Ethiopia is located in Northeast Africa and covers an area of 1,235,000 square kilometers. Ethiopia shares its border with Somalia and Djibouti to the east, Eritrea to the north, Kenya to the south and Sudan to the west.
There are two main seasons in Ethiopia, but temperatures depend on the altitude. The lowlands are generally hot and humid, with cooler temperatures in the Ethiopian Highlands. In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the end of September, with short rains in March. However in Southern Ethiopia, particularly in the Omo area, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to May and shorter rains in October to November.
The altitude in the country ranges from 116m below sea level in the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest places in the world, to 4620 meters a.s.l at Mount Ras Dashen in the North.
Time: Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13 th month of 5 or 6 days. It is 7 years and 8 months behind the Gregorian calendar. Ethiopia is in the GMT + 3 hours time zone.
The population is estimated at 75million, the third highest population in Africa .
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with more than 80 languages. Amharic with its unique script is the national official Language. English is also widely spoken.
The local currency is the “Ethiopian Birr”, made up of 100 cents. Credit cards, Visa, MasterCard, Access, American Express and Diners Club are not widely accepted except in a few establishments in the cities. Cash and travelers cheques are recommended.
Ethiopia uses 220 Volts 50 cycles AC. Sockets are with 2 holes. A universal two – prong adapter is recommended.
Telephone, fax, internet and postal facilities are highly available in most main towns. The IDD code for Ethiopia is +251.
Ethiopia boasts quIET a wide variety of hotel ranging from luxury five star hotels to mid-range hotels offering accommodation ranging from luxury products to upscale, mid-range and budget hotels.
Ethiopians are modest dressers and visitors should be sensitive about going undressed into places of worship. Shoes must always be removed before entering Churches and Mosques.
Visa and immigration requirement: Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas. However, nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina , Australia , Austria , Belgium , Brazil , Canada , China , Denmark , Finland , France , Germany , Greek, Ireland , Israel , Italy , Japan , Republic of Korea , Kuwait , Luxembourg , Mexico , Netherlands , New Zealand , Norway , Poland , Portugal , Russian Federation , South Africa , Spain , Sweden , Switzerland , Taiwan , UnIETd Kingdom and United States.
Health Requirements: Prior to entry, visitors should be in possession of a valid health certificate for yellow fever. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visIETd or transIETd a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia. However your passport must be valid for at least 6 months.
When to come to Ethiopia
This can depend on where you are going. In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the end of September, with short rains in March.
» In the Omo and Mago parks however, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November.
» With the upgrading of the airports along the historic route (Axum, Lalibela, Gondar and Bahir Dar), it is now possible to visit the north even in the rainy Sean.
» For travelers who do not mind waiting out a downpour (usually followed by brilliant sunshine) there are certain rewards-a green countryside full of crops and flowers and the sites largely to your selves.
Photos and Tips
We always recommend asking for permission to take photos. In some place people ask payment for any photo taken and the amount is to be negotiated. We suggest consulting the guide to give donations or anything else to school and other organizations.
As a matter of courtesy, permission should be sought before photographing individuals and in many parts of the country, particularly among the Afar and among the ethnic groups living by the Omo River, people will demand a fee. In some sites (Blue Nile falls for example) there is a charge for video photography. You can usually take photos celebrations in Copt churches, but we think you should maintain anyway a distance of respect and sought a photography request beforehand. This is also valid for Muslim celebrations.
We are not keen to get tribe celebrations organized for us, so the visitor will be able to see only the spontaneous ones he might casualty meet.