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 national banks.
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.
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
Local currency (ETB) up to ETB 10.00 per person. Foreign currencies unlimited, provided declaration is made to the customs
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 in
Visa and immigration requirements:
Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.
However, nationals of 35 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas
on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge.
The list includes
- Republic of Korea,
- New Zealand,
- Russian Federation,
- 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.