By Jenna Jolie
Ethiopia is a fantastic place to visit. This country should be on your trip itinerary because of its ancient history, Christian cathedrals sunk into the earth, and a plethora of beautiful animals in its far-flung national parks.
However, determining the best time to visit Ethiopia might be difficult. That is why we have prepared this month-by-month reference to the weather, temperature, and general environment of the country's regions. We've also created a useful guide to the finest Ethiopian festivals, so you can arrange your vacation around its distinctive celebrations.
1. What is the best time of year to visit Ethiopia?
Many people believe that the best time to visit Ethiopia is during the dry season, which lasts from October to February. There are certain exceptions to this rule, particularly if you want to experience Ethiopia's traditional events, some of which take place during the rainy season. Traveling during the low season is also a fantastic strategy to save money if you're on a tight budget.
The best time to visit Ethiopia is from September to April, especially at the beginning and conclusion of the rainy season. Travel in April, when the country is dry and desolate, or in September and October, when it blooms anew. This is also the finest time of year for highland animals. The Omo Valley has heavy rain from the end of March to the end of June, so visit between November and March or June and September. In general, the rains create minimal interruption; instead, you'll discover lusher vistas and fewer tourists. Because much of Ethiopia is above 1,500 meters, days can be warm, and nights can be frigid, especially in the fog-shrouded highlands that climb well over 3,000 meters.
Between October and December is the second best time to visit Ethiopia. Rainfall has stopped in most regions of the nation by September, making this a safe time to travel. Because of the monsoons, the mountains will be lush green, providing excellent vistas when trekking.
What is the best time of year to visit Ethiopia?
2. The Weather in Ethiopia
Ethiopia has a temperate climate, with highland temperatures averaging less than 20°C. On the lowland rims of eastern, southern, and western Ethiopia, this temperature can reach 30°C.
The dry season, which lasts from October to June, is often the ideal time to visit. Rains usually stop in early October, leaving the highlands lush and green - ideal for wandering amid the lovely wildflowers that have bloomed. Because of Ethiopia's height, travelers should remember to pack a sweater all year.
If you want to travel during a holiday, Ethiopia offers numerous options. From the Timkat festival in January, which is celebrated by orthodox Christians, to the Hidar Tsion, which is a pilgrimage to Axum by Ethiopians from all over the nation, you can experience them all.
Although the climate in Ethiopia varies widely depending on the area, the rainy season normally lasts from June to September, with mild showers beginning as early as March. The wettest months are June and July, especially in the Northern Highlands. Thus, the most excellent time to travel is from October to February, when the weather is both dry and sunny. Nighttime temperatures can drop considerably this time of year, so bring lots of clothing. If you plan on visiting the Omo Valley, you should be aware of two separate rainy seasons in this region.
The Weather in Ethiopia
3. Travel seasons in Ethiopia
Ethiopia's peak tourism season lasts from the last week of September to the first week of January, with festivals like Meskel and Timkat attracting both travelers and hotels that raise their costs for the occasion. Weather-wise, this is also an excellent time to come, with pleasant temperatures, clear skies, and little rainfall in most regions of the nation. In practice, though, unless you plan on doing a lot of trekking - the upper slopes of the Bale or Simien mountains may be pretty unpleasant in the rains - visiting Addis Ababa, the northern highlands, and the Rift Valley at any time of year is not a problem.
Even in July and August, rain falls in short, spectacular storms that cause less disruption to daily traffic than might be imagined. Furthermore, the countryside is gloriously green at this time of year, prominent sights like Lalibela are significantly less crowded with other tourists, and most hotels are eager to negotiate reasonable rates for walk-in guests.
The northern circuit is perhaps best explored in September, when the rain has subsided slightly, the tourist season has not yet really begun, and the green slopes are adorned with blankets of yellow Meskel flowers.
Throughout the year, wildlife watching is continuous, though native birds are most colorful during the nesting season, which generally corresponds with the rains, while the European winter months draw flocks of migrants from the north.
Travel seasons in Ethiopia
4. When is the best season to visit Ethiopia?
The high season is from January to March.
April through September is the low season.
From January to March, April to September, and October to December.
The dry season, which begins in January and ends in March, is the greatest time to visit Ethiopia. There has been minimal rain, and the sky is clear. You may also attend some of the country's most important events during this time.
Between October and December, the weather in Ethiopia is mild and dry. The prime tourist season is between October and January, however there is a danger of rain and a large number of travelers.
North, east, and west, as well as all highlands: September to April
South: late July to mid-October and late November to mid-February
From November through March, Danakil
Visiting Ethiopia in the high season
This is the greatest time to visit Ethiopia since you will be able to explore the historical monuments and natural areas without dealing with crowds. Even if there is little rain in some regions of the nation, like Addis Ababa, these are the hottest months. Apart from trekking in the Simien or Bale mountains, you can do anything else during this time.
Temperature range: 52-75° F/11-24° C (in Addis Ababa)
Rainfall ranges between 20 to 80 mm.
Highlights: Because this is the greatest time to visit Ethiopia, you may visit the country in peace. The medieval castles of Gondar, and churches in Lalibela and Aksum, among other places, will be available to the public. This is an excellent time to visit the Ethiopian highlands in order to see wildlife such as ibex, wolves, and a variety of other big species (you should keep in mind that the nights might get rather cold - so pack your warm clothes). Timkat, Ethiopia's largest celebration, takes place in mid-January and is an occasion not to be missed.
Visiting Ethiopia in the low season
This is the country's peak rainy season, commonly known as kiremt season. It is not a good time to visit the Simien or Bale mountains since the rains may render them impassable. Because the Omo and Mago valley national parks experience rainfall earlier in the season, you can visit them after July. The environment in the lowlands, notably Addis Abeba, can be sticky and hot during this season, thus they are best avoided.
Temperature range: 55-73° F / 13-23° C (in Addis Ababa)
Rainfall ranges from 56 to 269 mm.
Highlights: The weather in Ethiopia is damp and humid throughout the low season. If you want to travel throughout the country on a budget, now is the time. Remember that the alpine regions will be unavailable for most of the season, while national parks can be accessed in the latter half. This may not be the greatest time to visit the heritage sites, as the roads leading there may be closed, and access to these places may be difficult owing to the rains.
Visiting Ethiopia in good season
This is the off-season. Because of the rainfall, the weather in Ethiopia is rather lovely. The highlands and Simian Mountains are breathtakingly gorgeous. Expect little to no rain and beautiful blue skies across the country. This is prime tourist season, so make sure you book your tickets and accommodations ahead of time.
Temperature range: 52-72° F/11-22° C (in Addis Ababa)
Rainfall ranges from 9 to 40 mm.
Highlights: Now is the perfect time to discover Ethiopia's natural splendor. Rains bring out the luxuriant flora that covers the entire country. The routes in the Simien Mountains will be clean at this time of year. Because there is little to no rain in the South Omo valley, you should include it in your schedule. If you're feeling brave, you may even tour the Great Rift Valley's underappreciated volcanic areas! It will undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When is the best season to visit Ethiopia?
So, when is the best time to visit Ethiopia? This is dependent on where you wish to go. It is preferable to avoid the rainy season, but otherwise, Ethiopian weather provides for a wonderful journey. Furthermore, you should carry clothing for both hot and cold weather since temperatures can change dramatically depending on elevation and time of day.
If you intend to travel across Ethiopia, you can use our Ethiopia e-Visa services to get started on your journey swiftly and easily.