National Park is the oldest and most developed wildlife reserve in Ethiopia. Other ideal parks for sightseeing include: Omo National Park, Gambela National Park, Bale Mountains National Park and the Simien Mountains National Park.
Shopping
The widest range of local products can be found in the capital Addis Ababa, but all the main tourist destinations have their own handcrafts and markets.
The Merkado market in Addis Ababa is possibly the biggest in Africa, while the Shiromeda market is also famous (especially for traditional clothing). Gallery 21 and Alert Handicraft Shop are more adapt for high-end products.
Generally, bargaining is normal in market places, but not in standard shops.
Tourism Organisations
Ministry of Culture and Tourism

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
Besides normal vaccines (measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella, polio), it is advisable to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, Yellow fever and Thypoid. Vaccine against cholera is advised for individuals at highest risk (i.e. humanitarian aid workers or those working in refugee camps or slums; those caring for people with cholera or after a natural disaster, etc.).
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Fit to Travel website
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
Gov.uk guide to Ethiopia
Contact Your Embassy
Mauritian Embassy in Ethiopia
P.O Box 200222, Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia
Tel: 020 25111 661 5997 (PABX)
Fax: 020 25111 661 4704
Contact the Embassy per Email.
 

Emergency Numbers

Police 999
Ambulance 997
Fire 998
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Addis Ababa (GMT+3)
Summer Time Period
June to August (rainy season)
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Ethiopia is in the tropical zone laying between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. The country has three different climate zones according to elevation:
Tropical zone (Kolla), with an average annual temperature of about 27 degree Celsius and annual rainfall of about 510 millimetres. The Danakil Depression (also known as Danakil Desert), which is about 125 metres below sea level, is the hottest region, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees;
Subtropical zone (Woina dega) - includes the highlands areas of 1830 - 2440 metres in elevation has an average annual temperature of about 22 degrees, with annual rainfall between 510 and 1530 millimetres;
Cool zone (Dega) - above 2440 metres in elevation, with an average annual temperature of about 16 degree and annual rainfall around 1280 millimetres.
For Further Information
National Meteorology Agency
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
The Ethiopian cuisine is much varied, but usually consists of vegetables and very spicy meat dishes. Meals are often served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is about 50 centimetres in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour. Pieces of injera are used to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes. Some of the typical dishes include: Tibs (sautéed meat chunks), Shiro be Kibbe (legume stew),
Berbere (typical spice blend), Kitfo (Ethiopian beef tartare) and Doro wat (chicken stew), Waadii, Anchotte and Baduu.
A typical breakfast includes of fit-fit, or chechebsa, made with kitcha (unleavened bread), niter kibbeh (seasoned clarified butter) and berbere (spice).
A famous tradition is called “gursha,” and it consists of feeding close friends and family a bite during the meal.
Drinks

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and grows hundreds of varieties. Coffee is often served after a ceremony which involves the use of incense, while other times espresso is brewed over a charcoal brazier in a clay urn.
A typical drink is the Tej, a honey wine beverage.

Dietary Restrictions

Fasting days are observed pretty religiously in Ethiopia: on Wednesdays and Fridays almost everyone eats a vegan diet. Lately, the upper classes started having fish on fasting days, but still no dairy.

Muslims and people following the Ethiopian Eastern Orthodox religion have some dietary restrictions (no pork). According to the national census conducted in 2007, 43.5% of the population were reported to be Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, and 33.9% were reported to be Muslim.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Ethiopian Birr
ISO Code
ETB
To Obtain Domestic Currency
It is possible to withdraw the local currency directly from banks’ ATMs (fees apply). There is an array of currency exchange companies in bigger cities.
It is illegal to carry more than ETB 1000 when entering or leaving Ethiopia.
Possible Means of Payment
Payments are generally in cash. Hotels and bigger establishments may accept credit cards.

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Speaking

Official Language
Amharic is the official working language in which all federal laws are published, and it is spoken by millions of Ethiopians as a second language.
Other Languages Spoken
There are 88 individual languages of Ethiopia. Most of these languages belong to the Afroasiatic family.
These languages include: Oromigna, Tigrigna Somaligna Guaragigna, Sidamigna, Hadiyigna, others.
English is a major foreign language taught in schools.
Business Language
Amharic and English
Getting Some Knowledge
The Omniglot website offers useful Amharic phrases.
Free Translation Tools
Amharic Dictionary :
SelamSoft Amharic Dictionary :

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Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
Qefira
RealEthio
Ezega

To Find a Job
Ethiojobs
Ezega

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Latest Update: June 2022