Travel to Ethiopia
So you’re considering taking the plunge to travel to Ethiopia? It’s an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime experience, so get excited! The sights you’ll see, from the living things to the ancient scenes, will be incredibly inspiring. Before you travel to Ethiopia, you probably have a few questions so that you can feel prepared for the journey. We hope we’ve answered them here.
Do I need a Visa to come to Ethiopia?
Nationals of the following countries can apply and receive a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport. The cost is $50 for a one-time entry, good for up to three months.
ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA, DENMARK, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, IRELAND, ISRAEL, ITALY, JAPAN, KOREA REPUBLIC, KUWAIT, LUXEMBOURG, MEXICO, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TAIWAN (PROVINCE OF CHINA), UNITED KINGDOM, UNITED STATES
Those not included in the list above can apply for a visa at Ethiopian Embassies and consulates in their home countries.
What can you tell me about Ethiopia?
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country located in the northeastern part of Africa commonly known as ‘ The Horn of Africa’. It lies in the equatorial region between 30 – 180 north and 330 – 480 east. Eritrea and Djibouti bound it on the northeast, on the east and southeast by Somalia, on the south by Kenya and on the west by Sudan and South Sudan. Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined, and has a landmass 1,104,300 sq.km. It is the tenth largest country in Africa by size and second by population. It is a democratic national comprising of 11 semi-autonomous administrative regions organized loosely along major ethnic lines. It has an agriculturally dominated economy, which about 65 per cent of the land is presently cultivated. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and has its own calendar, alphabet and clock.
Is Ethiopia really the cradle of mankind? What can you tell me about ‘Lucy’?
Lucy is a 3.5 million years old female skeleton, and is among several important archaeological discoveries in Ethiopia, leading to the country’s title as ‘the cradle of mankind’. It is a complete direct hominid fossil discovered in the northeast of Ethiopia at a place called Hadar. Visitors to the National Museum in Addis Ababa can view it on display.
What can you tell me about the people of Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is considered to be a mosaic of cultural diversity. ‘The population of Ethiopia is estimated to be about 90 million. It is the home of more than 80 ethnic groups. Based on the language they speak, they can be divided into Semitic, Hamitic, Nilotic and Omotic origin. Despite their diversity, Ethiopians are characterized as peaceful and hospitable, and united in their struggle to develop the country. Ethiopians, often called ‘Habesha,’ have a common name for their visitors “Ferenji” which is not meant in disrespect, but in a friendly and sociable manner. Ethiopians are proud of their culture and civilization, which pre-date those of Europe and the United States.
I want to taste the national food and drink of your country.
A wide variety of different dishes are available in Ethiopia and most of them are unique to the country so you have to familiarize yourself first with the names of different dishes. You can choose from the spicy and hot Doro Wot, Kitfo, or Key Wot to less spicy dishes like Alicha Wot. You can get these foods virtually anywhere in the country and portions are generous and very inexpensive. There are also home- made local drinks for you to choose from: Araki- a strong alcoholic beverage made from millet and maize; Tej – a mead like drink made from honey; Tela – locally brewed beer from maize, wheat and barly; and Guder- the Ethiopian wine.
What is the base of the Ethiopian economy?
Ethiopia’s economy is predominantly agricultural. The highlands are very fertile, which contain many large rivers with enormous untapped potential for irrigation projects. About 80 per cent of the population earns their 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 camel on the hoof and hides and skins. 25% of the population grow coffee and it accounts for as much as 55% of Ethiopia’s exports.
What can you tell me about the topography of Ethiopia?
A volcanically formed central plateau, isolated on three sides by low- lying desert dominates the Ethiopian landscape. The central plateau, often referred to as the Ethiopian highlands, has an average altitude of above 2,000m and includes 20 peaks of 4,000m or higher. The Ethiopian highlands are dramatically mountainous, no more so than where they are bisected by the Rift Valley, which starts at the Red sea, then continues through the Danakil Depression and through southern Ethiopia to Mozambique in southern Africa. The part of the Rift valley, south of Addis Ababa, is notable for its string of eight lakes. The most extensive mountain ranges on the highlands are the Semien, which lie directly north of Gondar, and Bale, which lies in the southern highlands to the east of the Rift Valley. Mount Ras Dashen in the Semiens is 4,620m, the fourth highest peak in Africa. The highlands also form the source of four major river systems. The best known of these is the Blue Nile or Abay, which starts at Lake Tana in the northwest and supplies nine- tenths of the Nile’s water, which eventually reaches Egypt’s Nile Valley.
What is the climate in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia shows a wide climatic variation, ranging from the peaks of the Semien and Bale, which receive periodic snowfall, to regular daytime temperatures of over 50C or 122F in the Danakil Depression. As a rule, the highland has a temperate climate and average daytime temperature of 61C. Due to their proximity to the Equator, the eastern lowlands and far south is dry and hot. The western lowlands are moist and hot, making them one part of the country that feels truly tropical. The southern rift valley, much of which is at the relatively high altitude of 1.500m, is temperate to hot and seasonally moist. The general precipitation pattern is that the bulk of the rain in the highlands and Rift valley falls between mid-June and early October. The rainy season in the Rift Valley generally starts and ends a few weeks earlier than in the highlands. The northeastern highlands have a less reliable rainy season than other highland parts of Ethiopia. In normal rainy season the highlands receive an average rainfall of 800 to 2,200mm. From a tourist’s point of view, rain tends to fall in dramatic storms, which end as suddenly as they start, a situation that is infinitely easier for travel in than days of protracted drizzle.
What does thirteen months of sunshine mean?
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (six days on leap year). You can see the sun every day of the year. That is why we having the saying “13 months of sunshine”. You will be seven years younger when you arrive in Ethiopia because the calendar is seven years and eight months behind the western calendar.
What is the time difference in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia has a different time calculating system and three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The Ethiopian day is calculated in a manner similar to that in many equatorial countries, where day and night is always the same length. Time remains constant through the year. For example 7am is 1 o’clock and counting each hour accordingly, 6pm is 12 o’clock. At 7pm, the Ethiopian clock return to 1 o’clock.