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 holiday deals in Ethiopia

Departing Days Price USD
27 Feb 2017 Ethiopia Uncovered 23 $1916
16 Oct 2016 Ethiopian Highlands 21 $1624
19 Nov 2016 Ethiopian Highlands 21 $1660
25 Mar 2017 Ethiopian Highlands 21 $1660
13 Feb 2017 Ethiopian Highlands Northbound 21 $1650

All our Ethiopia trips

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FROM
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,...
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FROM
USD $1,916
CAD $2,572
AUD $2,511
EUR €1,719
GBP £1,291
NZD $2,697
ZAR R24,904
CHF FR1,917
Travel to Africa and get to know Ethiopia on a fascinating trip that circuits the country's north. Visit the Blue...
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USD $1,624
CAD $2,174
AUD $2,136
EUR €1,461
GBP £1,093
NZD $2,295
ZAR R21,275
CHF FR1,621
Discover the delights of Ethiopia from the natural beauty of the Simien Mountains to the rock-hewn churches of...
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USD $1,650
CAD $2,209
AUD $2,166
EUR €1,484
GBP £1,110
NZD $2,329
ZAR R21,548
CHF FR1,647
Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gonder. Visit the Blue Nile Falls, the Simien...
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USD $2,164
CAD $2,896
AUD $2,863
EUR €1,948
GBP £1,462
NZD $3,076
ZAR R28,885
CHF FR2,163
Travel to Africa and tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa. Visit Lake Nakuru, the Samburu...
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24
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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...
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44
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USD $3,602
CAD $4,818
AUD $4,749
EUR €3,236
GBP £2,429
NZD $5,105
ZAR R47,914
CHF FR3,598
Tour Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Gonder. Visit the Samburu Reserve, the remote Omo Valley, the...
DAYS
15
FROM
USD $2,210
CAD $2,897
GBP £1,527
AUD $3,055
EUR €1,986
NZD $3,285
CHF FR2,195
ZAR R35,094
Travel to Africa and be immersed in traditional cultures on journey through changing landscapes. Make the most out of...
DAYS
44
FROM
USD $3,626
CAD $4,407
AUD $4,633
EUR €3,155
GBP £2,371
NZD $4,979
ZAR R46,732
CHF FR3,506
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

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.
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

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