Visa may be obtained from Ethiopian diplomatic mission overseas ,in addition nationals of 33 countries listed below are allowed to receive their visa on arrival to Ethiopia, the detail includes:- Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and US.
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.
Ethiopia is found within GMT +3 hours’ time Zone, and follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each thirteen months of five days (six days in a leap year). The calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western Gregorian calendar.
Days and nights are of equal length as in other equatorial countries. Each day is 12 hours long. Ethiopian day starts at 7 am (counted as 1:00) and ends at 6pm (12:00 Ethiopian time).
Addis Ababa offers variety of hotels ranging from luxurious 5 star hotels to the tourist standard. Tourist accommodation facilities are also improving at destinations outside Addis, the offer ranges from 2-4 star hotels to camping facilities.
Enjera, the Ethiopian national dish is a flat, circular pancake of fermented made from an endemic grain seed called Teff, served with different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables and different sauce. Though it is different from region to region, generally Ethiopians used hot and spiced sauces that give Ethiopian food its characteristic taste. Vegetarians should try "Ethiopian fasting food", a colorful spread of salads and vegetables devoid of all meat and animal products.
In Addis Ababa and major towns, it is possible to get traditional Ethiopian restaurants and others specialized in Italian, Far East and western dishes. In hotels found at tourist sites, European style foods are always available. Those visitors who are travelling to the remote and adventure tourist sites such as deep in the Omo valley and Erta’le, Wub Ethiopia tour Company provide professional cook and cooking materials.
In general between seasons different clothes are appropriate. At higher altitudes, woolen clothes or a coat are needed in the evenings. Travelers should take rain coat or other rainwear, particularly when visiting the country during the period from February to October. The temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Mountains trekkers should bring warm clothes and water proofs for unexpected seasonal rains. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques.
Banking hours are usually from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday and from 8:00 am – 12:00 am on Saturdays. Closing times may be an hour longer in some private banks. Recently most banks work through lunchtime and Saturday afternoon including foreign exchanges services.
Shops are open Monday to Saturday 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-very flexible, often longer opening hours. This days a few supermarkets and beauty salons in Addis Ababa are working 24 hours.
The Local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 Cents. Notes are used in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 birr. There is no limit to the amount foreign currency imported, but it must be declared to the customs authority upon arrival.
Courier and Money Transfer Services
Money transfers can be made through Western Union and Money Gram. Both have representative branches in Addis Ababa and in some other major towns and make their services available from private and national banks. For courier services, DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT, and EMS have offices in Addis Ababa.
Duty-free imports are permitted for up to:
a) 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 1/2 lb of tobacco
b) 2 liters of alcoholic beverages
c) Half-liter or two bottles of perfume.
Visitors may export souvenirs, although some Articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.
The following are Ethiopian public holiday dates:-
- September 11, Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash)
- September 27, The finding of the True Cross (Meskal)
- January 7, Ethiopian Christmas (Genna)
- January 19, Ethiopian Epiphany (Timket)
- March 2 ,Victory of Adwa (commemorates the victory by Menelik II over Italy in 1896)
- April 6, Ethiopian patriots victory day (celebrates end of Italian occupation in 1941)
- Ethiopian Good Friday (variable)
- Ethiopian Easter (Fasika) (variable)
- May 1, International Labor Day
- Id ul Fitr (Ramadhan) (variable)
- Id ul Adha (variable)
Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia although English, Arabic and Italian are also spoken in cities and towns.
Though tipping is a frequent custom, amounts vary depending on the service quality offered and the interests of the visitors. In most hotels and restaurants, a 10 per cent service charge is added to the bill.
Points of Entry
Bole International Airport, Bahir Dar, Mekele and Dire Dawa Airports are entry ports. Dawale and Galafe for those crossing from Djibouti border, Moyale for those driving from Kenya, Humera and Metema from Sudan are surface entry points .All arrivals undergo full customs and immigration checks. These are only entry points and no visa services available.
In Ethiopia driving is on the right. Drivers require a valid international driving license which can be obtained by exchanging yours with local license. Visitor can recover their license prior to their departure.
Generally, Ethiopia is considered as safe destination, but one should still take normal precautions while visiting cities and tourist sites: avoiding unfamiliar areas at night and not carrying large sums of money in pockets.