Ethiopia

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 deals in Ethiopia

Departing Days Price AUD
1 Dec 2014 Ethiopia Uncovered 23 $2188

All our Ethiopia trips

Addis to Nairobi and Gorillas

66 days from
USD $7,560
CAD $7,890
AUD $7,544
EUR €5,673
GBP £4,818
NZD $9,199
ZAR R75,106
CHF FR6,759

Travel to Africa and visit the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi and the castles and palaces of Gonder as well as game...

View trip details

Ethiopia Uncovered

23 days from
USD $2,365
CAD $2,562
AUD $2,532
EUR €1,728
GBP £1,428
NZD $2,802
ZAR R25,135
CHF FR2,093

Travel to Africa and get to know Ethiopia on a fascinating trip that circuits the country's north. Visit the Blue...

View trip details

Nairobi to Addis and Gorillas

66 days from
USD $7,595
CAD $7,920
AUD $8,084
EUR €5,698
GBP £4,838
NZD $9,239
ZAR R75,106
CHF FR6,759

Travel to Africa and visit the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi and the castles and palaces of Gonder as well as game...

View trip details

Lost Tribes of Ethiopia

14 days from

Travel to Ethiopia and experience one of the world's most intriguing countries on this comfort-style journey. Take a...

View trip details

Ethiopia Uncovered

23 days from
USD $2,160
CAD $2,229
AUD $2,098
EUR €1,634
GBP £1,361
NZD $2,645
ZAR R20,939
CHF FR1,922

Travel to Africa and get to know Ethiopia on a fascinating trip that circuits the country's north. Visit the Blue...

View trip details

Ethiopian Highlands

21 days from
USD $2,007
CAD $2,041
AUD $2,085
EUR €1,489
GBP £1,246
NZD $2,418
ZAR R19,189
CHF FR1,759

Travel to Ethiopia and visit the unique landscapes and cultures of this almost untouched region.

View trip details

Ethiopian Highlands

21 days from
USD $2,062
CAD $2,231
AUD $2,210
EUR €1,509
GBP £1,246
NZD $2,443
ZAR R21,904
CHF FR1,824

Discover the delights of Ethiopia from the natural beauty of the Simien Mountains to the rock-hewn churches of...

View trip details

Ethiopian Highlands Northbound

21 days from
USD $1,877
CAD $1,946
AUD $1,985
EUR €1,419
GBP £1,186
NZD $2,298
ZAR R18,274
CHF FR1,674

Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gonder. Visit the Blue Nile Falls, the Simien...

View trip details

Ethiopian Highlands Northbound

21 days from
USD $2,027
CAD $2,196
AUD $2,170
EUR €1,484
GBP £1,226
NZD $2,403
ZAR R21,544
CHF FR1,794

Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gonder. Visit the Blue Nile Falls, the Simien...

View trip details

Nairobi to Addis

24 days from
USD $2,590
CAD $2,807
AUD $2,782
EUR €1,894
GBP £1,577
NZD $3,066
ZAR R27,507
CHF FR2,290

Travel to Africa and tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa. Visit Lake Nakuru, the Samburu...

View trip details

Nairobi to Addis

24 days from
USD $2,575
CAD $2,675
AUD $2,732
EUR €1,938
GBP £1,633
NZD $3,143
ZAR R25,252
CHF FR2,296

Travel to Africa and tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa. Visit Lake Nakuru, the Samburu...

View trip details

Ethiopian Explorer Northbound

44 days from
USD $4,170
CAD $4,321
AUD $4,409
EUR €3,145
GBP £2,639
NZD $5,095
ZAR R40,719
CHF FR3,715

Travel to Africa and tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Gonder. Visit the Samburu Reserve, the remote...

View trip details

Addis to Nairobi

24 days from
USD $2,450
CAD $2,656
AUD $2,630
EUR €1,793
GBP £1,490
NZD $2,903
ZAR R26,042
CHF FR2,168

Travel to Africa and be immersed in traditional cultures, spot Africa's Big Five on game drives and journey through...

View trip details

Addis to Nairobi

24 days from
USD $2,465
CAD $2,544
AUD $2,420
EUR €1,881
GBP £1,560
NZD $3,092
ZAR R23,728
CHF FR2,237

Travel to Africa and be immersed in traditional cultures, spot Africa's Big Five on game drives and journey through...

View trip details

Ethiopian Explorer Northbound

44 days from
USD $4,325
CAD $4,685
AUD $4,643
EUR €3,164
GBP £2,630
NZD $5,127
ZAR R45,974
CHF FR3,825

Tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Gonder. Visit the Samburu Reserve, the remote Omo Valley, the...

View trip details

Ethiopian Explorer

44 days from
USD $4,465
CAD $4,835
AUD $4,791
EUR €3,265
GBP £2,716
NZD $5,290
ZAR R47,438
CHF FR3,947

Travel to Ethiopia and visit the unique landscapes and cultures of this almost untouched region before visiting Kenya...

View trip details

Ethiopian Explorer

44 days from
USD $4,170
CAD $4,321
AUD $4,409
EUR €3,145
GBP £2,639
NZD $5,095
ZAR R40,719
CHF FR3,715

Travel to Ethiopia and visit the unique landscapes and cultures of this almost untouched region before visiting Kenya...

View trip details

Historic Lalibela Extension

4 days from

Travel to the incredible archaeological site of Lalibela and embark on an adventure through the ages. Get to know the...

View trip details

The Simien Mountains Trek

13 days from
USD $3,230
CAD $3,230
AUD $3,230
EUR €2,295
GBP £1,699
NZD $3,735
ZAR R30,580
CHF FR2,750

View trip details

Ethiopia trip reviews

Our Ethiopia trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews in the last year.

Historic Lalibela Extension, June 2014

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

dave and deb love eating local

Posted on Wed, 1 Feb 2012 by Sue Elliot

"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

Trips Available: 12
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

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: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Ethiopia/public-holidays
ETHIOPIA:
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 Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

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