Ethiopia Quick Guide

Ethiopia, situated between the great Rift Valley and the Mediterranean Sea, is a mountainous, landlocked country separated from neighbouring countries by the mighty Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back over 3 million years, it is a site of ancient culture with beautiful stone carvings. At Aksum, a magnificent old town on the banks of the river, tourists can seek ancient relics from a range of archaeological sites.

Omo Valley

In the Ethiopian Omo Valley, a visit to the world's highest mountain is incomplete without a dip in the lake. Mt. Kilimanjaro is popular for hikers, campers and seekers alike. The colourful flora and fauna along the shores of the lake are worth the effort. This is an important part of Ethiopia Travel Guide as it includes cultural facts about the lake and surrounding region.

Archaeology Conferences

During the dry season, the annual archaeological conferences in Addis are the biggest draws. The conference, organized every year during June, allows archaeologists from all over the world to converge and share their research and findings. It is also the perfect time to buy some cheap Ethiopia Travel Insurance to cover your needs when you are planning your next visit to Ethiopia.

Zaer Forest

A trip to Ethiopia would not be complete without at least one day in Zaer Forest. This diverse site located in Southern Rift Valley encompasses uncountable natural beauty that includes the characteristic paddy fields as well as unique ethnic groups. When visiting Zaer Forest, be sure to purchase one hand traveller's tent or a one-person tent with a spacious interior and a waterproof roof.

Working in Ethiopia

This country is one of the most politically stable in the world, and a great place to study abroad. For those planning to stay in Addis Ababa, the capital city, be sure to purchase visa cards prior to traveling. The number of local residents who speak English here is increasing, and it can take up to a year to acquire a visa to work in Ethiopia.

Another interesting facet covered by this comprehensive touristic guide for Ethiopia is its amazing wildlife. From endangered animal populations to wide open expanses of savannas and forests, travellers should never miss an opportunity to visit Ethiopia. While many tourists typically set out to witness the animals in the wild, a visit to Zaer Forest is also a good excuse to get closer to some of the park's resident species. This trek offers an excellent opportunity to observe both wild and domesticated animals.


Lalibela is considered to be the crown jewel of Ethiopia. Situated in the Omo Valley, this town is noted for its stunning scenery that includes rolling hills, gorges, and lakes surrounded by fertile plains. This lush area is home to numerous archaeological sites, including the Hittite royal citadel. Those interested in archaeology should spend at least one night in Lalibela, as a number of archaeological digs can be observed nearby. Those traveling around the various regions of Lalibela will encounter a number of religious monuments, including the main mosque, as well as the Neco River and the Garifuna settlement of Faya.


No trip to Ethiopia would be complete without a stop in Somaliland, which is situated in the far north of the country, near the border with the United Arab Emirates. Long known as one of the poorest countries in Africa, Somaliland still manages to maintain its independence. In recent years, however, the country has gained economic stability, as it has begun to receive foreign investment. As a result, Somaliland travel guides have become more aware of the country's rich cultural heritage and even feature stories about its annual "Mubarak Festival," the "Green Coffee Festival," and the "Lodakh Resistance." For travellers interested in seeing some of the world's best antiquities, Somaliland provides a unique opportunity to do just that and to see a glimpse of how history may affect future generations.

What vaccinations do I need?

Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Ethiopia are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Is it safe to travel?

Best time to visit?

The best time to visit Ethiopia is Sep-April, but particularly at either end of the rains – in April, when the land is dry and barren, or as it flourishes again in Sep-Oct. This green season is also best for highland wildlife. Rains replenish the Omo Valley even sooner – so travel Nov-Mar or Jun-Sep.

Do I need a Visa?

You will need a visa to enter Ethiopia. E-visas can be purchased in advance from the Ethiopian Immigration website. Visas on arrival are also available for tourists at Addis Ababa (Bole) International airport, at a cost of approximately $US50 for 1 month and $US75 for 3 months.

See which forms you may need for entry into Ethiopia.

What currency do i need?

The official currency of Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Ethiopia you can grab amazing Ethiopian Birr deals via (GBP to ETB).

What about the wildlife?

Among the latter are the cheetah, lion, civet, serval, African bush elephant, bushpig, gazelle, antelope, ibex, kudu, dik-dik, oribi, reedbuck, Somali wild ass, Grévy's zebra, hyena, baboon, and numerous species of monkey.

What is the traditional food?

Amharic food? The national dish of Ethiopia is Doro Wat which is a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew.

What Languages are spoken?

Amharic is the official national language of Ethiopia. English, Arabic, Italian and French are widely spoken by many Ethiopians. The Ethiopian languages are divided into four major language groups.These are Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic, and Nilo-Saharan. You can learn some basic Amharic before you travel to Ethiopia and really impress the locals!

How much do you tip?

The currency in Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Birr (Most meals at small Ethiopian restaurants cost between 30-60 Birr ( 50p-£1). 5-10 Birr (10p-20p) would be a very generous tip.).

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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 113
  • Ambulance: 112
  • Fire: 110
  • UK Embassy: +975 17 61 85 53

Time Difference

The GMT time difference is 3 hours

Travel Apps

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Learn Amharic

Learn some Amharic before your trip to Ethiopia

Ethiopia Guidebook

Stay informed before, during and after your trip to Ethiopia by buying a guidebook.