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
All our Ethiopia trips
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Travel to Africa and tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Gonder. Visit the Samburu Reserve, the remote...View trip details
Articles on Ethiopia
8 African snacks you must try
Posted on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 by Jacqueline Donaldson
In Africa, most action takes place on the streets and roadsides – people hawking their wares, kids running to and from school, friends hanging out just chatting. There’s always movement [...]Read more
10 surprising facts about Ethiopia
Posted on Thu, 27 Feb 2014 by Taz Liffman
With the possible exceptions of Colombia and Iran, it’s pretty hard to find a country so undeservedly beset with tourism image problems as Ethiopia. A poverty-stricken, war-ravaged dustbowl… right? Well, [...]Read more
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Addis Ababa (population 2.2 million)
- 82 million
- Time zone:
- (GMT+03:00) Nairobi
- 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:
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.
Geography and environment
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
Bottle of beer = 30-40 ETB
Simple lunch = 40-60 ETB
Nice dinner in a restaurant = 150-200 ETB
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
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: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Ethiopia/public-holidays
Most nationalities require a visa for entry to Ethiopia. Please see this website to find your closest embassy or consulate: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Ethiopia. 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.
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:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
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.
|Beneath the Lion's Gaze||Maaza Mengiste|
|Sweetness in the Belly||Camilla Gibb|
|Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society||Donald N. Levine|
|Chameleon Days: An American Boyhood in Ethiopia||Tim Bascom|
|Chains of Heaven||Philip Marsden|