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Private Tours and Group Trips to Ethiopia

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It is always recommended to read and check the following information BEFORE you go on holiday.

Travel papers & Visa requirements

When you travel to Ethiopia, you need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months upon entering the country.

Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopian diplomatic missions abroad!

Nationals of some 36 countries are allowd to receive their tourist visa upon arrival in Ethiopia at regular charge.

These countries include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republik, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.


Vaccinations are not mandatory, but are recommended. Check with your local physician.

Malaria is common in Ethiopia. Be sure to be properly prepared!


The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are used in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 birr. There are six different coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 cents.

There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency imported into Ethiopia, but it must be declared on arrival using a currency declaration form. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form will be required by custom on departure. Visitors may change back any excess birr into foreign currency at the airport before departure, but one must bring all receipts for exchange transactions.


Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (six days in leap year). The calendar is seven years and eight days behind the western (Gregorian) calendar.


Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia although English, Italian and Arabic are spoken in cities and towns. In areas outside major cities and towns, indigenous languages are likely to be spoken, of which there are about 80, with some 200 dialects!


Electricity in Ethiopia is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Ethiopia with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.

Outlets in Ethiopia generally accept 2 types of plug:

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If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.


Drivers require a valid international driving license which can be obtained by purchasing it at your local "transport office". The international driving license can also be obtained in Ethiopia by exchanging your own license for a local license at the Transport and Communication Office. Those with their own vehicles shall get a permit from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Driving is on the right!

Facts & Numbers

Official name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Official name in Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክ
Capital: Addis Ababa
Official language: Amharic (and other languages in respective regions)
Ethnic groups:

  • 34.5% Oromo
  • 26.9% Amhara
  • 6.2% Somali
  • 6.1% Tigray
  • 4.0% Sidama
  • 2.5% Gurage
  • 2.3% Welayta
  • 1.7% Hadiya
  • 1.7% Afar
  • 1.5% Gamo
  • 1.3% Gedeo
  • 11.3% others

Population: 93,877,025 (2013 estimate)
Surface: 1,104,300 km2
Highest point: 4550m (Ras Dashan)
Administrative arragement: Federal Parliamentary Republik
Currency: Birr (ETB)
Time zone: EAT (UTC +3) (no summertime)
Religions: Christianity and Islam
Government: Federal Parlianmentary Republik
President: Mulatu Teshome
Prime Minister: Hailemariam Desalegn



Despite its proximity to the equator, Ethiopia's high altitude ensures a temperate, moderate, even cool climate. Certainly not tropical! The highest day time temperatures rarely exceed an average of 21-22 Celsius. Temperatures at night can drop to a chilly 10 Celsius or less.

There are two rainy seasons. The irregular short rains from late January to early March and the long rains that stretch from June until mid September. May is the warmest month and is usually a time of bright sunny days.

Day time temperatures in January run just as high but the nights are colder. June, Junly and August are grey, wet and cool.



It is not recommended to drink the water from the tap.
When you don't have the posibility to buy bottled water, boil the water for at least 5 mintues. After the water is cooled, you can use it safely for drinking water, brushing teeth or cleaning fruit and veggies.

Some other rules

- Alcohol: Buying and/or drinking from 18 years
- Alcohol and trafic: No maximium %
- Tabacco: Buying from 18 years, smoking from 15 years
- Smoking ban: No
- Homoseksuality: Not allowed. Prison sentence for more than 10 years 
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