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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.

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Ethiopia - Info Card




Birr (ETB)

Time zone



1,104,300 km2 (426,400 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Afar, Amharic, Oromo, Somali, Tigrinya

Ethiopia - Introduction


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.


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 ).

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’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 write the language.

Many individuals under the age of 40 in major cities speak some English. (The Commonwealth form of English, as used in neighboring Kenya and Uganda, is the main foreign language taught in schools, with textbooks provided by both the British Council and the EU.) Find local schoolchildren to translate for you in remote regions for a price that may be close to nothing. (Ethiopians speak English in a unique manner. It may be difficult to comprehend at first due to the highly accented nature of the language. However, after you’ve gotten accustomed to how they sound certain English terms, it’ll be pretty intelligible.) Due to the influence of the previous Derg government, older Ethiopians, particularly those from the Tigray area or Eritrea (which was formerly a state of Ethiopia), may speak Italian, while other seniors may speak Russian or Cuban-accented Spanish.

Tigrinya, which is also written in Ge’ez, is the main language in the north, particularly in Tigray. Amharic, on the other hand, is widely understood. Oromifa, also known as Afaan Oromo, is extensively spoken in the central highlands. Oromifa use the Latin alphabet. Somali is widely spoken in the Ogaden area, which is mainly situated in Somali regional state (near the borders with Somalia and Somaliland), and is written in a Latin script; Arabic is also widely spoken, with a Yemeni influence. French becomes somewhat more prevalent towards the border with Djibouti.


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.

Entry 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 countries have been able to acquire entrance visas on arrival at Addis Abeba’s Bole International Airport and Dire Dawa’s airport since 2002. In April 2013, the cost for a three-month visa-on-arrival was USD20 or €17 (cash only), regardless of whether the applicant was applying for a Tourist, Business, or Transit Visa. (As of March 2015, the cost of a one-month tourist visa is USD50.) Thanks to a combination visa and bank system, it may also be paid in a variety of foreign currencies.) The process is pretty fast and easy; just search for a door with the word “Visa” written on it on the left before the immigration desks. You may get a visa in advance of your trip from your local Ethiopian embassy, however the line at the airport is often longer for people who already have visas than for those who obtain the visa at the airport. This is due to the fact that all Ethiopian passport holders must wait alongside those who have already acquired visas in advance, and the bulk of incoming passengers are Ethiopian nationals.

It seems that obtaining a visa from an overseas consulate (e.g., Kampala, Cairo) is often difficult, since there is a policy of not issuing visas to non-residents. However, there seem to be exceptions. It takes around 15 minutes and costs $100 for a one-month visa and $150 for a three-month visa to get a visa at the Tel Aviv embassy. If necessary, you may apply for several entry visas at the same time. As of July 2012, obtaining an Ethiopian visa in Khartoum was similarly simple. A completed form, USD20, and two pictures sent in the morning were sufficient to get the visa that afternoon. Depending on the attitude of the consular authorities, they are sometimes for one month and sometimes for two. Extending a visa in Addis Abeba is a day-long ordeal, so keep that in mind if you intend to remain for longer than four weeks. For some countries, flying in or mailing your passport back to your home consulate may be the only method to get a visa.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your arrival and include at least one blank page.

How To Travel To Ethiopia

Get In - 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, KLM, Turkish Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Egypt Air, and fly Dubai. In 2003, a new runway and international terminal opened, claiming to be the biggest in Sub-Saharan Africa. International flights depart at Terminal 2, while local and regional flights depart from Terminal 1 (Djibouti, Nairobi, Khartoum, and other destinations). There are direct flights to and from Addis Ababa from Los Angeles, Newark, and Washington, D.C. in the United States. A direct trip isn’t really “direct” since each of these three routes has a layover in either Dublin or Lomé, depending on the airline you choose. Direct flights should not be confused with nonstop flights, which do not have any stops.

People will most likely approach you to assist you with your luggage. They’re mostly harmless and simply seeking for a buck, but it’s a good moment to misplace a bag. Twenty people will ask for a gratuity if you had one person assist you. One to five Birr is a sufficient tip if you have someone assist you, but most first-time tourists will not have Ethiopian money and will need to offer them international cash. If you hire a driver to bring you up from the airport, they will usually handle all of your tips.

Caution: It is not advisable to arrive in the nation without a significant currency such as euros or US dollars, particularly if you have not acquired a visa in advance (This has changed as of March 2015 as there are ATMs taking Visa and Mastercard at the airport aswell as forex-services taking a wide range of currencies). In most cases, travellers’ checks and cash may be exchanged at the airport. When foreigners arrive, they are often welcomed by a crowd of locals who offer to “assist” them put their baggage into vehicles. They’ll demand money after that, and if you’re unfamiliar with Ethiopian currency, you’ll probably give them more than you meant. A reasonable remuneration for a small job such as putting baggage into a vehicle would be between 5 and 15 birr (ignore requests for more money because you are a foreigner).

Dire Dawa, Mekele, and Bahir Dar all have international airports.

Get In - By car

This is an excellent method to see Ethiopia, but it is more costly than public transportation. Outside of Addis Ababa, there are limited rental vehicle services, therefore you may choose to rely on the services of tour organizations that provide cars and 4x4s with drivers.

Border crossings from neighboring countries include the Sudanese border town of Metema.

Moyale is the Kenyan border town. The route between Kenya and Ethiopia through Moyale is considerably better and more well-maintained. The route on the Kenyan side of Moyale is terrible and notorious for banditry, so be cautious and allow plenty of time to drive from Moyale to Nairobi (at least 24 hours). The road, however, is presently being reconstructed and paved, with major parts completed.

Get In - By bus

You can get to the border via public transportation. You just stroll to the opposite side of the Sudan or Kenya crossings. If you arrive late at night at the border towns, avoid crossing the border in the dark. Wait in town and start your journey in the morning.

Buses that go a long distance begin running early in the morning. This means that if you arrive during the day, you will be stranded until the following morning at the very least.

Take a rough bus or truck (SDG700) to the border from Gedaref (Sudan). On the Sudanese side, there are a few small settlements and a larger town. Better, though still modest, lodging is available in Ethiopia. Buses to Gonder run out by mid-afternoon, so you’ll have to be there early or spend the night in Metema (around 50 birr).

From Djibouti, take a small bus to the border (2-3 hours) where buses to Dire Dawa are available. This is a dirt road, and the journey takes at least half a day; the bus will halt at nighttime, and you will continue your journey the following day. A bus from Ethiopia to Djibouti is scheduled to depart after midnight (buy tickets during the day at the office in the centre of Dire Dawa). This bus arrives in the morning at the Djibouti border, where you will transfer to a separate bus to go to Djibouti City. Hyenas prowl the streets of Dire Dawa at night, so taking a tuk-tuk to the bus terminal is a smart option.

How To Travel Around Ethiopia

Get Around - 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 show up and offer your tickets to others.

Tip: Purchasing Ethiopian Airlines tickets on the internet is far more costly than booking at their Addis Ababa office. For example, the route Addis The> Gondar -> Lalibela -> Addis was offered on-line for USD450, however the ticket cost just USD150 at their booking office (in the Hilton in Addis). Even better, if you book your international ticket to Ethiopia via Ethiopian Airlines’ website, you’ll save 50% on internal flights. Even if you landed on a different airline than Ethiopian, you can still receive the reduced rates (booked at Ethiopian offices) provided you show evidence of an international reservation with Ethiopian, whether or not you have flown the trip. To receive the discount, book a refundable or low-cost flight from Hargeisa or Nairobi in the future and provide the ticket number when purchasing domestic flights.

Abyssinia Flight Services, situated on TeleBole Road, just down the street from the airport, offers chartered flights (both to serviced airfields and “bush flights”). National Airways, Abyssinia Flight Services, and a few government-owned businesses provide helicopter service.

Bole airport parking costs 5 birr (about USD0.27) and must be paid in cash to the parking staff upon arrival.

Get Around - By bus

The ubiquitous minibuses or matatus (typically Toyota Highace vans that seat up to 14 people) that operate throughout the region; small to large sized passenger buses called “Higer bus” (named after the manufacturer) that frequently travel between regions (“1st level” to “3rd level” indicating the class); luxury buses (Korean modern standard buse) that operate between regions

Along the main highways, there is an extensive network of inexpensive Higer buses, but they are sluggish and rudimentary. Buses traveling lesser distances usually depart when they are fully loaded (in reality, this means once every hour or so); almost all long-distance buses depart around daybreak (06:00 or twelve on the Ethiopian clock). Buses do not travel at night; they will stop before sunset at a town or hamlet with passenger accommodations, or in the plain countryside between Dire Dawa and Djibouti. Minibuses will travel between certain cities (for example, Adama and Addis Ababa) after the bigger buses have halted for the night. By law, every passenger on the bus must have a seat; this avoids congestion, although it may be difficult to catch a bus from a stop along the route. If you intend to travel by bus, bear in mind that nearly all of the buses are old and dirty, and the majority of the roads are in poor condition (as of March 2015, this is quickly changing due to an improving economy and Chinese infrastructure improvements).

In most areas, the major highways are currently in excellent condition). Because Ethiopians dislike opening bus windows, the inside of the bus becomes hot and humid by afternoon. If you want to get some fresh air, seat as near as possible to the driver or one of the doors, since the driver leaves his window open and the conductor and his helper often open the door windows. Riding the minibuses and Higer may be hazardous, since they are a major contributor to Ethiopia’s ranking as one of the most dangerous places to drive in the world. When changing lanes, many drivers do not utilize mirrors and simply ignore the potential of approaching traffic.

Around 5:00 a.m., the bus terminals typically open. If you want to catch an early morning bus, arrive at the station by 5:00 a.m. They are very hectic first thing in the morning, and many buses will sell out of seats before leaving at 6:00 a.m. You may frequently purchase a ticket in advance to make things simpler and less hectic. The day before you want to go, locate the proper window at the bus terminal in Addis and purchase your ticket there. (If you don’t know Amharic, you’ll need assistance locating the window, although there are generally people willing to help if you ask.) The ticket will be written in Amharic, but somewhere on it will be a readable bus number. Simply go to the bus terminal the following morning and look for that bus.

In smaller cities, you may often purchase a ticket from the conductor when the bus comes from its last journey the afternoon before your trip. Arrive early and secure a seat as soon as possible, even if you already have a ticket. If you don’t have a ticket, you’ll have to rely on others to point you in the right direction (unless you can read Amharic). In this scenario, don’t spend time attempting to purchase a ticket from the bus conductor or at the window; instead, get on board and grab a seat! A ticket will be sold to you later by the conductor. Large backpacks and most baggage will have to go up on the roof, while medium-sized bags may typically fit beneath the seats. Before you start worrying about your baggage, make sure you claim your seat. Luxury buses, on the other hand, take a more formal approach, with numbered seats and designated baggage lockers underneath the vehicle. Any individual who assists you with your baggage, including the one who passes it up to the conductor’s helper on the roof, will be expecting a modest gratuity (around 2-3 birr).

On several routes (Addis – Dire Dawa, Bahardar – Addis), you may also come across unofficial traveller cars with no fixed departure; while browsing a bus station, you may be approached by someone offering you a faster connection by taking a private car; this is more expensive than taking the regular bus, but it is also much faster. You will be given a mobile phone number to contact to schedule an appointment. These vehicles may depart before sunset or drive at all hours of the night.

Get Around - By car

Traveling across Ethiopia by automobile is a great way to see the country. You can speed up your trip by flying, but driving will give you a better view of the countryside. Galaxy Express Services, NTO, Dinknesh, and Focus Tours Ethiopia, as well as Ethiopia Safaris and Journeys Abyssinia with Zawdu, are also reasonably priced tour operators. They can take you off the main path to explore Ethiopia’s natural beauty and attractions.

However, renting a vehicle is very costly (starting from 600-900 birr depending on the condition and quality; 600 birr for a cheap car with driver). However, if you need a vehicle for at least 8 passengers, it would cost between 1,000 and 3,000 birr each day. Due to the country’s inflationary pressures, prices will fluctuate during this time. Drivers pass on their spare-parts expenses, and if gasoline prices rise, they will have to raise the price. The qualifications of a driving guide should be verified, including his or her tourist license, insurance, and engine (external and internal). Before signing a contract, you should ask the driver-guide about tourist routes using a trip guide book (e.g., Lonely Planet or Bradt Guide), but keep in mind that this information may be outdated. Check your license plates if you’re traveling to Ethiopia’s “deep south,” since officials there check in and record “3” plate tourist vehicles, taking the names of the passengers and passport numbers. On certain routes and sites, they’ll require a letter from the tour operator to prove the agent is legitimate. A litre of petrol costs 21 birr. Before you start refueling, double-check that the pump is zeroed.

Ethiopia has a number of roadways, some of which are in excellent condition:

Road 1: Addis Ababa-Asmara via Dessie and Mekelle

Road 3: Addis Ababa-Axum via Bahir Dar and Gonder

Road 4: Addis Ababa-Djibouti via Nazret (Adama), Awash and Dire Dawa

Road 5: Addis Ababa-Gambela via Alem Zena and Nekemte

Road 6: Addis Ababa-Jimma via Giyon

Road 48: Nekemte-Gambela National Park via Gambela

TAH 4 to the north: Cairo via Khartoum and Bahir Dar

TAH 4 to the south: Cape Town via Gaborone, Lusaka, Dodoma, Nairobi and Awasa

TAH 6 to the east: Djibouti via Dessie

TAH 6 to the west: Ndjamena via Darfur

Get Around - By bicycle

Road conditions vary greatly across Ethiopia; some roads are well-maintained while others are littered with big stones. Accommodation is inexpensive and widely accessible in virtually every community (although these “hotels” usually double as bars and brothels). Food and beverages are also readily accessible. You will draw a lot of attention (it is not uncommon for whole schools to empty out as the children run after you). Expect stones and sticks to be hurled at you, particularly in the south.

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 Addis
  • Axum (Aksum) – In the extreme north, Axum (Aksum) is the home of ancient tombs and stelae fields.
  • Bahir Dar – monasteries on Lake Tana’s islands and the stunning Blue Nile Falls nearby
  • Dire Dawa – the second largest city; in the east
  • Gondar – some of East Africa’s only castles
  • Harar – ancient walled city near Dire Dawa
  • Lalibela – 11 magnificent rock-hewn churches may be found here.
  • Mekele – a town in the Tigrayan Highlands in the north

Other destinations in Ethiopia

Ethiopia ranks among African nations such as Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia in terms of conserving and maintaining national parks as tourism attractions. The country’s southern and south-western regions have outstanding natural beauty and a high tourist potential.

  • Abijatta Shalla Lakes National Park
  • Awash National Park
  • Mago National Park
  • Omo National Park
  • Rift Valley lakes – seven lakes that are a popular weekend getaway for Addis residents, great for birding, water sports or relaxing at the luxury resorts
  • Simien National Park
  • Sodere – spa resort

Things To See in Ethiopia

  • Huge obelisks in Axum
  • Historic routes, churches and mosques Lalibela, Axum, Gondar, Harar
  • Volcanic lake Danakil Depression and Erta Ale
  • Rift Valley lakes Wonchi crater lake, Langano, Tana
  • National Parks such as Menengesha
  • Many beautiful churches in Addis Ababa
  • Rock-hewn churches in Lalibela
  • Castles in Gondar
  • Northern historic circuit. A loop from Addis Abeba through Lake Tana, Gondar, Axum, Lalibela, and back to Addis, but the circle may also be completed in the other way. Destinations are affordable and reachable by domestic airlines, but you might want to consider taking the bus from Addis to Bahir Dar to experience the awe-inspiring and switch-backing descent from the highlands deep down into the Blue Nile gorge and back up again, as well as the abundant wildlife you’ll see on this stretch of road. A new paved road has been constructed, and in collaboration with luxury bus operators, this arduous bus journey has been transformed into a pleasant experience.

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 lentils. Doro (chicken) wat, yebeg (lamb) wat, and asa (fish) wat are all popular.

The injera is served straight on a big circular dish or tray, with wat arranged symmetrically around a center item. The different wats are eaten with additional injera pieces provided on a side dish. Injera is eaten with the right hand; tear a big piece of injera off the side dish and scoop up one of the wat flavors on the main platter. Eating with the left hand is considered impolite since it is historically used for personal hygiene and therefore considered dirty. Firfir: fried, shredded injera is another classic injera meal. It may be served with or without meat, as well as with a variety of vegetables.

If you prefer vegetarian cuisine, try the shiro wat, an oily bean stew served with injera. Shiro is popular during Ethiopian “fasting days,” when pious Ethiopians consume a mostly vegetarian diet.

Tibbs or tibs, spicy beef or lamb cooked in butter, is one of Ethiopia’s most renowned meals (nitre kibbeh). Tibs are available in a variety of forms, the most popular of which are “chikina tibs,” which are fried in a sauce with berbere spice, onions, bell peppers, and tomato, and zil-zil tibs, which are a more deep fried breaded variant served with tangy sauces. Kitfo, minced beef seasoned with chilli, is also well-known. You may eat it raw (the preferred method locally, although there is a danger of parasites), leb-leb (lightly cooked), or completely cooked. It comes with ayeb (local cheese) and spinach. Kitfo derivatives, such as camel meat, may be found in the Harar area. Many restaurants that offer kitfo have it in their name (e.g., Sami Kitfo, Mesob Kitfo), although they usually serve more than simply raw meat.

For the more discriminating tourist, virtually every restaurant in Ethiopia offers spaghetti (due to the brief Italian occupation) – but not in the way that Italians would recognize it. Italian eateries abound, as do so-called “American style pizza and burger” joints that have nothing in do with traditional American pizzas and burgers. Not just expatriates, but also Ethiopians, continue to express a desire for more American-style eating in Ethiopia. There are restaurants, such as the Country Kitchen (not the franchise), that offer American-style fried chicken and wings and are managed by an Ethiopian-born and raised in the United States. Metro Pizza in the Dagim Millenium Hotel serves delicious pizza. The restaurant at Addis Guest House is managed by an Ethiopian-born American called Yonas and offers a decent variety of western cuisine, including delicious French toast for morning. It’s worth the journey simply to meet Yonas, who may be the finest tour guide in town. There are “Kaldi’s Coffee Houses” all throughout the city. They are mostly Starbucks knockoffs, but they do a good job of it. Excellent coffee, excellent pastries, and excellent ice cream. Westerners or Ethiopians raised in the West may be found all around the city, and they are all very helpful.

Berbere, Ethiopia’s natural spice that contains fenugreek; mittmitta, another pungent spice; and rosemary, which is used in virtually all meat in the nation, are all common spices. Even when cooked properly, most local meats are of low quality and stringy and rough. Luxury hotels and restaurants often import meat from Kenya, where it is of considerably better quality.

Drinks in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the ancient home of the coffee bean, and its coffee is regarded as some of the finest in the world. Traditionally, coffee is served in a formal ceremony that includes drinking at least three cups of coffee and eating popcorn. Being welcomed inside someone’s house for the ceremony is a particular honor or show of respect. Ethiopians like their coffee freshly brewed and black, extremely strong, with the grounds still within, or as a macchiato, the country’s most popular kind of coffee.

The coffee beans are roasted in a flat pan over charcoal in preparation for the ritual. After that, the beans are crushed using a pestle and mortar. The coffee is prepared in a clay coffee pot with water and is deemed ready when it begins to boil. Coffee in Ethiopia is served black with sugar; certain ethnic groups may add butter or salt to their coffee, but outsiders are usually not allowed to do so. Be warned: if you drink coffee in Ethiopia, you will always be disappointed in the quality of coffee when you return home. Ethiopian coffee is very fresh since it is typically roasted the same day it is eaten. After leaving Ethiopia, you will fantasize about coffee for weeks.

Tej is a honey wine akin to mead that is often consumed in taverns, particularly in a tej beit (tej bar). It tastes a lot like mead, but it usually has a local leaf added to it during the brewing process, which gives it a powerful medicinal flavor that some people find unpleasant. Consuming this beverage is considered masculine.

There are many Ethiopian beers to choose from, all of which are very palatable. Many Ethiopian government-owned breweries are currently controlled by Western beverage firms such as Heineken (Harar beer) and Diageo (Meta beer). The most widely available beer in Ethiopia is St. George, or “Giorgis,” named after Ethiopia’s patron saint, and is a light lager comparable to American beers that has been produced in Addis Ababa since 1922. Ethiopian brewers compete with numerous microbreweries in the West, and most beers are priced around USD1.

Ethiopian wines, both red and white, exist but are usually regarded as unpalatable by outsiders.

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, 10, 25, and 50 santim, as well as a one birr coin, are in circulation. Banknotes are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr.

It is illegal to import or export more than 100 birr. Hotel and car rental bills must usually be paid in cash.

ATMs may be found in most major cities. Dashen Bank is the greatest option for ATMs, followed by Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Wegagan Bank. The most widely accepted credit cards are Visa and Mastercard. Expect international Cirrus or Plus cards to be inoperable. ATMs are not always dependable, so have a backup plan for cash when traveling outside of Addis Abeba. Master card is accepted at all Dashen Bank and Awash Bank ATMs.

Credit card (Visa and MasterCard) acceptance is expanding in Addis Abeba, but remains limited elsewhere.

Changing cash

Cash may be exchanged at any commercial bank in Ethiopia. The rates are the same across the country and are determined by the central bank on a daily basis. There are hundreds of commercial bank branches in Addis Abeba, including those in the Sheraton and Hilton hotels, as well as at the baggage claim area of the airport. Except for settlements in the Omo valley, most cities and towns visited by visitors will have at least one commercial bank. At the front desk, many hotels will change US money to birr. Banks may refuse to accept US dollar notes issued before 2002, as well as damaged or extremely worn notes, due to counterfeit in circulation. It is unlawful to exchange money on the black market, and the rates aren’t any better than those offered by banks. Due to currency restrictions, it is almost difficult to exchange the birr outside of Ethiopia, and it is illegal to take more than 200 birr from the nation without authorization.

In that order, the best currencies to carry are US dollars, euros, and pounds sterling. It may be better to retain the majority of your cash in your native currency and withdraw just what you need on a daily basis. Furthermore, since ATM machines distribute money in birr, it may be simpler to just take money from an ATM as required. Prices in Ethiopia are very cheap, and a US dollar will go a long way.

Travelers cheques are no longer accepted by banks.

US dollar

The US dollar is often accepted in places like as Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa (albeit not as much in Dire Dawa as it is in Addis). Prices at certain stores in Addis Abeba will be written in birr and USD. Some ATMs in Addis Abeba accept both US dollars and Ethiopian birr. The majority of hotels in Addis Abeba accept US currency. Ethiopian airports accept US currency.

You cannot legally acquire US dollars in Ethiopia unless you have an airline ticket out of the country. This implies that if you need dollars (for example, to get a Djibouti visa) but don’t have a flight ticket to leave Ethiopia, you’ll have to either convert money on the black market or carry enough US dollars with you.

Prices in Ethiopia

In comparison to other African nations, Ethiopia is very inexpensive for visitors.

A five-star hotel in Addis Abeba, Dire Dawa, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gondar, or Awasa costs around 1,500 birr per night.

The most costly cities in Ethiopia are Addis Abeba, Dire Dawa, and Adama/Nazret. A 32-inch (81-cm) LCD TV, for example, costs about 15,000 birr. Food is similarly costly if purchased in the city centers.

You will require about 400 birr each day for hotel, gasoline, food, accommodation, and transportation. You may require 600 birr each day in Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa.


Tipping is prevalent in Ethiopian hotels, restaurants, and pubs. Parking lot attendants, whether formally employed by institutions or self-assigned, are likewise required to be tipped. It is traditional in certain restaurants to tip any dancers, which is typically done by putting a paper money note on the dancer’s forehead.

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 of debating the virtues of Orthodoxy or Islam, ask acquaintances to describe their traditions, holidays, and beliefs, and then listen respectfully.

The relationship between Ethiopians and Westerners is usually devoid of racial hatred. In the countryside, though, there is widespread mistrust and even xenophobia of immigrants. Ethiopians may be irritable if they believe they are not treated equally.

Men should avoid making eye contact with women as a show of respect. Maintaining a formal distance from ladies is considered good etiquette if you are a foreign guy. If you come across a lady who is with a guy, seek the male’s permission before approaching her. Similarly, if you are a foreign woman in public with a guy, don’t be surprised if Ethiopian men direct all inquiries to him. They will do this not to offend you, but to express their appreciation. This will be true on public transportation as well as in eateries.

When entering a house, it is important to remove your shoes.

Internet & Communications in Ethiopia


The dialing code for Ethiopia is 251. Addis Abeba’s city code is 011. (or 11 from outside Ethiopia).


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 2G (CDMA) service. Currently, there is enough voice coverage in small towns. According to March 2015, this seems to have been improved, and both calls and roaming now function flawlessly (at least around urban areas).

A mobile phone is required for all travelers. It is inexpensive and widely accessible. Without costly fees and permits, satellite phones and VSAT equipment are severely limited or banned.

ArifMobile is one of the few shops that rent SIM cards. Purchasing a SIM card, on the other hand, is cheap and can be done anyplace that sells phones. To avoid being taken off, purchase it from an Ethio Telecom store. A SIM card costs 15 birr as of March 2015, and the system needs the vendor to take a picture of you and your passport information in order to activate your SIM. You will be required to sign a contract stating that you will not conduct any crimes using your phone. All local shops will sell calling cards that can be used to make international calls. Prepaid cards in amounts of 2000, 500, 100, 50, and 25 birr and smaller are used to top up phones for domestic calls.

In general, calls, SMS, and roaming are reasonably priced.


Less than one million individuals in the nation have internet connection, and it is very restricted. There are many internet cafés in Addis Abeba, Dire Dawa, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gonder, Awasa, and other places, although their speeds are often dial-up at best, and some are illegal. Most of the time, connection speeds in Addis Abeba are more than sufficient for completing activities like as checking e-mail. A typical internet café will have a dozen PCs sharing a single “broadband” connection (really 3G mobile internet speeds starting at 128kbit/s). ADSL is available, although it is costly and usually reserved for business clients. The internet connection at the Addis Sheraton matches that of most Western hotels, however it costs USD30 for a 24-hour access. Ethiopia’s international connectivity is shaky: On bad days, even a broadband connection will only provide dial-up service since the whole country’s traffic is routed via an inadequate backup satellite link. The administration has said that it intends to bring out 4G LTE connectivity.

In the larger cities, using the internet costs between 25 and 35 Ethiopian cents a minute, while outside of the cities, it frequently costs more than 1 birr per minute. Keep an eye out for computer infections! The majority of PCs and flash drives in use are infected.

Outside of larger cities, it is more difficult to locate a functioning Internet connection, and the price per minute is often considerably more than in larger cities.

Ethiopia is presently implementing an internet filter, therefore to access banned sites, utilize a VPN or the free, open-source TOR Project. As of July 2012, personal usage of VoIP services such as Skype was allowed.

Postal services

Ethiopia boasts one of Africa’s most efficient postal systems. Many credit Ethiopian Airlines’ vast network for its success. Mail, on the other hand, is not delivered to your address. You must purchase a post office box. The flow of your mail will be constant after you acquire a post office box.


Capital and The Reporter are two English-language newspapers that cost 5 birr apiece.

Culture Of Ethiopia


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 his/her father’s given name constitute the first name.

Everyone is referred to by his or her given name. In formal contexts, the prefixes Ato (ኣቶ) are used for males, Weyzero (ወይዘሮ) for married women, and Weyzert (ወይዘሪት) for unmarried women.


Ethiopia has a number of native calendars. The Ethiopian calendar, commonly known as the Ge’ez calendar, is the most well-known. It is based on the earlier Alexandrian or Coptic calendar, which is based on the Egyptian calendar. The Ethiopian calendar, like the Coptic calendar, contains twelve months of precisely 30 days each plus five or six epagomenal days that make up a thirteenth month. Ethiopian months begin on the same days as Coptic months, although their names are in Ge’ez.

The sixth epagomenal day, which is essentially a leap day, is added every four years without fail on 29 August of the Julian calendar, six months before the Julian leap day. Thus, the first day of the Ethiopian year, 1 Mäskäräm, is typically 11 September (Gregorian) for years between 1901 and 2099 (inclusive), but falls on 12 September in years preceding the Gregorian leap year. A seven- to eight-year difference between the Ethiopian and Gregorian calendars is also the consequence of an alternative computation in calculating the date of Jesus’ Annunciation.

The Oromo created another notable calendrical system about 300 BC. This Oromo lunar-stellar calendar is based on astronomical measurements of the moon in combination with seven specific stars or constellations. Bittottessa (Iangulum), Camsa (Pleiades), Bufa (Aldebarran), Waxabajjii (Belletrix), Obora Gudda (Central Orion-Saiph), Obora Dikka (Sirius), Birra (full moon), Cikawa (gibbous moon), Sadasaa (quarter moon), Abrasa (big crescent), Ammaji ( (small crescent).


Time is measured differently in Ethiopia than in many Western nations. Throughout the year, the Ethiopian day begins at 6 a.m. rather than 12 a.m., when the sun rises. To convert between Ethiopian and Western time, add (or remove) 6 hours to the Western time. In Ethiopia, 2 a.m. local Addis Ababa time is referred to as “8 at night,” while 8 p.m. is referred to as “2 in the evening.”


Ethiopian cuisine is well renowned for its thick meat stews, known as wat in Ethiopian culture, and vegetable side dishes served over injera, a wide sourdough flatbread made of teff flour. This is not eaten with cutlery, but rather with the injera, which is used to scoop up the entrées and side dishes. In Ethiopia, it is almost usual to eat from the same dish in the middle of the table with a group of people. It is also customary to feed people in your group with your own hands — a practice known as “gursha.” Pork and shellfish are prohibited in the Islamic, Jewish, and Ethiopian Orthodox Christian religions, therefore they are not used in traditional Ethiopian cuisine.

The most popular Oromo meals include chechebsa (), marqa, chukko, michirra, and dhanga. Kitfo (), which originates from the Gurage, is a generally recognized and popular dish in Ethiopia. Doro wot is another famous dish that originated with the Amhara people of northwestern Ethiopia. Tihlo (), a kind of dumpling, is made from roasted barley flour. It originated in Tigray and is currently popular in Amhara and expanding farther south.


Ethiopian music is highly varied, with each of the country’s 80 ethnic groups associated with distinct sounds. Ethiopian music has a unique pentatonic modal structure with unusually lengthy intervals between certain notes. Tastes in music and lyrics, like many other elements of Ethiopian culture and history, are closely connected with those of neighboring Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan. Ethiopian traditional singing displays a variety of polyphonic techniques (heterophony, drone, imitation, and counterpoint). Lyricism in Ethiopian song composition has traditionally been linked with patriotism or national pride, romance, friendship, and a very distinctive kind of memoire known as ‘Tizita.


Track & field (especially long distance running) and football are the most popular sports in Ethiopia (soccer). Ethiopian athletes have won many Olympic gold medals in track and field, the majority of which have come in long distance running. Haile Gebrselassie is a world-renowned long-distance runner who holds many world records. Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba are also strong runners, especially in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, where they hold world records.

Abebe Bikila, Mamo Wolde, Miruts Yifter, Derartu Tulu, Meseret Defar, Almaz Ayana, Birhane Adere, Tiki Gelana, Genzebe Dibaba, Tariku Bekele, and Gelete Burka are some famous Ethiopian athletes. As of 2012, the current national Ethiopian football team (Walayia Antelopes) has achieved history by qualifying for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (CAF) and, more recently, by reaching the last ten African football teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification stage. Adane Girma, the captain, and top scorer Saladin Said are two notable players.

Ethiopia has the oldest basketball history in Sub-Saharan Africa, having created a national basketball team in 1949.

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 was under Italian military control. During this time, the Italians controlled just a few important towns and vital roads, and they encountered persistent local opposition until they were destroyed during World War II by an Ethiopian-British coalition.

Ethiopia has long been a member of international organizations: it joined the League of Nations in 1919, signed the United Nations Declaration in 1942, established the UN headquarters in Africa, was one of the UN’s 51 founding members, and is the headquarters for, and a founding member of, the former Organization of African Unity and the current African Union.

Ethiopia was previously known as Abyssinia, a term linked to Habesha, the indigenous name for the people. In certain nations, Ethiopia is still referred to by names that sound similar to “Abyssinia,” such as Turkish Habesistan, which means “country of the Habesha people.” The English name “Ethiopia” is believed to be derived from the Greek word o (Aithiopia), from (Aithiops) “an Ethiopian,” which is thought to be derived from Greek words meaning “of burned (-) visage ()”. However, this derivation is contested, since the Book of Aksum, a Ge’ez chronicle originally written in the 15th century, says that the name is derived from ‘Ityopp’is, a son (unmentioned in the Bible) of Cush, son of Ham, who built the city of Axum, according to tradition.

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 are involved in teaching the Ethiopian army’s anti-terrorism force. Many others are oil company executives from China, India, or Malaysia who have been targeted in significant guerrilla assaults that have resulted in dozens of deaths. Harar is safe for long visits, while Jijiga is safe for short excursions as well.

In the Afar area, armed rebel organizations are active. An Afari gang assaulted visitors in the Danakil Depression in 2012, murdering five European tourists and kidnapped two more. The Ethiopian government claims that incident was sponsored by Ethiopia’s adversary, Eritrea.

In the year 2008, a hotel in Jijiga and two hotels in Negele Borena were attacked.

In most areas of the nation, organized crime and gang violence are very rare. However, there have been allegations of banditry in the border regions of Sudan (Gambella Region) and Kenya. Stay away from these places.

Despite the fact that Ethiopia has a secular government, the people remain deeply religious. The two major faiths (the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Islam) have a significant impact on daily life. Because of their clout, the government imposes regulations and legislation that may seem uncomfortable to westerners. Homosexuality, in particular, is outlawed and not accepted.

In comparison to other African nations, robbery in cities and towns is not a significant issue. Travelers, on the other hand, are urged to take care of their possessions. When traveling on Ethiopian roads, travelers should use extreme caution at all times. There have been instances of armed bandits committing highway robberies, including carjackings, outside of metropolitan areas. Some events have resulted in violence. Travelers are advised to restrict road travel outside of large towns or cities to daytime hours and, if feasible, to travel in convoys.

Travellers in cars and bicycles are often stoned by local teenagers when traveling in rural regions.

Traffic accidents are frequent, both for pedestrians and car passengers/drivers; Ethiopia is one of the most hazardous locations to drive in the world. These incidents are often deadly. Pedestrians often cross the street without looking, cars do not utilize mirrors, and traffic lanes are more of a suggestion than a law. To optimize safety, it is strongly advised to hire a driver and travel in the biggest car practically feasible. Always keep doors closed and do not allow beggars to put their hands through windows (distracting a driver while robbing through the passenger side window is a common tactic).

The majority of federal police officers and some private security guards are armed with Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles. This is typical and should not be a reason for concern; it is just less expensive for them to buy and maintain these weapons than more “conventional” police equipment such as handguns and pepper spray. The federal police are usually well-trained and very competent at their duties, and they may be identified by their blue camouflage uniforms. City cops wear a solid blue uniform and are less trustworthy. Traffic cops have a blue outfit with a white helmet and sleeves and are the least trustworthy of the city’s cops.

For many years, there have been anti-government protests in the south, particularly in the Oromia region. The homogenous governance disadvantages the biggest minority, the Oromia people. Protests in the Oromia region were brutally repressed in August 2016, with demonstrators murdered in Gondar and Bahir Dar. During the demonstrations, major bus companies suspended service, and highways were blocked, particularly on weekends. Avoid crowds and keep a look out for unusually high concentrations of security officers.

Stay Healthy in Ethiopia

Drinking tap water is not a good idea. It’s tainted with parasites, and hotels typically advise visitors not to drink it or eat salads and other items washed in tap water. This also applies to ice, unless it is distilled or you are staying at a renowned Western hotel such as the Sheraton, Radisson Blue, or Hilton. Bottled water for drinking is widely available in small, medium, and large sizes — prominent brands include Yes (flat water) and Ambo (sparkling water). Make sure to drink plenty of water, particularly if the weather is hot.

Before traveling to Ethiopia, talk to your doctor about what vaccines you need get against infectious illnesses. Malaria is rare to non-existent in the capital and the mountains, but prevalent in the lake areas and lowlands. In Addis Abeba, doxycycline for malaria prophylaxis is inexpensive.

If you get ill, attend to one of the large private hospitals, such as Korean, Hayat, or St Gabriels.

A significant portion of Ethiopia is located at a high height. People who aren’t used to breathing in thinner air may struggle to move about in such places at first. It is recommended that you give yourself a few days to acclimate to the air.



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