Ethiopia Travel Advice for Planning on The Go

When planning a trip, some people may think about destinations other than Ethiopia. Believe it again if you think it's all about deserts. This nation has a lot of charm and individuality. It is called the Cradle of Humanity for a reason: it is rich in history and culture. Unusual landscapes and historic architectural relics, such as the interesting Orthodox Christian past, all contribute to its popularity. Hike via its high volcanic plateaus if you're a hiker. There is a very diverse fauna and flora.

With such stunning scenery and immensely diversified culture, you should surely get some Ethiopian travel advice before starting your trip. Investigate the article right now!

List of Ethiopia Travel Advice for travelers

1. Ethiopia Online visa for travelers

A visa is required if you intend to visit Ethiopia. You can rely on Ethiopia Immigration Services to make the Ethiopia eVisa online application process simple, quick, and secure. Travelers no longer need to visit an Embassy or consulate to apply for an Ethiopian eVisa because Ethiopia Immigration Services allows you to do so at any time and from any location.

As well as saving your budget, time, and visa pass rate, this is the most convenient way to apply for an Ethiopian e-Visa.

2. Insurance

Travel insurance is strongly advised. Make sure that it includes evacuation in the event of an accident or disaster. Read the fine print, especially if you plan to participate in adventure activities or visit border (or other) areas designated as risky by the FCO or other official recommendations.

Check out our travel insurance service to get an idea of how you'll be protected throughout your trip. From there, you may boldly explore whatever land you desire while being safe and protected. Then let’s have a look.

Ethiopia Travel Insurance

Ethiopia Travel Insurance

3. Money

The Ethiopian birr is the currency, and it presently trades at roughly 20 birrs to US$1, 25 birr to €1, and 32 birrs to £1. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1 birr, while coins (though relatively obsolete these days) are also issued in cent denominations. It is simple to convert hard currency cash into birr at any number of banks and private bureaux de change in Addis Ababa, as well as fewer shops in smaller cities. Local cash can also be withdrawn using international MasterCard or Visa cards through ATMs located at Bole Airport, outside most CBE, Dashen, and other smaller banks in Addis Ababa and other big cities, and in the lobbies of a few prominent Addis hotels. Traveler's checks, as in so many other nations, are now mostly outdated in Ethiopia.

Read more: Ethiopia Travel Money Exchange

4. Costs

Ethiopia may be a reasonably inexpensive travel destination, one of the few in sub-Saharan Africa that is still cost-competitive with India and Southeast Asia. The caveat is that if you want to travel on a shoestring budget, say less than 500 birrs (US$25/€20/£15) a day, you'll have to stay in the cheapest local accommodation, which can be pretty poor and run-down, eat at inexpensive local eateries, and commute by public transportation or on foot. Increase your daily budget to 1000 birr (US$50/€40/£30), and you'll be able to afford nice en-suite rooms at decent local hotels, a more diverse diet, and an odd taxi ride.

Entrance fees may also add up, especially at medieval churches, where many now charge up to 100 birrs (US$5/€4/£3) per person. Depending on location, accommodation that matches (or strives to reach) international standards often starts around (US$50-100/€40-80/£30-60) per double per night.

Most guests in this lodging also book scheduled excursions, which normally include guides, entry fees, transportation, and meals. Costs vary greatly depending on whether you travel in a group or alone, whether you fly or are driven about, and if you stay in mid-range or upscale accommodations. Therefore, planning carefully before booking anything may help you enjoy Ethiopia while staying within your travel budget.

Ethiopian currency

Ethiopian currency

5. Internet

Ethiopia has widespread Internet access, but exclusively through the state-run server Ethernet. Most tourist-oriented hotels have wi-fi, and affordable internet cafés can be found throughout the capital and most major cities (expect to spend roughly 20 birrs/US$1 per hour). Unfortunately, by twenty-first-century standards, the Internet is exceedingly sluggish and cuts out entirely with irritating regularity, even in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia Immigration Services can help you with your network. Purchase an international eSIM through our eSIM services to stay connected wherever you travel while avoiding costly phone fees.

6. Time

Ethiopia is located in the East African Time Zone (GMT+3). It does not follow daylight saving time. However, its calendar is seven years, eight months, and ten days behind the Gregorian calendar, and it counts the daily cycle considerably differently from Western countries.

Ethiopian calendar

Ethiopian calendar

7. Opening hours and public holidays

Opening hours in Ethiopia are more erratic and changeable than most visitors are accustomed to. Banks open from 9 a.m. to noon and from 2-4 p.m. on weekdays, and government offices, which often open at 8.30 a.m. and stay open until at least 3.30 p.m., are exceptions. Shops and local restaurants and bars often keep significantly longer hours; the guide lists the hours of operation for each facility. Some historic churches and other tourist sites have official opening hours, which are listed in the guide, but these are not always strictly followed, especially in the case of less frequently visited churches, which often open only if the priest who keeps the key happens to be nearby and in the mood.

8. Electricity

The voltage is 220 volts at 50 cycles. Power outages are common across the country, and while most better hotels have backup generators, few inexpensive hotels do. Bring a torch with you. Round two-pin electric sockets are the most frequent; however, round three-pin sockets are also used.

9. Mail

International mail is economical and dependable, but it is quite sluggish. It is suitable for mailing postcards and other ancillary letters but unlikely to be suitable for shipping important or heavy items. Stamps may be purchased at post offices and some upscale hotels.

10. Maps

There are no completely trustworthy maps of Ethiopia. The 1:2,000,000 Ethiopia and Eritrea map issued by ITMB, which sells for roughly $10, is the best globally published map. However, many big or strategically significant towns and villages are left out in favor of more minor ones, and spellings are frequently quirky or archaic. It also ignores the numerous new highways that have been developed in recent years. The far less expensive government-produced Tourist Map of Ethiopia, available in most hotels and bookshops in Addis Abeba, is just as dependable and includes a handy Addis sheet map on the back.

11. The media

Traditional English-language media coverage in Ethiopia is relatively limited, and the internet (when it works) is the best source of worldwide news coverage. The locally produced English-language weekly Addis Tribune may be purchased in Addis Ababa, but it is not widely distributed. The limited domestic television service has been overtaken by satellite television, of which the South African-based multi-channel DSTV service caters best to Western interests and is accessible at most premium hotels.

The Ethiopian government has a history of stifling opposition voices, and the country fell to 143rd in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index as a result of its continued oppressive enforcement of a 2009 anti-terrorist statute and the prolonged arrest of many local magazine editors and journalists. It also has strict internet restrictions.

12. Laundry

Laundries are scarce, although most proper hotels offer an affordable formal laundry service, and in less costly hotels, there will always be someone prepared to clean a pile of clothes for a negotiated sum.

13. Phones

Ethiopia has adequate terrestrial and mobile phone networks, albeit both are managed by the state-run Ethiopian Telecom Commission (ETC) and are prone to outages. In principle, buying a local SIM card is the ideal option if you want to make a lot of phone calls while in Ethiopia, but in fact, this may be time-consuming and unreliable. Renting a SIM card and/or phone through an Addis tour operator or Red Zebra Executive Solutions (0911 240565, is significantly more convenient, with prices starting at US$12 per week for the card and an extra US$10 for the phone. Prepaid scratch cards with airtime may be purchased all around the country. +251 is the dialing code for international calls to Ethiopia.

14. Photography

There are no true photographic taboos. Capturing the inside and exterior of churches, as well as mosques, from the outside is permitted, and Ethiopians are typically unconcerned with outsiders photographing street scenes. What is forbidden, though, is photographing locals without their permission, which is frequently rejected or granted in exchange for a few birr. This is especially true in South Omo, where photography (and its payment) has taken an alarmingly large share of tourist engagement. Before shooting any significant bridge or government structure, it is also a good idea to get permission.

15. Tourist information

The Ethiopian Tourist Commission operates tourist offices in Addis Ababa, regional capitals, and select tourist destinations. Other official tourist information sources are basically nonexistent.

Tourist destination in Ethiopia

Tourist destination in Ethiopia

People also ask about Ethiopia Travel tips

Is Ethiopia Safe for Travel?

Yes. With the exception of a few distant Eritrean, Somali, Sudanese, and South Sudanese border districts rarely frequented by tourists, Ethiopia is a safe nation in general. Although serious crime is uncommon, travelers should be wary of pickpockets and scam artists, especially in Addis Ababa. Pickpockets may also be seen in markets and at bus stops, generally as a lone individual taking advantage of the confusion caused by a large crowd boarding a bus. As a result, it is not wise to carry anything of significant value in your pockets at all times. In the event of theft, you should report the occurrence to the police, if only for insurance considerations; nevertheless, be aware that the amount of assistance provided to foreigners varies. In Ethiopia, there are no tourist police. Walking around any city or town during the day should be safe, but after 8 p.m., it's best to take a cab or a bajaj rather than walk.

Ethiopia might be challenging for single women traveling alone. This is partly because some forms of irritating (though ultimately innocuous) behavior directed at both sexes of travelers—teens chanting obscenities, youngsters mobbing strangers—might appear more frightening to lone women than to male travelers or couples. However, many female travelers and volunteers report being repeatedly hit on by locals in a strange or actually frightening manner. This is most likely due to the assumption that Western women are more promiscuous than Ethiopian women, as well as the status associated with having a faranji lover. It is also frequently the result of basic cross-cultural behavioral misunderstandings. Women are less likely to encounter such issues if they dress modestly, avoid drinking alone in non-hotel bars, avoid staying in cheap local hotels that sometimes double as brothels, and never accept an offer for a meal or drink that may be misinterpreted as a date.

Ethiopia is a safe place to visit

Ethiopia is a safe place to visit

Is it good to travel to Ethiopia with children?

Unless you stick to the ex-pat enclaves of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is not the most child-friendly place. The country's major cultural attractions are unlikely to appeal to easily bored children, while amusement parks and other facilities devoted exclusively to children are few. Furthermore, public hygiene standards are low, and medical facilities are inadequate, putting children in danger of contracting sanitation-related ailments. Outside of Addis Ababa, it will be difficult to locate baby milk, nappies, formal babysitting services, and highchairs for small children. All of this is not to argue that you cannot travel with children in Ethiopia.

What are Ethiopian dates and times?

The Ethiopian calendar, based on the Alexandrian calendar used by Egypt's Coptic Church, differs from the Gregorian calendar used in Europe since 1582. In practice, most tourist attractions now follow the Western calendar, but visitors are occasionally surprised by the change.

Ethiopians measure time in 12-hour cycles beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m., which has a significantly bigger impact on visitors. In other words, our seven o'clock is their one o'clock (and sa'at or hour one), their two o'clock (hulet sa'at or hour two), and so on. Even while speaking English, Ethiopians commonly use Ethiopian time, thus if someone says something is happening at two o'clock, they might mean two o'clock or eight o'clock.

With such stunning scenery and an immensely diversified culture, you should surely consult our Ethiopia travel advice and our Ethiopia e-Visa services, which can save your application time and increase your visa pass rate before beginning the trip.

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