Authentic Ethiopia Tours
Tips for Travellers in Ethiopia PDF Print E-mail


Ethiopia covers an area of 1.2 million square kilometers.


There are two seasons; the dry season prevails from October through May, the wet season runs from June to September.


Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2,000 and 3,000 meters.  In the north and center of the country there are some 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4,000 meters.  The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue Nile (or Abay), which runs a distance of 1,450 kilometers from the source in Lake Tana, to join the White Nile in Khartoum.


About 85 percent of the population earns their living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers.  Agriculture is the back bone of the national economy and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, ulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar and food stuffs for animals.  There is  also thriving livestock sector exporting cattle on the hoof, hides and skin.


Ethiopia uses 220 volts 50 cycles AC.


Ethiopia is in GMT + 3 hours time zone.  Ethiopia follows a Julean Calandar.


Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days and 6 days in leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8.


The population of Ethiopia is estimated at 78 million, over 50 percent of whom are under 20 years old.


Banking hours are usually from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm from Monday to Friday and  from 8:00 am – 11:00 am on Saturdays. 
Closing times may be an hour longer in some private banks.  Most banks work through lunch time;
however foreign exchange services are closed during lunch  hours.


Telephone, fax and internet access is available in Addis Ababa in most hotels, t the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority main office and at private Internet cafes. Reception for cellular phone is available in most part of the country.


The local currency is Ethiopian Birr(ETB), made up of 100 cents. Birr notes are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100.. The coins are 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50. Visitors can take in any amount of foreign currency


Public Holidays are celebrated according to the Ethiopian (Julian) calendar.
Some of this holidays are:

  • September 11       = Ethiopian New Year
  • September 27       = Meskal
  • September 20       = Id ul Fitr
  • January 7              = Chritmas
  • January 19            = Ethiopia Epiphany
  • March 2                = Victory of Adwa
  • April 25                = Ethiopia Good Friday
  • April 27                = Ethiopian Easter
  • May 1                  = International Labour Day
  • May 5                  = Ethiopian Patriot’s Day
  • May 28                = Dawnfall of the Dergue Regime


Western  Union and Money gram the main ways to transfer Money.  Both  have representatives branches in Addis Ababa and also make their services available from private and national banks.


Visitors from countries infected with Cholera and Yellow fever must produce international certificate of vaccination, this is particularly relevant for those travelling from the neighbouring African countries.


Don’t forget the camera, camrecorder and binoculars and take  a torch for finding your way around your camp at night.  Take sun glasses, hat, sun lotion, lip balm ans some inset replent, it is  better not to get stung even if you are taking anti malaria tablets.  It’s better to take any medicines required for the duration of the visit.  While traveller’s cheques can be exchanged in cities, banking facilities in remote areas are restricted, so take plenty of cash.


Most Visitors require visas with the exception of citizens of certain countries of the commonwealth. It is advisable to obtain them in advance from Embassies and High commission as several airlines insist on them prior to departure. They can also be obtained on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. The listed countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visa up on arrival; Argentina, Australia, Austria,, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China Check Republic, Denmark, Finland, Frnace, germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Nethernads, Newzealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slocakia, South Africa,North Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerlnad, United Kingdom, U.S.A., For China Including passports issued in Hongkong(SAR China) and MACAO(SAR China).


In Ethiopia, respecting nature is everyone’s concern.  On every activities, travelers should not collect, or buy wild life bones, teeth, or feathers. Read Responsible Travel.


Not normally obligatory but a tip for exceptional service-a maximum of 10%-will be appreciated.  But remember an excessive tip can make it difficult to the next customer.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 October 2009 05:38