Ethiopia Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Ethiopia in 2024
Welcome to Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a country in East Africa bordered by Sudan in the west, Djibouti in the east, Eritrea in the north, and Kenya in the south. It is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia’s wealth is unmatched on the African continent. Ethiopia’s cultural identity is intriguing due to its historical heritage. The variety of the nation’s natural landscapes is another factor. In Ethiopia, you may walk up tall mountains and volcanoes or discover savannas, deserts, and canyons. In this comprehensive Ethiopia travel guide, we’ll provide all the information you need to appreciate this great country.

Geography

Ethiopia covers an area of approximately 1,104,300 square kilometers. It is thus one of the largest countries in Africa and the 27th largest in the world. The county’s terrain mainly consists of high plateaus, mountains, and dry lowlands plains. It has one of the world’s most rugged and beautiful scenery. The highest peak in Ethiopia is Ras Dejen at 4,533 meters in Simien national park (UNESCO world heritage site).

Essential Ethiopia travel information

Currency – Birr (ETB). $1 is equivalent to approx. 52.24 Ethiopian Birrs.

Daily budget for one person – 2,588 ETB ($50)

Languages – Afar, Amharic, Oromo, Somali, Tigrinya.

Socket type – The power plugs and sockets in Ethiopia are C, E, F, and L.

Time zone – UTC+3 (EAT)

The top 3 cities to visit are Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, and Axum.

The top 3 landmarks/monuments are Bet Giyorgis, Omo National Park, and National Museum.

Typical costs and budget for Ethiopia

Daily spending per person – 2,588 ETB ($50)

Meals – 672 ETB on average per day ($13)

Transport – A typical taxi ride costs 287 ETB ($6)

Hotel – 1,367 ETB ($26) for a single room and 2,734 ETB ($53) for a couple.

Transport and ways to travel around Ethiopia

The most convenient way to travel between cities is via airline. Ethiopia doesn’t have a railway infrastructure, but Ethiopian Airlines runs many domestic flights that carry you anywhere. The capital city of Addis Abeba serves as the regional center. You may connect there for a flight that will take you to practically any place in the nation. It is inexpensive to travel around cities by bus. There are no timetables, and the system could be more organized. If you like to travel comfortably, there are several taxi lines to and from airports, hotels, and popular tourist destinations.

Safety in Ethiopia

Protests and civil upheaval are frequent in the nation. However, they are less frequent in Addis Abeba, the nation’s capital. We advise you to attentively follow local media before your travel, particularly news on the Ethiopian government.

Because of terrorism, armed conflict, and battles between armed groups, several parts of the nation are not advised for travel. The Tigray and Amhara regions in northern Ethiopia and the areas close to the borders with Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea are not advised for visitors to visit due to safety concerns. The war primarily impacts inhabitants in these areas.

Tourists can feel comfortable in most tourist destinations, including the capital city. Here, it would help if you exercised the usual care, like being aware of your personal property, eating well-cooked meals, and drinking water that has been cleaned.

Popular Cities and Towns in Ethiopia

Axum: The world’s first Christian monarchy was in this historic metropolis. There are several archeological sites and outstanding museums in Axum.

The nation’s technological and commercial center is this thriving metropolis. Excellent dining options and top-notch entertainment are available here.

Dire Dawa: This wonderful city close to Addis Ababa is the perfect location to discover Ethiopia’s rich culture slowly. A tour nationwide may be started at Dire Dawa since it is well-run and tranquil.

Typical Ethiopian food to try

Beyainatu: The ideal meal for vegetarian tourists is this one. You receive injera topped with heaps of delectable and colorful veggies, potatoes, curries, lentil stew, and other dishes when you order Beyainatu.

Fuul: Fuul is typically too large for one dish. Thus it is generally advised to share. A stewed and spicy mixture of fava beans called Fuul is served with yogurt, tomato, green chile, onion, egg, and occasionally avocado.

Kitfo: Like steak tartare, only the leanest beef is used to prepare this classic meal. Minced meat is used to make kitfo, spiced with mitmita and thyme, and reheated in a skillet with a bit of butter.

Must do and see in Ethiopia

National Museum is home to the well-known Lucy, a petrified hominid and the most well-known prehistoric human in the world. The museum’s main attraction is, without a doubt, the paleontological exhibit.

Royal Enclosure: It is the nation’s second-most significant institution of worship and the ultimate burial place of Empress Menen Asfaw and Emperor Haile Selassie.

Lalibela Churches: On this ancient location, 11 churches that date back over 900 years were carved out of a single rock. They are a magnificent attraction and are extremely important to followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Bet Giyorgis: The most visited site in Liabela is this 15-meter-high church, which has been perfectly maintained. Its simplicity is what gives this Greek cross-shaped church its attractiveness.

Fun Facts about Ethiopia

  1. A goat herder named Kaldi made the unintentional discovery of coffee in Ethiopia.
  2. The first people to train donkeys and camels were Ethiopians.
  3. Ethiopians are the only Africans that use their native writing systems, aside from Arabs.
  4. Ethiopian Christmas is celebrated with a feast with the entire family on January 7.

Climate

Ethiopia is a semi­arid country with a highly dynamic climate, extensive dry lands, and relatively insufficient natural resources. The region also has three seasons, locally known as “Bega” (summer), primarily associated with hot days and cold nights, from October to January. Belg (autumn) is a short rainy season in Ethiopia except in the southern lowlands covering from March to May. Kiremt (winter) rainy season where 85 to 95% of the crops are produced, mainly covering from June to August. Temperatures usually vary in the region between 25°C to 21C. Precipitation in Ethiopia is generally low throughout the country. The mean annual rainfall distribution is approximately 2,000mm over the south­western highlands and less than 300mm over the south­eastern and north­eastern lowlands. The temperatures in Ethiopia usually vary and may range from ­15°C to 25°C.

Population

The latest United Nations data has estimated the population of Ethiopia to be approximately 120,793,602. The country has people from diverse cultures and various ethnic groups. The Oromo, Tigreans, and Amhara make up ¾ of the population. Centrally, there are more than 77 other ethnic groups in the country; therefore, the government is a multiethnic region. Ethiopia’s people are also relatively young, with the median age being around 18.5 years. The area also has w life expectancy with a high mortality rate. The life expectancy is approximately 64 years.

Languages 

Ethiopia is a multiethnic and multicultural country with 46 to 85 languages spoken and used. Amharic is the official state language. In addition, English is also frequently used by citizens and taught in most schools.

Religion

Ethiopia has various religions, and the country has a long historical connection to Islam and Christianity. Abrahamic religions are the most common religion groups led by Christianity of the Roman Catholic church at 67.3%, followed by Islam at 31.1%. There is also a longstanding Jewish community though very small.

Government

The Ethiopian government system has been structured in the form of a federal republic government, whereby the prime minister is the ruler of the government. The government expresses the executive powers, while the legislative powers are vested in the parliament. The constitution currently being used in Ethiopia was adopted in 1994 and has been the supreme law of the land. The prime minister nominates the Council of Ministers for the House of Representatives approval. The national assembly in Ethiopia is bicameral, with the House of the Federal with 108 representatives and the House of Representatives with 547 seats. The federal supreme court has a center in Addis Ababa with national jurisdiction. The judiciary in Ethiopia is also independent.

Economy

Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with a GDP of around $103 billion in 2020. The country’s economy is primarily agricultural, with coffee being its largest export commodity. In recent years, Ethiopia has also been focusing on industrialization and diversification, with sectors such as textiles, leather goods, and horticulture showing significant growth. The government has implemented various economic policies to attract foreign investment, improve infrastructure, and increase job creation. However, the country still faces significant challenges, such as high poverty rates, limited access to finance, and political instability.

Culture

Ethiopia is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage that spans thousands of years. It is home to over 80 different ethnic groups, each with its unique customs, traditions, and languages. Ethiopia is known for its ancient and remarkable history, including the Kingdom of Axum’s ruins, the Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches, and the Gondar’s old city. The country is also renowned for its vibrant music, dance, and art scenes, with traditional styles such as the Eskista dance and the Amharic language Amharic music still popular today. Ethiopians are known for their hospitality and friendliness, and food is an essential part of their culture, with dishes like injera and wot staples of the cuisine. Religion also plays a vital role in Ethiopian culture, with Christianity and Islam being the dominant religions and traditional beliefs still prevalent in some areas.

Recent History

The country is among the countries serving the most extended dry season. It is a dry-prone country, and since 2020, the government has been enduring five seasons of failed rain. Currently, an HRP program targets more than 13 million people affected by drought.

Related Articles
Recent News

5 min read

Norway Tourist Visa For Indians – Fees & Application

Thinking about visiting Norway from India? Whether it's for study, tourism, or business, the good news is that Indians can easily obtain a Schengen visa to explore this beautiful Scandinavian

Read More
Recent News

5 min read

Georgia visa for Indians : Requirements, fees & application

Planning your next getaway to Georgia? Whether you're captivated by its rich culture, stunning landscapes, or bustling cities, obtaining a Georgia visa for Indians is the first step towards making

Read More
Recent News

5 min read

Schengen Visa Itinerary Guide for Indian Nationals

Dreaming of exploring Europe? Well, for many Indians, it's a big dream! But before you pack your bags, there's something important you need to know for getting a Schengen visa.

Read More

Before entering the territory of Ethiopia, individuals of Indian nationality need a visa. Visas are available at the Ethiopian embassy or the consulate located in India.

Choose the Ethiopian visa category you need, and Pay online; Please send us your documents using our pick-up and drop-off services; upon approval, receive your visa.

The earliest time one can submit a request for an Ethiopian online visa is 24 hours before traveling.

Ethiopian eVisa permits Indian tourists to stay in the country for between 30 to 90 days.

Travelers can request a visa extension 15 days before the visa expires

Traveling checklist

  • Valid passport with six months before expiry
  • Valid Ethiopian visa
  • Confirmed return ticket
  • Foreign currency
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Additional documents supporting the purpose of the visit.