General Information


thrirteen month of sunshine
Roads: There are some 4,100 kilometres of asphalt roads with a further 19,000 kilometres of gravel and dry-weather roads.
Railway: New railway roads are now under-construction in different parts of Ethiopia. According to the report, the one connecting Awash National Park will start service in November 2015.
Air: Ethiopian Airlines has an extensive domestic and international network flying to various landing strips.
Government - Ethiopia is a Federal Democratic Republic made up of 9 regions, mainly based on ethnicity.
Economy - About 90 percent of the population earn 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 (Ethiopia has the largest domestic livestock population in Africa), exporting cattle on the hoof and hides and skins. The export of chat, oilseeds, pulses and animal feed makes up the rest of Ethiopia's foreign currency earnings, with tourism set to make an increasingly important contribution.
Language - Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a great variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there are 83 with 200 dialects. The main three languages are Amharic, Tigrigna and Oromigna. English is also widely spoken.
Electric supply - Ethiopia uses 220 volts and plugs are of the two pin variety.
Time - Ethiopia is in the GMT + 3 hours time zone. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of 30 days each and a thirteenth month of five or six days.
Hotels - 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, Ethiopia and Wabi Shebelle. All tourist resorts offer a choice of Modern hotels.
Visa requirements - Visas are required for all visitors to Ethiopia and can be obtained from Ethiopian diplomatic missions abroad. Except nationals of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. Passengers transiting Ethiopia within 72 hours only for connection purpose, holding confirmed onward booking and entry visa on arrival.
Currency - The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, providing declaration of such currency is made to Customs on arrival. Foreign currency may only be changed at authorised banks and hotels. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors, however, will be able to change back any excess Ethiopian Birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. If you do have Ethiopian Birr cash in at the airport, you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions. Credit card acceptance is now growing throughout the country but not yet in all main cities.
Customs - All visitors should declare electronic goods. They will be required to show the declaration paper upon departure, in order for them to take back their equipments.
Duty-free import is permitted up to:
200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or ½ lb of tobacco
1 litre of alcoholic beverages
½ litre, or two bottles, of perfumes.
Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding Birr 500, although some Articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.
Health requirements - 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 Ethiopia.
Malaria: Lower lying areas of Addis Ababa (around 2,000 meters) are now said to be potentially malarial, but essentially the city is malaria free, although non-malarial mosquitoes can be nuisance in some areas at night. For traveling outside Addis Ababa it is advisable to consult travel agencies on malarial protection for specific areas. Also it is always good to take a simple first aid pack. In most of the larger towns there are now private clinics, but these and local pharmacies may be short of drugs and medical supplies. In Addis Ababa there is a range of private hospitals and clinics.
Altitude sickness: Addis Ababa lying between 2200-2500 meters above sea level is the third highest capital in the world, and new visitors may experience discomfort until they adjust to the altitude – symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue and insomnia.
Security - Ethiopia is generally a safe country, and Addis Ababa a safe capital city, but one should still take the normal precautions, avoiding unfamiliar areas at night and not carrying large sums of money in accessible pockets. It is advisable to beware of pickpockets operating in certain areas, skilled at identifying new arrivals, other than that violent robbery and muggings are rare and generally visitors can tour the city day and night in safety.