Travel Information

Travel Information

LOCATION, POPULATION & LANGUAGE

Location
Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa with neighboring countries being Djibouti in the East, Eritrea in the North, Sudan in the West, South Sudan in the South West, Kenya in the South, Somalia & Somaliland in the South East.

 

Population

Ethiopian’s population of 97 million is growing by almost 2.7% a year.

 

Language

Amharic, a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic, is the official national language and is used in commerce and administration. It and Tigrinya are written in a Sabian script. Oromifaa is written in a Latin script. Somali, Guaragunga, Afar and more than 83 other tongues are spoken in Ethiopia.

PASSPORT, VISA, CURRENCY & TIME

Passport

All citizens require a valid passport to enter Ethiopia. Validity must be at least 6 months from entry date into Ethiopia and must include empty visa pages.


Visa

Visitors’ Visas can be obtained through the nearest Ethiopian Embassy and it takes about 10 days to be obtained, while you can also decide to get it on arrival in Addis airport (Currently fee of US$50.00) for a single entry one month visa (subject to change). Visa regulations may change without prior notice and Image Ethiopia is not responsible for such changes or any repercussions resulting from them. Tourist visas can be obtained upon arrival at Bole international airport to foreign nationals coming from and who are permanent residents of the the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, , Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the USA and all other European Union nations.


Currency

* Foreign currency is rarely used in Ethiopia; instead you’ll be paying for most hotels, tours and food with Ethiopian currency. Current rate of exchange (Feb 2018) is $1.00=27.60 Birr (Ethiopian Birr (ETB)) and 1EURO = 33,- Birr. We suggest travelers should only change small quantities, to suit immediate needs, because of the difficulty in converting the remaining Ethiopian Birr to Dollars at the end of the trip.


Time Difference

Ethiopia has one time zone which is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. As Ethiopia is located near the equator, day and night times are almost equal.

VACCINATION, MEDICAL & INSURANCE

Vaccination

Visitors to Ethiopia are recommended (but not required) to
* Be in possession of valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Immunization for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid and Polio.
* Malaria: in many sites malaria is not a problem but we suggest you take all the precautions. Chloroquine resistant strains have been identified in some areas so you should consult your doctor about the prescription. Alternatively, you can keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay with repellent creams and sprays.
* Visitors should take a simple first aid pack, which would include: different size plasters, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream and/or tablets for insect bites, sun barrier cream and anti diarrhea tablets. Generally, visitors should take out standard holiday health insurance in their home countries.
Image Ethiopia Tour and Travel plc assumes no responsibility for medical care.


Medical & Accidental Insurance

It is extremely advisable to purchase good coverage of accident/medical insurance, to cover any required hospitalization or sickness, while in Ethiopia as well as trip interruptions and cancelations.

RELIGION

About 45% of the population belongs to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a leading influence in the culture since the fourth century. Indeed, Ethiopian Christians stress that while Christianity was introduced by European colonizers in other African countries, it was adopted by Ethiopian rulers in A.D. 333 – before many Western nations were exposed to it. Muslims account for 35% of the population and the country accepted Islam in the 7th C. Other Ethiopians follows traditional religious beliefs that stress a reverence for all living things.

ELECTRICITY, CLIMATE & SAFTETY

Electricity

220 Volts / 50Htz
* Plugs are Round pins with round grounding pin. Please make sure you bring a converter / adapter


Climate

The rainy season is normally from June to September but it is very common for the Sun to shine even during the rainy season. Some irregular showers fall from February to June. In the good travel season (October to February), temperatures range 20-28°C during the daytime and drops to below 20’s in the evenings and is usually a dry time of the year. If you visit the Omo Valley, be advised that it can get hotter.


Crime and Safety

In general, Ethiopia is much safer than Westerners might expect. Ethiopian people are friendly. Ethiopia is still a low-crime country.

SIGHTSEEING, CAMERAS, PHOTOGRAPHY

Sightseeing

Remember to ask your guide about the appropriate clothing to be worn on your sightseeing excursions. As a general courtesy, women should not wear inappropriate clothes if the tour includes a visit to a religious place (Mosques or Orthodox churches).
Women can show respect by covering their hair with scarf which can be purchased at the local shops for a very reasonable cost.


Cameras & Photography

You will want to capture some reminiscences for your trip, the best way is to ask before shooting although taking pictures of the festivals, markets, priests and deacons are usually appreciated by the locals as they consider that this is a sign you (the guest) are enjoying the trip.


Photography Fees

Approximate, subject to change without notice.

* As a matter of courtesy, permission should be sought before photographing individuals and in many parts of the country, particularly among the ethnic groups living by the Omo River, people will demand a fee.
* In some sites, there is a charge for video photography

PACKING, CLOTHES & ACCOMODATION

Packing

* The bag you choose should be distinctive so that it can be easily identified at the airport and in hotels. Your name and address should be ineradicably affixed outside & inside of the luggage. It must lock, although you will carry your most valuable and fragile items in your day pack.
* For international flights, most air carriers allow 46kgs/person in two pieces. However, the domestic baggage weight limit in Ethiopia is 20kgs/person, so we recommend you pack for this limit.
* If you want to leave your extra luggage in Addis Ababa when you travel, you can hand it to our office and our staff will store it in a safe place until you are back in Addis Ababa.


Clothes

* Shemma is the traditional custom and is seen frequently on both men and women in the highlands. It is a white cotton dress with a border of bright colors. The pastoral peoples of the lowlands wear mainly leather clothing with bead or shell ornamentation, or brightly colored garments. Fine-featured Hararies wear colorful, tight trousers and gauzy veils. Among the Oromos the young girls wear their hair in two buns behind the ears, their foreheads circled with wreaths of silver, leaves or flowers. Shorts and short-sleeved shirts are fine. Bring along a hat for sun protection.


Accommodations

Your accommodations will be in the hotels that are usually near the points of interest on your itinerary. They are chosen based on the cultural hospitality, cultural integrity and the sociable surroundings and best available at that time or as per your request.

MEALS

The best known Ethiopian cuisine consists of various vegetable or meat side dishes and entrees, usually a thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread made of Teff flour. One does not eat with utensils, but instead uses injera to scoop up the entrees and side dishes. Tihlo prepared from roasted barley flour is very popular in Agame, and Awlaelo (Tigrai).


Traditional Ethiopian cuisine employs no pork or shellfish of any kind, as they are forbidden in the Islamic, Jewish, and Ethiopian Orthodox Christian faiths. It is also very common to eat from the same small dish in the center of the table with a group of people. In the morning they drink tea and bread, and buttermilk.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

With the lack of modernity in most of Ethiopia, you need to realize before you go on such a trip that you may have to handle a few pit stops in the wild; you need to climb a lot of steps in many sites and also be capable of handling many walks on cobblestone, rough paths and go some distances. You must be tolerant to accept incidents (though rare) of power outrages, lack of hot water at times, and minor inconveniences.

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

Kindly, note that you need to check-in 2 hours early before your flight time. Being able to have light bag will ease your way to the customs and inspection as the luggage allowance on the domestic flights is 20kg plus hand bags.