Travel Advisories

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Visa may be secured promptly upon application to an Ethiopian diplomatic or consular mission abroad or upon arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. Entry visa upon arrival costs Birr 140, about US $ 22. Visitor who stay for more than 30 days must report to immigration office and secure an identity card. The nationals and residents of the following tourist generating countries can obtain visas from Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa:- Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Korea Republic, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Departing visitors, other than transit will pay an embarkation fee. Visas are not required for transit passengers. But transit passengers staying for more than 72 hours should have a transit visa. Business visas are issued for a month renewal is possible if arranged by local organizations with which the visitor is attached.

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Tourist Entry ports

For Air travelers the ports of entry to Ethiopia are Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa Airport. For those who travel on land, the ports of entry are:

  • Dewele from Djibouti
  • Galafi from Djibouti
  • Jijga from Somalia
  • Metema from Sudan
  • Moyale from Kenya


Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2000 and 3000 meters in the north and center of the country there are two mountains whose peaks over 4,000 meters.


There are two seasons – the dray season prevails from October through May, the wet season runs from June to September. Temperatures depend on altitude.

What to wear

While clothing will depend on the time of the year, it is the best to remember that Ethiopians are fairly conservative in their dress, suits and ties being standard in offices. For tourist light cotton clothing with sunglasses and a hat will be better in the warm law lands, while in the highlands light or medium weight clothing is appropriate. During the rainy season a light rain coat and umbrella are essential. And a sweater is best for chilly evenings. The sun can be very strong in high altitudes, so a strong sunscreen is important.

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Duty free items are allowed to visitors. However, there is a limit to the amount of items sold. 500cc (1 litter) of perfume, 1 litter of alcoholic liquors, 250 gram of tobacco, 100 cigarettes and 50 cigars are allowed to visitors to buy duty free. Professional articles and samples, including those imported by business men and commercial travelers, items like cameras (films), photographic equipment, radio equipment and sound recording apparatus, and equipment imported by foreign correspondents or any other specialized materials imported for professional use or supporting fire arms, are subject to special permit.

As regards items to take outside the country, visitors are allowed to take with them souvenir items not worth more than 500 birr (1 USD= 8.60 Birr) and wild life products that have been permitted to take by the relevant government authority.


The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1,5,10,50 and 100 Birr. There are five different coins i.e. 1,5,10,25,50 cents.

Currency Regulation

There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency imported into Ethiopia, but it must be declared on arrival, using a currency declaration form. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The Currency declaration form will be required by customs on departure.

Visitors may change back any excess Birr into foreign currency at the airport before departure, but one must bring all receipt for exchange transactions.


At Bole International Airport and in all major cities and many towns, there will be branches of national and private banks.

Banking Hours

Monday – Friday 08:00-11:00 13:00-15:00
Saturday 08:00-12:20  


Excluding the Bole International Airport of Addis Ababa, there are ten asphalted Airports capable of handling Jet Airplanes, these are:

Arbaminch Airport Gode Airport
Axum Airport Gondar Airport
Bahrdar Airport Jimma Airport
Diredawa Airport Lalibela Airport
Gambella Airport Mekele Airport

Embarkation Fee

International travelers (foreigners) US $ 20.00
International travelers (Ethiopian Nationals) Birr 100.00
Domestic flights Birr 10:00

Admission Fees

There are admission fees to most historic sites and national Park ranging from Birr 10 to 300 Birr.


Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country with a great variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there are 83 with 200 dialects. The main three languages are Amharic, Ormigna and Tigrigna English is also widely spoken.

Traditional Courtesies

Recognition of traditional courtesies is important when visiting another country. While Ethiopians are well aware of the form in other countries, they tend to be conservative at home. A handshake greeting is normal, with a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or infront of priests. Shoes are often taken on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.

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Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which has 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month of five or six days. New year starts on September the 11th. The Ethiopian Calendar is seven years and 8 months behind the European Calendar.


Ethiopia is three hours a head of Greenwich Mean Time. Time remains constant throughout the year. The Ethiopian day is calculated in a manner similar to many equatorial countries, where days and nights have the same length.


Ethiopia uses 220 volts and 50 cycles AC.


While the scenic beauty of Ethiopia makes it a photographer’s paradise, photographs should not be taken of military or strategic buildings. These include airports. Before photographing any person, religious festival or rural homestead it is courteous to ask permission. While film is readily available in most towns, we recommend that visitors bring plenty of film with them. Commercial photographers require a permit from the Ministry of Information. Certain tourist sites charge for video photography.

Medical Facilities

While both doctors and dentists are available throughout many areas of the country, the major hospitals are located in the main towns. We recommend that visitors bring sufficient supplies of any drugs that they need regularly.

All visitors must be in possession of vaccination certificates against yellow fever, and vaccinations against hepatitis and cholera are recommended. Malaria precaution should be taken before visiting the lowlands.


Taxis are stationed outside all the major hotels and at the airport. They have fixed rates and a receipt is given for the fare.


A 778 – kilometer long railway line links Addis Ababa with Djibouti, and carries both freight and passengers.

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