Tips and Information
Visa and Immigration
As of 2023
Visa applications have to be done “online” ONLY . That applies for non-African nationals, and those without Ethiopian origin. (at least one parent is an Ethiopian National??). The link to apply for the e-visa is: – https://www.evisa.gov.et/ If you do not get your visa within 72 working hours please let us know. Payment processing of credit card can be challenging.
The e-visa need to be presented in print form to customs at the entry and at the end of the stray again
Local Currency and Exchange Information
As of 2023
The local currency is called Birr (ETB). Euros, US Dollars are convertible either at the airport on arrival, at one of the many authorized banks or 4/5 star hotels. We can assist you. ATMs are in use.
Travellers’ cheques are difficult to exchange in Ethiopia and credit cards are not widely accepted. Further smaller towns often do not have exchange facilities.
The amount of foreign currency; a visitor can bring into the country is unlimited. Nevertheless, if the amount exceeds 3000USD it must be declared on the currency declaration form on arrival. This form must then be presented to the customs authority at the time of departure. Visitors may change back any excess Ethiopian birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. In order to change change birr back to dollars, visitors will be asked to produce all receipts for exchange transactions.
One can easily find Internet cafes in Addis Ababa and in most major cities. Internet wifi services are also available in most up market hotels and cafes. We carry a router with us which you can connect to
We closely observe any issue in the county with extreme caution, to granite you a relaxed und a safe journey
January 7th Ethiopian Christmas (Genna)
January 18th Epiphany Eve (Timkat Eve)
January 19th Epiphany (Timkat)
March 2nd Victory Of Adwa Day
April 6th Patriots Victory Day
April 5th, 2015 Palm Sunday (Hosanna)
April 10, 2015 Ethiopian Good Friday (Seklet)
April 12, 2015 Ethiopian Easter (Fasika)
**NB: Palm Sunday, Good Friday & Easter Dates Change Every Year
May 1st May Day
May 28th Downfall Of The Dergue (Since 1991)
September 11th Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash)
September 26th Eve Of Meskal (Demera)
September 27th Finding Of The True Cross (Meskal)
**NB: Most Of The Above Dates Shift Forward One Day On Leap Years. In Addition To The Above Dates Are The Holidays Associated With Ramadan Which Follow A Lunar Calendar And Vary Annually.
When to Visit Ethiopia
This can depend on where you are going. In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the end of September, with short rains in March.
However, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November.
For travelers who do not mind waiting out a downpour (usually followed by brilliant sunshine) there are certain rewards-a green countryside full of crops and flowers and the sites largely to your selves.
Consider tipping as an expected thing for local helpers, guides, and drivers along your trip. Generally, tipping them a minimum of 10% is a good thing. On average, local guides, cooks, drivers or assistants earn about 30 to 50 USD per day, so a fair tip should be about $3 to $5 per day per group for each of them. In the case of the the escort (permanent) guide and driver it’s very personal, because you are spending a lot of time with them. Here we suggest for the driver average $5-8 per day, for the guide $6-10 per day, but feel free to fix the amount of tipping depending on the group size and satisfaction.
We at Eyayaw Tours Ethiopia also believe that the amount of tipping should be depending on the level of satisfaction of our clients. Therefore, please consider any number given here as rough recommendation and feel free to tip our staff more or less depending on how happy you’ve been with them.
- Foreigner restaurants (Ferengi restaurants): about 10% if the service charge is not already included
- Local restaurants: rounding up the bill or something like 5% is fine
- Porters: 30-40 Birr; $0.5 per piece of luggage (consider that in some places like inside the airport helping with luggage might be regulated and a fixed amount is charged)
- For the trekking tours also tip staff such as cooks, assistants, scouts, mule men (you can ask and discuss this openly with you guide)
Binocular / Drones/GPS (or Special Permits Needed)
As of 2023
Several years ago, during the conflict a whole list of equipment was listed as not allowed to be carried into the country (and around). Thes rule is still in place. The relevant ones for tourism are binoculars, handheld GPS devices (watches do not seem to be an issue), drones, telescopes, and compasses! If you plan to bring any of these on your trip, we can try to obtain permissions for you. Be aware this is a time consuming and challenging process. Let us know ahead of time.
The electric power supply is generally 220 volts running on 50 Hz.
Plugs usually have two thin round pins
Electric supply is mostly stable in Addis Ababa and major cities. In the case of blackouts, there are often generators in place in hotels and big buildings. For more rural locations, we recommend carrying extra batteries for cameras since electric supply may be irregular.
Travelers are advised to travel well-prepared. Get advised by your lokal medical center We recommend that you carry a first aid kit, sufficient supply of prescription medication.
Further all recommended immunizations should be done before travel. It is mandatory to have vaccination against cholera if visitors have visited any cholera infected areas six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia.
We appreciate any prior information regarding allergies especially food allergies
Please be sure to only drink bottled water. One must be careful not to underestimate the effects of the sun. Plenty of sun cream, a good sun hat and gradual adjustment is recommended.
The time zone in Ethiopia is East Africa Time (EAT) (UTC+03). The IANA time zone database identifier is “Africa/Addis Ababa”. Special in Ethiopia is a 12-hour clock, with one cycle of 1 to 12 from dawn to dusk, and the other cycle from dusk to dawn. Unlike the convention in most countries, the start of the day is dawn, rather than midnight. Thus, 7:00 AM in East Africa Time corresponds to 1:00 in daylight hours in local Ethiopian time. 12:00 noon EAT is 6:00 in daylight hours, and 6:00 PM EAT is 12:00 in local time
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13 th month of 5 or 6 days. It is 7 years and 8 months behind the Gregorian calendar. .
Ethiopians are modest dressers and visitors should be sensitive about going undressed into places of worship. Shoes must always be removed before entering Churches and Mosques.
We always recommend asking for permission to take photos. As a matter of courtesy, permission should be sought before photographing individuals and in many parts of the country, particularly among the Afar and among the ethnic groups living by the Omo River, people will demand a fee. The amount is to be negotiated. We suggest consulting the guide to give donations or anything else!
Population / Language
Ethiopia’s population is estimated around 110 million. Ethiopia is composed of about 83 ethnic groups. Based on the language they speak, they can be divided into Semitic, Cushitic, Nilotic and Omotic stocks.
Annual growth rate: 2.7%.
Ethnic groups (est.): Oromo 40%, Amhara 25%, Tigre 7%, Somali 6%, Sidama 9%, Gurage 2%, Wolaita 4%, Afar 4%, other nationalities 3%.
Ethiopia is the largest landlocked country in the continent of Africa and is the 13th most populous country in the world. Ethiopia is also the second largest country in Africa, behind only Nigeria in population.
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 (official national language) Afan Oromo and Tigrigna. English is also widely spoken.
Political History Government
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world – at least 2,000 years (may be traced to the Aksumite Kingdom, which coalesced in the first century B.C.)
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, with the exception of the 1936-41 Italian occupation during World War II. In 1974 a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile Selaisse (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. The regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia’s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A two and a half year border war with Eritrea ended with a peace treaty on 12 December 2000.
Ethiopia currently has a Federal Democratic Republic government. Head of government: Prime Minister Abiye Agmed; President. Sahle-Work Zewde (first female President)
Topography (old Land And Topography)
Ethiopia covers an area more than the size of France and Spain combined and nearly twice the size of Texas it is 1,235,000 square kilometers.. About 65 percent of the land is arable, with in 15 percent presently cultivated.
The altitude in the country ranges from 125m below sea level in the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest places in the world, to 4620 meters a.s.l at Mount Ras Dashen in the North.
Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2000 and 3000 meters. In the north and centre of the country there are some 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4000 meters. The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue Nile (or Abay), which runs a distance of 1450 kilometres from the source Lake Tana, to join the White Nile at Khartoum.
Ethiopia is a multi-religious country. Most of the Christians live in the highlands, while the Muslims mainly inhabit the lowlands. Adherents of traditional faiths are primarily concentrated in the southern regions. Ethiopian Orthodox 43.5%, Protestant 18.6% (which include Ethiopian Orthodox Tehadeso Church and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus), Muslim 33.9%, traditional (2.6%) Catholic 0.7%, all others 0.6%. A small Ethiopian Jewish community also reside in the northern parts of the country although almost all of them have emigrated to Israel.
Both traditional and religious festivals are celebrated by its diverse ethnic groups with their picturesque native lives in their most rustic settings.
To mention a few – Meskel (the celebration of the finding of the true cross held every September 27th) and Timket (the Ethiopian Epiphany held ever January 19th).
The other colorful and engaging cultural phenomena are the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, held either in individual homes or hotels that makes your visit to Ethiopia unforgettable.
The climate varies greatly depending on the topography. Ethiopia’s lowest point is at the Denakil Depression -125 m; its highest point is Ras Dejen standing at 4,620 m. The central plateau has a moderate climate with minimal seasonal temperature variation. The mean minimum during the coldest season is 5.5°C (42°F), while the mean maximum rarely exceeds 26°C (79°F). Temperature variations in the lowlands are much greater, and the heat in the desert and Red Sea Coastal areas is extreme, with occasional highs of 60°C (140°F). There are two rainy seasons: the irregular short rains from late January to early March, and the long rains that stretch from June until mid-September. May is the warmest month and is usually a time of bright sunny days. The central plateau also experiences a second, through much milder, rainy season between December and February. Average annual precipitation on the central plateau is roughly 48 inches. The western most region of Ethiopia receives an annual rainfall of nearly 80 inches.
The Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T’ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia.
About 80 percent of the populations earn their living from agriculture, mainly as subsistence farmers. Agriculture is the Backbone of the national economy and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, khat, oil seeds, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar and foodstuffs for animals. There is also a thriving livestock sector, exporting cattle on the hoof and hides and skins.