The great land of Ethiopia is one of Africa's veiled treasures. Archaeological, cultural and natural riches await for travellers keen to delve into this ancient yet often overlooked destination. Trekking rugged ranges, visiting simple mountain villages, marvelling at time-worn relics dipped in mysticism and meeting genuine, unaffected people who have overcome famine and war makes for a life-affirming journey.

Ethiopia Tours & Travel

Top holiday deals in Ethiopia

Departing Days Price USD
19 Nov 2016 Ethiopian Highlands 21 $1660
25 Mar 2017 Ethiopian Highlands Northbound 21 $1852
13 Feb 2017 Ethiopian Highlands Northbound 21 $1874
27 Feb 2017 Ethiopian Highlands Northbound 21 $1786
21 Jan 2017 Nairobi to Addis 24 $2164

All our Ethiopia trips

USD $2,320
CAD $2,810
AUD $2,970
EUR €1,930
GBP £1,520
NZD $3,195
ZAR R34,080
CHF FR2,135
Travel through the untouched beauty and fascinating culture of Ethiopia. From Addis Ababa, journey through Bahir Dar,...
USD $2,275
CAD $3,058
AUD $2,973
EUR €2,041
GBP £1,531
NZD $3,193
ZAR R29,226
CHF FR2,277
Travel to Africa and get to know Ethiopia on a fascinating trip that circuits the country's north. Visit the Blue...
USD $4,985
CAD $6,531
AUD $6,896
EUR €4,480
GBP £3,423
NZD $7,412
ZAR R79,128
CHF FR4,957
Travel to Africa and be immersed in traditional cultures, spot Africa's Big Five on game drives and journey through...
USD $1,852
CAD $2,422
AUD $2,560
EUR €1,661
GBP £1,277
NZD $2,751
ZAR R29,363
CHF FR1,837
Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gonder. Visit the Blue Nile Falls, the Simien...
USD $1,040
CAD $1,365
AUD $1,440
EUR €935
GBP £720
NZD $1,550
ZAR R16,545
CHF FR1,035
Travel to Africa and tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa. Visit Lake Nakuru, the Samburu...
USD $1,786
CAD $2,341
AUD $2,474
EUR €1,604
GBP £1,234
NZD $2,657
ZAR R28,376
CHF FR1,775
USD $2,190
CAD $2,863
AUD $3,023
EUR €1,964
GBP £1,510
NZD $3,255
ZAR R34,721
CHF FR2,175
Go off the beaten track on this immersive Ethiopian adventure, visiting remote tribes in the Omo Valley and scouting...
USD $2,098
CAD $2,805
AUD $2,773
EUR €1,889
GBP £1,418
NZD $2,983
ZAR R27,977
CHF FR2,097
Travel to Africa and be immersed in traditional cultures, spot Africa's Big Five on game drives and journey through...
USD $2,210
CAD $2,897
AUD $3,055
EUR €1,986
GBP £1,527
NZD $3,285
ZAR R35,094
CHF FR2,195
Travel to Africa and be immersed in traditional cultures on journey through changing landscapes. Make the most out of...
USD $1,760
CAD $2,307
AUD $2,435
EUR €1,581
GBP £1,217
NZD $2,620
ZAR R27,969
CHF FR1,750
Travel from Arba Minch to Nairobi, via Ethiopia's remote Omo Valley and some of Kenya's most amazing destinations –...
USD $4,975
CAD $6,518
AUD $6,880
EUR €4,468
GBP £3,421
NZD $7,399
ZAR R78,977
CHF FR4,947
Tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Gonder. Visit the Samburu Reserve, the remote Omo Valley, the...
USD $4,890
CAD $6,406
AUD $6,762
EUR €4,396
GBP £3,372
NZD $7,274
ZAR R77,629
CHF FR4,862
Travel to Ethiopia and visit the unique landscapes and cultures of this almost untouched region before visiting Kenya...

Ethiopia trip reviews

Our Ethiopia trips score an average of 4.88 out of 5 based on 8 reviews in the last year.

Ethiopian Highlands , April 2016

Angela Konert

Lost Tribes of Ethiopia , January 2016

Patricia Ellison

Articles on Ethiopia

Ethiopia just took the running world by storm. Here’s why the travel world is next.

Posted on Tue, 19 Apr 2016

Proud Ethiopians are cheering loud around the world. We think it's time the travel community did the same.

Read more

8 African snacks you’ve just got to try

Posted on Tue, 11 Mar 2014

In Africa, most action takes place on the streets and roadsides – people hawking their wares, kids running to and from school, friends chatting. There’s always movement and there’s always food.

Read more

10 surprising facts about Ethiopia

Posted on Thu, 27 Feb 2014

Diverse landscapes, a kaleidoscope of cultures and one of the world's fastest growing economies: here are 10 facts you didn't know about Ethiopia

Read more

dave and deb love eating local

Posted on Wed, 1 Feb 2012

"Travel without trying new food is like Angelina and Brad flying without a brood of children in tow, it just isn't right..."

Read more

About Ethiopia

At a glance

Capital city: Addis Ababa (population 2.2 million)
Population: 82 million
Language: Amharic
Currency: ETB
Time zone: (GMT+03:00) Nairobi
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth) Type L (Italian 3-pin)
Dialing code: +251

Best time to visit Ethiopia

Travellers can expect plenty of sunshine while visiting Ethiopia. Temperatures are typically warm and balmy, although they can vary greatly with altitude. The lowland areas tend to be more hot and humid, while the highlands offer cooler temperatures. Rain is common from July to September but otherwise, sunshine prevails for the rest of the year.

Ethiopia weather chart

Geography and environment

Blue nile falls in Ethiopia
Landlocked Ethiopia is bordered by Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti. Home to some of the most stunning and varied landscapes in Africa, Ethiopia is easily the most mountainous country in Africa, with the Simien and Bale ranges providing the highest peaks. The iconic Blue Nile (which is considered holy by locals) originates in Ethiopia's Lake Tana and runs through the country into neighbouring Sudan.

Top Picks

The Palace of Fasiladas in Ethiopia

Top 5 Must-See Sights of Ethiopia

1. Churches of Lalibela

These miraculous, ancient churches cut from rock are the main reason travellers journey to the town Lalibela. Surrounded by myth and legend, these unique churches have stood for centuries and remain a sacred site for Ethiopians.

2. Aksum Ruins

This UNESCO World Heritage-listed archaeological site is home to some of the most impressive ancient ruins in the world. Located in the north of Ethiopia and featuring obelisks, royal tombs and remnants of palaces, fables suggest that this was once the home of the Queen of Sheba.

3. The Palace of Fasiladas

The city of Gonder is home to many incredible buildings, but the restored Palace of Fasiladas counts among the most impressive. Located within the Royal Enclosure, this castle possesses an intriguing fusion of Portuguese, Indian and Moorish decorative styles.

4. Blue Nile Falls

Meaning "smoking water" in Amharic, these legendary falls are best seen during the rainy season when the water levels swell, creating a thunderous amount of white water.

5. Debre Berhan Selassie Church

This unusual little church located in Gonder was built in the 17th century and features an elaborately decorated interior like no other - more than 100 winged cherubs are painted on the ceiling. A must see when in Ethiopia.

FAQs on Ethiopia

Most nationalities require a visa for entry to Ethiopia. Please see this website to find your closest embassy or consulate: If you are flying into Addis Ababa you can obtain a visa on arrival. You'll need two passport photos and approximately US$40. You may be asked for proof of a return ticket - please carry your tour notes as proof that you are leaving overland. If you are entering at any border other than Addis Ababa airport you MUST obtain your visa in advance.
Tipping isn’t mandatory in Ethiopia but is considered polite in restaurants and bars. It's up to the individual to choose to tip or not but rounding up a bill for good service or leaving 1-2 birr is appropriate.
Internet cafes can be found in cities and large towns but less so in rural and remote places.
Mobile phone coverage is quite good in Ethiopia's urban areas, but less so in rural, remote and mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.
Squat/pit toilets are the standard in Ethiopia, except for western-style flushable toilets that are sometimes available in large hotels and other modern buildings. Carry your own supply of soap and toilet paper, as this is rarely provided.
Cup of coffee = 10-15 ETB
Bottle of beer = 30-40 ETB
Simple lunch = 40-60 ETB
Nice dinner in a restaurant = 150-200 ETB
Tap water isn't considered safe for tourists to drink. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Ask your leader and accommodation provider for local advice on where drinking water can be accessed. Also, avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating.
Credit cards are accepted only by a few large hotels in Addis Ababa as cash is the main mode of payment in Ethiopia. Ensure you have adequate cash to cover purchases not able to be made on credit.
There are a few ATMs that accept foreign cards in Ethiopia, mainly in Addis Ababa and other large cities. Withdrawing cash from ATMs can't necessarily be relied on, so carrying foreign currency (like US dollars) is recommended.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 6 Timket (Epiphany)
Jan 7 Ethiopian Christmas
Feb 4 Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet)
Mar 2 Victory of Adowa
Apr 6 Ethiopian Good Friday
Apr 24 Ethiopian Easter
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 Patriots Victory Day
May 28 Downfall of the Dergue
Aug 19 Eid al-Fitr
Sep 11 Ethiopian New Year (Entutatash)
Sep 27 Finding of the True Cross (Meskel)
Oct 26 Eid-al Adha (Arafat)

The Ethiopian calendar is different from the traditional Gregorian calendar, in that it's 8 years behind, with 13 months to a year and key holidays (like Christmas) falling on different days to the rest of the world. Please note that some of the dates above are estimates only, due to some festivals being timed with the lunar calendar.

For a current list of public holidays go to:

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

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From New Zealand?

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From Canada?

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From US?

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From UK?

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The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
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Responsible Travel

Ethiopia Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Ethiopia

1. Be considerate of Ethiopia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Beneath the Lion's GazeMaaza Mengiste
Sweetness in the BellyCamilla Gibb
Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic SocietyDonald N. Levine
Chameleon Days: An American Boyhood in EthiopiaTim Bascom
Chains of HeavenPhilip Marsden