Full Name of the Country: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ethiopia covers an area of 1.14 million square kilometers (944,000 square miles).
There are two major seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May;
the wet season runs from June to September.
Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2,000 and
3,000 meters. In the north and centre of the country there are some 25 mountains
whose peaks rise over 4,000 meters. The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue
Nile (or Abay), which runs a distance of 1,450 kilometers from the source in Lake
Tana, to join the White Nile at Khartoum.
About 85 per cent of the population earns living from the land, mainly as subsistence
farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy and the principal exports
from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar and foodstuffs
for animals. There is also a thriving livestock sector, exporting cattle on the
hoof, hides and skins.
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a great variety of languages spoken in
the country, of which there are 83 with 200 dialects. Amharic is the working language
of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia while Oromigna, Tigrigna and Guragina
are widely spoken. Moreover, English, Italian, French and Arabic are widely spoken
in the spheres of commerce and education.
Major religions in the country are Christianity and Islam.
Internet domain or country code suffix .et Numerous internet
cafes are available in Addis Ababa and in other cities.
Ethiopia uses 220 volts 50 cycles AC.
International dialing code: +251
Ethiopia is in the GMT + 3 hours time zone. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar.
The population is estimated at 83.1 million (UN 2007)
Coffee, hides, oil seeds, beeswax, meat, sugarcane, and flowers.
Excursions within Ethiopia, whether for a day or for a month, may be organized
for you by any of the travel agencies or by the National Tour Operation.
In general between seasons clothes are appropriate. At higher altitudes, woolen
clothes or a coat are needed in the evenings. Travelers should take rain coat or
other rainwear, particularly when visiting the country during the period from February
to October. It is usually possible to have clothes laundered at or near hotels within
a short period of time (frequently services are offered 24 hours a day).
Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all pockets, from the luxurious Sheraton
and Hilton hotels to the tourist-class hotels such as the Ghion, the Ethiopia and
the Wabi Shebelle. All tourist resorts offer a choice of modern hotels.
Banking hours are usually from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm from Monday to Friday and from
8:00 am – 11:00 am on Saturdays. Closing times may be an hour longer in some private
banks. Most banks work through lunchtime; however foreign exchange services are
closed during lunch hours (12:00 noon – 1:00 pm).
Shops are open Monday to Friday 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-very flexible, often
longer opening hours; some shops are also open on Saturday. These days a few supermarkets
and beauty salons in the capital are working 24 hours.
Telephone, fax and Internet access is available in Addis Ababa in most hotels,
at the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority main office and at private Internet
service centers situated around the city.
Courier and Money Transfer Services
Money transfers can be made through Western Union and Money Gram. Both have representative
branches in Addis Ababa and also make their services available from private and
Four courier service providers DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT and EMS have offices in Addis
The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB), made up of 100 cents. Birr notes
are available in denominations of 5, 10, 50 and 100. Visitors may import an unlimited
amount of foreign currency but this must be declared on arrival to the customs authorities
on the appropriate blue-colored form.
Foreign currency may only be exchanged at authorized banks and hotels, and a
receipt must be obtained. The currency declaration form must be retained as this
will be required by customs on departure. Visitors may change back any surplus Ethiopian
Birr to cash at the airport before departure.
In addition to any Ethiopian Birr, along with the currency exchange form you
must bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions.
Local currency (ETB) up to ETB 10.00 per person. Foreign currencies unlimited,
provided declaration is made to the customs on arrival.
Allowed; local currency (ETB), provided passengers holds a re-entry permit
ETB 10.00 per person. Foreign currencies up to the amounts imported and declared.
Sunday is the weekly day of rest.
Public holidays are celebrated according to the Ethiopian (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 behind the Western or Gregorian
Calendar, with New Year falling in the month of September.
||Ethiopian New Year
||The finding of the True Cross (Meskal)
||Id ul Fitr (Ramadhan)
||Id ul Ahda (Sacrifice)
||Victory of Adwa
||Birth of Prophet Mohammed (Mauwlid)
||Ethiopian Good Friday
||International Labour Day
||Ethiopian patriots’ victory day
||Downfall of the Dergue Regime
*The holidays of Id al Fater and Id al Adaha and the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.)
are subject to moon sighting.
Duty-free imports are permitted for up to:
- 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 1/2 lb of tobacco
- 2 liters of alcoholic beverages
- Half-liter or two bottles of perfume.
Visitors may export souvenirs, although some articles (such as animal skin and
antiques) require an export permit.
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 visited or transited a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival
Visa and immigration requirements:
Visa are required for all foreign visitors to Ethiopian, with the exception of nationals of Kenya. Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.
However, nationals of 36 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas
on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge.
The list includes
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Korea,
- New Zealand,
- North Korea
- Russian Federation,
- South Africa,
- Citizens of United Kingdom and United States.
- For China including passports issued in Hong Kong (SAR China)
and MACAO (SAR China), Visa is available on arrival.
Bole International Airport
The New Bole International Airport is situated 8 kilometers from the centre of
the city (a 15 minute drive under normal conditions). Paid parking, luggage carts
and uniformed porters are available at the airport terminal.
Taxis are readily available. The National Tour Operator (NTO) has yellow Mercedes
sedans which can be ordered at their airport desk. The rates for these taxis are
fixed and receipts will be given if requested. Privately-owned blue cabs and yellow
cabs are also in abundance, but do not have fixed rates; establishing their fare
is advisable before getting into the vehicle.
Foreign exchange service is available at the arrivals lounge.
Security at the airport is tight and travelers need to produce their air ticket
and passport to enter the terminal building. All other visitors are required to
pay a fee of two Ethiopian Birr at the booths located in the parking lot and need
to show identification cards at the guard post.