It is very important to care about all important details before your trip.
These are some of the main general informations the traveller need when planning a trip to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is situated in the area known as ‘The Horn of Africa’ and borders with Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, the self-proclaimed separatist territory of Somaliland, and Djibouti. It covers an area of 1,104,300 sq km or 426,372 sq miles – roughly twice the size of France – and is completely landlocked.
The central area of the country is a vast highland region of volcanic rock that is cut through by the Great Rift Valley. This temperate central region is surrounded by hot, arid, inhospitable land.
Within the country there is a huge diversity in altitude. The highest point is Ras Dashen (4,550 m) in the Simien Mountains whereas the lowest point is in the Danakil Depression at 125 m below sea level. Ethiopia is home to four major river systems, the most important of which is the Blue Nile beginning at Lake Tana.
Ethiopia is a very diverse country where you can expect several climate zones ranging from afro-alpine in the Simiens and Bale mountains (above 3000 m.) to hot desert climate in the east. Most of the country however is highland and destinations like Lalibela and Gondar (above 2,000 m.), enjoy a very pleasant temperate weather. Differences in altitude indeed play an important role when it comes to climate.
Generally, the best time to visit Ethiopia is between November and February with mostly clear sunny days – this period is considered the dry season since rainfall is at its lowest. These months are excellent also for bird watching. September to October offer beautiful lush landscapes.
Rain patterns in Ethiopia are normally defined, however, just like all over the world, we are experiencing an increase of unexpected phenomena. The standard weather pattern would be as follows:
The best time to visit is from November to April, considered the dry season.
The rainy season is July and August and it normally rains late in the afternoon and at night, so tours can be carried out even in this season. We however recommend to avoid the Simien Mountains National Park in this period. April, May, June, September and October are considered the shoulder months – you may get a short burst of rain every now and then, especially in the late afternoon and night, but all areas can be visited without problems.
The best time to visit the Lower Omo Valley is from December to March when it is dry and hot. The season of the long rains is April and May – we recommend not to travel in this period since roads can be impassable. June to November is the period of the short rains – you may get a burst of rain every now and then, especially in the late afternoon and night, but all areas can be visited without problems.
Situated in the north, near the border with Eritrea, the Danakil Depression sits at the juncture of three tectonic plates and is one of the hottest places on earth with temperatures regularly above 41°C. Due to the harsh conditions of the region it is necessary to carefully plan the time of visit. The ideal season is from November to February, when it is very hot but not too different from a hot summer in southern Europe. In October, March and April it is still possible to travel but temperatures are quite high, easily in late 30s and low 40s C° so people with heart problems should avoid these months. From May to September it is not recommended to visit the region and Sunrise Tours operates only day trips to Dallol.
EU citizens can obtain Visa upon arrival at Addis Abeba Bole International Airport at the cost of 50US$ or 48€. You just need your passport with at least 1 empty page and 6 months’ validity – no photos or other documents are necessary; however, we invite travelers to carry the exact amount of cash in order to avoid delays.
All nationalities are eligible for eVisa – to apply you need to enter your details (name, address, DOB, passport details and travel plans) online at https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/home Normally applications are processed within a day however we recommend to apply at least 2 weeks before travelling. Always make sure to print your eVisa slip because it has to be shown together with your passport at the Ethiopian immigration office and it has to be kept inside your passport for the time of your stay in Ethiopia. We recommend all travelers to obtain an eVisa to avoid long queues at the airport upon landing.
Both the eVisa and the visa upon arrival are accepted only if you arrive at Addis Abeba international airport, they are not accepted at land borders.
For the most updated information kindly check the Ethiopian Immigration office website:
There are no mandatory vaccinations however you must always check with your medical doctor prior traveling for the most updated information.
Malaria prophylaxis is recommended only for journeys to the Southern and Western regions, especially when overnights are in mobile camps (even if tents are equipped with mosquito net). The best prevention however is to always use mosquito repellents and wear long-sleeves and long pants from twilight onwards.
The National Language is Amharic, a Semitic language related to Arabic and Hebrew, with its own alphabet and sounds. Besides Amharic there are another 83 languages spoken in Ethiopia, regional and tribal, and most Ethiopians speak 2 or 3 languages.
English is widely understood, especially amongst young people and in the cities.