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Ethiopia Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


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Ethiopia is a sovereign state in Africa’s Horn. It is bordered to the north and northeast by Eritrea, to the east by Djibouti and Somalia, to the west by Sudan and South Sudan, and to the south by Kenya. Ethiopia, with a population of almost 100 million people, is the most populated landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populous country on the African continent after Nigeria. It has a total land area of 1,100,000 square kilometers (420,000 square miles), and Addis Abeba is its capital and major city.

Some of the earliest evidence for anatomically modern humans has been discovered in Ethiopia, which is commonly thought to be the location from where modern humans first set out towards the Middle East and beyond. Linguists believe that the earliest Afroasiatic-speaking people settled in the Horn area during the Neolithic era. Ethiopia, which dates back to the 2nd millennium BC, was a monarchy for the most of its history. The Kingdom of Aksum maintained a cohesive culture in the region throughout the first century AD, followed by the Ethiopian Empire about 1137.

During the late-nineteenth-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia gained respect by becoming the only African country to beat a European colonial force and preserve its sovereignty. Following their independence, several African nations adopted the colors of Ethiopia’s flag. It was the first independent African member of the League of Nations and the United Nations in the twentieth century. At the end of Haile Selassie’s reign in 1974, power passed to a communist military dictatorship known as the Derg, which was backed by the Soviet Union until it was defeated by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has ruled since around the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

Ethiopia is a multilingual country with over 80 ethnolinguistic groups, the four most populous of which are the Oromo, Amhara, Somali, and Tigrayans. The majority of the population speaks Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. Furthermore, ethnic minority groups in the southern parts speak Omotic languages. The nation’s Nilotic ethnic minority also speak Nilo-Saharan languages.

Ethiopia is the birthplace of the coffee bean, which originated in the town of Kefa (which was one of the 14 provinces in the old Ethiopian administration). With its vast fertile West, jungles, and numerous rivers, and the world’s hottest settlement of Dallol in its north, it is a land of natural contrasts. The Ethiopian Highlands are Africa’s longest continuous mountain range, and the Sof Omar Caves feature the world’s largest cave. Ethiopia has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa.

Ethiopia’s ancient Ge’ez script, commonly known as Ethiopic, is one of the world’s oldest alphabets. The Ethiopian calendar coexists with the Borana calendar, which is about seven years and three months behind the Gregorian calendar. A minor majority of the population is Christian (mostly the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and P’ent’ay), but around one-third is Muslim (primarily Sunni Islam). The nation is home to the Migration to Abyssinia and Negash, Africa’s earliest Muslim community. A sizable group of Ethiopian Jews, known as Bete Israel, lived in Ethiopia until the 1980s, but the majority of them have since moved to Israel.

Ethiopia is a founding member of the United Nations, the Group of 24 (G-24), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77, and the Organization of African Unity. Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Abeba, is home to the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Aviation Training Headquarters, the African Standby Force, and many global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on Africa. Ethiopia’s economy was destroyed by civil wars and communist purges in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the nation has lately begun to recover and currently boasts the largest economy (by GDP) in East and Central Africa. Ethiopia has the 42nd most powerful military in the world, and the third most powerful in Africa, according to Global Fire Power.


Ethiopia’s population is very varied, with over 80 ethnic groupings. The Oromo (34 percent of the population) and Amhara (14 percent of the population) are the two most populous ethnic groupings (27 percent ). Christian (63 percent of the population – 44 percent Ethiopian Orthodox and 19 percent other faiths) and Muslim are the most common religious affiliations (34 percent ).


The main climatic type is tropical monsoon, with significant topographic variation. Ethiopia, being a highland nation, has a climate that is much colder than other areas near the Equator. The majority of the country’s main cities, including ancient capitals like as Gondar and Axum, are situated at altitudes of approximately 2,000-2,500m (6,600-8,200 ft) above sea level.

Addis Abeba, Ethiopia’s modern capital, is located in the foothills of Mount Entoto at an elevation of approximately 2,400m (8,000 ft) and has a healthy and pleasant temperature all year. With generally consistent year-round temperatures, the seasons of Addis Abeba are mainly characterized by rainfall, with a dry season from October to February, a moderate rainy season from March to May, and a major rainy season from June to September. The average annual rainfall is about 1200mm (47 in). On average, there are 7 hours of daylight each day, accounting for 60% of the daytime hours. The dry season is the sunniest time of year, but even in the rainiest months of July and August, there are typically several hours of brilliant sunlight each day.

The average yearly temperature in Addis Abeba is 16°C (61°F), with daytime highs averaging 20-25°C (68-77°F) and nighttime lows averaging 5-10°C (41-50°F) throughout the year. Although a light jacket is suggested for nights, many Ethiopians dress modestly and wear one even throughout the day.

Most major towns and tourist attractions are located at similar elevations to Addis Abeba and have similar temperatures. Lower lying areas, especially in the east of the nation, may have considerably hotter and drier weather. Dallol, located in the Danakil Depression to the east, has the world’s highest average yearly temperature of 34°C (93°F).


Ethiopia is the world’s 27th-largest nation, with 1,126,829 square kilometers (435,071 square miles), and is about the size of Bolivia. It is located between the 3rd parallel north and the 15th parallel north, as well as the 33rd and 48th meridian east.

The majority of Ethiopia is located on the Horn of Africa, which is the easternmost region of the African continent. Sudan and South Sudan border Ethiopia on the west, Djibouti and Eritrea on the north, Somalia on the east, and Kenya on the south. Ethiopia is a large highland complex of mountains and plateaus separated by the Great Rift Valley, which runs usually southwest to northeast and is bordered by lowlands, steppes, or semi-desert. Climate, soils, natural vegetation, and habitation patterns vary greatly due to the vast variety of topography.

Ethiopia has a varied eco-system, ranging from deserts along its eastern border to tropical forests in the south to vast Afromontane in the north and southwest. The Blue Nile’s source is Lake Tana in the north. It also contains several indigenous species, including the gelada, walia ibex, and Ethiopian wolf (“Simien fox”). The country’s broad variation in altitude has resulted in a diversity of biologically different regions, which has aided in the development of unique species in ecological isolation.

Time and calendar

Ethiopia has never accepted the Julian or Gregorian calendar changes and instead utilizes the Ethiopian calendar, which dates back to the Coptic calendar around 25 BC. A Ethiopian year is made up of twelve thirty-day months and a thirteenth month of five or six days (hence the “Thirteen Months of Sunshine” tourism slogan). The Ethiopian new year starts on September 10 or 11 (in the Gregorian calendar) and is 7–8 years behind the Gregorian calendar: therefore, the Ethiopian calendar year for the first nine months of 2007 was 1999. Ethiopians celebrated Enkutatesh (New Year’s Day) for the Julian year 2000 on September 11, 2007.

The 12-hour clock cycles in Ethiopia do not start at midnight and noon, but are six hours apart. As a result, Ethiopians call midnight (or noon) 6 o’clock. The Gregorian calendar and the 24-hour clock are used in airline schedules. All of our Ethiopian listings utilize the 24-hour format to prevent misunderstanding.


Ethiopia has 31 indigenous mammalian species. The African wild dog was formerly widely distributed throughout the continent. However, because to recent observations in Finicha’a, this canid is believed to be locally extinct. The Ethiopian wolf is probably the best studied of all Ethiopia’s endangered animals.

Ethiopia is a worldwide avian diversity hotspot. Ethiopia now has around 856 bird species, with twenty of them being indigenous to the nation. Sixteen species are on the verge of extinction or are severely endangered. A significant number of these birds, such as the Bicyclus anynana, eat on butterflies.

Historically, animal populations have been quickly decreasing throughout the African continent owing to deforestation, civil conflicts, pollution, poaching, and other human causes. Ethiopia’s natural circumstances have been severely affected by a 17-year civil war, as well as severe drought, resulting in even more habitat destruction. Endangered species are a result of habitat loss. Animals do not have enough time to adapt to fast changes in their environment. Many species are threatened by human influence, with further risks anticipated as a consequence of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Ethiopia produces just 0.02 percent of the yearly human-caused production of greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide emissions of 6,494,000 tonnes in 2010.

A significant number of species in Ethiopia are classified as severely endangered, endangered, or vulnerable to extinction. Critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable are the three categories of threatened species in Ethiopia, according to IUCN classifications.


Ethiopians have increased in number from 33.5 million in 1983 to 87.9 million in 2014. In the nineteenth century, the population was just around 9 million people. According to the findings of the 2007 Population and Housing Census, Ethiopia’s population increased at an average yearly rate of 2.6 percent between 1994 and 2007, down from 2.8 percent between 1983 and 1994. The population growth rate is now in the top 10 in the world. By 2060, the population is expected to reach over 210 million, representing a 2.5-fold increase over 2011 projections.

The population of the nation is very varied, with over 80 distinct ethnic groups. According to the 2007 Ethiopian national census, the Oromo ethnic group is Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, accounting for 34.4 percent of the country’s population. The Amhara people make up 27.0 percent of Ethiopia’s population, while Somalis and Tigrayans make up 6.22 percent and 6.08 percent, respectively. Sidama 4.00 percent, Gurage 2.52 percent, Welayta 2.27 percent, Afar 1.73 percent, Hadiya1.72 percent, Gamo 1.49 percent, and others12.6 percent are the other major ethnic groupings.

The bulk of the population is made up of people who speak Afroasiatic languages. Semitic speakers frequently refer to themselves collectively as the Habesha people. The etymological foundation of “Abyssinia,” the previous name of Ethiopia in English and other European languages, is the Arabic version of this word (al-abasha). Furthermore, Nilo-Saharan-speaking ethnic minority live in the country’s southern parts, especially in the Gambela Region, which borders South Sudan. The Nuer and Anuak are the two biggest ethnic groups in the area.

Ethiopia housed about 135,200 refugees and asylum seekers in 2009. The bulk of these people came from Somalia (about 64,300 people), Eritrea (41,700 people), and Sudan (41,700 people) (25,900). Nearly all Ethiopian refugees were forced to reside in refugee camps by the Ethiopian government.


Ethiopia has always had strong historical connections to all three Abrahamic faiths. The area was one of the first in the globe to formally embrace Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century. The monophysites, which comprised the majority of Christians in Egypt and Ethiopia, were branded as heretics under the common term of “Coptic Christianity” in 451 as a consequence of the Council of Chalcedon’s decisions. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest Christian denomination, despite the fact that it is no longer recognized as a state religion. There is also a sizable Muslim community, accounting for about a third of the population. Ethiopia was also the location of the Hegira, a significant Islamic exodus. Negash is the oldest Muslim village in Africa, located in the Tigray Region. Ethiopia had a large population of Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) until the 1980s.

Christians account for 62.8 percent of the country’s population (43.5 percent Ethiopian Orthodox, 19.3 percent other denominations), Muslims 33.9 percent, traditional faith practitioners 2.6 percent, and other religions 0.6 percent, according to the 2007 National Census. According to the most recent edition of the CIA World Factbook, Christianity is Ethiopia’s most commonly practiced religion. Muslims account up 33.9 percent of the population, according to the most recent CIA factbook. Sunnis make up the majority of Muslims, with non-denominational Muslims coming in second, and Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims making up the minority. The majority of Sunnis are Shafi’is or Salafis, although there are also numerous Sufi Muslims in the area. The significant Muslim population in northern Afar has spawned the “Islamic State of Afaria,” a Muslim separatist organization demanding a sharia-compliant constitution.

When Frumentius of Tyre, also known as Fremnatos or Abba Selama (“Father of Peace”) in Ethiopia, converted Emperor Ezana of Axum in the fourth century, the Kingdom of Aksum became one of the earliest polities to embrace Christianity. According to the New Testament, Christianity had already reached Ethiopia when Philip the Evangelist baptized an official from the Ethiopian royal treasury.

Although a number of P’ent’ay (Protestant) churches have lately gained popularity, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, is by far the biggest denomination today. A tiny Ethiopian Catholic Church has been in full communion with Rome since the 18th century, with members accounting for less than 1% of the entire population.

Islam in Ethiopia goes back to the year 622, when Muhammad advised a group of Muslims to leave Mecca because they were being persecuted. The followers then traveled to Abyssinia through modern-day Eritrea, which was governed by Ashama ibn-Abjar, a devout Christian monarch at the time. Ethiopians were also the biggest non-Arab ethnic group among the Sahabah.

Although the Beta Israel, a tiny historic community of Jews, reside in northern Ethiopia, the majority of them moved to Israel during the latter decades of the twentieth century as part of the Israeli government’s rescue operations, Operation Moses and Operation Solomon.

Traditional faiths are practiced by approximately 1,957,944 Ethiopians, according to the 2007 Population and Housing Census. Other religions are practiced by 471,861 people. While adherents of all faiths may be found in every location, they prefer to congregate in certain areas. Christians are mostly from the non-Chalcedonian Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and reside in the northern Amhara and Tigray areas. The Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNP) and Oromia are home to P’ent’ay people. Muslims in Ethiopia are mostly Sunni Muslims who live in the eastern and northeastern regions, especially Somalia, Afar, Dire Dawa, and Harari. Traditional faiths are mostly practiced in the SNNP, Benishangul-Gumuz, and Gambela areas of the country’s extreme southwestern and western rural borders.

Human rights organizations have accused the Ethiopian government of arresting activists, journalists, and bloggers to quell dissent among some religious communities, despite the Ethiopian government’s claim that the growing influence of Wahhabism and the Salafi movement from Saudi Arabia poses a legitimate security threat in recent years. On August 3, 2015, 17 Muslim activists were sentenced to jail sentences ranging from seven to 22 years. They were accused of attempting to establish an Islamic state in a mostly Christian nation. All of the accused disputed the accusations, claiming that they were just exercising their right to free speech.


Ethiopia had one of the world’s fastest growing economies, according to the IMF, with an annual growth rate of above 10% from 2004 to 2009. In 2007 and 2008, it was the fastest-growing non-oil-dependent African economy. Ethiopia’s economy grew rapidly between 2004 and 2014, according to the World Bank, with real domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 10.9 percent.

The advent of twin macroeconomic problems of high inflation and a challenging balance of payments scenario threatened Ethiopia’s growth performance and significant development achievements between 2008 and 2011. Because of weak monetary policy, a significant public service pay rise in early 2011, and high food costs, inflation reached 40% in August 2011. With the adoption of restrictive monetary and fiscal policies, end-year inflation is expected to be about 22% in 2011/12, and single digit inflation is expected in 2012/13.

Despite recent rapid development, the economy’s GDP per capita is among the lowest in the world, and it confronts a number of severe structural issues. Ethiopia’s economy, on the other hand, is tackling its structural issues by investing heavily in public infrastructure and industrial parks in order to become a center for light manufacturing in Africa. Agricultural production is still poor, and the nation is still plagued by droughts. “Ethiopia is sometimes jokingly referred to as Eastern Africa’s “water tower” because of the many (14 major) rivers that flow from the high tableland,” including the Nile. “It also possesses Africa’s largest water reserves, but insufficient irrigation infrastructure to make use of them. Only 1% and 1.5 percent are utilized to generate electricity “for the purpose of irrigation.” Ethiopia, on the other hand, has recently built a number of large dams for hydroelectricity and irrigation. Despite Egypt’s protests, Ethiopia is building Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam (GERD dam) on the Nile River, with a capacity of 6000 megawatts.

Telecommunications services are provided by a state-owned monopoly. The present administration believes that retaining state ownership in this crucial industry is necessary to guarantee that communications infrastructure and services be expanded to rural Ethiopia, where private companies would not be interested.

The Ethiopian constitution states that only “the state and the people” have the right to possess property, although residents may lease land for up to 99 years and cannot mortgage or sell it. Land may be rented for a maximum of twenty years, which is intended to guarantee that the land is allocated to the most productive user. When it comes to land distribution and management, corruption is regarded entrenched, and facilitation fees and bribes are often requested when dealing with land-related problems.

How To Travel To Ethiopia

By plane Ethiopian Airlines is one of Africa's most successful and renowned airlines, providing better service on foreign flights to any Star Alliance member airline in the United States. Ethiopian Airlines' major hub is Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, which also serves Lufthansa, Sudan Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways,...

How To Travel Around Ethiopia

By plane Ethiopian Airlines is inexpensive and offers a wide range of domestic services. Because flights are often overbooked, it is essential to confirm your tickets at least a day ahead of time and arrive at the airport on time. If you fail to reconfirm, they may presume you won't...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Ethiopia

Except for citizens of Djibouti and Kenya, and foreigners in transit at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for a few hours to catch a connecting flight and who do not leave the airport or pass through the Immigration Desk, all visitors must acquire an entrance visa. Tourists from 33...

Destinations in Ethiopia

Cities in Ethiopia Addis Ababa – Addis Abeba is the capital of Ethiopia and one of Africa's largest retail cities.Adama (also known as Nazret or Nazareth) – popular weekend destination near AddisAxum (Aksum) – In the extreme north, Axum (Aksum) is the home of ancient tombs and stelae fields.Bahir Dar...

Things To See in Ethiopia

Huge obelisks in AxumHistoric routes, churches and mosques Lalibela, Axum, Gondar, HararVolcanic lake Danakil Depression and Erta AleRift Valley lakes Wonchi crater lake, Langano, TanaNational Parks such as MenengeshaMany beautiful churches in Addis AbabaRock-hewn churches in LalibelaCastles in GondarNorthern historic circuit. A loop from Addis Abeba through Lake Tana, Gondar, Axum, Lalibela, and...

Food & Drinks in Ethiopia

Food in Ethiopia In Ethiopia, injera is widespread. It is a spongy, tangy-flavored bread produced from the grain teff, which grows in Ethiopia's highlands. It has the appearance and feel of a crepe or pancake. It's served with wot (or wat), which are traditional stews prepared with spices, pork, or...

Money & Shopping in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian birr (ETB) is the local currency, and it is one of the more stable African currencies. In September 2013, €1 was worth 25 birr, GBP1 was worth 30 birr, and USD1 was worth 19 birr. There are 100 santim to the birr, and coins of 1, 5,...

Traditions & Customs in Ethiopia

Ethiopians are very proud of their heritage, culture, and nation. Avoid criticizing their cultural way of life, particularly their type of Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox). Avoid any heated theological debates at all costs, or you risk losing all good will and hospitality that might have been extended to you. Rather...

Internet & Communications in Ethiopia

Telephone The dialing code for Ethiopia is 251. Addis Abeba's city code is 011. (or 11 from outside Ethiopia). Mobile Ethiopia has among of the poorest connections in the world. Ethio Telecom (ETC) operates the mobile telecom network, which utilizes GSM (like in Europe/Africa) and has limited 3G (1x EV-DO service) and...

Language & Phrasebook in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's first official language is Amharic. The language is a Semitic language linked to Hebrew and Arabic, and you will recognize some cognates if you are familiar with either. Everyone in the nation speaks Amharic to some degree, regardless of their native language. The Ge'ez script is used to...

Culture Of Ethiopia

Naming Ethiopians have a distinct naming system from the Western family name-based one. Children add their father's and paternal grandfather's given names sequentially to their own given name. As with passports, the grandfather's given name is used as a family surname for compatibility reasons, and a person's given name plus...

History of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the world's oldest autonomous countries. It has historically served as a crossroads for the civilizations of North Africa, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia was never colonized, and it maintained its independence during the Scramble for Africa, save for five years (1936–41) when it...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Ethiopia

Stay Safe in Ethiopia In comparison to Kenya, Mexico, and South Africa, Ethiopia has a low crime rate. Beyond the city of Harar, avoid traveling to the country's east. Somali separatist organizations conduct guerrilla assaults on a regular basis. The majority of foreigners that travel there are US military personnel who...



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